Stories for the Young and the Young At Heart!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Susanne Matthews and her wonderful story, The Price of Honor

Makin’ it to the Big League: Will This Be The One?
Everyone who aspires to be an author is always looking for the magic ingredient to make their book the one that makes their career. So what should an author write? The answer given by a surprising number of so-called experts is “write what you know.” If I did that, my books probably wouldn’t be too exciting. “Write what you want to read,” might be a better answer for me.

I’ve been a published author for a reasonably short period of time, and during that time, I’ve released several romance novels, but in five different sub-genres. Fire Angel, In Plain Sight, and On His Watch are romantic suspense. Echoes of the Past is paranormal romantic suspense, while Just for the Weekend, Holiday Magic, and The Perfect Choice are contemporary romances. The Captain’s Promise, and my latest release, The Price of Honor are historical romance, and All for Love, a romantic suspense for the Christian book market, will be released next May. I also co-write under the name Misty Matthews, and have two contemporary books out there, Grand Slam, a novella, and Coming Home, the first book in a four book series called Taking a Chance on Love. What am I working on now? I’ve just finished NaNoWriMo with another contemporary romance which I’ll begin editing soon, and have two other romantic suspense novels to finish polishing before I submit them to publishers. 
Why do I write in so many different sub-genres? The answer is simply because I like to read different kinds of books. In time, I hope to complete some young adult books, maybe a sci-fi novel, and I definitely want to try my hand at fantasy. Next spring, I plan to publish a collection of short stories for children ages 8-12 based on stories I wrote and had published in the local newspaper twenty years ago. What you won’t see is books which would be considered erotica, because while there are erotic elements in some of my books, I just don’t have that kind of an imagination. 
Probably the greatest thrill I get is reading the reviews people post for my books or having someone I know tell me how much they enjoyed reading one of my novels. I have a fragile ego, I’ll admit, and criticism lays me low, but knowing my books captured someone’s imagination and pulled them out of reality into the story for a few hours makes the time and effort it takes to write a book worthwhile. It’s unfortunate that not everyone who reads a book takes the time to rate and/or review it. Reviews seriously affect a book’s life. The more reviews it gets, the better chance there is that someone will buy it or that you can promote it on the more popular book sites. 
My latest book, The Price of Honor, is an attempt to share my country and personal history with readers who enjoy historical romance. I’ve always found history fascinating, but I’ve found very few historical romance novels set in early Canada when this land was a French colony. I’ve spent time in both Quebec City and Montreal (Ville-Marie), and I’ve tried to describe and recreate the feel of that new world in my novel. One of my male ancestors came to Canada in 1664 as a member of the regiment sent by King Louis XIV to quell the Mohawk uprising in the colony. When the war ended, the soldiers were offered land if they chose to make New France their home. Poor women of good character were sent to New France as “Filles du Roi,” royal wards given a small dowry by the king to leave France and cross the ocean to marry strangers and populate the colony. But life wasn’t easy in this land where they battled the weather, the land itself, the Amerindians, the British to the south of them, and men back in France whose sole purpose was to get rich regardless of who or what suffered.
In my novel, I’ve taken poetic license to create fictional characters who might have been involved in one of these situations. Set against authentic historical figures and actions at a time when the land was fresh and new, The Price of Honor is meant to both entertain and maybe teach the reader a bit about early Canada. 
Will this be the book to make me? I don’t know. There are many other stories of the crises faced by French Canadian colonists in the years prior to Confederation and even afterwards. We might not have had the Wild West the Americans had, but there are stories to tell, and I hope I get to tell a few more of them.

Book Blurb: The Price of Honor
What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor?
When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth.
Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancé and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world? 

The comtesse looked up from her papers giving Isabelle her full attention. “Another colonial upstart. I wish the king would put an end to such nonsense. A man is born noble. It’s in the blood, as you well know considering the color of yours. I hope he’s the last of this constant stream of rabble.” She put down her quill pen and turned in the chair. “I’m annoyed with you, Isabelle. I’d hoped you’d see the wisdom in the king’s decision. I didn’t expect you to be so stubborn.”
Stubborn? In what way?”
Your attitude towards this marriage, of course. You should be overjoyed the king has offered you to a man as rich and powerful as the chevalier. Churlishness is a quality rarely appreciated in a lady. Behaving like a boorish peasant doesn’t become you.”
It wasn’t my intention to be difficult. I sought only to honor my father as our customs dictate.” Isabelle’s battered heart wouldn’t let her contain her anger any longer. She’d been raised to be polite and obedient, but this accusation was more than she could endure. “Overjoyed? That’s the last thing I am. This is the seventeenth century. France is an empire. I don’t understand why the king would treat me like an African slave who can be bought and sold like cattle. I’m the daughter of a comte. I carry the royal bloodline. That should count for something. At the very least, it should get me an audience to plead my case.”
Isabelle realized her mistake when she saw her stepmother’s face. Henriette’s fury was palpable and radiated from her. She stood quickly, knocking over her chair, moved to Isabelle’s side, and grabbed her chin painfully, twisting her face to the right and then to the left. Her fingertips would leave their imprint.
You’ll do nothing of the sort. How naïve you are. Have you learned nothing of politics? This may be the seventeenth century, but because of your royal blood, you have less rights than the slaves you described. Rebellions have been started by people with weaker claims to the throne than yours—what are you? Twelfth now? Many of those ahead of you are old. As they die, your claim to the throne improves. Among other things, your darling Pierre is to blame for your current situation. His treason cost you your freedom. The king can’t allow someone he doesn’t trust to be in your position. After what happened, it would be political suicide. I know it, the chevalier knows it, and so does the king. His majesty’s chosen a man he trusts with his life to father your children. The original plan was to slit your traitorous throat. The chevalier convinced the king to spare you, and this is how you repay his concern?”
Isabelle stared into her step-mothers cold eyes. Could Henriette be telling the truth? Had the chevalier and not the king instigated this farce? Slit her throat? She’d prefer they had to this travesty. Henriette continued talking, oblivious to the thoughts overwhelming Isabelle.
Look at you. You’re powerless. Why you don’t have enough mettle to push my hand from your chin.” She let go of her and pushed her away with such violence Isabelle had to grab the edge of the desk to keep from falling.
Surely, there’s another option? Why would waiting a few more months make that much difference?”
Because of the conspiracy, you foolish girl. Think of it. A member of the royal family, albeit a distant one, conspiring to commit treason? A woman is often blamed for her husband’s crimes. The sooner that connection is erased from memory, the better. Besides, I can’t take my place at court until you’re the new Comtesse of Caen. Your husband becomes Comte de Caen and d’Angrignon the day you marry, and he’s quite anxious to assume his new title. Did you think this was all about you? While he may lust after you, there are plenty of women willing to fill his bed. Vincent offered to give you his name to spare the king any further shame, and somehow managed to convince his majesty it was all his idea in the first place. The man is brilliant. The title is his reward, the position at court, mine. It’s about power—power and politics. Nothing personal.” She laughed at what must have been the stunned look on Isabelle’s face. “Pauvre petite. You’re almost twenty-five and you have no idea how the world works. You’re the daughter of a comte with royal blood in your veins. Strange things happen at court. It’s possible your child could inherit the throne—a daughter could marry the dauphin. Resign yourself to your fate and make the best of it. This can be a wonderful opportunity. You can have everything you’ve ever wanted, and all you have to do is spread your legs.”
Like you? Too disgusted to even utter the insult, Isabelle walked over to the small table where, despite her trembling hand, she managed to pour herself a cup of chocolate from the silver pot, and sipped the soothing drink. Henriette’s words bothered her. Was there more at play here—a real conspiracy against the heirs? The chevalier was an ambitious man, but would he go so far as murder to see his child on the throne? Of course he would. The man is without honor.
You can order The Price of Honor from Amazon or Solstice Publishing

About Susanne Matthews:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She’s an avid reader of all types of books, especially those with a happily ever after. In her imagination, she’s travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Follow Susanne on her: Website Blog Facebook page Twitter @jandsmatt

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Marie Lavender talks about The Allure of the Paranormal Genre

The Allure of the Paranormal Genre by Marie Lavender

My new paranormal romance/urban fantasy release, Second Nature, made me think about how I got started in this genre. It certainly wasn’t my upbringing. Some members of my family have firm beliefs, and the supernatural or unexplained, whether in books, movies or TV, is considered satanic. I don’t agree.

To me, it’s just another way to be creative. I’ve always been open-minded, and I’ll admit that I think there are things in the world that can’t be explained with science or religion. There is a lot we don’t know about the hereafter (how could we?), and about this world in general. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that there were real vampires, shifters or faeries in the world. We just can’t see them. I even believe in spirits to some degree. Why wouldn’t some of us stick around after we are gone, if not to be with our loved ones? 
Why not let your imagination soar a little? Just for fun, anyway. We all know fiction is a kind of escape from reality. Fantasy authors take that a step further and create amazing worlds that we can believe in.
So, how did I really start writing about the paranormal? I could blame my grandmother, who tried to terrorize us with scary ghost stories around the campfire whenever we went camping. I could blame pop culture with the movies about these supernatural creatures, or even horror movies. God knows I was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show) and Angel when I was in high school. Now I watch things like Grimm or Sleep Hollow. I even liked the first Twilight movie.

No, I would have to say that part of it comes down to literature. I could blame Annette Curtis Klause for first sparking my interest in YA paranormal romance with Silver Kiss. I was about thirteen when I read that one. Oh, man…now that was a kiss. So romantic, yet dangerous.

My deep-seated fascination with vampires, of course, extended to the present. I followed The Vampire Diaries and True Blood for awhile until I got tired of the drama and gore. I also experimented with TV shows about witches such as Charmed and Witches of East End. Or a shifter series like Bitten? Interesting. I am cool with stories about werewolves too.

I guess you could say that I was searching for the perfect series. Little did I know that fiction would always be my drug of choice.

When I stumbled across J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series (paranormal romance/urban fantasy), I think she’d already written five books in the series. So, I took a chance and bought them as a set. Wow! I’d never read anything like it! Then I began to pick up other ones such as P.C. Cast’s House of Night Series (YA paranormal/urban fantasy) and Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love at Stake Series (paranormal romance with a touch of comic relief). It was much later that I discovered Chloe Neill’s awesome Chicagoland Vampires Series about a pretty quirky, yet tough heroine who stands as sentinel or protector for her house. Little does she know that trouble always tends to follow her.
In recent years, I found a paranormal romance indie author, Linda Lee Williams, as well as Aubrey Brown, who sometimes writes erotic paranormal/historical romance. I also read one by Candice Stauffer called Eternal Breath of Darkness. I am eager to try books by other authors in the genre (my Wishlist is so long) such as Kresley Cole, Laurell K. Hamilton and Lynsay Sands. 
All of the aforementioned books stirred my imagination. My first foray into writing paranormal was A Misplaced Life by Kathryn Layne, one of my self-published books. It is a mystery/thriller book with some paranormal elements. I also wrote and published Terror in the Night, a paranormal romance about two people being terrorized by a demon. Subsequently, I wrote Haunted and Pursuit, both under the pen name Erica Sutherhome, and both were about heroines with supernatural gifts. After Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, was released through Solstice Shadows Publishing in March, I was ready to try my hand at something a little different. 
In truth, Second Nature built up in my mind for awhile until it was ready to come out on the page. As authors, we can’t always predict what happens with our writing and I didn’t know that the early scene where Desire wakes up, bound in the backseat of a car, was going to turn into a paranormal romance. But, it did. The next book in the series, Blood Instincts, will also be a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, but with a futuristic element. I look forward to finishing that book and showing it to readers, but I won’t get ahead of myself. I do hope you like the Blood at First Sight Series, and in closing, I’d like to give you a suggested reading list.
Do you like paranormal or even fantasy books? If you haven’t read any, maybe you’d like to try some of these awesome titles by other authors:
Black Dagger Brotherhood Series:
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (book one of 14)
Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward (book two of 14)
The Fallen Angels Series:
Crave by J.R. Ward (book one of 6)
Covet by J.R. Ward (book two of 6)
Three Sisters Island Trilogy:
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts
Face the Fire by Nora Roberts
Sign of Seven Trilogy:
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
The Hollow by Nora Roberts
The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
House of Night Series:
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (one of 12)
Betrayed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (two of 12)
Love at Stake Series:
How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks (one of 16)
Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks (two of 16)
Chicagoland Vampires Series:
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (one of 11)
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (two of 11)
And here are some books by my comrades at Solstice Shadows:
Ascent of the Fallen by Rebecca L. Frencl
Fin’s Magic by KateMarie Collins
Paradox Lost: Their Path by K.C. Sprayberry
Dead in the Water by Chrystal Vaughan
Healer by J. McAfee

Marie Lavender’s Author Bio
Bestselling author of Upon Your Return and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released
Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March. Upon Your Honor, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender:
Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature

Erica Sutherhome:
Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace
Kathryn Layne:
A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse:
Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things
Author Links

Her Latest Book Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series:
She never expected it…

Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.

She was unlike any other…

Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.

Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

Universal Amazon link:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sizzling PR presents Board Indiscretion by Jessica Jayne

Mark Olson isn’t just known for owning his three large care dealerships. He’s also known as a player, at least since his divorce. For a while, he believes he is satisfied as a member of Advantage Insurance Company’s board of directors and bedding a different woman every weekend. That is until someone decided to call his bluff.

Suzannah McCormick is the sweet girl working hard as the executive assistant to Advantage’s CEO. But underneath her saccharine southern charm is a vixen-in-waiting. She’s never been with a man that tapped into that side of her, but she set her sights on Mark Olson with high hopes.
Mark doesn’t realize his single status and his heart are in jeopardy.

Since his divorce, he’d convinced himself that remaining single was what he wanted. It made things less complicated for his two pre-teen daughters. Shit! It made things less complicated for himself. But that lifestyle could also be quite lonely.

That’s where Suzie came in and complicated the hell out of his life. She was the executive assistant to the CEO of Advantage Insurance Company, Michael Herron, and well… Mark was a member of Advantage’s board of directors, had been for several years. He loved his position on the board. Aside from the small amount of prestige it carried, he’d made great friends with the other members, particularly the two younger board members—John Dorsey and Greg Snow. A relationship with Suzie could compromise his position on the board and with the members, but truth be told, he also loved his most recent position between her legs. 

If only the situation was different.

A familiar giggle wafted in from the direction of the dance floor. The delicate sound stirred his cock to life. It stiffened against his black trousers instantly.  After several weeks of clandestine meetings involving dirty talk and hard fucks, he’d know that giggle anywhere. He’d heard it many times afterwards when they lay tangled in each other’s limbs. Turning his head in the direction of the dance floor, anger heated his face and his hands clenched into fists on the bar top at the sight he witnessed. 
Sandwiched between two guys that he’d now refer to as dickheads, danced the woman that wreaked havoc on his single life status.  Her little black dress clung to her trim frame, emphasizing her small, but very perky breasts and showing off her figure that could easily grace the cover of any fashion magazine. Her legs stretched for miles and her creamy white skin contrasted nicely against the jet black of her dress. Flinging her silky blonde hair over her shoulder and down her back, her pink Pursecase carrying her iPhone dangled from her wrist as her hips gyrated against her two dance partners. The taller man dancing behind her slipped his hand over her hip and rested it over her low belly as he rubbed what Mark was sure to be a rock hard erection against Suzie’s ass. 

What the fuck is she doing? 

First, she never came to the Beach Club. Never. In all his regular visits to this club over the last couple of years, he had yet to see her in here once. Not once!  Second, she was practically dry-humping two guys in the middle of the dance floor. That wasn’t her typical style.

Suzie was one of those beautiful women that appeared to have the girl-next-door innocence. She didn’t dress too provocatively.  

She was sexy, but in that way that was just natural. Her bubbly Southern charm won over all the men on the board of directors and Mark speculated it would win over anyone. He flirted with her, teasing her on board days to get a rise out of her. There’d always been a twinkle of mischief in her eyes when he flirted with her that would leave him questioning whether he knew her at all. 

At last quarter’s board meeting, she left him dumbfounded when she responded to his flirtation with a proposition. After mulling it over for a bit, which actually had turned out to be a couple weeks, he called her bluff. He asked her over to his place for cocktails and she showed up. What he learned was that there was a lot more to Suzannah McCormick than met the eye. The rest was history. 

Throwing back the last remnants of his whiskey, he stood from his stool, tossed some cash on the bar, and turned toward the dance floor. He wrestled with what his next move should be.

About the Author:

I am a born and raised small town  Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English. What college major could possibly be better than one that requires you to read novels and write about them!  After spending a year traveling, I attended law school and use that knowledge wisely. 

In the journey of life, became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure. 

I love to read and write... obviously! I’m a huge sports fan, especially college football and the Ohio State Buckeyes!  Go Steelers!  Go Rays! Go Lightning! I LOVE to travel... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to travel. And I love sharing my love to travel with my children. Did I say I love to travel? I love to drink coffee in the morning and tea at night! I love a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, I’m a founding member of that crazy group!  ☺  I love hanging out with my family and my friends!  Music makes me happy. I’m a mix between country girl and city chic. But I love nothing more than putting on my jean shorts, tank top, cowboy boots and hat and watching Tim McGraw or Eric Church belt it out!  I’m a sucker for a cowboy hat!

Author Links:


A Holiday Tradition

Hiya and Happy Holidays! I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Penny for hosting me today. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here. I know it’s a busy time of year for everyone. The holiday season is upon us and we are busy, busy, busy. I’m no exception. Though I must admit, I’m one of those individuals that loves this time of year. There’s something about the cooler weather (I live in Florida now so sixty degrees is considered cool ☺), the Christmas decorations and the abundance of giving to others. 

Penny asked me to draft a guest blog for my visit here. Though I’m promoting my new release, Board Indiscretion, book 3 in my Taking Advantage series, I thought it might be fun to do something holiday related so you could get to know a little about me.

Does your family have a holiday tradition? I never really thought about traditions until I started having a family of my own and I tried to figure out what I wanted to pass down to my children.
Growing up, my mom, grandfather, my siblings and I would bake holiday cookies. We didn’t just make a batch of cut-out cookies. Oh no! We baked dozens and dozens of cookies… all sorts of cookies. Here’s a list of what we made every year:


Guanti (aka glove cookies)

Thumb prints

Cut-outs with icing and sprinkles, of course

Buckeyes (obviously because we’re from Ohio ☺)

Peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss in the middle

We’d basically bake until we dropped, but it was a day filled with laughter and tales and powdered sugar covered faces. I have fond memories of that time. So, that was one of the traditions I decided to pass down to my family as well. 

I have three children (ages 7, 7, and 6). - Yes, we have twins. No, it doesn’t run in our families. And no, we hadn’t planned on the third one so soon after the twins, but a French bottle of wine can change the course of things - ☺

Every year, we head to my mom’s house in early December and spend the day baking with the kids. We don’t bake nearly as many dozens of cookies as we did in the old days, but we still yield a lot of cookies. And just like in my younger years, the day is filled with laughter and tales and powdered sugar covered faces. 

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

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Here’s our Thumb Print Cookie recipe (it’s divine):
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. butter or oleo
1 c. flour
1 egg
Chopped nuts (walnuts works best, but pecans are good too)
Jelly (Any flavor)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar & butter. Add slightly beaten egg yolk. Add flour. Roll into small balls. Dip into beaten egg white. Roll in chopped nuts. Place on cookie sheet. Punch centers (with handle of wooden spoon or thumb – hence the name of the cookie ☺). Bake for 4 minutes. Take out and repunch centers. Bake 15 more minutes. Remove and fill centers with jelly while still hot. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

David Bryant and his wonderful story, Tread Carefully on the Sea



Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.
Tread Carefully on the Sea is the first novel by retired journalist David K. Bryant. Packed with historical atmosphere, it will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The action comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.
Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.
I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics,” says David K. Bryant. “It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”
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Captain Flint is a lonely man. His education, intelligence and wit leave him isolated amongst the pirate crew who sail with him. He feels more affinity with the hostages who are brought aboard his ship but he becomes trapped by the need to escape the consequences of the kidnap and the challenge to his leadership from one of his officers. Flint kills and schemes his way out of several dangers but there are two threats from which he cannot escape. The first is the failing health that he refuses to accept. The second is the scale of his own success as a criminal. He will never be left in peace to enjoy the proceeds of his piracy. In this story we learn what finally happens to him.
Captain Michael Townsend is the model of a disciplined and dutiful Navy officer. He is also a man haunted by something in his past; something that could ruin his future. The decisions forced upon Townsend by the kidnapping help him to resolve his inner conflicts but jeopardize the survival of those he wishes to protect. Townsend’s instincts are to put duty first but will duty deny him happiness?
Jessica Trelawny is the spirited niece of the Governor of Jamaica. She hates the conformity of 18th century society. Soon after she is snatched away from her home she puts her rebellious nature to work against the pirates. Captain Flint learns to admire her — and to regret that she ever came aboard his ship.
Jessica’s maid Libby becomes a prisoner simply because she is with her mistress at the time of the kidnap. She plays a major role in the fight-back against the pirates. Does she bring into use special talents inherited from her African origin — or is she simply a very clever woman?
Patrick O’Hara began life in the squalor of the Irish famine and by a fluke became an officer in the Royal Navy. He is thrust into a vicious bare-knuckle fight aboard the pirate ship. Whether or not O’Hara wins, the legacy of the fight is a power struggle threatening the survival of Captain Flint himself.
The Walrus is the huge black galleon stolen by Flint from a Spanish captain. It has a pivotal role in the narrative and a heart-rending demise when Captain Flint’s voyage of crime comes to an end.
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As the shirt was removed, her eyes came level with a huge tattoo of an eagle on his chest. Ridiculously, that gave her renewed terror, as though the tattoo was worse than the man. There was certainly menace from the eagle. It stared at her, its talons outstretched and its wings spread wide. It looked prepared to pounce right out of his chest and claw at her face.
The cry that would have brought forth a dozen soldiers was about to leave the governor’s tongue – but remained unleashed as the pirate warned: “I wouldn’t do that, Governor, for the sake of your niece’s health.”

Did you get the name of the ship?” demanded the governor.
It was the Walrus, Sir,” the messenger replied.
Captain Flint,” said Trelawny, and for the moment that was all he did say.

One of the stories that had evoked within the Royal Navy a sneaking admiration for the pirate chieftain was that he had captured a big Spanish galleon and made it his own. Now Townsend could see in front of him the confirmation of that audacity. The big ship sat on the ocean like she owned it.

Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates…You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.

Reeling and with blood dripping down his face, O’Hara got up on one knee, then the other. By the time he was on his feet, Hugh was charging forward like a stag in the rutting season. Another head butt was imminent.

Flint bent his knees and placed his hands on them so that his face came level with Townsend’s. “That’s it, then” barked the pirate captain. “You don’t agree to my proposal. I don’t agree to yours. Our fates are intertwined.”

She didn’t close her eyes and her brain pitifully tried to distract her from reality by registering that the gunman was left-handed. His finger was going back with the trigger. Spontaneously, she said a few words of her native Ashanti. The phrase had been taught to her by Queen Nanny: “Do not fear death any more than you fear life.” If Libby was going to die, she wanted those to be the last words she said.
Tread Carefully on the Sea by David K. Bryant

Solstice Publishing

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I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.
I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.

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Tread Carefully on the Sea – the background

I was seven years old or thereabouts and I walked round the garden reading Treasure Island. When I got to the bit about the musket and cutlass battle I was so engrossed I walked into a tree. I was proud of my bleeding nose – I imagined I got it in a fight with a pirate.
What intrigued me most about that classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson were all the references to Captain Flint, a pirate king who was brutal, intimidating and quite likely an alcoholic – yet obviously very clever.
Without Flint there would have been no Treasure Island for he was the man who had buried the Treasure on the Island. Yet in that book we hear about Flint only in reminiscences from some of the protagonists because Flint is dead by the time the story begins.
Stevenson’s narrative tells us Flint took six men ashore with him to stash the loot. But, having apparently murdered the others, only Flint came back to the ship, giving him the security of being the only man who knew where the cache was.
There had to be a story around that. For me, Flint deserved a biography of his own. What’s more, it should answer all those other questions posed by Treasure Island. If, as Stevenson tells us, Long John Silver had lost his leg in the same broadside as Old Pew lost his ‘deadlights’, what were the circumstances of that broadside? And how come that Billy Bones, the first mate, came into possession of Flint’s map where X marked the spot of the buried loot?
It’s taken me a long time but now I have supplied my own answers. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you identify with the experiences of the other characters I’ve created when you read Tread Carefully on the Sea.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Revenge, The Cowboy Way excerpt, a giveaway, and a recipe!

Hello everybody!  Well the Christmas Bonanza with a recipe continues and I’m up today.  The excerpt below is from Revenge, The Cowboy Way.  This is my only story that has a Christmas scene in it that, S O R T  O F, ties in with my recipe I’m offering up!  In the scene, champagne is poured and everybody toasts.  My recipe is for homemade Baileys!  I do like baileys and coffee during the holidays!  I hope you enjoy the excerpt and the recipe.  If you leave a comment you might win a choice of a digital copy of Revenge, the Cowboy Way OR Jesse’s Find!   HO HO HO and a Merry Christmas to everybody!

Revenge, The Cowboy Way
            A fire was roaring in the fireplace.  After everyone settled down, the gifts were distributed.  Joanna had given Rosa and her family their gifts on Christmas Eve.  Rosa surprised her by wearing the skirt Joanna had made for her.  She hugged her and said it was too much, but would cherish it because Joanna had made it herself.  Even Joco came in and gave her a bear hug. "It is a very fine hat band.  Muchas gracias."
            Everyone talked at once while presents were opened.  Joanna received a brush and comb with pearl handles from Nancy.  She had never owned something so exquisite.  Pappy gave her a fur lined coat made out of suede. From Rosa, came carved wooden combs for her hair.  The last present was from Brian.  It was in a small box wrapped in shiny red paper.  She swallowed and opened her gift.  Inside was a delicate bracelet made of silver with turquoise threaded throughout.  It was beautiful!  When she finally looked up from her tiny treasure, she looked right into the crystal green eyes of Brian.  She wasn't sure how long the stared into each others eyes, before Pappy broke the trance.  "Folks, I'm getting the eye from Rosa that dinner is on the table.  Everybody hungry?"
            They all laughed and started for the dining room.  "Hold on there, little girl," Pappy said in a gruff voice.  "Didn't I tell you not to spend your money on the likes of me?"
            She put her arm through his, smiling sweetly.  "Now Pappy, how many times have you said I won, because that old board of yours was cursed?  I just wanted to make sure we started the new year out even."
            "You sure enough get sassier every day."  He squeezed her shoulders.  "It's one of the best damned things I ever got."
            She turned watery blue eyes to him.  "That goes for my gift, too.  I have never owned anything like this.  It is absolutely perfect."  The old man cleared his throat.  "Okay, enough of this.  If we don't get in there Rosa will have our hides."
            The food was delicious, the conversation was pleasant, and even Brian was on his best behavior.
            As the day wore on Pappy opened a bottle of champagne. Everybody was given a small glass.  Pappy raised his high in the air.  “There just ain’t nothing better than good friends, family, and good food.”  Glasses were held high then the champagne was drank, honoring the toast.  Nancy and Jim said their goodbyes and Brian was lingering by the door talking to Pappy.  "Joanna, would you walk with me to my horse?"
            Pappy kissed her cheek.  "Good night, little girl.  I'll see you in the morning."
            They walked outside and Joanna glanced worriedly in his direction.  "You don't need to look at me like that.  I just wanted to thank you for this buckle.  It’s perfect."
            "I'm glad you like it.  And this bracelet is beautiful, but way too much."
            Brian smiled.  "No need to worry your pretty little head over the cost.  It was my mothers and I always liked it.  I wanted you to have it."
            "Oh Brian," she gasped.  "I can't accept this.  It should go to Nancy or to your…your…your wife."  There, it was said.  Her head was bent, looking at the ground.
            "My wife, huh,” he replied.  “Well, if I ever get married you can give it back." 
            Her eyes flew up to his smiling face and she realized he was teasing her.  "I'll treasure it, Brian.  Thank you."

1 ¾ cup of whiskey
1 (14 oz) Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
4 eggs
2 Tbsps of chocolate syrup
1 Tbsp of instant coffee
1 tsp of vanilla extract
¼ tsp of almond extract

Blend in blender…….enjoy!