Search This Blog


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Highland Quest, Second Sight, and BJ Scott

About BJ:

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.

BJ will award gifts of swag (including a canvas tote bag, a mouse pad, a pen, book thong, bookmark, can cooler, magnet, and key chain -- US/Canada only) to randomly drawn commenters from this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, and a grand prize of one $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour and her Super Book Blast.

Second Sight

When the Celtic people emigrated from Ireland to Scotland, along with their Celtic religion, they brought with them a strong belief in, fairies, superstitions, myths and legends. This resulted in a culture that was governed by rituals intended to bring good luck, blessing, to promote prosperity, to help them to select a mate, to influence crop yields, increase fertility, and to protect them from evil and tragedy. Simple day-to-day activities, things like how to plant a field, to lead a cow, the order in which ingredients were added to a pot, and direction it was stirred, the proper way to celebrate feasts and sacred days were all carried out according to legendary practices. Breaking with tradition or going against the myth meant you were inviting trouble. Many a tale was told of those who had done just that and the grave consequences.

Perhaps one of the most prevalent beliefs of the Celtic people living in the Highlands was in the “gift of second sight.” The Gaelic name for this form of precognition was dà shealladh, which translated means two sights,  the ability of a person to not only see the world as all normal humans do, but they also had the skill to see the spirit world. Called a gift by some, it was often seen by those said to possess these abilities as a curse.

The taibhs (spirits) beheld by the taibhsear (person with second sight) in what was referred to as astaibhsearchd (the act of precognition) usually foretold of unhappy events and often of impending death. Sometimes the premonitions were clearly observed in a vision depicting the event exactly as it would unfold—a noose around someone’s throat, someone submerged in water and struggling to catch a breath, or a headless man—but more often the events were seen symbolically.

The shroud, the corpse-candle or spectral illuminations, each held a specific significance.  The shroud of death and where it was wrapped around a person’s body indicated how long they had to live. Draped around the middle or below, meant death might not occur for months or even a year, but the higher it was positioned, the sooner the death would occur.  Wrapped around a specific part of the body could signify the way they would die. A full funeral procession, the way being lit by corpse-candles and other illuminations was also viewed as a sign of impending demise. If a spark of fire was seen falling upon someone’s arm or breast, this indicated the dead of a child, especially if seen in the arms of that person.  Seeing an empty seat when someone was sitting in it was a sign that sudden death was near. 

The knowledge of when and where a person would die, to see the demise of friends and family, or simply being aware of people’s nature in general was a heavy burden to carry and often feared.  Even though the visions came on them without warning and was not by choice, the person with second sight often found themselves living in solitude. Be it by preference or forced upon them.

While thought to be hereditary, second sight was known to skip a generation or two and then reappear. When it might strike or who would be afflicted was never known for certain. Not all visions were of tragedy. On occasion, happier events were seen. If a woman was seen standing at a man’s left hand there was a good chance she would be his wife, even if he was already married at the time of the vision. If more than one woman was seen, the one closest to the man’s left hand would be his next wife.  

In Highland Quest, the heroine, Fallon, has the gift of second sight and while it does not play a major roll in the book, this is touched upon throughout the story. She does not consider herself lucky, has been shunned by villagers and most of the people she has met from the time she was a child, so learned at a young age to live alone and rely on herself. She has lost everyone she has ever held dear and while she finds herself drawn to Bryce, she sees his death in a vision and believes her love is a curse.

No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers and on a quest to find his destiny, Bryce Fraser's chosen path is fraught with danger, passion, and decisions. Can his unspoken love for spirited, beguiling Fallon be triumphant in a time of war and uncertainty, or will they both fall prey to the devious plans of a traitorous laird from a rival clan?

Loch Ryan Scotland, 1307

“Wa . . . water,” Bryce mumbled, but there was no one there to listen.

 His throat was parched and he ran his tongue over dry, cracked lips, but his action offered no relief. An entire loch lay only a few feet away, but he couldn’t muster the strength to drag himself to the bank and quench his thirst.

“Cold . . . so cold.”

 Despite the sun beating down on him, he’d swear he was encased in ice. His life’s blood seeped from his wounds, soaking the ground beneath him. He tried to raise his head, but the excruciating pain radiating across his chest stole his breath away.

Was this what it felt like to die? If so, he prayed the Almighty would be merciful and take him now.

Bryce moaned, a shift in his position bringing on another nauseating wave of agony. He sucked in a short, sharp, gulp of air and stretched his arm out as far as he could, his fingers grappling in the dirt.

If only I could reach my sword.

Beads of perspiration dampened his brow. As the strength slowly drained from his body, drawing a simple breath became more difficult. The end grew near. No time to make amends for sins of the past, and he had committed his share.

Regrets? He had those, too. “Fallon.” He whispered her name then heaved a ragged sigh. 

Where to buy:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blast: Gail MacMillan, her wild heroine, and one amazingly sexy hero

Gail MacMillan is a three-time Maxwell Award Winning writer and author of 26 published books. A graduate of Queen's University, she lives in New Brunswick Canada with her husband and two dogs, Fancy a Little River Duck Dog and Bruiser the cover guy and hero of Holding Off For a Hero.
Find out more at her website!

Gail will award two $5 Amazon GCs and three digital copies of "Lady and the Beast" to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

Beautiful, vivacious Emma Prescott has a love-'em-and-leave-'em reputation.  Fact is, Emma's holding off for a hero.  When she moves to a cabin at wilderness Loon Lake and meets her one neighbor biology professor Frasier MacKenzie, he's still just another guy, even with his killer blue eyes and body that just won't quit...until he rescues her and her Pug from one danger after another.  Then he definitely falls into hero territory.  But the professor has no intention of filling the role of white knight in Emma's life.  All he wants is to be rid of her and her annoying little dog so he can get on with his research. In fact, he's ordered to get rid of them whether he wants to or not.  Looks like Emma may have to go on holding off for a hero...

She floored the gas, and they took off with a squealing of tires.

“Hey, hey!” he yelled. “Slow down! The speed limit is 100 km. You’re heading to 130!”

“Look, I told you, I’m in a hurry!” she exploded.
“I’ve got a ton of things to do back at the cabin. You see,” she continued, quieting and sounding sly, “I’m having a party tonight. I have to get ready.”

“A party? You’re having a party? At the lake?”

Ah, man, that just about tears it.

“Actually, a bachelorette bash. One of my teacher friends is getting married next week, and a bunch of us decided we’d give her a real whing-ding of a sendoff…up at my cabin where there’ll be no witnesses. Teachers and the likes of myself have reputations to think of, you realize.”
She cast him a wicked glance.

“So there’ll be music and a lot of noise and…”
The Professor’s blood pressure would skyrocket when he gave him this information.

“Oh, y-e-a-h.” She dragged out the last word.
“Couldn’t you have it somewhere else? Like a male strip joint in town?”

“Didn’t you hear what I just said about teachers and others of that ilk? We can’t be seen parading into one of those places. Our superintendent would suspend every last one of us. Anyway…” She looked over at him. “I don’t see why it should be such a big deal for you. You don’t have to keep banker’s hours. If the noise bothers you, stay up, watch a video, and sleep in on Sunday morning.”

“Okay, okay, but will you please keep your eyes on the road? And slow down! There’s a speed trap somewhere along…”

Behind them a siren wailed.

“Quick!” she ordered, pulling over as the police cruiser rolled alongside. “Hunch over and clutch your chest!”
Where to buy: The Wild Rose Press Amazon Print

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blast: Steampunk, mad scientists, and jewelry

About Lara:
Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites throughout the South. She loves to write in a variety of genres, but the basis of all of her stories is a great tale that will take you on an adventure of imagination.

If you want to escape and lose yourself in a novel, you've come to the right place. Choose your genre and settle in to be entertained. From thrilling mysteries and steampunk tales, to paranormal romance and adventure, she's willing to explore a variety of compelling stories full of danger and suspense, along with a touch of romance.

Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn… However, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies, thrills and adventures in her stories. Lara loves to weave interesting true historical tidbits into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys living on her sailboat and spends time reading, of course writing, indulging a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe and their Yorkie, Rio.


Lara will be awarding an autographed original map of Arabella's steampunk world to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop, and a $50 Amazon gift card and an original steampunk necklace to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

When Lady Arabella Trunkett’s father, the High Lord Minister of Urbannia is kidnapped, all clues point to the mysterious country of Gandiss and the world is thrown into political upheaval.

Arabella is convinced the more sinister nation of Carabarras is to blame, urged on by a mad scientist seeking revenge. So, she sets out on a perilous airship journey across a variety of exotic locales to save him, and halt the potential world war.

But airship pirates, secret assassins and slave traders aren’t her only trials. The fickle hand of fate has made the captain of the only airship available for charter, the man who left her at the altar. For eight years she's wished him dead. Now he's her only hope.

Excerpt: “Oh!” She jumped up, put a hand in her purse and withdrew the handkerchief. “I forgot to tell you about this. I found it on the floor in the room from which Father was taken. I’m positive he left it as a clue but I’m not sure what it means.”

Benji took the piece of cloth with the stick pin and his youthful face screwed up in concentration as he examined it, then he bolted to his feet “D, d, dash it all, Belle. Do you know what this is?”

She shook her head and her heart raced at his tone.

“It’s a ceremonial j, j, jewel given to the Sarcs of Carabarras.”

Her eyes widened. She’d heard of the secret group of assassins but didn’t know any more than the general public. She hoped her adopted boy genius had more details. “You’d better explain.”

“The Sarcs are t, t, taken as children and trained within the secret organization. When they finish their t, t, training, they’re given a task to fulfill. Usually that means k, k, killing someone. If they're successful, they’re given the t, t, title of Sarc and one of these.” He held up the gold and ruby pin. “They wear it on the inside of their c, c, cloaks and never take it off until they die.”

“Or until it falls out of their cloak while they’re kidnapping someone…or…that someone steals it as a clue.” Belle hadn’t really examined it, so she reached out and took it from him. She turned the pin around seeing it in a new light. The golden head resembled some type of flower and the large ruby was planted in the middle of the blossom. She looked up at Benji.

Where to buy:

Monday, January 28, 2013

200 Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice

If you like Jane Austen, the Regency Era, or have read even the headline of a news article recently, this isn't a surprise to you. Today is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, arguably Ms. Austen's most famous story.

On January 29 1813, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra to tell her the good news that Pride and Prejudice, which was to become her most famous novel, had been published.

Like Menage Romance?

First, I would like to thank Kristabel for inviting me on her blog.

I am very proud to announce the first Ménage Romances Fan’s Choice Awards ! Do you like them? Did you read a ménage story published in 2012 that was outstanding? Time to show your appreciation and nominate your favorite ménage romances.

Nominations are in your hands up to January 31. Then, it will be time to vote for the winner in the 22 different categories from February 2-28. And finally winners will be announced on March 1st. But that’s not all!

This event is sponsored by many authors and publishers that generously offered ebooks, paperbacks, gift certificates and all kind of goodies. You nominate, then you vote and if your nominee wins… you win to! This event is all about ménage romance.

For more information.

Mary’s Naughty Whispers

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Recipe: Taco Soup

Every Friday I post a recipe that I've either tried and enjoyed or haven't tried and plan on it over the weekend. Today is Taco Soup. Not very romantic (tacos+romance=ERROR).

What's your favorite romantic food? There are the cliches, of course, chocolate and oysters, and such, but what do you like to make to add a little spice to a romantic evening?

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Hours
Ready In: 8 Hours 10 Minutes
Servings: 8

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
1. In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.
2. Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

@ReadingRomances ##HEGIVEAWAY 6 YOUR happy ending!

Now that the Happy Endings Blog Hop is winding down, I want to know about your happy ending! It doesn't have to be romantic, it can be anything that ends happily. Reader's choice!

Happy endings romance giveaway hop


Tell your happy ending story!

The Happy Endings Giveaway Hop was organized by Reading Romances!
What you can win here: $10 electronic gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble and a copy of Seduction of my Proper Wife: A Victorian Menage at the Parisian Exposition
Number of winners: 2
Open to (INT, US or US/CAN): If you can receive an e-gift card then you can enter!
How to enter: Leave a comment on how you've ever been tricked into thinking a book was a romance with a Happy Ending. If you decide to follow this blog or me on Twitter, you get extra entries in the gift card pot.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blast:Eliza Daly, a little magic and a lot of lovin'

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley and Frankie.

Eliza will be awarding a $25 gift card and 3 $10 gift cards for either Amazon or BN to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals. But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?

Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance. Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office. The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business. When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold. Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge. If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?

Monica turned and her gaze landed on a sign in the window.
Marriage isn’t a word, it’s a sentence. I’ll set you free.

She glanced up at the sign over the door. Reed Walker: Family Law.

Focusing on Chico’s lunch specials when she’d driven up, she’d failed to notice the new signs. “A divorce lawyer?” she muttered in disbelief. Her gaze darted over to the guy. “You’re a divorce lawyer? I thought you were a client.” Being attracted to a divorce lawyer was much worse than a client. Suddenly his eyes didn’t seem as blue and his arms looked wimpy. No way was he Italian. Or her soul mate. And what kind of straight guy wore lavender!

“A client?” He laughed as if that was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. “Ah no, I just started moving in and stopped by to introduce myself.”

“You have to take down that sign.” Monica pointed at his window.

“It’s my company motto. Helps attract business.”

“Maybe for you.”

He arched an amused brow. “That’s the idea.”

“You can’t promote divorce.” She clutched his suit jacket, crumpling it in her hand.

“I’m not promoting it. It’s a fact of life. I don’t have any control over the average marriage lasting seven years, or that one in every two ends in divorce.”
Monica’s gaze skittered around frantically as she searched for a response that didn’t involve whipping the socket wrench through his window and mauling the sign to shreds. She spied a black Mercedes parked up the street. The license plate read No Mer-ce.

“Is that your car?” she demanded, pointing at the Mercedes.

“What are you so worried about? Doesn’t bother me being next door to a business that promotes romance and marriage.”

Where to buy:
Barnes and Noble