Monday, June 30, 2014

Hawke's Nest: A New Contemporary Romance by Darcy Flynn




Darcy Flynn is in the Spotlight today with her new release

Hawke's Nest


Blurb:

Running away is nothing new for Annie Dell, aka high-fashion model Anna Delany. With the paparazzi hot on her trail, an out of town wedding couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. What better place to hide out than the quaint Florida beach town Liddy’s told her so much about. But a delayed flight, the mix up with the car rental, then a speeding ticket from the local Sheriff of Nottingham, her getaway is looking anything but relaxing.

Franklin County Sheriff, Levi Hawke, is tired of the spoiled, out-of-control students on fall break, who think they can speed through his county without consequence. After giving a ticket to a beautiful young woman he assumes is just another daddy’s girl looking for some fun in the sun, he discovers she’s his weekend date at his best friend’s wedding.

Through gritted teeth, masked by a half-hearted truce, they survive the weekend, only to find themselves stranded alone in the middle of a hurricane. You can discover a lot about a person while spending thirty-six hours without the comforts of electricity and modern conveniences. When circumstances further extend her stay in town, Levi pries deeper to find out what Annie’s running from. He knows when someone is haunted by their past. As the saying goes ... it takes one to know one.


Excerpt from HAWK'S NEST
Levi sipped his wine and watched her. He hadn’t missed the slight flush to her cheeks when he raised his glass to hers. If anything it made her more beautiful. Gave her an innocence he was certain she didn’t possess. At that moment the small orchestra began to play and several more couples moved to the dance floor.
“Would you like to dance?” he asked.
She lifted her eyes to his and blinked. Pleased to see he had surprised her, he stood and held out his hand.
I’m not the small town bumpkin you thought I was.
She hesitated but only for a moment, then stood and placed her hand in his. He led her to the dance floor and deftly took her into his arms. She sucked in her breath. The small but audible sound pleased him. He watched the rise and fall of her chest as she strove to gain her footing. “Sorry, is my grip too tight?”
“No. No, it’s fine.”
She was lying. He was trained to know when someone wasn’t telling him the truth.
“You dance beautifully,” she said.
“You sound surprised.”
“I am. In New York, I went dancing often. You’d be surprised how few men can dance. Really well, I mean. Most of them have two left feet and by the end of the evening my toes would end up black and blue.”
Open and frank, her eyes held just a hint of laughter. His stomach lurched. That surprised him. That candid gaze of hers. He didn’t much like it. He liked it better when she played it coy. That he could deal with, because that’s who she really was. But this sweet innocent act was just that, an act. He deliberately twirled her hard and fast around another couple. She gasped and missed her footing. Daggers shot from her green eyes.
There she is. She couldn’t stand him. Well, that was fine with him. The feeling was mutual.
 His mouth lifted at the corners and a small knowing smile spread across his handsome face.

Hawke’s Nest buy link: 
Also by Darcy Flynn
Bio:

Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing storylines, irritatingly handsome heroes and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last. Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.

Darcy lives with her husband, son, two English Setters and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights and indulges daily in afternoon tea. 


How to connect with Darcy Flynn 


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Disney's Maleficent - a Metaphor for Rape


The witches and pagans I know enthusiastically endorse Maleficent, Disney's retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the "Bad" Fairy's perspective. So I took a break from writing the fourth book in the Teen Wytche Saga and headed for my local Regal Cinema to check it out.




Spoiler Alert
Since it had taken me awhile to see Maleficent, I entered the theater already knowing the plot's trajectory. What I didn't anticipate was Angelina Jolie's stunning portrayal of a victim's shock, agony, sense of betrayal, and anger in the aftermath of brutal, life-altering assault.

To fully understand the brilliance both in Linda Wolverton's screenplay and Jolie's acting, one must first trace Sleeping Beauty's literary roots. In the Brothers Grimm version of the fairytale - Little Briar Rose - a beautiful princess is placed under a sleeping enchantment by a fairy who was miffed because she was not invited to the christening.

The Grimm's tale was based on a 17th century French story, La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood) by Charles Perrault. Follow the roots of the story further, and you discover an earlier 17th century tale, Sun, Moon, and Talia, by Giambattista Basile. In Basile's version, a king finds the enchanted girl (Talia) and rapes her. She later gives birth to twins, and the enchantment is broken when one of the babies sucks the splinter from Talia's finger.

Katy Rich, writing in Vanity Fair's Hollywood http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/angelina-jolie-maleficent-rape reports that Angelina Jolie, a vocal activist against the use of sexual violence in war, confirmed that the scene in which Maleficent was drugged then violated by a man she had trusted, "deliberately echoes the too-familiar beats of the date-rape narrative." During an interview with BBC Woman’s Hour, Jolie stated, “We were very conscious, the writer [Linda Woolverton] and I, that it was a metaphor for rape.”

Rape of the Divine Feminine
Most likely, the witches and pagans (a person can be a pagan but not a witch) who so solidly endorse Maleficent do so in part because the film touches on humankind's hegemony over magical folk, and particularly the disempowerment of  women with magic. (Flashback to the Burning Times.) Witches and Pagans are closely tied to Mother Earth. There is little doubt in Maleficent that if the king successfully invaded the moorlands, the attack would be not just on Maleficent and the magical realm. The Great Mother would be plundered.
Copyright 2014 by Ariella Moon

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bestselling Author Heather Gray's new Regency Romance, Jackal

Heather Gray, 
Best-selling author and super-nice person,
returns with the newest book in her
Regency Refuge series.

JACKAL
(Regency Refuge #2)


Back Cover Blurb:
Hiding in the shadows just got harder.


When tragedy strikes, Juliana and her family must flee their home. Can they persuade a virtual stranger to help them? Juliana isn't so sure, especially after their chaperone threatens to cane him. Even as Juliana struggles to trust him, she finds herself drawn to this mysterious man. Surely all she wants from him is refuge…

Rupert is a man whose life depends on his ability to remain unnoticed. What, then, is he supposed to do with this family he's inherited?  His life is overrun with an ancient chaperone who would terrify a lesser man, two spirited girls, and the secretive Juliana – someone he comes to think of as his own precious jewel.

With this new responsibility thrust upon him, Rupert will have to make sacrifices – but will God ask him to sacrifice everything?


Excerpt:
1810
A duke had been cut down in the prime of his life. According to the War Department, The Hunter was to blame.
Jackal had been put onto The Hunter's scent and told to ferret him out at all cost. It was his job, his duty to the crown, and he treated it with the seriousness it demanded. Evil could not be allowed to go unpunished, and people who took pleasure in destroying the lives of others would not walk away with impunity, not on his watch.
Jackal met with his contacts in the Austrian government and found no gratification in revealing they had a traitor in their midst. It had been a necessary move, and now the problem would be dealt with. The Austrians would put The Hunter down, and England's hands would remain clean of the mess, exactly as the minister wanted.
Grim foreboding furrowed his brow as he left the meeting with the Austrians. His lack of evidence mocked him. He'd done as ordered, and they'd believed him, but had it been his choice, he'd have gathered more proof first.
Jackal climbed into his carriage and slapped his hand against the roof, signaling the driver with his readiness to depart. A lengthy ride awaited him. He would leave the carriage and his current identity behind in Munich once he arrived there. New papers and fresh horses were waiting for him. The same would happen again when he crossed over into Stuttgart, and then again in Brussels. His task was clear: remain alive long enough to claim each of the new identities and return safely to his homeland.
Sitting back on the roughly cushioned seat, he accepted what he'd begun to suspect. This would be his last assignment for the crown. He was getting too old for the job. The time to retire was upon him. The younger bucks were willing – if not entirely ready – to take their place among the ranks of the unseen, unknown, and unnamed heroes of war. Jackal shook his head. Not too long ago, he'd been one of those young bucks. Ready for retirement at age thirty-two? The thought would be laughable in any other career. In his line of work, though, only those who retired young lived to be old and grey.
Lost in melancholy, Jackal barely noted the change from the raucous noise of a bustling merchant district to the quiet pastoral sounds that would accompany him on most of this journey. Europe was a large land with rich cities interspersed with vast emptiness dotted with small hamlets. Traveling by carriage would take weeks, but as long as he could report back that he'd done as ordered, it would be worth the time.
He settled into his seat. They were still days from their first sanctioned stop. As always, the best defense was to keep moving.

****

A change in the carriage's soothing methodical movement woke Jackal from his doze and alerted him that something was amiss. Awareness coursed through his veins, pushing away the remnant of sleep. A quick glance at the curtained window told him it was late morning. They'd ridden through the night to put as much distance as possible between them and Vienna – the current hub of Austrian government.
The carriage was moving with a wildness he'd felt only one other time in his life. Dread snaked through his middle as he accepted the truth. There was no longer a driver in control of his conveyance. Jackal crouched low on the floor for balance as he prepared to throw open the door and jump. Perhaps he should have sought retirement one assignment sooner.
Before his hand could touch the door, a jarring force threw Jackal against the seat to his left, shooting pain up his arm. They'd been boarded, then, and his driver – an agent he'd worked with for years – had likely not been alive to sound the alarm. Emotion would come later. For now, Jackal needed to focus on one thing: Survival.
The carriage gained speed under the skillful hand of whoever now sat in the driver's seat. I should have jumped when I had the chance. Jackal shook his head as he calculated the odds of survival.
Palming his gun, he pounded on the roof of the carriage, commanding the driver to stop. Surprise flared to life as his conveyance did indeed come to a standstill. Rather than slow to a gentle stop, the carriage halted its forward momentum in a skidding bone-shaking fashion. It was the kind of stop that guaranteed no beast would be able to walk away from it afterward.
Jackal jumped before the dust could settle. His best chance would be to go on the offence and catch the driver off-guard. Though he'd assumed the driver had a partner, nothing could have prepared him for the vicious attack awaiting him on the other side of the door.
Jackal no sooner touched the ground than he was trampled under the anxious feet of a high-stepping horse. He'd not even had a chance to gain his footing. As he lay on the ground, Jackal both heard and felt the breaking of bone in his left leg. A couple of his ribs surrendered to the heavy hooves as well. Rolling onto his side, he took aim at the perpetrator. The sun blinded him, and he could distinguish no features on the man whose gun dared him to move. In the split second it took for him to reassure himself he was not aiming at an innocent bystander – for they were indeed in one of the numerous modest hamlets that dotted the continent's countryside – the rider pulled the trigger, and pain seared through Jackal's already throbbing leg. It felt as if the lead had burrowed its way into his very bone.
He pulled the trigger of his flintlock pistol, and the man on the horse recoiled. Even as Jackal reached for the gun concealed at the ankle of his wounded leg, he knew it was futile. The rider had a second gun in-hand before his own fingers even brushed against the grip of his hidden weapon. Pain tore through his shoulder, immobilizing his shooting arm. Another ball of lead ripped into his middle. He felt his blood seeping out onto the street.
Accepting his fate, he asked only one thing. "At whose hand am I to die this day?"
Laughter vile enough to sour port met his question. "Today the Jackal shall meet his end at the hands of The Hunter."
The Hunter? The Austrians were supposed to have him by now.
"Your plan failed, and I am free. Prepare to die."
Blackness closing in around him, Jackal released the last thought held captive in his mind.
Why God?
Cold claimed his body as he slipped into darkness. He neither heard nor felt the next shot.

Author Bio:
Heather Gray is the author of the Ladies of Larkspur inspirational western romance series, including Mail Order man, Just Dessert, and Redemption.  She also writes the Regency Refuge series with titles His Saving Grace, Jackal, and the soon-to-be-released Queen.  But that's not all!  Interested in contemporary Christian romance?  Take a look at Ten Million Reasons and Nowhere for Christmas.

Heather loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter – not necessarily in that order!  She writes approachable and flawed characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.  And, yeah, her books almost always have someone who's a coffee addict.  Some things just can't be helped.


Buy Links:

Where to Find Me:



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Interview with Young Adult Fantasy Author, L.E. Fred


1Young Adult fantasy adventure author L. E. Fred answers probing questions about her debut novel, LUCID.

a.    Q: What inspired the creation of Lucid?
A: I started writing Lucid after experiencing my first lucid dream. It’s a very out-of-body and surreal experience. We’re used to dreaming every night, but being able to control your actions and fate in the dream world is almost a magical thing. After figuring out how to wake up (yes, you have to oftentimes find your way out of the dreams,) I started pondering the idea of a dream world actually existing, and before I knew it, I had Devon and the plot for Lucid.

b.    Q: You write from the P.O.V. of a 15 year-old boy. Is there anyone who shaped Devon’s character as the protagonist.
A: A wonderful counselor-in-training that I worked with actually inspired Devon’s character. Real-life Devon, who shall be nameless, was one of those campers that turned into a CIT when he outgrew the camp’s age groups. I never went to summer camp as a child, so working at one was a very interesting experience. I got to witness real-life Devon change from being a happy-go-lucky camper to a miserable CIT. As for Devon’s personality, that was shaped by my own sense of humor. I wrote Lucid through Devon’s eyes, and my own commentary sort of slipped through. It fit his sarcastic nature, though, and rereading some parts still makes me laugh.

c.    Q: What about the villains? How did they come to be?
A: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by mythological monsters. There seems to be a common thread of villainous snakes and lions. A chimera combines these two deadly creatures, along with a goat, into one evil creature. I liked the idea of having three diverse villains; the more you get to know a villain, the scarier they can become for the reader and the heroes. As I wrote, Serpentine, Gruff, and Leona, seemed to appear out of nowhere to fit the evil villain’s roles. The Nightmares were a little trickier. I thought long and hard about how they should be portrayed, and I eventually started combining features of animals and creatures that people feared the most into one character. That’s why they have shark teeth and devil horns.

d.    Q: Lucid is your first novel. Are you currently working on anything else?
A: Since Devon and his friends’ story didn’t want to finish at the end of Lucid, I’m currently working on the sequel. The story will continue our heroes’ adventure, but you’ll get to hear from other characters in it. It will also have much more of a fantasy element with an even crazier cast of characters. Aside from Lucid, I’m working on two more stories, both in the YA fiction genre.

e.    Q: What inspired you to write YA fiction?
A: I’m a teacher, so I love working with young adults and teens. I’ve seen the power of books transform kids’ ways of thinking about the world and boost confidence. Never underestimate the power of reading. I know it played an important role in shaping my future, and I hope to reach out to as many young adults to inspire them to find their inner heroes and go change the world for the better.
    

Excerpt:
I know that most adventure/fantasy/whatever-you-would-like-to–call-these-stories start with something magical, but my story starts with something ordinary, dreams. I’m talking about the “I’m taking a test and don’t realize I’m in my underwear” kind of dreams. We have them every night, whether we remember them or not. Sometimes they leave us waking up with excitement or inspiration. Sometimes they cause us to wake with a shriek and to look around our rooms. Sometimes they leave us waking up confused or ashamed. These experiences are probably commonplace for most people, but I doubt any of you could ever say your dreams caused you to stay asleep for a long period of time.
            What if your dreams made you disappear?



2.     Bio:
L. E. Fred is a perpetual dreamer who writes about worlds both within and without this realm. With a degree in psychology, L. E. Fred tends to get lost in the mind, the greatest adventure of all. L. E. Fred is currently traveling the world, finding more adventures to inspire new tales of dreams and beyond.
3.    Social media links:
c.    Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/marsjaws

   


  

Buy Links Amazon

5.    Favorite 5s:

a.    5 favorite YA books/series
1.    Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
2.    Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
3.    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
4.    Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
5.    A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

b.    5 fun facts about the Lucid crew.
1.    Devon’s favorite thing about the Dream World is the pink grass.
2.    Kyle is deathly afraid of insects. Devon hinted that his older brother screams like a small child when they find roaches in their houses.
3.    Mitch, despite his love for water sports, is afraid of open water. He saw JAWS one too many times to trust the murky deep.
4.    Viv fights with Elis frequently, but she is secretly jealous of his sword skills.

5.    Iven researched the history of human music (with the help of Sophia.) His favorite tunes come from 15th century Gregorian chants and 1980s pop.