Historical Romance Novel The Bearwalker’s Daughter .99 in Kindle


‘A change was coming as surely as the shifting seasons. Karin McNeal heard the urgent whispers in the wind.’

**The Bearwalker’s Daughter has one of the most wonderful reviews I came across at Amazon. 

on July 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a story of love, and of the strength of familial bonds. It is a story of misaligned hatred against those “not of our kind”, in this case Native American and Scots-Irish. It touches upon the historical tragedies that befell families as white encroached upon Native lands, the kidnapping of children. And it shares some of the mystical mysteries that some elders from both sides were able to touch and share, a skill becoming most rare in modern times. Finally, it explores the fiery emotions of families and communities against members who fought on opposite sides of a war.
You’ll laugh, and you’ll cry. Your heart will glow warm, and it will crumble. But if you have any warmth at all in your heart, you will love and treasure this story… and pray this technology will last long enough to share it with your children and grandchildren.
Yes, it’s that good!~

Historical romance novel, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, is a blend of carefully researched historical fiction interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread and set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a western colonial frontier, Native American theme, and features a powerful warrior or two. My passion for the past and some of the accounts I uncovered while exploring my early American Scots-Irish ancestors and the Shawnee Indians is at the heart of my inspiration.

A particularly tragic account is the driving force behind the story, the ill-fated romance of  a young captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers killed him. Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death.

Heart-wrenching, that tale haunts me to this day. And I wondered, was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish, and what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up? I know she was raised by her white family–not what they told her about her mother and warrior father.

Not only did The Bearwalker’s Daughter spring from that sad account, but it also had a profound influence on my historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song. Now that I’ve threaded it through two novels, perhaps I can let go…perhaps….

The history my novels draw from is raw and real, a passionate era where only the strong survive. Superstition ran high among both the Scots and Native Americans, and far more, a vision that transcends what is, to reach what can be. We think we’ve gained much in our modern era, and so we have.  But we’ve also lost. In my writing, I try to recapture what should not be forgotten.  Read and judge for yourself. And hearken back.  Remember those who’ve gone before you.

beautiful dark haired woman

Blurb: A Handsome Frontiersman, Mysterious Scots-Irish Woman, Shapeshifting Warrior, Dark Secret, Pulsing Romance…The Bearwalker’s Daughter~

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman who longs to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges–for her?~

family musket and powder horn image by my mom

The Bearwalker’s Daughter is .99 in Kindle through Oct. 19th at:  https://www.amazon.com/Bearwalkers-Daughter-Native-American-Warrior-ebook/dp/B007V6MA22

*Cover by my daughter Elise Trissel. She also formatted the novel for print.

*Image of old family musket, powder horn, and shot pouch by my mom Pat Churchman

***The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a revised version of romance novel Daughter of the Wind Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” –Long and Short Reviews

For more of my work, visit my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/

Or just do a find on my name. I am the only Author Beth Trissel in the world.

Furbaby Friday with Author Julie Shepard


A warm welcome to YA Author Julie Shepard, here to share her dearly remembered little dog, Monty, and her debut YA novel, Rosie Girl.

(Monty–a Maltese)

Julie:  You know how they say, “Bad things happen in three’s”? I found out the truth of that saying in the fall of 2009. In September I lost my father, in November my father-in-law, and then in December my beloved Maltese, Monty. He was only eight years old when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. All of us – my husband and I, and our two sons – were devastated by the news. Even though we gave him medication to slow down the disease, he was gone within eight weeks of the diagnosis. I’d had dogs before, but none like Monty.

I’m not saying he was the most loving. You’d have to maintain some sort of grip on him to keep him close. And I’m not saying he was the best behaved. If you left him alone too long, he’d chew up the baseboard or leave us a little present on our expensive Oriental rug. But he was excellent company while I cooked dinner or folded laundry, was a good sport when I would give him a haircut on top of the washing machine and accidentally nip him with the scissors, and he was hands down the best watch dog, alerting us with a shrill bark when even a lizard was approaching the front steps.

Some of my best writing happened with Monty nearby. I’d sit on the bedroom floor, computer in my lap, and he’d lay down a couple feet away (of course).  I’d be able to reach his outstretched legs and mindlessly stroke them, the repetitive pattern somehow aiding the creative process. Plenty of plot holes were filled while my fingers played with his furry paws and nails I may have clipped too close.

Look at that face! 8 weeks old. How could we not fall in love with him? Even though he was a boy, he’d let me put a bow in his hair 🙂 Didn’t even have to be great weather. Monty loved to lay outside on a lounge chair.

Beth: Monty was a darling little dog, Julie. I hope someday you will find another furbaby to fit into your family. After I lost my dear little dog, Sadie, this past March, I got a puppy, Cooper (a Morkie), in May. He’s a handful and not at all like Sadie but will calm down in time and we love him. No dog will ever take her place in my heart but I am making new places.

Rosie Girl – Story Blurb:

Little Peach meets We Were Liars in this haunting YA debut about a troubled teen searching for her birth mom and uncovers disturbing family secrets along the way. Rosie is desperate to find her, but too broke to hire a professional to help. With best friend Mary, they devise a plan to earn money the old-fashioned way, until private investigator Mac takes on her case for free. They successfully piece together clues left behind by Rosie’s deceased father, but what Rosie discovers about her mom will unwittingly devastate her own future. A visceral, poignant tale of friendship, sacrifice and identity, Rosie Girl will leave you guessing till the very last page.

Beth:  Rosie Girl sounds great. It has a lot of impressive reviews. I snagged a few from snippets from Amazon to share below.

Rich development in a nuanced, first-person consideration of family, friendship, and the breaking points for both . . . this may hit the mark for some Shyamalan-enthusiast readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Filled with unforgettable characters and expertly paced, the novel takes readers down many paths to an unexpected and shocking ending that packs a punch. . . . This is a book teens will want to reread.”—School Library Journal 

Rosie Girl is a haunting, thought-provoking story that explores the ways we compromise and compartmentalize in order to survive. Readers will be up late turning the pages until they reach the twisty-turny punch-in-the-gut reveal.”Robin Reul, author of My Kind of Crazy

***Purchase Rosie Girl in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Rosie-Girl-Julie-Shepard-ebook/dp/B01M9CACBD

Author Bio:

Julie Shepard began her writing career on a Smith Corona typewriter, hammering out dark stories like the twisted tale about homicidal identical twins who conspire to get away with murder. She earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida and a teaching degree in Middle Grades English from Florida International University. While in the classroom, she developed a keen ear for adolescent drama and knew that young adult fiction was the path her writing journey would take. She lives by the beautiful beaches of South Florida, where sunny skies often beckon her outside to do her writing on a lounge chair. Rosie Girl is her debut. You can find her at www.julieshepard.net

You can also find Julie at:

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Furbaby Friday with Author Luanna Stewart!


I’m pleased to have the delightful Luanna Stewart here to share her deep love of animals and her  new Victorian historical romance, Love and Mayhem.

Luanna: I’ve had many fur babies over the years, including those with feathers and scales. For as long as I can remember my family had a pet. Four cats and three dogs lived with us at one time or another during my childhood. The best of the lot, in my opinion, was Gurgi, a lovely Maine Coon Cat who showed up at our door one day and stayed for 17 years.


(Gurgi–Maine Coon cat)

My grade 12 science class ran experiments on learning using mice. My lab partner and I built a maze and trained our mouse using either a spritz of water as punishment, or a piece of peanut as reinforcement. I don’t recall which option got the best result. But, as might be expected when boy and girl mice are housed together, there was at least one litter of babies. We were given the option of taking a mouse home, saving them from the reptile tank. My wee beastie was called Benji, a little black mouse who turned out to be female, LOL. She seemed to enjoy sitting in my shirt pocket whilst I played piano.

I became step-mom to two cats – Grey Kitty and Calico Cat – when I moved in with my boyfriend (who became my hubby). He wasn’t great at names, LOL. Grey Kitty retained her name but the other cat quickly displayed her true character and was christened Mrs. Danvers (the evil housekeeper in Daphne DuMaurier’s novel “Rebecca”). That cat lived to be twenty-two just to spite us!

When our two sons got to the age when they wanted a pet of their own we welcomed a bearded dragon and a parakeet into the family. Our cat at the time, Portia, was greatly amused.

(Portia)

Several years ago our town approved backyard chickens and we got six Rhode Island Red hens. They did a fabulous job of ridding our yard of insect pests, and gave us delicious eggs. Some might question whether they were pets, but I took them to the vet when they were ill, I worked hard to cure common complaints (bumble foot and sour crop to name two), and I cried when they died. I think they qualified as pets.

(Hens)

The two kitties currently putting up with us are Mogget and Bruno. (If you follow me on Instagram you’ll recognize these two.)

(Bruno)

(Mogget)

They are displaying great forbearance with being moved to a foreign land. They’ve settled into our temporary home (whilst our house is under construction) and are greatly entertained by all the rodent activity in and around this 180-year-old house. They’ve dispatched a grand total of one mouse. Clearly they are too well fed! Mogget is the more social of the two and prefers to be in the room with her humans. Bruno will present himself for meals, and for requests to be let outside on his leash. He does an excellent job of sleeping the afternoon away and his snore can be heard in the next room.

My latest release, Love and Mayhem, strangely and unusually doesn’t have any pets in the story. My heroine, Sybil, runs a sheep farm, and though she’s quite attached to her lambs, she doesn’t treat them as pets. And my hero, Max, is too busy sailing across vast oceans to have time for a pet. I suspect once he settles down—but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

Sybil is happily on the shelf, tending to her sheep. But she fears she’ll depart this life without experiencing physical love, which she suspects is rather enjoyable. When her long-lost fiancé returns from sea, she decides he’s the lucky man who’ll receive her virginity.

Max is eager to return to his sugar plantation and has no intention of remaining long in London. However, he didn’t bargain on a wilful, pretty, exasperating spinster determined to take him to her bed.

He insists on marriage but she wants only his body. Her heart is not part of the deal. Unfortunately, love doesn’t always follow the rules.

Excerpt:

“I see all sorts of advantages to the married state.” He brought her hand to his mouth, kissing each knuckle in turn before kissing her palm. Then he flicked his tongue over the inside of her wrist. She bit back a moan. Who knew the wrist was such a sensitive spot?

She forced her mind back to the task at hand. Which, when you came to think of it, served the other task as well. Namely, getting him to flick his tongue on other sensitive parts of her body. She took a deep breath. “Some enjoy those advantages without the bother of a marriage ceremony.”

Buy links:

Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/non-american-historical-romance/5180-love-and-mayhem.html

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Love-Mayhem-Luanna-Stewart-ebook/dp/B072TQGG3J

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-and-mayhem/id1252491353?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/love-and-mayhem-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-and-mayhem-luanna-stewart/1126952180?ean=2940158555770

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother’s stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Luanna writes full time, concentrating on sexy romantic suspense, steamy paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna has recently returned to the land of her birth with her dear husband and two spoiled cats. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.

Under her previous pen name of Grace Hood she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press.

Website:  http://www.luannastewart.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Luanna_Stewart

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Luanna.Stewart.nau

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/luannastewart/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14104212.Luanna_Stewart

Follow Luanna’s Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Luanna-Stewart/e/B01068GXTC

Thanks for letting me hang out with your readers, Beth. And sharing pictures of my animal friends, past and present.

I am delighted to have you here and love learning more about you and your furbabies!

#Ghostly #Timetravel #Romance Somewhere My Love .99 in Kindle


I conceived the idea for my Somewhere in Time series years ago while watching one of my favorite British mysteries, Midsomer Murders.  I enjoy the historic setting of these modern-day mysteries, but especially when the story flashes back to an earlier time period in an old manor house to get to the root of the mystery. So I thought, why not incorporate mystery with my love of romance and history.
Moreover, I’m intrigued by ghost stories, and Virginia has more tales than any other state. I find myself asking if the folk who’ve gone before us are truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way?  Love conquers all, so I answer ‘yes.’  The theme behind ghostly, murder mystery romance Somewhere My Love, the first in my Somewhere in Time series.

Blurb: Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?

Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.

“A beautiful love story with plenty of suspense and mystery. With a murderer on the loose and a house haunted by the ghosts of the past, can William and Julia figure everything out and survive? Visit Foxleigh Hall and find out.” ~Night Owl Romance, a Night Owl Top Pick
“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.” ~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly

****.99 In Kindle from Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 athttps://www.amazon.com/SOMEWHERE-LOVE-Somewhere-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B00AFJ7DZ6

Furbaby Friday with Author Rachel Brimble!


I’m very glad to welcome Rachel Brimble here to share a  moving story of grief and healing, and her new contemporary romance, Ethan’s Daughter.

Rachel: One of the hardest of my books to write was Saved By The Firefighter, but it was also one of the most cathartic. Just before I started writing this book, I had lost my beloved, ten-year-old black Labrador, Max. He was our first family dog and my constant companion. He was with me pretty much twenty-four-seven and would lay for hours at my feet while I worked. During our walks, I would plot and plan, solve problems and gain new inspiration. He was everything to me.

MAX

When he died, I was literally struck down with grief. I was lost. Didn’t want to do or think about anything…and I had a deadline looming. I had to start work. But how.

That was when I knew the book I needed to write had to involve bereavement, a fight through the hero or heroine’s grief until they come out the other side, happier and stronger than they were before their loss. As soon as I believed the writing of this book could be my way of healing, of purging everything I was feeling and how much I was hurting, the writing began to flow.

I poured everything I had into every word, every scene and every character action and decision.

The feedback from readers has been fantastic! People have told me how Trent and Izzy’s story brought them hope, evoked tears and memories, but they finished the book smiling. Happiness! This is my aim when I write – to heal a little of something in me and in the lovely people who read my books.

A few months after I lost Max, I still wasn’t coping very well and a friend of mine suggested I visit the ‘Borrow My Doggy’ website. This is an amazing site where you can literally ‘borrow’ people’s dogs for the weekend, holidays or walk them whenever you want some company. I immediately fell in love with a pic of six month old, chocolate Lab called Tyler.

(Tyler)

I visited his owners and learned that Dad had just been diagnosed with Parkinsons and, as they were in their sixties, weren’t sure how they would keep this bouncy pup amused. I took over as foster mum. Eight months later, I was adoptive mum and Tyler has lived with us since January 2016.

He is adored by me, my husband and our two teenage daughters and he also gets to visit his original mum and dad for a day every week. The situation worked out perfectly for everyone and Tyler is very much loved!

Thanks for having me here to share my love of my two fur babies! My latest release is Ethan’s Daughter which is book seven in my ongoing Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance. This is a romantic suspense story revolving around the Cove’s exclusive, best-selling novelist, Ethan James and the trouble his ex-wife brings to his and his daughter’s (Daisy) door. What neither of them expects is the arrival and involvement of feisty ER nurse, Leah Dixon…and believe me, sparks fly!

Beth: What a wonderful story of healing and redemption! I’m so glad you shared it with us.

Blurb  for Ethan’s Daughter:

There’s safety in solitude…isn’t there? 

Single dad and best-selling thriller writer Ethan James has no problem being Templeton Cove’s most famous recluse…until a surprise visit from the past plunges him into a real-life crime drama just as feisty nurse Leah Dixon barges her way into his world.

Ethan’s first priority is to protect his daughter. His second priority is to keep Leah out of this dark web—and that means out of his bed. Except Leah isn’t going anywhere; she’s afraid little Daisy is in danger. Ethan couldn’t live with himself if anything happened to Leah…but pushing her away may be even harder!

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NAMY53H/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/eYGTixj

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ethans-daughter-rachel-brimble/1125531674?ean=9781488017186

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/ethan-s-daughter-mills-boon-superromance-templeton-cove-stories-book-7

Author Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Rachel’s Links:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Follow Rachel’s Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Rachel a comment!

Holiday Time Travel Romance The White Lady (Book 2, Ladies in Time)


The White Lady, (Book 2 the Ladies in Time series), is out on November 11th, and available in pre-order now. The story was inspired by the ghostly white woman lore I’m familiar with from the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains. One such account speaks of a young woman dressed in white observed walking along the riverbank by the children of a valley family. When asked, their father told them she was the spirit of a brokenhearted woman who had died years before, that they would likely see her again, and to leave her alone. They did and kept their distance. 

After researching these haunting tales, I discovered this lore is widespread in America and the UK and dates back centuries. It’s a paranormal ‘thing,’ or should I say she is? The white woman is described as a sad solitary figure deep in mourning, having been jilted in love, possibly left at the altar, maybe pregnant. Desperate, she generally kills herself or fades from illness and then lingers as a mournful restless ghost. While creepy, she’s not usually vindictive. Usually.

In addition to research into ghostly white woman lore, I had one of my waking visions. I was walking around our meadow with the cows when I saw a young couple in my mind. He was fixated on the beautiful portrait of a mysterious lady while the girl endeavored to get his attention. She called him Ignus–a name I’ve never heard before–and warned him of the inherent dangers she sensed in this ghostly woman. He wouldn’t listen. Guys never do. But there was something exceptional about Ignus, and then there’s her best friend Stan…

This paranormal time travel romance takes place in a Victorian house in Staunton, Virginia at Christmas with flashes back to the Civil War and the end of WWI.

Story Blurb

Avery Dunham has always been ready to follow her friend, time-traveling wizard, Ignus Burke, on incredible adventures. This time, though, she has serious misgivings. It’s just one week before Christmas, but she cannot get him to change his mind. The usually cool and collected magic-wielding leader is wholly obsessed by the portrait of the White Lady whom he is bent on rescuing.

Almost as soon as they begin their journey, it becomes clear their mission is a trap. Avery was right: this adventure is not going to be like any other.~

Excerpt:

Avery had a few queries on the tip of her tongue, like, “Are you out of your freaking skull?”

If she didn’t ask, Stan probably would. They’d graduated from high school this past June and worked part-time ‘nothing’ jobs, taking a break before college while finding their way, as Avery’s mother put it. Mostly, they were drawn to Ignus like moths to a flame, especially Avery. Not that he noticed.

If only he’d look at her the way he did the white lady. More and more, the portrait seemed to dominate his thoughts. How could a petite, okay short, girl in a sparkly pink sweater and unicorn leggings compete with this tantalizing beauty?

Avery wasn’t plain, some even referred to her as cute, but exotic didn’t describe her. Quirky, sure. She wouldn’t term her brown eyes deeply affecting, and her face wouldn’t compel men through centuries to her side. The best she could do was plead with him.

“Ignus, be reasonable. Please.”

No reply. He wore his stubborn look. Crossing his arms over a lean chest, he tilted his head to better view the femme fatale on the wall above them. The tousled brown hair covering his ears and forehead needed a trim. In his red Zombie Preparedness hoodie with a white rescue logo, gray dress pants, and white high-topped sneakers, he was the quintessential

nerd. Most importantly, he was a wizard and time traveler with a passion for rescuing lost souls. His fervor for this particular lady was alarming.~

Get The White Lady in kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/White-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B075XBTY1J

****Follow my Amazon Author Page and keep up with my new releases: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/

***The Lady in Time stories do not need to be read in order. If you are interested in reading and reviewing this story please contact me: bctrissel@yahoo.com

Furbaby Friday with Author Mary Gillgannon!


Welcome fellow Wild Rose Press Author Mary Gillgannon, here to share her wonderful writing cats and upcoming historical romance, Lady of Steel.

A CAT ON THE LAP…OR AT LEAST NEARBY

Nikki was my first writing cat. She sat on my lap as I wrote and edited nearly ten books. Most of the time she was content, happy to be perched on her “warm-blooded furniture”. But every once in a while something would upset her and she’d suddenly hiss and leap off for no reason.

I’ve always said that Nikki has PTSD. My sister-in-law found her in her backyard when Nikki was tiny, and one of the cutest kittens I’ve ever seen. (insert kitten picture). Even though my two children nicknamed her “gray bear”, patiently fed her kitten formula and moistened food, slept with her and took her with them everywhere they could, she never quite recovered from the terror of being abandoned by her mother, left on the cold, wet grass in the dark.

Despite her trauma, she has made it eighteen and a half years. She’s thin and feeble now, and cataracts have clouded her enigmatic green eyes. But like many great beauties, she retains much of her elegant allure.

Sadly, Nikki is no longer my writing cat. Seven years ago I moved my desk from a corner of the family room to a beautiful office in our newly remodeled upstairs. Nikki was never able to adapt to the transition, and although she sits on my lap when I watch TV or read, she no longer keeps me company while I write.

My writing cat these days is Benjamin. He doesn’t sit on my lap or even hang out with me much of the time. But he comes and visits me, slipping in the open window of my office in summer (which serves as the upstairs pet door in good weather). He chirps and mews, coaxing me to pet him, to go downstairs and get him treats or just coo nonsense back at him as he sprawls on my very messy desk.

In the course of my writing career, we’ve had six other cats besides Nikki and Benjamin, as well as two dogs. Out of all of them, Benjamin has been the only animal who sees me as his very favorite human and loves me more than anyone in the world. Most of the time he’d rather have me pet and talk to him than give him treats. He comes when I call his name and gazes at me with kingly adoration. When I travel on solo trips, he misses me almost much as my husband does.

Along with his sweet nature, Benjamin has exceptional dignity and gravitas, even for a cat, something my sister sought to capture when she painted this picture of him. (insert painting of Benjamin).

Animals have always been a huge part of my life. I’ve been obsessed with cats ever since I can remember. When I was eight I harassed my father, who thought he hated cats, into getting me my first kitten. Since then I’ve shared my life with over a dozen animals. Not all my pets have loved me the way Benjamin does, but they have enriched my life, calmed and comforted me, made me laugh (and cry when they died) and helped spark my creativity in many ways.

Beth: I loved hearing about your furbabies, Mary. Beautiful kitties.

Mary: I often include animals in my books. My upcoming release, Lady of Steel, features two tomcats, one of whom actually plays a part in the story. Lady of Steel will be released in early 2018, and although I don’t have a cover yet, I chose this classic medieval image to illustrate the mood of the book.

I see Lady of Steel as a feminist romance. Nicola of Valmar is a strong, independent woman living in the medieval era, a time when women had little power and no rights. Her challenge is not only to overcome the oppression and limitations of her world, but to learn to trust, and accept that a man can be a partner and a helpmate, instead of an adversary. Fawkes de Cressy, famed knight and acclaimed Crusader, is the perfect hero for her. For beneath his exterior of ruthless ambition and forbidding dominance, he remains the idealistic young squire who took her maidenhead with exquisite tenderness.

Excerpt:

Fawkes’s eyes flared with violent emotion. “You forget. I knew Mortimer. He tried more than once to kill me. I have no sympathy for him. None at all.”

Nicola let out her breath. Perhaps now they could begin again, and he would stop playing this game of cat and mouse with her. She nodded. “I’m very grateful you understand. I’d worried you might have heard tales of me, stories meant to portray me as wicked and manipulative.”

He watched her intently. “Aye, I have heard tales. ’Tis good you saw fit to reassure me. Perhaps now, perhaps we can…”

He let his words trail off and the atmosphere between them shifted. His dark eyes no longer seemed stern and implacable, but smoldered with frank sexual desire. The tension between them altered, erupting with blazing arousal. Fire started in her loins and spread outward, making her skin ache for his touch. She tilted her head, awaiting his kiss.

He hesitated, as if even now he feared to take this final step and give into what his body obviously desired. Observing his forbearance, she thought for the dozenth time of how different he was from Mortimer. Mortimer had been a slave to his emotions. This man sought control at all times.

But at last he brought his lips to hers. The blaze took them both.

Beth: I am a fan of this time period and your story sounds fabulous.

Mary Gillgannon is the author of sixteen novels, primarily romances set in the dark age, medieval and Regency time periods. She’s married and has two children. Now that they’re grown, she indulges her nurturing tendencies on four very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. When not writing or working—she’s been employed at the local public library for twenty-seven years—she enjoys gardening, reading and travel.

Author Links:

Website:  http://marygillgannon.com

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