Spring Fling Multi-Author Book Giveaway


Originally posted on Pink Fuzzy Slippers Authors:

romantic flower bouquetTo celebrate the first day of spring the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Authors are kicking off this loveliest of seasons with a romance giveaway. Each author is contributing one eBook in kindle or nook book to be awarded to the lucky winner, selected from the visitors who leave us a comment. We’ll announce the recipient of all these books on Monday. Comment away, and welcome to our updated blog. We used to be on Blogger, but recently moved to WordPress.

Below are the books we’re offering, an eclectic mix of romance from  a talented bunch of ladies.

From USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, a sweet and humorous romance novel,  her new release, WEDDING SURPRISE:

Monas CoverBlurb: Two weeks before their wedding, Claire and David receive an unexpected announcement that can destroy their relationship. Is their love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

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Anyone Up for Catching a Leprechaun?


leprechaun (1)It’s been snowy, so leprechauns may not be out yet. But the white stuff is melting and spring on its way to the valley, so maybe. According to the small people in the family, in order to catch one, you dig a shallow hole–deeper, if you’re in a digging mood–beneath the old maple tree in our front yard, then disguise it with twigs and sticks, fallen from the tree, and add some tempting leaves and flower petals. The clover isn’t really out yet, and the best blossoms they can find are tiny white snowdrops. The idea is similar to a tiger trap, the thinking being that the unsuspecting leprechaun will tumble into the trap and stay there until discovered by eager youngsters. What they’d do with one if they caught it, hasn’t been hotly debated. No one has a clue. I’m not sure they even realize these magical little guys have a bag of gold at the end of the rainbow, or that they’re required to grant you three wishes upon their release.

Snowdrops one

(Snowdrops blooming in our yard. Image by Elise)

irish shamrocksRecently, six yr old granddaughter Emma asked her Aunt Elise if leprechauns actually exist. Elise said that all depends on who you ask. Many would say ‘yes’ and there are a lot of stories about leprechauns. Satisfied, Emma returned to her task. Heaven knows our resident fairy expert, my niece Cailin, knows about leprechauns. They fall into her area of expertise, as they’re a type of fairy in Irish folklore. Nine yr old grandson, Ian, the original instigator of the annual trap laying, had a theory that a leprechaun hitched a ride to his school in the pot of shamrocks his teacher brought to class, found its way into his backpack, and then ultimately my yard. I’m told I have highly fairy, and likely, leprechaun friendly gardens with all my herbs and flowers. Scant this year, though, until warmer winds blow favorably upon our realm. It’s been a long winter.

Last spring, Elise dipped the small foot of a doll into green paint and walked her around the trap, to give the kids a thrill. Just missing a leprechaun is almost as good as snaring one.

darby-ogill-and-king-brian-shar

Who remembers Darby O’Gill and the Little People? I saw the film years after it first came out in 1959, when my children were young, but we all found it enchanting. Although the banshee scared the bejeebers out of us and seeing Sean Connery with dark brown hair and singing was rather a shock for me. He was much younger then. I was a preschooler in ’59, only they didn’t have preschool in those days. Plus, I was in Taiwan where I spent much of my early childhood and they most definitely did not have leprechauns. Dragons, however, are another matter.

(Image of Darby O’Gill and King Brian)

leprechaun“Magic
Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.”
― Shel SilversteinWhere the Sidewalk Ends

***This is a repost from last March, but very fitting.

Meadowlarks, Pussy Willow, Fussy Geese–Spring in the Shenandoah Valley


“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
― Margaret Atwood

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is coming to the valley this week, and we’re all ready to kick up our heels after the long winter. The post below is from last year, but it fits.

Grady, soft-coated Wheaton terrior, enjoying spring day

Heavy wet snow fell last night and the trees are laden, my crocus buried. But several afternoons ago after the rain showers ended, the day turned mild and I pulled some overwintering weeds from one of my flower borders. A whole wheelbarrow full. While bent contentedly to my labors, I heard the sweet trill of a meadowlark, my favorite songbird. Silent today. When the sun shines and the weather softens, I will hear it sing again. This crazy weather is typical of early spring in the Shenandoah Valley. A cold snap follows on the heels of a wonderfully balmy day or two. This year has been on the colder side and wet, which is just as well with our tendency toward summer droughts. We’ll take the moisture while we can.

Meadowlark, Eastern MeadowlarkDucks and geese love all the puddles that come with the rain, and our farm pond is finally full again after dwindling to a sad state in the past. Happy quacks resound against the fussy geese fighting over nesting sites. These battles, and the meadowlark singing, are among the first signs of spring. And the pussy willow blooming. I picked a lovely bouquet of pussy willows yesterday. The fuzzy catkins brighten the kitchen in an old mason jar,

Pussy Willow

Back to the meadowlark, my goal is to ever actually see one of these elusive birds again. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be such a challenge, with our meadows and all. Once or twice, I’ve glimpsed a yellow flash and spotted the bird perched on a fence post before it flew. Mostly, they hide in the grass and skim away to another spot before I get a good look, calling all the while from various positions in the meadow.

Beth, Elise, and Cows

Several years ago, my daughter Elise and I were determined to track down the evasive songster and take its picture, like photographing fairies. We tenaciously followed its calls, even climbed over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture and picked our way along the little creek that flows from our pond, but never caught up with that bird, or birds. There may have been more than one taunting us. Unless I catch another rare glimpse, I must content myself with their beautiful trills. Birds like this need tall grasses and untidy hedge rows for nesting. Bear that in mind in your own yard and garden. Keeping everything trim and cultivated robs our feathered friends of habitat. It’s also a good excuse for a less than perfectly kept landscape. A little wilderness here and there is a good thing.

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in spring“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

***Images of spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by my mom, Pat Churchman,  Grady, the soft-coated Wheaton terrier, and pussy willow by daughter Elise. Beth and Elise in our meadow by my husband Dennis. Obviously, I had to purchase the image of the meadowlark

The Lovely Willow and its Cures


“All a green willow is my garland.” ~John Heywood

weeping willow

The beautiful willow tree has an ancient, varied history of use and lore, depending on which culture is referenced. While regarded as a cure-all in America, it had strong pagan associations in early Scotland.

From The Scot’s Herbal by Tess Darwin: “Willows were one of the first trees to appear in Scotland after the last Ice Age and no doubt this versatile species has been used since prehistoric times for a great variety of purposes.

In addition to many practical uses of willows for basketry, rope, house building, fencing, beehives, lobster pots and coracle frames, it was a magic tree. A willow wand symbolized the goddess, and was used for divination—the original magic wand. Willow was one of the druids sacred woods…the word wicca (the craft and wisdom of witches) is said to be derived from the use of willow to make a wicker frame to build an effigy of the Celtic God Balder, king/consort to the queen/goddess, ceremonially sacrificed on Beltane.

Weeping Willow

Fear of the power of willow persisted long into Christian times: witches’ broomsticks sometimes had a willow shaft, and persecuted witches from North Berkshire were said to sail in willow winnowing riddles. In central Perthshire willow wands were reportedly used to work the evil eye. Black magic worked with willow could be counteracted by rowan.

On the other hand, a branch of willow catkins in the home is still believed to bring good health; this may relate to its medicinal uses. The bark contains acetylsalicylic acid (the main constituent of aspirin) and has long been used as a pain killer.”

In America, the willow is considered “one of Nature’s most valuable gifts to mankind.” From Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants by Bradford Angier. He goes on to say, “The North American Indians soon discovered that tea decocted and steeped from the cambium of the majority of willows was important for arthritis and for reducing fever and many pains—this centuries before the isolating and marketing of aspirin. The ashes of burned willow twigs were blended with water and used for gonorrhea.

pussy-willow-hatsWillow roots were powdered with stones and turned to in an effort to dry up sores from syphilis. The settlers soon joined the Indians in using potent teas brewed from the cambium or inner bark of the bitter willows to treat venereal disease. The dried and powdered bitter bark, astringent and detergent, was applied to the navels of newborn babies. It was utilized to stop severe bleeding, as were the crushed young green leaves, the bark, and the seeds, also stuffed up the nostrils to stop nosebleeds. These were also used for toothache.”

And the uses go on, including a spring tonic made of steeped willow roots, an Indian practice adopted by the settlers. The roots were used to kill and expel worms and willow tea to bathe sore eyes. Some settlers also shared in the Indian practice of using pussy willow catkins as an aphrodisiac. Probably in the form of a bark tea, but it doesn’t say.

I vote for spring.

The ‘Magick’ of Ireland with Author Patty Taylor


A warm welcome to my friend and fellow author, Patty Taylor, here to share about her fascinating Irish heritage and upcoming Celtic fantasy romance.

Dunluce Castle #1 edited(Dunluce Castle–This image and all others by Patty Taylor)

Good Morning Everyone. :)  I wish to thank my friend and mentor, Beth, for inviting me as a guest today on her lovely blog. I feel honored to be here and hope I can come back again as soon as my first novel, “Mortal Magick” is released in June by Soul Mate Publishing.. By then, I’ll be able to share my cover and a peek at a few of the other stories I’m currently working on. I write fantasy/paranormal romance with a wee bit of magical lore woven into all my stories. I “love animals”, and enjoy spinning exotic fibers on my spinning wheels where I’ve blended my beloved Samoyeds (dogs) undercoats with alpaca, sheep and even Angora wool. I’m hoping one day for the opportunity to get my hands on some white wolf undercoat (or any wolf’s undercoat), but that’s another story…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Mount Stewart)

I enjoy centering my adventures in various places like Scotland’s mystical Isle of Skye, the magical Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland and the secluded wilderness of Alaska – where fairies, brownies, shape-shifters and mythical creatures come to life.

The person who influenced me the most to pursue my writing, was my beloved Mother, Evelyn V. Taylor. Her own story of how she came to live in the United States and became a citizen of this country has always inspired me. Born and raised in County Down, Northern Ireland, she served in the British Army during WWII where she met and fell in love with my tall and handsome Daddy, a US Sergeant. Soon after they were married, she crossed the ocean by ship by herself, to wait the arrival of my Daddy’s return to the states. I’ll always admire her strength and courage for beginning a new adventure in a strange country with no family of her own, to start a life with the man she fell in love with and raise a family.  And with the discovery of my father having American Indian heritage, both cultures have made a huge impact on my imagination.

Glens of Antrim, Gorse1(Glens of Antrim with gorse in bloom)

I inherited her superstitions and respectful beliefs in the wee people and fairies, along with her love for reading and storytelling. Mom was the first to introduce me to the magical world of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis. On my last visit to Ireland, my cousin, Yvonne, took me to see the Wardrobe statue outside the library in Belfast and I even sat in the chair. There were happy tears that morning. As a child, I fell in love with the movies Darby O’Gill and the little People and the adventures of Gulliver’s Travels, along with many other Walt Disney Movies she took me to see. To this day, I still tear up watching the “Quiet Man” – one of my mother’s favorites.

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My beloved husband, Michael, still comments how he believes I’ll always remain a kid at heart, and I have both my parents to thank for that. Especially my Mom, as I still treasure the wee mustard seed necklace she gave me as a child to teach me about having faith. Without realizing it, she also planted another special gift deep within my heart. To never abandon my dreams, and my love for the enchanting world of fantasy and Magick.

(Patty sitting in front of the famous wardrobe that leads to Narnia.)

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(Images from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, taken in a Belfast Library. ***Beth has to jump in here to say that this is my favorite author and book. I love all the Chronicles of Narnia, but this one is the best.)

Back to Patty: I feel blessed to be fortunate to visit my Mom’s home for the very 1st time in 2010, and got to see the building where my parents first met, the places she took my Daddy to visit and the mystical country where she was raised.  Like stepping back in time, my imagination ran wild with the reality of finally seeing the magical qualities of this beautiful and amazing country.  I’m delighted to share a few photos from my visit.

And we are delighted to see them, Patty. Wonderful pics!

 lace-cap hydrangea(Fairy flowers–Lace-cap hydrangea)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Fairy tree)

Gorse in bloom(More gorse in bloom with quaint cottages)

I’m also excited to have this wonderful opportunity today to share a wee bit about my first published novel, “Mortal Magick”, a time travel fantasy romance coming this June.

Giant's Causeway stepping stones 1When an immortal Highlander falls in love with a human witch,”Mortal Magick” soon casts a spell of its own. 

Story Blurb:

As Keara, a modern day reluctant witch from Maryland, finds herself whisked back to 18th century mystical Isle of Skye, she’s taught lessons in both magic and love after being rescued by the rugged and extremely handsome Highlander, Duncan McCord. To add a wee touch of “when beauty meets beast” charm to their adventure, along with the mischievous antics of a whimsical Scottish Brownie character, named Darby, Keara soon discovers that Duncan is dealing with a serious problem of his own. He’s been cursed to live a nocturnal life of half man and half beast for eternity.

I hope all of you will help me celebrate and look forward to reading my story, Mortal Magick, and the future sequel, Sea Wolf Magick.   

Get ready for two magical adventures – Journey across the

Mystical Isle of Skye, to the Enchanting land of Fire and Ice . . .”

To find out more about me and my books, please stop by and visit my new  website at:  http://www.pattytaylorauthor.com/ 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also invite you to follow me on Twitter under Patty Taylor, Author, and friend me on Facebook.

Thanks once again to my gracious and kind friend and host, Beth Trissel, for having me here today, and to all of you that took the time to stop by to meet me and leave your comments :)

Lovely to have you, Patty. I look forward to your return to the blog and your exciting new release in June.

(Images of Giant’s Causeway Stepping Stones and Primula Candelabra above)

*** Patty will return in May for a post on spinning and sheep, with pics! I can’t wait. And again in the summer for a post on fairies and when her new book comes out., Then again in the fall for our focus on  C S Lewis, including pics from her next trip to Ireland. We both love The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Chronicles of Narnia.  

The Love and Lore of Violets


An excerpt from my herbal, Plants for A Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles:

“Who are the violets now
That strew the lap of the new-come spring?” ~ Shakespeare: Richard II

SweetViolets008

Violet (Viola Odorata). Part Used: Flowers (dried). The leaves and whole plant (fresh).

Sweet violets grow at the edge of forests and clearings and can be detected by their scent. Sometimes they appear as unwanted guests in yards and gardens, but we like violets and encourage them here. Violets have a long history reaching deep into the misty past. There are over two hundred species in the world; five are native to Great Britain. Sweet violets are usually dark purple, but may be white. The flowers are full of honey and appealing to bees, but usually bloom before bees are really out from as early as late February into April.

Viola OdorataViolets imbue liquids with their color and fragrance and make a divine perfume. A medicinal syrup of violets is given as a laxative considered mild enough for children, and for a variety of other ailments. Old herbalists recommended the syrup for ague (acute fever), inflammation of the eyes, insomnia, pleurisy, jaundice, and many other illnesses. They had great faith in its healing attributes. Among other components, violets contain salicylic acid which is used to make aspirin.

As with primroses, violets have been associated with death, particularly of the young. This is referred to by the poets, including Shakespeare in Hamlet. Ancient Britons used violet flowers as a cosmetic, and in a Celtic poem they are recommended to be employed steeped in goats’ milk to increase female beauty. In the Anglo-Saxon translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius (tenth century), the herb V. purpureum is recommended ‘for new wounds and eke for old’ and for ‘hardness of the maw.’ In Macer’s Herbal (tenth century) the Violet is among the many herbs which were considered powerful against ‘wykked sperytis.’  (A Modern Herbal)

Gar Flower Web Blue Violet

Askham’s Herbal Violet Recipe for Insomnia: “For the that may not slepe for sickness seeth this herb in water and at even let him soke well hys feete in the water to the ancles, wha he goeth to bed, bind of this herbe to his temples.”

spray of beautiful dark blue violets

To Make Syrup of Violets: Tale 1 lb. of Sweet Violet flowers freshly picked, add 2 ½ pints of boiling water, infuse these for twenty-four hours in a glazed china vessel, then pour off the liquid and strain it gently through muslin; afterwards add double its weight of the finest loaf sugar and make it into a syrup, but without letting it boil. (A Modern Herbal)

“Viola Odorata is an ancient heirloom, which the Greeks used in love potions, and beloved by our grandmothers and their grandmothers because of its sweet perfume, delicate purple to deep bluish purple flower and heart-shaped leaves.” ~ Quote from Cherry Gal, an interesting website that sells heirloom violet seeds, amongst other offerings.

violet“I know a bank, where the wild thyme blows Where ox-lips, and the nodding violet grows; Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.” ~ William Shakespeare

“Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you.” ~Edward Payson Rod

“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.” ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

“Dai’s Dark Valentine” by Dariel Raye


Welcome to my friend and fellow author Dariel Raye, here to share her new paranormal romance release, Dai’s Dark Valentine. Follow Dariel’s tour and enter her rafflecopter to win prizes. More info and links below.

rosevine-1

 

Story Blurb: Dais Dark Valentine Cover 1400x1960 What happens when a sheltered cat-shifter and a dark fey come together? Three-hundred years is a long time, but left to its own devices, what began as the vendetta of one man can grow to encompass even more formidable hatred. Daitre Salons is a beautiful but naïve heiress whose true heritage has been kept secret even from her. Now, her abilities are emerging and her father’s enemies want her dead, but what bothers her most is that her new husband “in name only” insists on treating her like a child. Joban Beaucoup, professional guard to the Salons family, and dark fey (alternate spelling from Vodouin origin), has chosen to leave the quaint yet suffocating French town of his orphan-childhood and venture to the Americas, but he needs one thing he cannot concoct, despite his magical abilities – a wife. When Joban agrees to marry Daitre and take her to the Americas with him, he carries her three-thousand miles away, then whisks her three-hundred years into the future to assure her safety, but while Daitre struggles to adjust to this strange new world, manage her newfound powers, and make peace with her feelings for Joban, Joban learns that even here, their enemies have followed them, now more deadly than ever.~ rosevine Excerpt: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. – Present

Daitre instinctively wrapped her arms around Joban’s neck, wonder overshadowing every other thought and emotion.

 

Before she could blink, he slid her arms from him and took a step back. She blinked again and glanced around, the environment too strange for comprehension. What seemed like millions of images flashed around her synapses at once.

 

161147008She closed her eyes again and did her best to ignore the rocks in her stomach, but the feeling of rejection would not go away. She’d over-stepped. He made it clear he did not want to be touched. Apparently he’d meant what he said about their marriage being a union in name only, and God alone knew where he’d brought her.

 

The magical orb resurfaced in her mind and she watched Joban in awe. She’d always known he was a time bender, and he’d even flashed her from one place to another before, but his particular species of fey were so rare, she’d never met another, and no matter what she thought she knew, experiencing the phenomenon was no less overwhelming and amazing.

 

465027293Everything seemed to happen in a flash, glimpses of familiar and unfamiliar things slowly registering as the light faded. Joban told her they were in The Americas, the United States of America to be exact, three-hundred years in the future, the twenty-first century, and he began showing her odd clothing.

 

“Things are very different here and now, Daitre. You will need to adjust as fast as possible. I got these for you after your father told me your size. They will take some getting used to, but dressing is much easier in this century, I imagine.”

“What part of America are we in?”

“We are in a place called New Orleans, Louisiana. I should have family here, and so should you.” He waved across his left hand and a picture appeared.

478301197“This is a map of the United States. We are here,” he said, pointing to the bottom tip of Louisiana.

 

Daitre frowned.

“What is it, Princess?”

She placed her hands on her hips and folded her arms. “The picture in your hand. That’s something else I did not know you could do.”

“And why does this trouble you?”

She waved him away, the frown morphing into a scowl as she raised her voice. “I do not know. You are all I have, yet I know nothing about you for certain. I find it very troubling.”

He sighed, but otherwise said nothing.

red roseDaitre fingered her gown and glanced warily at the pants, dresses, and other garments he’d purchased. All of her beautiful things were left behind – gowns, jewels, everything left in Monsieur Beaucoup’s carriage.

She wrapped her arms around her midsection. “No.”

“’No,’ what?” His ominous tone did nothing to help the situation.

“No, I will not wear those. They are the garments of a harlot, and all of my things have been left in another place and time.”

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To Enter the Rafflecopter click the Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/204547f631/?

beautiful red rose on blackAbout the Author Dariel Raye writes powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). For more about Dariel, follow her blog or website. She also publishes a new release newsletter and daily newspaper. You can contact her on TwitterFacebook,  Goodreads, and Pinterest. Stay with us for the entire launch tour. Click the link below to join the Facebook party and view the tour calendar! Facebook Party “Dai’s Dark Valentine” Launch Tour Calendar ***To purchase Dai’s Dark Valentine visit: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo