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Archive for February 14th, 2012

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and you can help!

Many romance authors have donated items to an auction to help finance the girls’ trip. ARCs, book bundles, Kindle Fires, character namings, and meetings with authors are all available. The auction will start on March 1, 2012 but the site is up now with a list of items.

 

http://bunaunleeshed.wordpress.com/

 

You can browse the site now and get your list ready! 😀

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It’s 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire. Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause. As part of Washington’s daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom.

From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless.

For love and for country, all is put at risk-and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive.

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There’s a scene in the movie Little Women, when Jo March finishes her novel, and gently tucks a bloom under the bit of twine she’s tied her manuscript pages with, and it’s all done – off to find a publisher!

Louisa May Alcott books are near and dear to my heart, and Little Women is top of the heap. I’ve watched the newest movie adaptation several times, and this particular scene always makes me smile, and then cringe when think about what a complete pain it must have been to be a novelist back then. Just think about writing hundreds of thousands of words with a quill pen that was not equipped with a delete key! Writing without the ability to cut and paste! Without the opportunity make countless and endless revisions with the simple click of a keystroke!

Hmmm… On second thought, that last one might be actually be an advantage!

As an author, handwriting is a device I use to get my creative juices flowing. I always begin a writing session with pen and paper. My pen of choice is a medium tip Liquid Flair, and the paper, an 5” x 8” spiral bound notebook. With these two tools I can curl up in a chair or a window seat and let my mind wander off to the 18th century. Once my margins become cramped with notes and swinging arrows, and the writing starts to become illegible for the scratch outs and carrotted inserts, I take the pages over to my trusty Mac to be finessed and endlessly revised.

 

It is said Louisa May Alcott was a very fast writer, able to finish thirty handwritten manuscript pages a day. Keep in mind, novelists of yore had to contend with the mechanics of the quill pen and the often uneven quality of paper made from cotton fiber. A writer had to be a master of the penknife, able to shape and cajole a nib from the heat-tempered quill of a feather into the precision instrument of her craft.

 

The quill dip pen reigned supreme for over a thousand years. Illuminated manuscripts, Shakespeare’s plays, epic poetry, edicts, law, letters to loved ones – all written by the dip and scratch of a feather. Luckily, bird feathers are a sustainable commodity, as quill pens were notorious for wearing out quickly. Feathers taken from living bird in the spring were considered the prime source for a long lasting pen. The five outer quills of the left wing were most prized by scribes, as the plumes curved outward for use by the right-handed.

 

The type of feather used made a difference in the quality of your stroke. Though goose feathers were most common, scarce swan feathers were the “Mont Blanc” of the quill pen world. Crow feathers were preferred for fine line work, but the feathers from the eagle, owl, hawk and turkey could all be used in a pinch. Charles Dickens was famous for his need to have a large array of different types of quills at his disposal, so he could easily switch pens to match the quality of his penmanship to the prose he was writing.

 

And it didn’t end with paper and pen. Beyond the aforementioned penknife, a writer needed all manner of accouterments to write even a simple letter. A sprinkling of powdery pounce – a mixture of cuttlebone, pumice and gum sandarac – was dispensed from the salt-shaker like pounce pot to speed the drying of the ink. Extra absorbent blotting paper was manufactured specifically for the purpose of dabbing up the blips and blobs and blobs inherent in dip pen writing. Wells made of silver and glass held inks made from lampblack and linseed oil were essential, and a mahogany writing box lined with leather kept your writing gear in good order.

 

As I tap out this blog post, I think about future writers accessing holographic images from their bionic nanochip implants, of us 21st century folk slaving over iMacs. I imagine they will shake their heads with bemusement, smile, cringe and telepathically communicate with the collective, thinking, “Keyboard and mouse! What a pain that must have been!”

Giveaway: Bayberry Candle Bundle – the perfect light to read your secret messages by. A bayberry candle burned to the socket bring Lucks in the home, food in the larder, and Gold to the pocket.

Author Christine Blevins writes what she loves to read – historical adventure stories. The Turning of Anne Merrick is the second in a 3-book series set during the American Revolution, and the companion book to The Tory Widow. A native Chicagoan, Christine lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, along with her husband Brian, and The Dude, a very silly golden-doodle. She is at work finishing the third novel inspired by a lifelong fascination with the foundations of American history and the revolutionary spirit.

Christine’s website.

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Leave a comment to be entered in today’s giveaway. Good luck!

*Correction: We originally had the wrong giveaway information posted. Giveaway is for the candle bundle. Sorry for any confusion.

*Giveaway sponsored by the author

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The Book

 

The Tease

 

Crush started to laugh but the sound—and happiness—died in his throat as she—she!—suddenly appeared in front of Crush. Grinning.

Why was she here? Why? And why could he not shake this feline? Was this how antelopes felt when a cat ran them down? And why was she here ruining what should be one of the greatest nights of his goddamn life?

That was it. That was it! Never again would he ever have another Jell-O shot. In fact, no more liquor. Ever. Because clearly Crush would never be allowed to live down that one goddamn night—and he blamed the goddamn Jell-O shots!

Letting out a breath, Crush snarled, “You.

“Baby!” she cried out just before she attacked him, wrapping her arms around his waist. “Oh, baby, I’ve missed you!”

“I am not your baby.” He tried to pull her arms off him. “Away, female!”

“Aren’t you glad to see me?”

“No.”

Still wrapped around him like a spider monkey, the feline rested her chin on his chest and asked the small group, “Have you guys met the new man in my life?”

Blayne’s eyes grew wide, her smile huge, and Crush immediately knew he had to stop this.

“I am not the new…would you get off!”

“He’s shy,” the female felt the need to explain.

“I am not shy. You’re insane.” He finally pried her arms off his body and pushed her back. “Now stop harassing…” Crush studied her, his heart dropping. “Why…why are you dressed like that?”

She had on a Carnivore jersey, shoulder pads under that, hockey pants, socks, and shin pads.

“Why do you think I’m dressed like this?”

“Because hell has come to earth?”

She laughed and Novikov said, “You’re such a fan, figured you’d know Bare Knuckles Ma—”

“No!” And the grizzly and the hybrid male snarled a little at his outburst, both pulling their females back from the hysterical polar. “No, no, no, no!”

The feline’s grin was wide and happy. “Come on, baby, don’t be like that.”

“No! You cannot be Bare Knuckles Malone. You cannot be. You”—and he pointed at her with an accusing finger—“cannot be the daughter of the greatest player ever. And you cannot be the most feared enforcer in the league right now. You? No!

“I’m sensing I should be insulted by that tone.” The feline grinned. “But I’m not! Because I have such a giving and loving nature and you are just so cute. We will have such adorable cubs. And since I’m never home, my little girl”—she raised her hand barely to her waist to illustrate her child’s height—“can raise them.”

“I am not cute and I’m not having kids with you!”

“You guys, you guys.” Blayne slipped between the pair. “There’s no reason to be angry.”

“I’m not angry.” Flinging her arms out and turning in a circle like a little girl, the feline exclaimed, “I’m in love!

“That’s it.” Crush stepped away. “I’m leaving.”

“You can’t run from our love!”

 

The Blurb

Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy—especially for a shapeshifting bear. But once someone starts killing the scumbags he works so hard to bust, that really gets under his fur. Especially when that someone is a curvy she — tiger who’s bringing his passion out of hibernation…

Marcella Malone is a member of an elite feline protection unit, and Crush is proving one major pain in her gorgeous tail. The only reason she’s joined forces with him is to track down the wealthy human who’s got her entire species in his ruthless sights. But there’s no denying that beneath that big, burly exterior is a man who knows how to rub her in all the right ways…

Available March 27, 2012

shellylaurenston.com

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The Book

The Tease

“I didn’t mean to startle you. How long have you been here?”

“Fourteen bl-blessed days, sir. I think. One loses track of time when there is nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep and it rains every bl-blessed day when it isn’t snowing.

Andrew frowned. “Nothing to eat? Is there no housekeeper employed here?”

The girl looked at her boots. They were crusted with mud, and brown beneath that, too. “There was a woman. But she left.”

“She left?”

She raised her sharp little chin and looked straight into his eyes. “She left. Good riddance to her.”

Miss Peartree’s rather large eyes were, unsurprisingly, brown, but with a few flecks of gold. They were quite her best feature. It was impossible to tell what her figure was like beneath the swaths of fabric that she had fastened to herself with what looked like clothespins. Good thing the ferry would depart in the morning. This little baggage and her clothespins and her mud would be on it. Good riddance, indeed.

“I am afraid there has been another mix-up, Miss Peartree. I find my son and I do not have need of your services after all.”

Her wide eyes narrowed. “È figlio di una cagna.”

Andrew threw back his head and laughed. He may not have much Italian, but this impertinent little creature had just called him a son of a bitch. How right she was.

“Your assessment of my character is no doubt accurate. Be that as it may, Miss Peartree, I’m afraid I find you equally unsuitable to teach my son. I will make arrangements for your passage home tomorrow morning.”

She didn’t back down. “I have no home to go to. I need this job, Mr. Ross. I’m sorry if I seem—” She looked up to the unhelpful ceiling.

“Insubordinate? Filthy? Certainly disheveled. Whatever you are, I have every reason to believe you drove away my housekeeper.” Andrew wondered which one of the kindly hovering women he’d met at the landing she was.

“You try managing here for fourteen days when your trunk is lost and there isn’t one single person who speaks a bloody word of bloody English. I speak Italian, Mr. Ross. French. German. Latin and Greek, too, though just for translation. I may not understand Gaelic, but I’m certain Mrs. MacLaren called me a whore.”

“You? A whore? For a blind man, perhaps.”

She was remarkably quick, but then so was he. The stick merely grazed his left ear.

“You are definitely dismissed.” He was not going to be attacked in his own home by this little harpy. Why, if there was a constable on this rock he’d clap her in jail so fast her head would spin. He was about to tell her just that when she folded her arms over whatever it was she was wearing and spoke.

“I signed a contract with Baron Christie.”

“But I am not he.”

“He assured me he was acting as your representative. His fancy barrister Mr. Maclean drew up the agreement. At least that wasn’t stolen. It’s in my reticule.”

“I don’t care where the damn thing is. You are fired.”

She shook her head. If Andrew was not mistaken, she created a dust cloud. “I won’t go.”

“Oh,” Andrew said, stepping forward, “you will.”

Miss Peartree was spared from deciding to step back or throw something else by an unearthly howl.

“What is that?” she asked, seeming more alarmed by the cry of a two-and-a-half-year-old than the menacing sinner before her.

“My son.”

One of the men was bouncing Marc into the kitchen, trying in vain to stop the child’s hysterical tears. To wake in another strange place with even more strangers was the last straw for the poor little devil. Before Andrew could go to him, Miss Peartree ran across the floor.

Bambino, cosa c’e di spagliato? Povera bambino! E tutu bene,” she crooned, taking Marc and his blankets from the man. She put a grubby hand on his forehead. “Mr. Ross, your son is very hot.” Her hand lingered. “Burning up, actually. Poor mite. You need to light the stove so I can bathe him to get his fever down. Don’t boil the water, just heat it a little. Tell this man to get some kindling. What I foraged for won’t be nearly enough.”

Surely Marc was warm from sleep. From woolen blankets. From screaming his head off. “I brought peat,” Andrew said stupidly.

“I don’t care what his name is! Are you just going to stand there?”

No, he was not. He went back outside, and organized the men as best he could, cursing silently in every language known to him. Marc would be fine. He had to be. It was Miss Peartree who needed a bath.

The Blurb

Andrew Rossiter has used his gorgeous body and angelic face for all they’re worth—shocking the proper, seducing the willing, and pleasuring the wealthy. But with a young son depending on him for rescue, suddenly discretion is far more important than desire. He’ll have to quench his desires—fast. And he’ll have to find somewhere his scandalous reputation hasn’t yet reached…

Miss Gemma Peartree seems like a plain, virginal governess—or so she hopes. No matter how many sparks fly between them, she has too much to hide to catch Andrew’s eye. But with a stormy Scottish winter driving them together, it will be hard to keep her secrets. Especially when Andrew feels he has found the woman who can restore his soul—one kiss at a time…

Available March 27, 2012

www.maggierobinson.net

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