Review and Giveaway:My Wounded Soldier, Fight for Love by Diane Munier

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My Wounded Soldier – Book 2 : Fight for Love
by Diane Munier
Publication Date: August 8, 2015
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Cover Designer: Bookstylings

Synopsis

Tom Tanner has taken on a family. He lived through the war, but becoming a lover and pa to two small children may be the role that breaks him. This is the story of a man’s slow rise from black sheep to patriarch. 1866 is a time of learning to carry on in the aftermath of civil war. Tom is ready to heal, ready to take over Addie’s farm and make it a grand place. He has money from re-upping in the war and reward money for bringing a few notorious outlaws. Can Addie’s love help him settle and become an outstanding man like his pa? It’s the only fight worth making– a fight for love.

My Review:

Diane Munier has a way of telling honest, satisfying stories that contain profound wisdom. There’s not a thing she writes that I wouldn’t highly recommend. I read my ARC a couple of weeks back and I still have a book hangover. I’ve been casting about for something else of hers to read that’s new, which isn’t going to happen at the drop of my hat, so I’m just going to have to reread existing stories. Like this one.

 

This story is special, perhaps because Tom Tanner is such an admirable fellow (although not without his flaws). If one of my daughters brought home a guy like him (updating him to this century) I’d be pretty happy. He has enduring values that I like to see in a man. He’s not afraid of hard work, he’s smitten with his wife and he loves his children about as much. It’s fun to see him acquire an instant family. He doesn’t always know what to do as a husband or father, but he sorts things out quite nicely even though the process is a little rough at times.

 

I like his values. I like his thoughts on racial equality and suggesting opportunities to his friends. I like his relationship with the people of colour he encounters, and his willingness to change. And I like the way he focuses on the needs of other people –especially in his family.

 

Tom’s inner musings are just hilarious and most are endearing. And as well, there’s a scene in here between him and his father that had me not only weepy, but comforted by Tom’s long view.

 

So wonderful to have both these books on my shelf. Five stars.


Purchase Links

Amazon


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     CA – http://tiny.cc/3ctz0x

Excerpt

She told me of her mother then.  Greta.  She took in washing. And brought men home. And my wife, a slight girl scrubbing on the board.  That’s what I felt in her hands.  So sweetly shaped, so brined to the work.  A lady almost, but not in her marrow.  There, the laundry girl, the dirty laundry girl.  And the men.  Her learning to stand, given a knife by the neighbor woman. “Protect yourself,” the woman said. “No one else will.” And so she did, too young, too scared, too soon.  

Like Johnny.  He got took to the dark and it stabbed the tender in him and the dark came in.


I sat up and held her to me, stroking her hair while she told me.  I felt so many things with her, the fear, yes, the joy, yes.  The old wounds, yes.  The new wonder of it, yes.  The mother, and back more.  The girl, yes.  The little broken one, yes.  No man to ever rise up, and if he did, she met him with just herself and her brave eyes.  


“Lass,” I said, but only once.  I did not wish to let the pump run dry, for her words gifted me an understanding I had lacked.


I would be the pa to her sometimes.  I knew that now.  She wouldn’t want it much, but sometimes she would, almost like Johnny, me going back in her, me angry for her, saying what she knew and didn’t get a chance to rail about.  Letting her know I was here now.  I was here.


It was a part of it for us.  There was this little one in there still holding that knife, sometimes at me, yes that’s what I saw.  That knife she used and left in a man who tried to take her in an alley. That’s when she met him—her husband. She went in his store after the attack. He was kind. But God…he was weak. 


But that’s how he got in.  He wiped her face, but he was no hero.  She made him feel, and then he couldn’t find it in himself to love her.  She was something he hadn’t seen…too alive…too much of everything.


“I am not him,” I told her, and oh I was not.  The dark had its hands around my throat time and time, but it did not finish me.  I was just a man, but I stood tall.  Like it or don’t, I did the hard thing.


“I am Tom Tanner, your man,” I said, “the good of him, the ugly, too.  But I am not Richard Varn.  I have my own sins, but I do not carry the sins of another.  Nor will I,” I said, not sure what I meant by this speech, but I said it with force.


Other Books in the Series

My Wounded Soldier – Book 1 : Fight For Glory
by Diane Munier
Publication Date: July 4, 2015
Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

Wounded Soldier, Book One: Fight for Glory, is my newest offering on Amazon. This is the saga of Tom Tanner and his reluctant love for Addie Varner.

After he mustered out of the Twenty-Seventh, Tom never expected to follow the boys home to Illinois. Having failed to protect his older brother Garrett, Tom planned to take his wounds out west where a man could get lost under the endless sky. But his father prevailed on him to come home and comfort his grieving mother.

Tom had nearly filled his obligation when the neighbor boy came running and calling his name as he worked in the field. Johnny was the boy that looked like his mother, Mrs. Varn. Tom had seen the woman at meeting. She rattled him some for he’d not had a woman, just that one time and he’d been liquored up and taking a dare and were he to have one, she was not hardship to look at. But Johnny was calling for him. Tom knew the sounds of war. The country was rife with veterans, some looking for trouble instead of home. What Tom finds at the Varner’s farm offers him a new kind of battle, a new kind of glory trail.

I have been writing this story for fifteen years. In its various forms it has garnered attention in literary contests and with a number of writerly folks. But stuck in ‘bridesmaid,’ mode it has never really walked the aisle. Until now. I hope you give it a spin and maybe fall in love. 

Purchase Links

Amazon
(FREE Kindle Unlimited)

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     CA –  http://tiny.cc/inuz0x

Meet Diane Munier

Living comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.

Stalker Links



Giveaway

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TWCS Summer Romance Tour: Passion & Propriety

Summer Romance-Covers-2

Review: Passion and Propriety by Elise de Sallier

Summary:

There is absolutely nothing improper about Hannah Foster, the vicar of Hartley’s eldest and least pretty daughter, nursing the badly wounded Viscount Blackthorn back to health—that’s if the returned officer can be saved. At twenty-seven, she is two years the man’s senior, a confirmed spinster, and far too sensible to develop feelings for her patient. The fact he was once her childhood friend, has grown into a fine specimen of a man—his terrible scars notwithstanding—and seems as lost and lonely as she sometimes feels has no bearing on the matter.

 

Even if the unthinkable were to happen and the viscount was to see past her plain exterior and recognise the caring, intelligent, passionate woman beneath, he is determined to break the curse that has plagued his family for generations by letting his bloodline die out. Her best friend Grace’s warnings are moot; a man of Lord Blackthorn’s wealth and position would never be interested in a woman like Hannah . . . would he?

 

Returning to his childhood home, a place he’d vowed never to set foot in again, William doesn’t expect to survive the terrible wounds he received while fighting the French at Arapiles—certainly not with all his limbs intact. Bullied into making what can only be described as a miraculous recovery, William can’t decide if his nurse, the hazel-eyed woman with the lovely voice, is an angel or a devilish imp. She torments him, both with foul-tasting concoctions she insists on coaxing down his throat, and by showing him a taste of heaven . . . of what could have been . . . if he were not cursed by the sins of his forefathers.

 

Passion coverMy Review:

If you like Regency Romances, you’re probably going to love this story. I can’t promise that every detail is period-perfect because I don’t know enough about it, but it has a very good feel for that era and it’s easy to get lost in the story. I do know that the British aristocratic titles are used correctly (which is saying something!)

But the best thing about this book is the characters. We have a viscount who is determined to let his wicked line die out because of a family curse. He’s so adamant about it that he remains chaste and unmarried at the age of twenty-five. And then, we have a 27-year-old spinster who is equally stubborn and terribly opposed to his views. Each manages to shock the other in a multitude of ways. Obviously, they belong together.

The supporting cast and the settings are great and it’s interesting to get immersed in the small details of life in the various social classes. Some of the scenes that play out with other characters are positively hysterical.

This is a book that I own and have reread at least four times without tiring of it. As it’s part of the summer tour, it’s a great time for you to grab a copy. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too. Five stars.

 

Buy Link:

http://publishinghouse.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/books/detail/163

 

Author Bio:

edesallierElise met the love of her life when she was only sixteen, married him three years later, and recently celebrated her thirtieth wedding anniversary. Needless to say, she is a big believer in living Happily Ever After. With a lifetime’s worth of experience behind her, Elise also believes great relationships don’t just happen, they take work . . . which doesn’t mean writing about them can’t be a whole lot of fun.

After surviving all manner of health obstacles while raising a family and nursing her elderly grandmother—her writing namesake, though she’d have been shocked by her granddaughter’s steamy love scenes—Elise established a career as a counselor and family therapist. Seeking an escape from the stresses of her work, she discovered the world of fan fiction, and her timid writer’s muse began to make its voice heard. Two point three million hits, twelve and a half thousand reviews, and an email from an acquisitions editor at The Writer’s Coffee Shop later, and Elise’s life found a new and fascinating direction.

A romantic fiction addict from way back, writing her own historical and paranormal romances—and having others read and fall in love with her characters and the worlds she creates—is a dream come true. Elise likes to see her characters grow, experience passion and adventure, tackle some difficult issues, and find lasting love . . . eventually.

 

Connect:

http://publishinghouse.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/authors/detail/68

 

 

 

My Wounded Soldier, Fight for Glory: Diane Munier

My Wounded Soldier_Diane Munier banner

1866
All across the country men are drifting home from the war. But when Tom Tanner musters out, he doesn’t plan to go home. He has been working in the brickyard in Springfield trying to save enough money to buy a rig and head west. He’s not expecting his father to show up and plead with him to return to the farm. After the horrible loss of his older brother, Tom doesn’t feel worthy of the family’s company. But his guilt won’t allow him to cause them more pain and so he goes home for one last visit. It’s hard to find normal around the folks. The work of harvest provides the perfect distraction. Once the crops are in he’ll go so far away they’ll never have to look at him again. But his plans are challenged one day. Tom is working in the field when the neighbor boy, Johnny, comes running for help. What Tom finds at the neighbor’s home is a scene right out of the war. But it’s not just about killing. The Missus Addie Varn, is ready to birth. Tom wants to run, and he will come fall, but now he must roll up his sleeves and play midwife.

‘My Wounded Soldier Book Two: Fight for Love’ will be available for Pre-order July 4th. So, celebrate with family and fireworks, start reading My Wounded Soldier Book 1, and stop by this Facebook event page  to hear a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!  Exciting stuff is happening!

Additionally, there will be a Facebook Release Party on June 9th, hosted by Jedigirlsc and Frannie Flower. Please add the three of us as friends on Facebook to keep up with all the news.

 

My Wounded Soldier Buy Links

Amazon

 

My Wounded Soldier Bio

Diane profile picLiving comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.

My Wounded Soldier Connect

Website: www.dianemunier.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dianemunierauthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dianemunier
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianemunier

 

Blog Blitz: Darnay Road by Diane Munier

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Synopsis

Starts out in summer of 1963. Sweet little ten-year-old Catholic school girl Georgia Christine meets eleven-year-old smoker with armpit hair who really does live on the wrong side of the tracks Easy. She and Abigail May are mystery solvers, The Darnay Spies, in their spare time, and Easy Caghan (E.C.) and his brother Cap will keep these two little ladies on their sleuthing toes. Darnay Road leads them into a future where their childish friendship blooms into love. Will the Vietnam War be the one challenge they can’t overcome?

 

Excerpt copy(1)

Easy is digging in the high pocket on his jacket. He gets out a velvet box and hands it to me. “I told you I’d get you something, right?” he says. He just seems so serious. He hands me this box. I look at him before I open it and smile but he doesn’t smile back.

“Go on,” he says meaning I should open the box, and I do and it’s a ring with an opal. I know it is because I love opals very much and he says it. “It’s an opal.”

I take it out and it fits just right.

“Abigail May told me the size,” he says.

Well she didn’t spill the beans at all. I put it on my finger and I keep my hand in a fist because my nails are just plain Jane. I don’t do much to them unless Abigail May and I do it together, but we haven’t lately.

“Thank you,” I say. I look at him. “Thank you,” I say again because he can’t have much money and there are a million places.

He takes in a big breath. “Well I wanted to,” he says.

I look at his lips and he leans a little and kisses me. I am overcome.

“Easy,” I whisper. I’ve got tears.

“What’s the matter?” he says low.

“I…,” I laugh a little, “never thought I’d get a ring from you in Disbro’s truck.” That’s not what I was going to say, I don’t know what I was going to say, but it’s the truth about this truck.

He laughs too. “Yeah. I’m just looking for time with you when they aren’t all around.”

It has been that way. We’re being watched.

Buy Links copy(1)

 All of Diane’s available works can be found on her Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/dianemunier

1Finding My Thunder Coverdarnay-road-cover

 

Bio copy(1)

Living comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.

 

Connect copy(2)

Website: www.dianemunier.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dianemunierauthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dianemunier
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianemunier

 

 

 

 

 

Character Interview + Giveaway: Eire’s Devil King by Sandi Layne

 

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PRESENTS. . .

Éire’s Devil King

Book 3 of Éire’s Viking Trilogy

by Sandi Layne

EDK-Hi-Res-Cover

Release Date: April 2 , 2015

Genre: FICTION / Historical Fiction Time Periods/ Medieval / Viking

ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-376-8

Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

~~SUMMARY~~

A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis Erlingrson has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife in Nordweg, he takes his surviving son to Éire. Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.

Agnarr is torn. His promise to Aislinn to remain with her on Éire is still in force, and he resists Tuirgeis’s requests to join the conquering forces from Nordweg. He desires above all things to maintain a safe home for his wife and children in Dal Fíatach. Charis encourages Cowan to do the same, though this makes for tense moments between them.EDK-3D-Open-Book-2

After initial disastrous attempts to achieve his ambition, Tuirgeis comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals. Tuirgeis finds himself at odds with the very people he had hoped would reinforce him. In addition, he wants to establish his father-line. He has one son; he wants another to be born of Éire. Will the woman of his choice accept and support him?

At length, Agnarr and Aislinn—though she is heavy with child—sail with Cowan and Charis to join Tuirgeis as he battles over one final summer to attain the High Kingship of the island.

Tuirgeis knows he doesn’t have long to make his claims; the Danes are coming in greater numbers than before. As he wins men of Éire to his cause, he has to maintain the relationships he has already fostered with Agnarr and Cowan. Charis finds that her Otherworldly gifts are needed by a man she considers her enemy.

 

~~EXCERPT~~

It was dark in the langhús, save for the glowing of the coals banked in the fire ring. Agnarr enjoyed his wife’s responsiveness to him, and when they made love, he never forgot to thank his new God for letting her live through the births of the children their bodies made together. Before the sun crept under the door and through the shutters over the new windows, they were smiling and silent and relishing the moments—he knew there would only be moments—before the children stirred in the bench-bed they shared.

Later, as their son and daughter began shifting restlessly prior to awakening, Agnarr sat up and blew out a breath. “Wife.”

“Yes, husband?” She joined him, finding his hand with hers in the shadowy enclosure of their private area.

EDK-3D-Paperback-1“We need to be ready. You need to be ready. You and the children.”

She sighed and shifted on the blankets so that she was looking directly at him. As was her habit, she continued to touch him with her fingers as she spoke. “I can fight. And you gave Dow a real knife at the Christ Mass.”

Discomfort tightened his stomach as he shook his head. “You need to be able to escape, just in case.” He knew far too well what would happen if someone found his attractive wife. Someone whom he didn’t know. Someone who would find her dark hair appealing and the tatú on her cheek mysterious and alluring. Someone who would want to take her as their leman, as he had once taken Charis.

Someone who might take his son as a slave.

Jaw tightening in anger, he shook his head again. Hard. “You know what can happen to you.” Her eyes were on his face, and he met their steady gaze. “And the children. You need to be able to get away. We should find a way to make you safe.”

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: TUIRGEIS (Too-irh-gase)

d. 845AD

Hello, Tuirgeis, why have you come to Éire?

*bows briefly and eyes Jess up and down* Heill, lady.

I am in hopes that speaking with you will bring some to understanding why I came, and for that I thank you. Éire, this Green Isle, is a healthy land. Rich in soil and its people. I came first, I will tell you honestly, because of the bounty I could take away with me. Long years ago, that was.

 

Viking storm shipBut after my fellow Ostman, Agnarr Halvardson—Have you met him?

I have!

After Agnarr came to settle here, I saw that there were many more opportunities here than I knew. And I saw that they had a king. I felt I could be a king. I could be their king, and I would hold the land with more strength than had been known before. There are no kings in Nordweg, so I sought the triumph here.

 

The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry

It seems that some of your men would sooner raid than befriend the locals. Do they not see the benefits of coming peacefully to this place?

Well.

My men, you see, are accustomed to raiding. As I was. As was any man who sought the glory of battle and Valhalla. *he eyes Jess again with a lifted brow* This is how they have lived and change, as I have learned, is difficult to make in one’s training. The notion of not raiding, but rather of staying and finding the wealth and opportunities of this island has not come easily. Many of my men would prefer to take their treasure and return home. This is how it has been done and it makes sense to us.

Only the best are staying with me, here. *nods*

 

Viking godsDo you have a particular god that you honour?

I do look to Odin, the All Father. His wisdom was hard-won and his strength is unequalled.

 

Warriors killed in battle go to Valhalla. What happens to other men, women and children when they die?

*nods, looking serious and thoughtful* When my wife Otta died, she went to Helheim. Of this, I am certain. Helheim is the dwelling of the goddess Hel and is in the mountains of the Otherworld. She will remain there with other ladies of rank and bravery. Others who die will find themselves in Fólkvanger, which is what you would call the Field of the People. It is a place where we go and are in company with others. No one is alone in the Otherworld.

 

Are the Éiremen very strange to you?

The men of Éire are not all that different from the men of Nordweg, no, save that they worship the Man-God of the Christians. And they build odd round houses that have no order. There is my brother’s wife, Charis, though. She is very strange. A different woman. She is intriguing and maddening and the strangest person I have met in Éire.

 

Tell us about your wyrd.

*Lifts a brow* What about my wyrd?

Every man has his wyrd, Lady. The destiny known from the Norns. I have always known it was my destiny to lead others. *nods* In Nordweg, I did so with the consent of those who did look to me. The gods smile on those who seek glory, so I sought more here in Éire and found my destiny on the isle. It is clear to me that taking Cowan as my trell was as much for my wyrd as it was for his. I came to find a brother in him. A brother of another leader.

Is it not obvious? My wyrd has been fulfilled.

 

Beautiful woman with curly long hairstyle against black backgroundYou wanted a local woman to marry and bear you children. Is this with the aim of integration?

Yes. A son of Éire would be more accepted by the men of Éire for the future of my father-line. He would have ties to the Ostmen, who would come to respect him, and to the Éiremen, who would know his blood came from Éire.

Why Ide?

*he offers a slanted smile, a light in his eyes* Ide is beautiful. She is not a young girl, but an experienced widow, and highly desirable. Who would not want such a woman? And do you not know that she is well-connected? She would be an asset to any man seeking alliance with the kings of the North in Éire.

Besides, I have always admired women with red hair. They bring fire to a man’s bed. *nods*

 

https://ivonakaplan.wordpress.com/category/women-warriors/

https://ivonakaplan.wordpress.com/category/women-warriors/

You seem very interested in Charis.

Charis, yes. *shifts, looks thoughtful but wary* When Agnarr first took her, many years past, she chose to obey me when she would not heed him. Did you know that? They called her the moonbeam healer. I have never seen color in her cheeks.

She is a remarkable woman. I’ve seen her fight. I’ve seen her heal. I’ve seen her bear the trials the gods send us and she is more stubborn than any three men.

*purses lips* She was a widow and is married to my brother, but if she had borne children to the men that were her husbands? I would have fought to make her mine. *he chuckles ruefully* Of course, she would have had a thing to say about that, indeed. But. Still. I think I could have won her, had I tried.

I did not try. But that does not mean I would have failed.

Monk Eadwine 1150 CanteburyWhat do you hope history remembers about you?

I have found a bard, a man of Éire who will tell of my deeds. He was a monk of this island, but he is well able to talk to my men. It is his task to record my deeds so that others will know of them. Their sons and their sons’ sons.

I would hope that these sons’ sons will know of my courage and strength in battle. They will know of my successes in uniting the men of Éire and Nordweg to become one people. David Joseph will tell how I was able to bring together the leaders of the North with those near Dubh Linn and be their Ard Ri – their High King. How I kept the land safe from the invasions of the Danes, and how I opened trade routes with those across the seas. I have the best navigators with me, and they will make us rich.

And I would hope that when I die and go to Valhalla to join my fathers, that the stories will say I did so bravely.

It is all any warrior could wish.

Goodreads * Add to Want To Read List

 

~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

95366-sandiAward winning author of short Celtic fiction, Sandi Layne is the creator of the Éire’s Viking Trilogy, as well as works of contemporary Christian romance.

She began by self-publishing her novels in 2000, garnering a loyal group of readers whom she continues to appreciate to this day.

Married for more than twenty years to a fantastic man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.

If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter. She invites you to visit her online space at http://sandyquill.com.

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~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~

 

Praise for Éire’s Viking Trilogy

 

“If you are looking for a read that makes history read real, this is the series for you.” – Kathie on Goodreads
“This is how historical fiction should be done. … love was a deep and abiding theme, as was loyalty to family and leaders. Bonds will be tested and hearts will be broken.” – Lissa Bryan

 

 

~~OTHER TITLES IN THE SERIES~~
 

Cover Reveal: Eire’s Devil King by Sandi Layne

 

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PRESENTS. . .

A Cover Reveal for

Éire’s Devil King

Book 3 of Éire’s Viking Trilogy

by Sandi Layne

EDK-Hi-Res-Cover

Release Date: April 2 , 2015

~~SUMMARY~~

A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis Erlingrson has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife in Nordweg, he takes his surviving son to Éire. Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.

Agnarr is torn. His promise to Aislinn to remain with her on Éire is still in force, and he resists Tuirgeis’s requests to join the conquering forces from Nordweg. He desires above all things to maintain a safe home for his wife and children in Dal Fíatach. Charis encourages Cowan to do the same, though this makes for tense moments between them.EDK-3D-Open-Book-2

After initial disastrous attempts to achieve his ambition, Tuirgeis comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals. Tuirgeis finds himself at odds with the very people he had hoped would reinforce him. In addition, he wants to establish his father-line. He has one son; he wants another to be born of Éire. Will the woman of his choice accept and support him?

At length, Agnarr and Aislinn—though she is heavy with child—sail with Cowan and Charis to join Tuirgeis as he battles over one final summer to attain the High Kingship of the island.

Tuirgeis knows he doesn’t have long to make his claims; the Danes are coming in greater numbers than before. As he wins men of Éire to his cause, he has to maintain the relationships he has already fostered with Agnarr and Cowan. Charis finds that her Otherworldly gifts are needed by a man she considers her enemy.

 

~~EXCERPT~~

It was dark in the langhús, save for the glowing of the coals banked in the fire ring. Agnarr enjoyed his wife’s responsiveness to him, and when they made love, he never forgot to thank his new God for letting her live through the births of the children their bodies made together. Before the sun crept under the door and through the shutters over the new windows, they were smiling and silent and relishing the moments—he knew there would only be moments—before the children stirred in the bench-bed they shared.

Later, as their son and daughter began shifting restlessly prior to awakening, Agnarr sat up and blew out a breath. “Wife.”

“Yes, husband?” She joined him, finding his hand with hers in the shadowy enclosure of their private area.

EDK-3D-Paperback-1“We need to be ready. You need to be ready. You and the children.”

She sighed and shifted on the blankets so that she was looking directly at him. As was her habit, she continued to touch him with her fingers as she spoke. “I can fight. And you gave Dow a real knife at the Christ Mass.”

Discomfort tightened his stomach as he shook his head. “You need to be able to escape, just in case.” He knew far too well what would happen if someone found his attractive wife. Someone whom he didn’t know. Someone who would find her dark hair appealing and the tatú on her cheek mysterious and alluring. Someone who would want to take her as their leman, as he had once taken Charis.

Someone who might take his son as a slave.

Jaw tightening in anger, he shook his head again. Hard. “You know what can happen to you.” Her eyes were on his face, and he met their steady gaze. “And the children. You need to be able to get away. We should find a way to make you safe.”

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~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

95366-sandi

Award winning author of short Celtic fiction, Sandi Layne is the creator of the Éire’s Viking Trilogy, as well as works of contemporary Christian romance.

She began by self-publishing her novels in 2000, garnering a loyal group of readers whom she continues to appreciate to this day.

Married for more than twenty years to a fantastic man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.

If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter. She invites you to visit her online space at http://sandyquill.com.

 

~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~

 

~~OTHER TITLES IN THE SERIES~~

 

 

Under These Restless Skies Tour: Interview with King Henry VIII

Under These Restless Skies By 

Lissa Bryan 


Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS

Summary: 
 
Will Somers has always thought himself unlovable. When he encounters a creature of myth and magic, he seizes the chance to finally have a wife and family of his own. Emma is a selkie—one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea—bound to Will by the magic of her kind, and eager to learn about life on land. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, because Will is headed for the court of Henry VIII, to serve as the king’s fool. It’s a glittering, dangerous world, where a careless word can lead to the scaffold and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications. Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naïveté and soothing selkie magic and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect his newfound love from the dangers that lurk in every shadow? Circa regna tonat: around the throne, the thunder rolls.

Author Bio:


Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medallist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist, who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.


 

 

 

 

Interview with His Majesty, King Henry VIII:

Ah, noble readers, today we are graced with the presence of His Majesty, King Henry VIII.

 Henry VIII 2

Good day, Your Majesty. How fare you?

Well as always, Lady Brown. Those of us chosen by God are rich in His blessings.

I understand you have recently received the gift of a fool named Will Somers. What is he like?

He’s an odd one, that Will Somers, and I speak not of his crooked back. He spends his free time in the company of that wife of his, and does not seek the company of other ladies, if you understand my meaning. Material wealth also seems to mean little to him. He gives away what coin he has— and not in bribes or gifts to seek advancement, but to the poor. Did you hear how he tricked Cranmer out of one hundred pounds? And what did he do with it? He went straight out of the house and distributed it to the poor at the gates of the archbishop’s palace.

I cannot understand it. Any man can be bought, but I have yet to find his price.

Are Will and Patch very different?

Patch is a “natural,” my lady. Surely you know the difference? His wits are addled. Cardinal Wolsey gave him to me as a gift before Wolsey’s … unpleasant situation occurred. Wolsey valued the fool highly, for whatever reason… Methinks Wolsey used to have him sing. But I have singers enough. Patch is far more amusing when the court is teasing him. ‘Tis almost as amusing as a bear baiting to watch him become befuddled. But Emma has spoiled that of late, marching in whenever she sees Patch upset and putting a stop to it. No matter. There are always other entertainments.

Will is an “artificial” fool, one who tells jokes and the like to entertain the court. His wit is keen, and he has a way of putting things into perspective for me that makes my troubles seem lesser. And so I indulge his fancies, such as setting someone free from prison or buying a cloak for a beggar.

detail937

Will is married, is he not? What manner of woman marries a fool?

As to why such a woman would end up as the wife of a fool, I can only conclude the girl’s father must have been deeply in debt, and sold her hand in marriage to Will. For a time, I thought Emma was half-addled herself, because she seemed to know naught of court life, or the way a woman should behave. Certainly, Emma’s father put little effort into raising her properly, because she does not know to drop her gaze in the presence of a man, or defer to him. Her manner is as bold as that of a man, and seems to feel herself equal to her husband. Will is so besotted, he seems content to allow her to wander about in that delusion.

Nor has she any notion of the natural order of the world. Just the other day, I espied her in conversation with one of the charwomen. I tried to explain to Will that it is unseemly for a servant of the queen to be seen in the company of such a lowly creature, but he merely shrugged and said she is kind to all. Bah, what can you expect from a fool?detail454

 

Is Emma Somers fair?

Long have I puzzled over this. She is not the most beautiful woman of my court, nor is she the most blessed by grace, or artful in manners. Yet there is something about her that draws my eye…

Your Majesty allows Will to call you ‘Uncle Hal’. Is it customary to grant servants such favours?

Fools are different, Lady Brown. They are somewhat between a relative and a pet. Formality cannot be expected from most of them, especially the witless, like Patch, and so they are excused from it.

Having lost most of my family, ‘tis pleasant to hear an endearment again. If only I could be so close to my own son, Henry FitzRoy, but the boy is sickly and cannot stay long at court. And my daughter … Well, Will says she may get her stubbornness from her father.

Court gossip has it that Will Somers promised Your Majesty that he would always tell you the truth. Is this true? Was his promise amusing?

Verily, methinks that man doesn’t know how to lie. And what is a promise to a fool, anyway? No more than a promise to a woman.

Does Your Majesty consider Will more than a servant?

I suppose he is ‘family’ of a sort, which is why I had him included in several of my portraits. I have given him a chamber of his own, but if he were unmarried, he would sleep with the hounds on the floor by the fire, as Patch does.

henrydetail9

It is just past the day of St. Valentine. What thinks the king of Cupid and his arrows?

I have been struck by the dart of love many times. Why, only recently, I noticed a fair maiden of the court, and it seems God’s will is leading me toward her…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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Other novels by Lissa Bryan

 
                                                  Ghostwriter                The End of all Things
Short stories by Lissa Bryan

 

                                             Tales From The End   The Golden Arrow and The Butterfly

Coming soon The Land of the Shadow 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Character Interview: Eire’s Viking by Sandi Layne

Eires-Viking-Large-Blog-Tour-Banner

 

 

Éire’s Viking Character Interview with Agnarr

Agnarr Halvardson is a Viking from Nordweg –an Ostman. We have the pleasure of his company today.

Hello, Agnarr! I enjoy visiting different countries and learning about their cultures and trades. You’ve traveled a lot. Do you enjoy those things?

Different people did not interest me. I wanted only to gain wealth through what they had and take it back to my family, my village.

When did you first realize you belonged in Éire?

*He blows out a breath and rocks on the balls of his feet.*  The first time I saw the land, I knew it would make a good home for me and my family, if they would come. I wanted to return for the land. Having met Cowan—I knew that the men there were much like the men I knew in Balestrand. I felt I could make a life for myself. And so I have.

Let’s split straws: did you return for Éire or Eir?

Straws? I do not split straws. It is a waste of time. Do not tell Cowan, but his wife, my former trell, was the first reason I returned, ja. I thought my wyrd—my fate—was to be with her. I was wrong. *Shrugs* This does not happen often.

Are names significant to you? What does your name mean?

Names? They are names. The one a man earns is significant, but the one he gains from his father is how he is known. My name means I am fierce in battle.

viking-swords 7th to 11th centuries

Was it challenging for you to learn Gaelic?

Ja! *Shakes his head* But there was no choice.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?

Strangest? Strangest thing I have yet seen was a thunderstorm in midwinter. *Grimacing, he rolls his shoulders.* It was uncanny.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen?

Watching a man grown attack a gate with his head. Erik the Hard-Headed earned his name well, that day.

How much of the Viking culture is influenced by the struggle to survive harsh conditions?

My people are strong. We are strong, I think, because of the land in which we are born.  Culture? Our way of life? I do not know for certain, but I do know that not many from warmer countries could survive in Nordweg. Our stories tell of our forefathers, the gods, and they teach good lessons. Would we need these lessons if we lived in a softer climate? I do not know. But I have heard many stories in Éire, and they are very different from what I grew up hearing.

(Note from Sandi: Sorry, Jess – Agnarr doesn’t quite get the concept of culture, but he did his best. lol)

Exhibition_in_Viking_Ship_Museum,_Oslo_01

The daily routine on a skipniu must be grueling. Can you share what it was like?

*Grins at her use of the proper term.* Well, the rowing is grueling, ja. We sit on chests or benches and row as the sun climbs in the sky. But when the sails are full, we sit. We wait. It is dirty, on a skipniu, and a man gets tired of salted fish. It is crowded, too, when we have had a good raid.

How many raids would a man take part in before retiring?

Eh. It is not the raids, but the summers away. Each man has his own destiny to follow. Some die before they reach the shore, others grow old enough to rest by the fire or go fishing.

Do you count age by years? Seasons? Who is considered old?

*Flexes his arms – just a little.* We are civilized and count by years. When a man has seen fifty years, he is considered old. I, myself, am in my middle years, as I am over thirty.

How is it determined if a couple may marry and at what age do most people marry for the first time?

A girl may marry for the first time by the age of sixteen, unless there is something wrong with her. It is the duty of her father to find her a husband, and he does so by conferring with men of age or by the fathers of younger men. It is a fair business, and we say that once a woman is wedded, she is then to be dreaded. *chuckles* It is usually a woman who will end a marriage. It is not hard for her to do, if she has cause.

What are the rules of courtship?

A man and a woman, once betrothed, may not spend time alone together. It is unseemly. It is very different in Éire, I’ve found, and I think the Éire-landers make more sense. A man has to have money for his bride, both for the bride price and for the morning after the wedding. *winks*

The Vikings consider marriage to be a permanent relationship, quite independent of emotion. How does one pick a wife? What traits are most admired?

It is a permanent relationship unless the husband does not do his duty for the wife. Then she may divorce him. I, however, will not fail my wife in any way. *nods* Marriage is for the mutual support of the families, you know. It is not a personal thing – it is for all of them. A bride will always belong to her family, so if she goes to a man, her family wants him to be of good standing, so that will improve their status as well. Halvard’s family has always had high status among our people, for example, and there were many fathers who wished to wed their daughters to Halvard’s sons.

A wife’s chief duty is to see to it that the family has food and clothing to last during our long winters. Within the walls of the langhús, she has authority and control in that regard. So if the girl is smart, good with her loom, and can make good cheeses, she is a good candidate for a wife.

What is the average family size in the communities where you’ve lived? Are families in Nordweg smaller than families in Éire? Is that due to the weather?

It is a true thing that fully one out of every three people born in Nordweg do not reach an age of maturity. This is why I am settling in Éire. There is better land and a longer growing season—one could see that by seeing what the Islanders stored for the winters, there. It is a prosperous land. I have seen many more small children in Éire than I was accustomed to seeing in Nordweg. I plan on having many, myself. *nods*

Why do you suppose Charis and Cowan did not adopt more children?

Who knows why Charis does or does not do anything? *shrugs* The woman makes no sense to me. *He smiles reflectively.* It is possible that they found Aislinn to be a handful all on her own…

Vikings seem to have less restrictive gender roles than many more modern societies. Would you agree?

The women of Nordweg are very strong and do have much control in society, yes. As to modern? What is modern? I think they do well, and they do not complain.

Is falling in love considered disadvantageous or is it merely odd?

Love? A feeling? This is something I am still trying to understand. Love is not good sense. A woman loves her children. Her parents. But it is not beneficial and serves no purpose for a warrior. Aislinn, though, finds this feeling to be important. I still do not know why.

medieval hair viking we heart it

Tell us about Aislinn.

*His expression stills for a moment before he frowns, though there is a twinkle in his eye.* She is a kvinn medisin – a healer. She would say a physician. She is a good one, too. I have not seen her make cheese, but she does do fine spinning and weaving. Through Cowan, she is related to a king of her people. I was surprised when I found she was unwed, but they do things differently in Éire.

At first, I thought she was a goddess. I learned differently soon. She is much like Charis and I do not want to touch the sharp edge of her tongue. *He allows himself a small smile, here.*

I do think she would make a good wife. She is tall and strong and would bear fine sons, I am sure of it. *shrugs* I am setting aside gold for a bride price, but her father will not compel her to wed me. I will have to convince her on my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summary: 
 
Ten years after Charis marries Cowan at the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, Agnarr Halvardson returns to the Green Island—this time, to stay.  He wants what any man wants:  To make a life for himself, wed, and have sons.
Before he can express these goals, he is injured and taken to Bangor Monastery.  There, Aislinn—adopted daughter of Cowan and Charis—treats him as a patient while she ignores the immediate attraction he holds for her.
Agnarr decides Aislinn would be a good wife for him as she teaches him her language and customs. She commands his respect and wins his affection. The past is just one barrier of many between them, however.
There are new invaders to Éire. Pledging his loyalty to the new king of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home while persuading Aislinn to be his wife.
Success or failure will affect the lives of many.
Author Bio:
There are many profiles that detail the author’s lifelong dream of authorship being realized with the publication of their first novel or short story.  This is not one of those profiles.
To make an exceedingly odd story moreso, Sandi Layne had no wish to be a writer, but went through a storyline bootcamp in the form of strange dreams for a month and took careful notes.  Fifteen years later, she’s still writing stories that veer slightly off the beaten path, both in Christian and historical fiction.
Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends.  Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research.  With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.  She invites you to visit her online space athttp://sandyquill.com. Bring coffee.
Connect with Sandi Layne on 
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An Interview with Vera Nazarian

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   CobwebBride-smallCobweb Empire coverBuying links:

http://astore.amazon.com/veranazariafanta

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Vera Nazarian immigrated to the USA from the former USSR as a kid, sold her first story at the age of 17, and since then has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, and has been translated into eight languages.

She is a two-time Nebula Award Nominee, an award-wining artist, member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the author of critically acclaimed novels Dreams of the Compass Rose, Lords of Rainbow, humorous parodies Mansfield Park and Mummies and more, in her Supernatural Jane Austen Series, and most recently, Cobweb Bride.

After many years in Los Angeles, Vera lives in a small town in Vermont, and uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art.

 Vera Nazarianhttp://veranazarian.com

 

Interview:

Vera Nazarian, as a writer, builds worlds much as CS Lewis, Tolkien and LeGuin have done. Cobweb Bride and Cobweb Empire are so well-drawn that I can see them play like a movie in my head. These stories are a new take on the Persephone myth, with a European flair and not a small dose of wit. I feel very fortunate to be able to pick Vera’s brain today. Trust me, there are many more questions I’d like her to answer, but I’m not going to ruin the books for you!

 

Jess: The first thing we see is the map. Did you make it yourself?

First of all, Jess, thanks so much for the fun interview questions, and it’s a pleasure to be here! Yes, the map is my own artwork, and there are two versions of it, slightly different, in books one and two, which you can see here on the Cobweb Bride official website, side-by-side.

In addition to being a writer, I am also an award-wining artist. I work in oil on canvas, pen and pencil, colored pencil, and a variety of other physical world media including sculpture, dollmaking and other crafts. I also do software graphic design, including most of my own book covers. Also, I self-illustrate the interior of many of my books, including the Supernatural Jane Austen Series. (Interior pen and ink, sample illo #1, illo #2, illo #3, illo#4.)

Some of my oil-on-canvas artwork can be seen here:

http://www.sff.net/people/vera.nazarian/museum.htp

 

Jess: You made the covers? *faints* They’re gorgeous. Are you always such a visual thinker?

I think it comes with the territory of being an artist, which you can understand, being an artist yourself. Unless I see the scene and the characters I am creating, I don’t feel grounded in the material I am writing, so I tend to write with flourishes and verbal color, in order to paint the images before your mind’s eye. Things and people visually come alive before they start to live and breathe.

Jess: That’s true, although I’m a dabbler compared to you. I see my characters and frequently their mannerisms tell me who they are. And your characters have a very European feel. Why did you decide to invent an alternate Renaissance-era country instead of using an existing one?

Believe it or not, the answer to this question requires for me to enter major spoiler territory for the whole Cobweb Bride trilogy. The Realm and the Domain and all the lesser kingdoms they contain are tied very closely to the heart of the story. So I am going to suggest that the readers ask me this question again, after they’ve read all three of the books. Yes, I know, sneaky and tantalizing as this may be, it’s all I can say!

Jess: LOL! Well, I like being kept on my toes. The body of your published work seems quite variegated; you don’t stick to one genre (except that I notice you like to meld a pair of genres together, such as fairy tale and dystopia in this case, and romance, parody and the paranormal in others). Has this affected your choice of publishing method?

I tend to write literature of the fantastic, or what I call wonder fiction. This includes speculative fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, alternate historical milieus, and anything that piques the imagination. For the most part this means that I write what I want as long as it serves the story that begs to be told. Usually I like to wrap our ordinary world and our normal mundane reality into magic, wonder and metaphor. That can mean supernatural elements and whole other worlds created from scratch, mythical, legendary, and mind-blowing.

In my first novel Dreams of the Compass Rose, in the arabesque vein of The One Thousand and One Nights, I created an ancient world with its own unique mythology. In my novel Lords of Rainbow, I created a world without color. In my Supernatural Jane Austen Series I’ve blended history, wit, humor, and satire with outrageous supernatural elements. Because so many things I write are cross-genre and hard to place in a usual marketing category, I find that they really lend themselves to self-publishing. For the same reason, much of my traditionally published work is less of a “weird genre blend” and more clearly categorized as fantasy or science fiction or other delineated genre.

Jess: You were first published over twenty years ago. How has the industry changed, in your estimation?

Oh, yes, the difference is immense. Back when I made my first sale as a high school kid some time in 1984—it was a fantasy short story to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s second volume of the anthology Sword and Sorceress, and the book itself came out in 1985—back in those days there was the traditional marketplace, and self-publishing carried a huge stigma of “lesser quality.” If you were a “real” writer, you wrote and submitted your work to magazines, anthologies, and major publishers or collegiate small presses and literary houses, to be published in tangible paper print, hardcover trade paperback, or mass-market paperback. And that was it.

Now, fast-forward to 2013, and ebooks have arrived, everyone is either a hybrid author (both traditionally and self-published) such as myself, or an Indie (self published or independent). The meanings of these terms are very much in flux even now, and almost no one is strictly one thing or the other, because of the advent of digital publishing and the rise of Amazon. Indeed, Amazon single-handedly changed the face of publishing by levelling the playing field for all writers and providing a publishing platform that allows authors to bypass the third party middleman gatekeeper (agent, publisher) and release their work directly to the readers. This resulted in a kind of new Golden Age of Publishing in general, and specifically, the Golden Age of Self Publishing. In many ways this also resulted in a glut of material being published, both good and bad, from trashy to sublime. But the exciting thing is, now the good, truly original stuff is no longer languishing for decades on author laptops but is out there and can be found, if you take the time to look for it!

Image courtesy of khunaspix at freedigitalphoto.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix at freedigitalphoto.net

Jess: It’s certainly a fascinating time in which to write. How do you come up with names?

I think names are hugely important. As a speaker of many languages (Russian and Armenian native speaker, plus studied English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and German), I have a deep and profound awareness and respect for roots of words and their origins, and also for the sound and cadence of each name as it is uttered in its native language. I sound names out, dip into my own well of experience with world literature and cultural history, and come up with names that sound right for characters to whom they belong, and properly reflect the time period. In the Cobweb Bride books, the names are a combination of Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian) and some German.

Jess: What intrigues you about this myth? In the original, Persephone’s the daughter of Zeus, abducted by his brother (her uncle) Hades, who wants her for his bride and takes her by force. After some scrapping within the family (none of whose members act very maturely), Hades offers Persephone some power and she is ‘overjoyed’ to accept her place as his wife. You don’t draw from this arc, but from the Demeter arc. The original myth exists in order to logically explain the existence of winter. You’ve turned that on its side and Death now is on strike, so nothing expires, including plants. Eventually, if Death doesn’t get his way, every living thing on Earth is going to starve and end up undead. So, how did your story evolve away from the original myth?

Without getting into more unavoidable spoilers here, let me just answer this one also with a “wait and see!” Because, believe it or not, this is the original myth, just very intricately presented and cleverly disguised in a Renaissance metaphor. It has been also mixed together with the trope of death taking a holiday.

Jess: Of course, as a fairy tale (dark and geared at adults as it may be), this is still a morality tale. Funny, how the living are now less vulnerable to permanent harm than are the undead. Wonderful irony. How did you come up with this idea in connection with the goddess Persephone?

The idea of death stopping has been done before, in fiction and the media, but here I wanted to explore it from the somewhat new angle of it being a curse instead of a blessing. Also, to take it all the way to its logical conclusion—if death stops, or rather, if the entire life process itself is set to “pause,” what exactly does it mean to all living things? Plants, insects, microbes, animals, and human beings? Indeed, the pause button has been pushed on evolution and all physical processes of life, including decay, the dissolution of living cells during the process of cooking, aging and growth of plants and living matter, and also, believe it or not… cell level reproduction. That’s why there can be no more new live food added to the food supply, because no new life can be created. And that’s a scary thought for the world indeed.

How does all this fit with Persephone? Why, it’s at the core of her divine function. Persephone is Life and Death. She is Spring emerging out of Winter, the source of new life. And without creating any more spoilers, she is what makes the sequence of life and death happen. Just think about it.

Public Domain. Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_L’enlèvement_de_Proserpine.jpg

Public Domain. Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_L’enlèvement_de_Proserpine.jpg

 

Jess: You have a huge cast of characters. Who appeared in your head first (other than Percy, obviously)?

The weird thing about historical epic fantasy such as this is that characters emerge when needed, organically growing one out of the other, from the time period, and out of the need for plot movement and the growth of story.

Some characters came to me earlier than others. First there was Death himself, grim, foreboding and beautiful. I think I saw Percy and Claere next, then their male romantic counterparts, Duke Hoarfrost, and then others, all falling in place like dominoes.

I added more new characters in book two, Cobweb Empire, and there will even be a few new ones in book three, Cobweb Forest. But they are an ensemble team, all working together, unlike other more streamlined types of stories. It was suggested that I should have a list of characters and a name pronunciation key included in every volume of this book, and I am glad to provide it.

Jess: Percy’s mother lashes out at her in her grief. Would you care to expound on that or is it giving too much away?

It is an important question, but some of it is very much a psychological exploration of the story resolution, so I cannot give too much away, except invite you to consider the relationship between the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, and watch for some parallels. Niobea and Percy have things to work out.

Jess: The Infanta and Vlau’s connection is extremely complex and interesting. I like them a lot. How did you develop these characters?

I have two major romantic couples in the story, Percy and Beltain and then Claere and Vlau. To me they represent two kinds of love—the more conventional kind that has a basis in joy and the crazy kind that grew out of pain. Their relationships are light and dark, and they serve to contrast each other.

I love Claere and Vlau. In their case, the idea of death stopping has given me the unique opportunity of exploring the ultimate redemption scenario. It is the relationship between a murderer (who thought his act of murder was justified) and his innocent victim—after the fact, a true impossibility of course, except under these oddball imaginary circumstances. Furthermore, I wanted to have the relationship evolve from utter hate and hurt between two people to perfect love and devotion, in the widest swing of the pendulum possible. In some ways, this kind of road to redemption and character evolution is the most rewarding thing possible to write—intense, painful, and passionate on every level. It’s an angst-and-emo passion feast without being artificially sentimental. And I am so glad I can present this intense character journey to the reader.

Jess: There’s something Shakespearean about Nathan and Amaryllis. They remind me of the Fools from the tragedies, who seem to have an innate wisdom that others miss, and yet the truth is delivered in a playful tone that doesn’t offend the noble audience. And yet, I detect a hint of the Russian sense of humour in them as well. Was this what you hoped would come across?

Thank you for mentioning Shakespeare and my characters in the same sentence. I think you have the right idea here, because not only are Amaryllis and Nathan a kind of comic relief, but they also represent the social mores of the upper class nobility of the time—foppish, frivolous, cruel, selfish, and yet steeped in Renaissance ideas and ideals, in the excitement of scientific invention, art, and learning, and yet, on some level very bored with their privileged existence. The notion of ennui serves to allow them to exercise their wit and powers of observation, to go on an “adventure,” and on some level to compete with each other in order to prove social and personal dominance. Their running commentary on all things is a kind of “wisdom track” and reality check.

On, and I do want to say that, if anything, it’s my Armenian sense of humor coming through here, because Armenians are the eternal jokesters and optimists. Meanwhile, Russians tend not to have a sense of humor at all, but instead have great big emotional hearts, and tend to wallow in melancholy. As I say in my author bio, I combine my Armenian sense of humor and my Russian sense of suffering. So, on the one hand you get grim Lord Death, and on the other, you get smart-mouthing hilarious Catrine.

Jess: Various members of the nobility seem to possess either a lack of moral compass or a woeful inability to wield their power (or comport themselves) well. In fact, there aren’t many nobles in this story that are worthy of respect. Earthy, grounded peasants –for the most part- provide better leadership. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

Good point. I think absolute power tends to make people forget to make the effort in life that’s necessary to see its value. They no longer recognize that life does not come easy, and to appreciate the little things. And when people such as the aristocrats have nothing much to do that is not done for them, bad things tend to happen, as they start to take advantage of others, push all boundaries, and forget their humanity and their responsibility. Less privileged people such as Percy or the other girls, who live more difficult, “true” lives, also tend to maintain their sense of balance, their moral compass and a better understanding of good and bad, and their sense of responsibility to both themselves and others.

La Belle Dame de Merci, Sir Frank Dicksee, 1902

La Belle Dame de Merci, Sir Frank Dicksee, 1902

Jess: Not to give too much away, but there’s a positively scorching kiss in this book and for a minute, I honestly thought the characters were going to get carried away (and half hoped they would). Will there be more romance in the third book, Cobweb Forest?

Hah! Oh yes, I had entirely too much fun writing the hot scenes in Cobweb Empire! Yes, there will be more romance in book three, I promise! But to say any more would be spoilers. Besides, there are other couples and their romance we have not explored yet… So, stay tuned!

Jess: When can we look forward to that one coming out?

Cobweb Forest, the conclusion of the trilogy is coming on December 25, 2013, Christmas Day!

If you want to be notified as soon as it’s out, be sure to subscribe to the Cobweb Bride mailing list.

Jess: Wow! You’ve released these books pretty close together. Cobweb Bride was released in July, 2013, and taken as a unit these are epic-length reads. Did you draft all three novels prior to publishing Cobweb Bride?

Believe it or not, I actually wrote them all for the most part this year. Yes, it’s crazy, I know. The first half of Cobweb Bride was written about three years ago (with a death in the family, and so death was on my mind), then set aside as Real Life really interfered and some other difficult life events happened to me that resulted in the loss of my home to foreclosure, loss of income, various illnesses, and culminated in a move from California to Vermont.

I completed the second half of Cobweb Bride in a couple of months, by the end of January of this year, then wrote the entirety of Cobweb Empire in the next few months and released it in September, and now am finishing up Cobweb Forest, scheduled for December. So, all of this is happening very quickly…. Because I’ve got to pay the rent and the cats need cat food.

Jess: LOLOL! We’d better feed those cats! You could make a good story about what happens if you don’t. What’s next after this trilogy is complete?

Glad you asked! After Cobweb Bride is done in December, I switch gears completely, and will be working on a much more contemporary, fast paced, futuristic YA dystopia series, tentatively titled The Atlantis Grail.

Books one, two, and three of the series will be called Qualify (for the Atlantis Grail), Compete (for the Atlantis Grail), and Win (the Atlantis Grail). I hope to start writing Qualify as early as in January 2014, and release it by spring.

This series will be in the vein of Divergent and The Hunger Games, and it will be an exciting departure from my old fashioned historical fantasy.

Jess: Thanks so much for visiting with me today. It’s truly been a pleasure!

 

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Please connect with Vera Nazarian on her website. My review of Cobweb Bride and Cobweb Empire will appear today on http://firstpagetothelast.com. Please check it out!

 

 

Cover Reveal: Sandi Layne, Eire’s Viking

At the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, many of my readers were still on

TA7

Well, in the second book in the Éire’s Viking trilogy, Agnarr is the hero.

EV6

Cover art by Megan Dooley, to be published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Summary:

It’s been years since Agnarr met his wyrd on the Green Island. Years since he left Charis, his former trell and medicine woman, with her new husband in her new village. Even though he lost her, he cannot help but feel his destiny lies with her people of Éire, so he returns with his final raiding party. Once there, a chance encounter strikes him speechless and without his memory, alone in a foreign land.

He is taken to Aislinn, a physician who is serving in Bangor Monastery. Born in Ragor, the village Agnarr destroyed when she was a child, she is now the adopted daughter of Charis and Cowan, and has herself trained in healing. Drawn to her tall, blond patient in a way that she never has been to a man before, she is horrified and angry to find that he is the one responsible for the loss of her home.

These are turbulent times in Éire, and there are volatile tempers all around. Still, Agnarr Halvardson would stay on the island, wed, and sire sons to live in strength and plenty in his adopted home. He wants Aislinn to be his wife and the mother of his children, but she won’t marry without love. He worships Thor and Odin; she worships Jesu the Christ. Can two from such opposing backgrounds find happiness with one another? Might they even find a love that will change both their worlds?

This title will be available via NetGalley in October for reviewers, with a January, 2014 book release.

The first book of this trilogy, Éire’s Captive Moon, is available here:ECM small

Amazon Kindle, Paperback

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House