Dark Deceit featured on Crooked Cat Books

I'm trying to ignore the miserable Scottish summer. If you are too, I might have some fabulous reads for you...

Dark Deceit, my romantic medieval murder mystery, is featured on Crooked Cat Books this week, together with two other intriguing (and highly recommended!) novels. It's also available at 99p/c for the duration. 



Originally entitled, A Norman Legacy, Dark Deceit began life at a South Wales train station during a time when I was active in a medieval re-enactment group which gave me great insight into life 'back then'. 

Having visited the rolling Gloucestershire countryside, I spotted a tiny hamlet with a small Norman church. It was perfect for the setting of Bellac Manor. And on a holiday in Normandy, I found the real 'home' for the story, the picturesque area of Perche, then a county in its own right, but as part of the duchy of Normandy.

Falaise Castle, Normandy, France
In the 1140s, England and Normandy were wrecked by two rivals to the English throne, Stephen – who had claimed the crown on the death of Henry I – and Matilda, Henry's daughter and intended heir to the kingdom (and formerly Empress of the Holy Roman Empire until her husband's death). Although Stephen was crowned, he could not enjoy his new status for long, as Matilda and her half-brother, Robert earl of Gloucester made his life very difficult. Now, Gloucester would've made a great king, but was one of Henry's 20 illegitimate children. So instead, he rose in support for his sister. 

And so the civil war started, with supporters at time switching sides quicker than the wind. The people suffered as crops were burned, hamlets destroyed and castles besieged. And each man looked out for himself, first and foremost. 

Such a man is Will d'Arques, nemesis of Geoffrey and Alleyne in Dark Deceit. Clever, charming, and utterly ruthless. But more about all the characters later...

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Murder. Betrayal. Hope. 

On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty. 

Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust. 

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.

Dark Deceit is available in ebook and paperback formats:


A Killer Past by Maris Soule - Blog Tour

Today, I extend a warm welcome to award-winning author, Maris Soule, who's currently on blog tour with her latest release, A Killer Past!

I'm sure you'll find the background to her novel very interesting. Over to Maris...



Thank you, Cathie. For years I’ve written romances and mysteries where the heroine’s age was somewhere between 25 and 35. Women in their prime, both physically and sexually. When I started writing and being published, I wasn’t far from that age group, but that was many years ago. Now my body isn’t as limber as it once was, and gravity (and too many cocktail parties) has changed the silhouette of my figure. I took Judo in my late teens and I can still remember the things I used to be able to do, how easily I could escape from a hold or throw someone to the ground. I wonder, at my age, would I still be able to do those things?

It was that question and a TV show called “Nikita” that led to A Killer Past. I wondered what Nikita would be like in her seventies. Or Lara Croft?

Welcome Rosanne Bittner on her Outlaw Hearts tour

I'm delighted to welcome back author, Rosanne Bittner, the Queen of Western romance. This time she's on blog tour with her exciting Outlaw Hearts series. Check out her fantastic giveaway and discover two new fabulous reads!

Handing over to Rosanne!



For my readers … I wrote this close to thirty years ago and thought it might interest you as to how much I love to write and how I managed to write sixty big, historical romances over the past thirty years:


I try so hard to write the best book I can write, and get so frustrated when I realize there are still so many millions of people out there who will never know about my books. I love writing so much, work so hard at it, but true success is always just out of reach. It’s so hard to keep going sometimes, amid the hurry and worry of everyday life; yet I cannot stop, even if I should end up a pauper, I cannot stop, because writing and the West are alive in me.

I live to write, and my spirit belongs to the West. It will never, never belong anyplace else. Someday the world will know this. I will make a name for my western writing. I will be famous for it. Perhaps God is only waiting for me to know this for sure – to know my destiny and never take it for granted, never think about the money or the fame, only about my destiny – my goals, my purpose for living, which is to WRITE – and to write about the West – only the American West. I desire nothing else, live for nothing else.

#SundaySnippet: Highland Arms by Cathie Dunn

As it's Sunday and sunny, I'm in a good mood. So I thought I'd share a fresh excerpt with you from Highland Arms. 

Go back in time to the Scottish Highlands. Five years after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. A Highland rogue preparing for the next uprising. A Lowland lady raining on his parade. Explore the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, and the dangers lurking in dark Edinburgh lanes (now underground, but that's for another post!). 

Secrecy. Passion. Rebellion. Intrigued?


Blurb:

Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her home to her godmother’s manor in the remote Scottish Highlands. While her family ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble–and into the arms of a notorious Highlander. 

Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause–until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now, Rory is faced with a decision that could either save their lives or destroy both of them. 

But he’s running out of time… 

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Excerpt:



She made her way to the dining parlor where the table was set, and a fire roared in a large stone fireplace built deep into the wall. Crossing the room, she went to the tall, narrow window and pulled the thick brocade curtains aside. With dusk settling, the view across the loch took her breath away. Low light shimmered on the water’s surface, reflecting the last glimmer of the evening sky. Across the water, she watched the shadows sink deeper down the hills.

When the door behind her creaked, she jumped. Hastily, she dropped the curtains back into place and turned, expecting her brother. But it was not Angus who closed the door and faced her. Her pulse began to drum in her ears, and her hands shook from the unexpected surprise. She grabbed the curtains behind her for reassurance.

He leaned against the door, his dark blond hair washed and tied again at his neck. This time, his muscular frame was clad in worn trews and a fresh linen shirt, loosely fastened. A trace of mud clung to his black boots. She looked at his face and held her breath, caught as she was by a now familiar set of piercing green eyes. Her throat went dry. The last time she saw those eyes, at the Drovers Inn, they’d been friendly, even flirtatious. Now they were cold, dark, and as forbidding as a loch in winter, bereft of the warmth of the sun.

Rory Cameron. 
~~~

Discover Rory's shenanigans on Amazon com, Amazon UK
Kobo (climbing the Historical Romance charts!) or B&N!


Discover The Taexali Games by Nancy Jardine

Today I'm delighted to welcome back a dear author friend, Nancy Jardine from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She has just released the first in a newYA time-travel series, The Taexali Games. Many congratulations!

Over to Nancy...

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Thank you for opening your blog to me to share the information about my latest novel!

The Taexali Game officially launched on the 22nd May 2015.

The action of The Taexali Game — Book 1 of Nancy Jardine’s  Rubidium Time Travel Series of Adventures for Middle Grade/YA readers (and anyone older who loves a good fast-paced yarn) takes place in ‘Aberdeenshire, Scotland’ in AD 210, during the invasion of the legions of Septimius Severus, Emperor of Rome. The local Taexali Celtic tribes of this far north in Britannia have already had dealings with the soldiers of Rome, back in AD 84, but they haven’t been good subjects. They’ve been causing such a lot of grief to the Governor of Britannia that the Ancient Roman Emperor, Septimius Severus, has come to Britannia to flood the north with his super-trained army to teach the wayward Celts a harsh lesson.



During their adventure, Aran and the twins— Brian and Fianna— are initially in awe of the Roman fighting machine but they find Emperor Severus’ is a horrible man. That’s only till they meet the emperor’s son Caracalla who is even nastier. None of them want to be skewered by a Roman gladius or slapped into Roman slave chains but avoiding that fate is nearly impossible.