Friday, June 28, 2013

Review - The Outcast Prince by Shona Husk

The Outcast Prince
Shona Husk
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
July 2013

Caspian trailed his finger along the wooden mirror frame. Was the piece an antique or a clever fake?
One touch was enough to confirm the mirror was old.

So starts one of the most intriguing paranormal romance stories I've read in a long time. At the beginning of this sensual and otherworldly novel, Caspian Mort stops at a garage sale and finds a mirror that glimpses into the fairy realm. He also realizes a grey - a fairy who has been banished from the fairy court - is close by. He hopes the grey doesn't notice him, that it's drawn to the mirror and he combats it by…studiously ignoring even the possibility that the grey is close by. To notice the creature is the most dangerous thing he can do.

Lydia Callaway is overwhelmed by the grief of disposing of her much beloved late grandmother's property. Her grandmother's past was colorful and part of the local history. Callaway House, a mansion of an earlier age, had passed through her grandfather's family. But due to poor economics, Lydia's Gran had opened the house to…ladies and their gentlemen friends. When she finds her Gran's diaries, it reveals more than she's willing to share without a complete read. But finding the time, along with inventorying the household furniture and art work, is impossible. So she hires Caspian to help her evaluate and inventory everything that made the house her well-loved childhood home.

What she doesn't expect is the quiet and somewhat serious beauty of the man she's hired to help her. His skills and reputation are above reproach but she's leery of anyone who's job it is to tear apart the history of her old home. Lydia is surprised, however, when she finds that Caspian is sensitive to the emotions the old pieces evoke.

Caspian is a psychometric, a person who can often get glimpses of the history of a piece of furniture or artwork. It's a sharp edged gift since he'd found the evidence of his ex-wife's marital affair by simply touching his bed. As he works in Callaway House, he senses a presence, something that shouldn't be there but he can't locate it.

The attraction between him and Lydia grows slowly but no less sensually. And the emotional bond between them comes as no surprise. But Caspian is hiding a secret more hazardous than his ability to see Greys or glimpse the history of a piece of furniture. He worries that it will endanger Lydia but can he leave her now? Will it be enough to save her from the danger he faces?

Reading a Shona Husk novel is like falling asleep on your couch only to wake up in a new and different world. The characters she creates are worth learning about and the story will draw you in from word one. This is a book that should be read several times just to absorb the beauty of the prose. Not just that, but read to absorb the emotions she so deftly creates in her characters and readers.

This is a lovely story full of sensuality and emotion. You don't want to miss it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest - Eilis Flynn

Good morning! We've got the lovely and talented Eilis Flynn visiting us today so join us on the cozy couch and settle in for a visit. We've got a chai latte today with blueberry muffins. Enjoy!


Building a Heroine from Hints of History

By Eilis Flynn

When my friend Heather Hiestand and I started to talk about writing a project together, we decided to go steampunk (go steampunk! Hurray! Ahem). Now, since she knows her English history (in fact, her upcoming historical romance, Marquess of Cake, from Kensington, is solidly in the Victorian period) (release date July 4, 2013, so preorder now!), and I love research that has little to do with everyday reality, we figured that together, we could come up with something that was both fun to write and fun to read!

This seemed like a good time to use a plot device I had been tossing around for a few years: vampirism as a result of science gone awry. We tossed that into our cauldron o’ cooking up our story. Now, we decided it was going to take place in 1888, that year gouged into the memory of those who remember a little something about British history (hint: Jack the ------).

Now, our characters—the heroine was a challenge. In the course of her research, Heather told me she had found someone she wanted as the heroine. I reminded her there could be problems using real people in fiction. There wouldn’t be a difficulty, she said, because this woman seemed to disappear from the historical record. There was precious little about her before and after what made her famous.

Perfect, I said. So who is it? Nellie Clifton, she said. A prostitute, Heather added, jogging my memory, a woman who was known to have had a dalliance with the son of Prince Albert and inadvertently caused the death of Queen Victoria’s husband. Okay...interesting choice, but Heather persuaded me that the lack of historical record, Nellie would leap from the page as a character built from the ground up basically. For that reason, it’s always fun to use real personages who seem to disappear into history. (We can call her the Victorian Spartacus. Spartaca?)

So we decided to use Nellie Clifton. She ended up being a wonderfully fun character to write, using history, fantasy, and even romance, even though she does attack our hero from time to time:

Only an instinct made him turn back around just then, because Nellie took the opportunity to run at him with a second sword, planning to skewer him like a piece of meat. He leaped up, angling toward her, getting perilously close to the archer.
“Damn you,” Lucas shouted. “Stand up and fight like a man!”
At that Nellie laughed. “But I’m not, Mr. Dudley,” she said, her lips curving into a broad smile. “I’m better.”

You might have heard the old saying, “History is written by the victors.” I’ve always had the uncomfortable feeling that studying any cultural history would be one-sided. At least with anthropology you’re studying a historical record without a written record. With a story like Wear Black, it’s a reimagined history, with a reimagined historical character. AND it was fun to write!

Death did not end his service to the British Empire
Beneath Windsor Castle, a shadow network of immortals keeps the British Empire safe. Army captain Lucas Fitzrobbins becomes one of them when the cure for his mortal wound turns out to be a vampirism potion. He is abruptly inducted into the secret St. George Protector Society…and it’s not long before the Society’s newest recruit discovers it has dark mysteries as well…

Marked as a target
Hampering Lucas’s efforts to adjust to his after-life is An Tighearn operative Nellie Clifton, a beautiful and enigmatic assassin, who has marked Lucas as her latest quarry. But then…

Secrets are threatened to be revealed
A brutal killer stalks the seamy underside of London. Protectors and assassins alike must leave the shadows to find the fiend before their existence is revealed to the world. Tasked with the job of tracking down the murderer, Lucas discovers that the crazed butcher may have connections that go to the heart of the British Empire. One thing is certain:

The Queen must never know!

Some buy links: 

Eilis Flynn worked in Wall Street and Wall Street-related firm for almost 35 years, so why should she write anything any more based in reality? Published in a number of genres, she lives in Seattle with her patient husband and the ghosts of her spoiled rotten cats. Her first collaboration with author Heather Hiestand is the steampunk vampire historical fantasy, Wear Black. Eilis can be reached at,, at, and Twitter at @eilisflynn.


-- Lynda Again,

    What an interesting post! I'm starting to develop a real love of steam punk. How about you?

     Have a Blessed Day!

PS Readers, remember that I'm giving away books to subscribers of my newsletter, This month the books are Undone by Sara Humphreys and The Magic of 'I Do' by Tammy Falkner. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, and her new minion, Skie, my Golden Retriever baby, select the winners at the end of the month. What do you have to do to get in the drawing? Subscribe to my newsletter using the link below.

Contact me:
Facebook Author Page:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Guest - Jordan K. Rose

Good morning! Join me in welcoming author Jordan K. Rose as she discusses 'The Muse' and the writer's life. There's plenty of room, all the furniture is comfy. We've got Roobios caramel flavored tea and scones with caramel bits hidden inside. Make yourself at home and enjoy!


Getting in “The Mood”

I hear other writers discuss their muses all the time. I listen. I wonder. I listen some more. I concentrate on being one with my muse.

Nothing happens.

I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t have one. There isn’t any goddess or power inspiring me to write. It’s just me and my ideas. That’s it. No mystical element spurs me onward to create characters and worlds and give them terrific problems, which seems a pity as I’d love to have someone else to blame when plotlines go south.

But instead, I have only myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m fairly certain many other writers don’t connect with their muses either. So the question then becomes what motivates a writer and how does she remain impassioned.

If you’re a writer, whether published or not, you’re driven to write, to get your story down on paper just because. Period. Deep inside you know your story needs to be told.

So that’s the first point. The motivation is internal. As Nike says, “Just do it.” And so we do.

But not many of us have the opportunity to sit down and write a novel from start to finish without interruptions when inspiration hits.

Life interrupts every writer’s process. It just does. The dog needs to go out. You have to go to work. Your family actually wants to spend time with you—and not just listening to your latest and greatest storyline.

With all this happening how does a writer stay focused and motivated? I don’t actually know. Well, I don’t know what works for everyone every time. I do know a couple tricks that help me.

I freely admit to attempting to be organized and not enjoying it or being remotely successful at it. I have not only one notebook with handwritten notes, but three and sometimes four. I have sticky notes everywhere, websites bookmarked to the point of not knowing what is where and even if the folders I’ve created make any sense.

In a nutshell, I’m a muse-less disaster.

I’ve tried reorganizing with labels on each notebook and a simple, yet forced system of colored folders. I’ve refused to allow myself to do certain things until other, less fun tasks are complete, like organizing the desk.

I’ve failed in most of these attempts. Oh, my desk is neat when I undertake the organizing swing (which personally I think is someone else’s muse running amuck in my head!).

It has occurred to me that organizing is my way to avoid writing. Yes, I know those of you who can actually see the tops of your desks right now are tsking and rolling your eyes. Some of you think my chaotic desk is the reason I don’t have a muse. You probably think she’s hiding with a cold compress on her head and a cup of herbal tea at her side.

But some of you understand where I’m going.

The fact is in order to write we have to be comfortable in our writing space. That space needs to be full of flowing energy where sparks fly and goosebumps raise on your skin when the next great bit of dialogue comes to you.

Whether you write on the back deck or at your desk with papers everywhere you must be happy in that space. You have to let your worries about what is happening beyond your writing bubble go and drop yourself deep into your story. Then just write.

That, for me, is one of the important elements to creativity.

The second key point is dealing with mental clutter.

If you thought my desk was a mess, you’d best never take a peek inside my mind! It’s equally as cluttered and disorganized and generally confusing, but in this I know I’m no different than anyone else.

I don’t know a single person with only one thought occurring at any given moment. If you’re a published writer, you’re most likely thinking about your next book and promotion of your current book.

We can’t help it. It’s been drilled into us: promo, promo, promo. Then, of course, you have all the other things to consider: what’s for dinner, did you turn off the iron, should you get a drink, if you have to meet your mom at 1, what time should you leave because the traffic could be bad, we need butter, etc, etc, etc.

I’ve tried several different strategies for dealing with mental clutter, most of which centered around not writing until everything else was completed first. This was done under the guise of helping me focus.

I’ve since realized I am not helping myself using this tactic. Instead, the part of me that hates being told what to do considers this process to be torture. I get nothing done because I’m too busy rebelling against my own plan.

It’s taken me several years but I’ve come to accept that I work well or at least better in chaos and clutter than I do in neatly organized space. I don’t like everything stacked and filed and labeled. I enjoy rummaging through my notebooks and scrambling for my sticky note with that particular thought about what some tertiary character was wearing in a scene that’s only going to get deleted anyway.

It’s my random thoughts about what the billboard on route 95 reminds me of that help me remember where my heroine was going when she found out the hero lied to her.

My point is in order to connect with our stories in such a way that we can write them for ourselves or to share with others we need to be comfortable physically and mentally.  So every writer, published or not, needs to find what works for her and then just write.

I’d love to hear what works for you. Do you feel more creative in certain rooms or at a certain time of day or during a particular season? 

After trying her hand at many, many things- from crafting and art classes to cooking and sewing classes to running her own handbag business, Jordan finally figured out how to channel her creativity. With an active imagination and a little encouragement from her husband she sat down and began to write, each night clicking away at the keys with her black Labrador, Dino curled up under the desk.

A few short years later she’s entered the publishing arena with no plans to ever turn back.

Jordan’s a member of several RWA Chapters.

Her first book, Perpetual Light, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance Ebooks from Crescent Moon Press.

Her second book, The Demon Mistress, the first Eva Prim novel, is set to release in October. Learn about 
Eva’s Snack Of The Week Club at

Find Jordan on her website at
Follow her tweets on!/jordankrose 
Find her on Pinterest at:

-- Lynda Again,

    I can definitely relate to 'the dog needing to go out' since I just acquired a puppy. And I've been in a quandary about where to fit my writing while I'm attempting to housebreak and train said puppy. I think we need more hours in a day (just like everyone else, right?)

    Have a Blessed Day!

PS Readers, remember that I'm giving away books to subscribers of my newsletter, This month the books are Undone by Sara Humphreys and The Magic of 'I Do' by Tammy Falkner. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, and her new minion, Skie, my Golden Retriever baby, select the winners at the end of the month. What do you have to do to get in the drawing? Subscribe to my newsletter using the link below.

Contact me:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Guest - K.M. Fawcett

Good morning! We have author K. M. Fawcett joining us on the comfy couch today. K.M. brought a lovely tea - one of my favorites in fact - and I have a plate of buttery shortbread cookies and some delightful homemade cranraisin fudge. Don't hesitate to help yourself.


Codes of Character

Thank you, Lynda, for hosting me on Star-Crossed Romance today! I brought with me a pot of Okinawan Jasmine green tea to pour for your readers as we discuss codes of character.

Codes of ethics are the rules we use to govern the way we want to live. Everyone has a code. The military has codes, professionals have codes, and even pirates have codes, though I hear they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.

Our codes of honor, ethics and conduct make up our conscious. They give us a moral compass for orienteering our way though life. Right or wrong, we all have a philosophy by which we live. And so should our characters.

Do unto others as you would have them do to you. We love characters with strong moral codes: The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi, Braveheart’s William Wallace, Spiderman’s Peter Parker. These characters know that with great power comes great responsibility (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and so uphold a high moral standard.

But we also love characters with codes that rival the rules of society, i.e the bad boy romance hero. Who doesn’t love a wronged hero who takes matters into his own hands even if that means going against the law? He’s redeemable in our eyes as long as he is 1) true to his own moral philosophy and 2) that moral philosophy doesn’t stray too far from our own beliefs.

Why do we love Han Solo? He was a scoundrel. A selfish, scruffy-looking nerf herder in it for the reward money. How about Captain Jack Sparrow? He was a pirate. A thief. The first thing he did after stepping off his sinking ship was steal the harbormaster’s purse. What about Jack Colton in Romancing the Stone? He was a mondo dismo.

Joan Wilder: You're a mondo dismo.
Jack Colton:  I'm… what am I? I'm what?
Joan Wilder: You're a man who takes money from stranded women!

Even though these heroes weren’t always heroic, they had a clear code of conduct they believed in and followed. That glimpse into their psyche enabled the viewers to understand their actions, to justify them, and sympathize with the character. Since their moral philosophy didn’t stray too far from our own, we loved them even before they were redeemed.

That emotional connection between character and reader is exactly what we’re striving to achieve in our stories.

In my sci-fi romance, CAPTIVE (The Survival Race), alpha gladiator, Max, is a tortured hero with his own moral code. Forced to compete in the Survival Races--a blood sport where the last man alive wins--Max sees himself as a beast. The only time he can feel human is when he’s taken to the breeding box to mate. However, forcing himself on a woman would make him a complete animal, yet seduction...well that’s a different story.

My heroine, Addy, has a moral code too. She has three rules about sex: it is never casual, never used as a weapon, and never, ever given as a thank-you gift.

If you’d like to see what happens when Max and Addy are trapped together in a breeding box when he wants sex while she wants out, please read the following excerpt.

K.M. Fawcett writes sci-fi/ paranormal romances, and enjoys stories filled with adventure and strong, kick butt heroes and heroines. She holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in both Isshinryu Karate and in Ryukonkai (Okinawan weapons). She and her husband own Tenchi Isshinryu Karate Dojo in NJ. When not writing or working out at the dojo, K.M. is home with her two children and two cats.  

Contact info:
Attacking The Page blog:
My website:


The last thing Addy Dawson remembers is a blazing inferno and freezing river water overtaking her lungs. When she awakens, Addy finds herself on a strange, alien planet, trapped in a cell with no doors, no windows-- and to her horror-- a naked warrior who claims to be her mate.


An alpha gladiator, Max is forced to breed and produce the finest specimens for the Survival Race, a deadly blood sport created by the alien rulers of Hyborea. To rebel means torture-or worse-yet Max refuses to become the animal his captors want him to be. But their jailors will not be denied, and soon Addy and Max find themselves unwilling players in this cruel game. Pushed to the limit, they will risk everything for the chance at a life free from captivity. And though fate brought them together as adversaries, Max and Addy will discover that when they're together, there's nothing in the universe that can stop them.


Addy drew her hand across the wall, searching for a hidden doorknob.

“If you’re looking for me, I’m over here.”

She spun to face the stranger but was tripped up by her hangover and stumbled into the wall. Righting herself, she tried for a casual smile but knew it didn’t pass for anything more than a nervous tic.

When the room stopped spinning, she noticed he had propped himself up on one elbow. His dark, shoulder-length hair and sleepy eyes enhanced his wicked attractiveness. He made no attempt to move closer. Of course, he made no attempt to cover himself, either, and his sheet had slid further down.

She forced herself to look at his eyes. Eyes that shone eerily in the dark like a cat’s. Eyes that appeared emerald.

Odd choice for colored contacts.

“Come here.” He lifted the sheet with one hand and patted the pillow bedding with the other.
Her heart rate revved as she stared at the parts of him beneath the sheet. “I...uh...I...umm.”

“Skittish little thing, aren’t you?”

The only way to stop gawking was to squeeze her eyes shut. “Who are you?”

“You don’t know?” His voice oozed disappointment.

Apparently they had gone through this already. So why couldn’t she remember? What else couldn’t she remember? “Did I—? Did you—? Did we—?” There was no polite way to ask if (a) she’d given herself to him under duress or (b) he’d violated her while she was unconscious.


Okay, that was one way. Odd word choice but it sufficed. She nodded.


She relaxed.

“Not yet.” There was no menace or presumption in his words. He spoke them casually, matter-of-factly, as if they’d already discussed sex and concluded they’d sleep together. When had she given him that idea? Her head ached trying to remember.

“I’m sorry. You seem like a nice guy, but I can’ this.”

“Oh. First time, huh?”


“Though judging your age, I wouldn’t have pegged you for a virgin.”

“Excuse me?”

“Relax.” The sleep in his voice gave the word a husky sexiness. “I’ll make sure you enjoy it, too.” He got up and strode toward her, eyes hungry and body very ready to make good on his word.

If her pulse was a car, the turbo just kicked in. “Stop right there,” she said, and he did. The surprise was evident on his face. With a body like his, he probably wasn’t used to rejection.

“Woman, this won’t work unless we’re closer. Much closer.” He winked.

She turned back to the wall, frantically feeling for that doorknob. But it was too late. He was behind her, towering over her. Sweeping the hair off her shoulder. Brushing his lips down the side of her neck.

A tingling sensation slid down her spine. “Stop it. I’m warning you.”

“I understand your hesitation,” he said between kisses. “But it’s going to happen sooner or later.”

Like hell it is. She pivoted around and kneed him in the groin.

"Fawcett delivers a suspenseful and captivating science fiction romance.  A must read for all, but especially for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES." --Caridad Pineiro, NY Times & USA Today bestselling author

Buy links:

-- Lynda Again
    Thanks for visiting us K.M. This was a terrific post and I loved your excerpt! I liked the points you raised about codes for both the Hero and Heroine too. I think that's what distinguishes the hero from all others.

Have a Blessed Day!

PS Readers, remember that I'm giving away books to subscribers of my newsletter, This month the books are Undone by Sara Humphreys and The Magic of 'I Do' by Tammy Falkner. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, and her new minion, Skie, my Golden Retriever baby, select the winners at the end of the month. What do you have to do to get in the drawing? Subscribe to my newsletter using the link below.

Contact me:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest - Patricia La Barbera

Good morning! We have author Patrician La Barbera visiting us today. Patricia will give us insights on how she developed her The Tala Chronicles series.




In the second book of The Tala Chronicles, The Wolf’s Revenge, Tala makes a shocking discovery about her enemy, Willis Sharp, after the violence at her uncle’s cottage. She also realizes the ritual her uncle performed solved only part of Matt’s problem. Tala’s only hope to save Matt involves going with him to Oregon and visiting a werewolf pack who may help her...if they don’t kill her first. A mysterious couple tells her where the pack lives and that she must visit them alone. And to go there only during the day. Will she risk her life and go to them despite facing the possibility her actions could lead to Matt’s death?

What is distinctive about your paranormal romantic suspense series, The Tala Chronicles?

The Wolf’s Daughter, the first book of the series, introduces the main characters, Tala and Matt, who are in love. However, an unusual condition they each have makes it deadly for them to be together. So, it’s not your typical werewolf story.  

In The Wolf’s Revenge, the pack consists of multidimensional characters, who are not happy about being werewolves. Alpha Jeremiah has a particularly terrifying background regarding how he became a werewolf. His story has a profound effect on Tala.

Why werewolves?

Well, I think wolves are majestic creatures. I’m delighted with the photos I found for the book trailer. I think they capture that regal quality. And our son has a dog my husband and I are very fond of. If I squint, he almost looks like a wolf.

So the wolves aren’t villains?

Not Jeremiah’s pack, but wolf villains are in constant battle with the tawny wolves.

How did you pick your settings?

With the name of Wolfeboro, that city in New Hampshire had to be Tala’s hometown. And last year we visited Portland, Oregon. The city, the people, and the forests impressed me. It’s a delightfully quirky place. It just seemed to be the perfect spot for werewolves. On that trip we also went to Cannon Beach, where the wolves, Tala, and Matt visit, too. I chose a megalith there, Haystack Rock, for a suspenseful scene in one of the later books.

Tala is an unusual name. Why did you choose it?

I selected the name because it means “wolf” in a Native American language.

How did you get the idea for Edgar Owl?

Originally from New York City, I moved to Oklahoma with my husband when we were newlyweds. I spent eleven years of discovery there and developed a deep respect for Native Americans. Edgar Owl embodies many of the qualities I appreciate in them.

What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most?

Definitely the section about the Werewolf Fair. I think it’s one of the most imaginative parts of the book. The scenes came alive and some practically wrote themselves. I had so much fun with the details, and I put extra effort into involving the five senses.   

Do you have plans for more books in The Tala Chronicles?

Yes, I have a third book with a contract from World Castle Publishing, and I have a fourth book I recently completed. The setup for the series leaves many opportunities for expansion.

Your bio mentions you’re an editor who specializes in genre fiction. What does that mean?

I read both literary and genre fiction, but most of my editing experience involves categories such as paranormal, science fiction, mystery, thriller, romance, and horror. The conventions in genre are different. For example, the prose should be powerful, but clear and invisible. The reader shouldn’t focus on the words but be immersed in the story. Following the conventions increases the likelihood of getting past a publisher’s gatekeeper.

Excerpt from The Wolf’s Revenge

Tala woke with a start. The nightlight cast a beastlike shadow on the wall. The buzz and trill of forest creatures seeped through the cabin’s walls. Had she heard a faint scream and chopping noises, or had she been dreaming?

She crept out of bed and headed for the living room. The night beckoned. Stars competed with their radiance, while the water shimmered below. But was it safe to go on the porch? She opened the front door and walked outside. A cool breeze rewarded her.

Tala stood for a few moments surveying the woods surrounding the cabin. In the high bushes near the porch something rustled. She whirled in the sound’s direction. Then an arm grabbed her around the waist, and an arctic hand clamped over her mouth. Claws dragged her across the porch.

Other books by Patricia La Barbera:

The Wolf’s Daughter on Amazon.

The Celtic Crow Murders on Amazon.

 Patricia La Barbera, MFA, is an author and editor, who specializes in genre fiction and teaches writing and editing classes. She's a member of MWA and an active member of the HWA. Patricia is also the organizer of the Sarasota Editors Association. Various magazines have featured her fiction and poetry. She lives in the Sarasota, Florida, area with her husband.



The Wolf’s Revenge book trailer

The Wolf’s Revenge on Amazon 

-- Lynda Again
    Great post, Patricia! I always enjoy learning more about a writer's world.

    Have a Blessed Day, everyone!

PS I've got two fantastic ARC's that I'm giving to two lucky subscribers of my newsletter - Undone by Sara Humphreys and The Magic of 'I Do' by Tammy Falkner. You don't have to do anything to win...well, just be lucky enough for Wookie, my alien kitten, to select your name and, of course, you'll need to respond to my email because I'll need your address ;-)

Don't delay, subscribe today.

To subscribe, click the link for my newsletter below.

    Have a Blessed Day!

Contact me:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Guest - Dawn Marie Hamilton

Good morning! This has been a week for the Fae...well, not the Fae exactly but for talented authors who write about them. Join me in welcoming author Dawn Marie Hamilton!

Dawn has a giveaway so make sure to follow her directions to enter the drawing.


Foxgloves, Faeries, and the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time.

Let’s imagine you’re walking through a garden in the evening, a beautiful spring garden in the mountains, and the spikes of a rosy-pink foxglove inspires you to touch a bell-shaped floret. A tingling sound makes you smile. Chills race down your spine. An exotic fragrance perfumes the air. You sense magic.

Some believe foxgloves attract faeries. The name foxglove is derived from the ‘wee folk’s glove’, for the florets are sometimes worn on the fingers of small faeries. The tiniest faeries wear the bells atop their heads.

In horticultural circles, the plant is used as an ornamental and known as Digitalis purpurea. Foxgloves are available in a range of colors from white to pink to purple. Even some in yellow. The common foxglove is biennial, producing only a stem and leaves the first year and flowers the second. If happily placed, they’ll reseed without much help from the gardener. For the most part, they flower in spring.
Caution: foxgloves—flowers, seeds, stems, and leaves—are poisonous if ingested.

Does that give you an idea for a way to dispose of a villain?

I have foxgloves planted in my front garden. Faerie lore implies, by doing so, I’ve protected my family from evil influences. Many gardeners plant foxgloves in faerie gardens, hoping to spy one of the mischief-makers dancing in the light of a full moon. Beware. On full moons, the veil of time is thin.

One never knows what mischief will come your way by drawing the notice of the fae. A misstep, a loss of balance, a faerie-shove, and through the veil you go. Perhaps whisked away to the Scottish Highlands of the past and to a destiny you never expected. That is exactly what happens to the heroine in JUST BEYOND THE GARDEN GATE
Giveaway: Do you believe in faeries? Have you ever considered creating a faerie garden? I’ll gift an e-copy of JUST BEYOND THE GARDEN GATE to a lucky commenter who answers the questions before June 21. Don’t forget to leave your email addy or send an email to me at: Dawn at DawnMarieHamilton dot com.

Thank you for having me as a guest at Star-Crossed Romance today.


Determined to regain her royal status, a banished faerie princess accepts a challenge from the High-Queen of the Fae to unite an unlikely couple while the clan brownie attempts to thwart her.

Passion ignites when a faerie-shove propels burned-out business consultant Laurie Bernard through the garden gate, back through time, and into the embrace of Patrick MacLachlan. The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch she wears as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared.

With the fae interfering at every opportunity, the couple must learn to trust one another while they battle an enemy clan, expose a traitor within their midst and discover the true fate of the missing parents. Can they learn the most important truth—love transcends time?

About Dawn:
Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks with her husband.

-- Lynda Again
   What an interesting post! Just Beyond The Garden Gate sounds fascinating, too! Seriously, who doesn't love a Highlander? Make sure you leave a comment and provide Dawn a way to contact you if you're the lucky winner.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest - Tammy Falkner

Good morning! Today's guest is Tammy Falkner, the author of The Magic of "I Do", the second installment in her terrific faerie series. Sourcebooks is offering a copy of the first book in the series, A Lady and Her Magic to one lucky commenter. See below to find out how to enter the drawing.



When I started dreaming up these stories, I didn’t know yet how faeries and humans would interact together, but I knew that the simple fact that some of the characters were fae would be a good reason to keep them apart.

As it turns out, my faeries are governed by a Trusted Few, much like the Regency lords and ladies are governed by the House of Lords. There are five unpardonable errors in the land of the fae, which follow:

Unpardonable Errors
1. Never let a human adult see you in faerie form.
2. Never let your dust fall into the hands of the untrained.
3. Never share the existence of the fae.
4. Never use your magic to cause harm.
5. Never, ever fall in love with a human.

As you can imagine, forcing faeries to live and work with the fae makes it next to impossible for anyone to keep true to all the Unpardonable Errors. But the faeries are expected to do it, and they should do it to avoid snipping of their wings.

At the beginning of THE MAGIC OF I DO, Lord Phineas is already aware that Claire is fae, so Error #3 falls by the wayside.  Error #2 has also been defied, since Lord Phineas has her dust.

Here’s an excerpt that points out the errors that have been made so far (also the first chapter of the book):

A faerie without magic was about as useless as a carriage without a horse. If Claire Thorne had known that this would be her reward for trying to save her sister from the dangerous Duke of Robinsworth, she never would have gotten involved in her sister’s mission. She would have stayed at home. The land of the fae was so much more comfortable than the land where others resided.

Claire refused to look at her abductor. She refused to acknowledge his presence, although he did have her magic dust. It was in his pocket at that very moment. Despite the fact that she’d warned him it could explode in untrained hands, he’d taken it with no hint of hesitation. And now he refused to give it back. Claire lifted her chin and stared out the coach window. If anyone had told her a sennight ago that Lord Phineas would take her hostage, she would have laughed in his face. Yet here she was, at his mercy.

“Oh, blissful silence,” he said. He must have said it to himself, because he certainly couldn’t be talking to her.

“You really should return my dust to me before it does you harm.” She didn’t look at him as she talked. She continued to stare at the changing landscape. They’d left behind the bustle of Mayfair and were headed toward… nowhere, it appeared.

“And just what kind of harm might a little bottle of shimmer do to me?” He looked much too composed.

“It could explode and blow off an arm.” She finally turned to look toward him and found him grinning at her unrepentantly. That man had a smile that could stop a lady’s heart. Though it had no effect on hers. Well, almost no effect. His sparkling blue eyes made him look impertinent enough to annoy her to no end.

He held out his hand and appraised his arm with a critical eye. “I can live without an arm.” Lord Phineas swiped a lock of hair from his forehead and lowered his arm back to his side. He arched a golden brow at her as though taunting her to continue her threats. He hadn’t seen threats yet. Just wait until she turned him into a toad. Or a pig so that his outside could reflect his inside.

Claire let her gaze roam up and down his body slowly. “It might blow off something you use on occasion.” Her eyes stopped at his lap. He fidgeted in his seat. “It’s really quite volatile in the hands of the untrained.”

That wasn’t true. Not in the least little bit. But he didn’t need to know that. In his hands, the dust was useless. Just shimmery flecks of shiny things he didn’t understand. In her hands, however, it was quite useful. If she wasn’t afraid to commit one of the Unpardonable Errors—never use your magic to do harm—she would take a chance and wrest it from his possession. But if she had the dust in her hands right at that moment, she would use it to harm him. In a most satisfying way.

She forced herself into a casual shrug. “Take a chance. Blow off an appendage. Perhaps you’ll be lucky and it’ll be the smallest one. One you probably don’t get to use much.”

His smile vanished. “I can assure you there’s nothing small about my appendage.”

She grinned. “That’s not what she said…” She left the taunt dangling in the air. His face flushed. She must have touched a sore spot. But since he was holding her hostage, he deserved to be just as uncomfortable as she was.


How the devil could a faerie be aware of his problems with his mistress? Katherine had only left him a few weeks before. It wasn’t his fault that she’d spread a bit of a rumor about his prowess in the bedroom. One that was completely unfounded upon reality. He narrowed his eyes at Miss Thorne. “Are your people omniscient?”

She didn’t answer. She simply turned to look out the window again. Blast and damn. The woman was already driving him toward Bedlam and he’d only had her in his possession for a few hours. His brother, Robin, would owe him dearly for this. Very dearly.

The carriage hit a rut in the road and she bounced in her seat. She uttered a most unladylike oath as her head bumped the roof of the carriage. “Beg your pardon?” he asked. He cupped a hand around his ear. “I didn’t quite hear that.”

“If I’d meant for you to hear it, you would have heard it.” She adjusted her skirts, settling back more heavily against the squabs. The bounce had left her looking a bit disheveled, with a strawberry blond curl hanging across her forehead. She blew the lock of hair with an upturned breath.

She really was quite pretty if one could get over the shrewish behavior. Her body was tall and willowy, her limbs long and graceful. Her heart­shaped face would probably be beautiful if she ever graced it with a smile.

“Just where are we going?” she asked. She still didn’t look at him. She gazed out the window with the countenance of someone who had the weight of the world upon her shoulders.

“My house in Bedfordshire.”

Her shoulders stiffened and then she exhaled deeply.

“And just what recommends such a place?”

“It has bars on the windows and heavy locks on the doors.” It didn’t. But she didn’t have to know that.

“It will take more than bars and windows to keep a faerie under lock and key.” She sniffed and raised her nose in the air.

“Then thank God there are ropes aplenty. I will tie you to my side if I must. I did promise Robin I’d take care of you.” That was a bit of a long and sordid tale, and he still didn’t understand the half of it. “Pray tell me how you people came to exist.”

She arched a delicate brow at him. “The same way you did.” Her face flushed scarlet. “Do you really need me to tell you about reproduction?”

Damn her hide. He didn’t need her to explain anything about reproduction. This lady knew how to jab him where it hurt, though. He would have to take great care with her. He grinned slowly and leaned forward. “Please do. If you’re lacking anything in the telling of how babes are made, I’ll fill in the blanks for you. Certainly, you have questions about it.”

“Should any pressing questions arise, I’ll be sure to let you know.” She looked back out the window. Damn, he hoped that Robin finished up his business soon so he could free the harpy.

“How long do you plan to keep me there?”

“As long as it takes for Robin to finish his business.” The sooner, the better.

“I’m certain he’s done by now. So we can turn around and go back to the city.” She looked quite pleased by that idea. A smile tipped her lips and the beauty of it nearly took Finn’s breath away.
“He’ll send word when he’s done. I’ll set you free not a moment before.”

She laughed lightly, and the sound raked over his skin like silky fingertips in the night. “Only an idiot would think he can keep a faerie confined.” She snorted lightly. It was a most unladylike noise, but he found himself biting back a grin at the sound.

Finn leaned over and looked out the window at the cloud-filled sky. If he couldn’t keep her confined, the inclement weather would. Unless he was mistaken, the snow would begin to fall before they reached their destination. Then she would be as confined by the elements as she was by him. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to tie her to him. He’d have to wait and see.

Claire and Finn fight their attraction to one another as best they can, until they can’t:

“Don’t worry. I won’t fall in love with you,” she said, as she pulled his bottom with her heels.

The next move was his as he retreated. “I don’t love you, either.”

“I can never love you. It’s forbidden.”

“Thank God,” he groaned.

Unpardonable Errors? What Unpardonable Errors?  Claire and Finn break every last one, and become a catalyst for change in the land of the fae as they work toward their happily-ever-after.

There’s the tiny little problem of a murderer who revenge, and the whole “we can’t fall in love” thing, too. 
I hope you love my fae world as much as I do!

Desperately Seeking Excitement...
With the temporary prohibition on magic on the land of the Fae, Claire Thorne might as well go back to the Regency world. The haut ton has just as many annoying rules as her world, but at least they have parties and dances. Plus, the roguish Lord Phineas "Finn" Trimble is there...

When the feisty faerie tumbles into his room through a magical portal, Finn can't believe how completely unpredictable she is. Even before the two stumble into a dangerous intrigue that threatens both their worlds, Finn discovers that his hitherto carefree life is about to go up in smoke...

Praise for A Lady and Her Magic:
“A dash of Jane Austen and a sprinkle of faery dust make this book a treasure.” —Kathryne Kennedy, author of The Elven Lord series

“Charming and filled with the magic of love and faith...Falkner's tale whisks readers into a realm of enchantment.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Marvelous magical mayhem.” —Midwest Book Review

“Absolutely enchanting...a delicious Regency fairy tale beautifully written.” —Romance Junkies

As half of the Lydia Dare writing team, Tammy Falkner has co-written ten books, including A Certain Wolfish Charm and In the Heat of the Bite. A huge fan of Regency England, her regency paranormal series combines the magical elements of both mystical faeries and the glittering regency ton. Tammy lives on a farm in rural North Carolina with her husband and a house full of boys, a few dogs, and a cat or two. Visit her website,, for more information.

To purchase The Magic of “I Do”

-- Lynda Again,

    It's always great to see an excerpt of a lovely book, isn't it? As I mentioned earlier, Sourcebooks is offering a copy of A Lady and Her Magic to one lucky commenter. All you need do is send me an email ( with Magic in the subject line and your name and address in the body. On Friday, I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, select the winner.

    One lucky member of my newsletter list will receive an ARC copy of The Magic of "I Do". To subscribe, click the link for my newsletter below.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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