Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
I'm so excited to have my friend, USA-Today best-selling author Madeline Martin on my blog today!
I'm not sure where I want to start, lol! I love the cover she's sharing today, I love her new series, and I absolutely adore the post she's prepared. Always thoughtful, Madeline has put together some fun info about this series that made me grin so much!
How else to tweak my interest than to include pets?
Let's let Madeline tell you more. And at the end, leave a comment on your pet or one you know (or knew) for a chance to win a kindle copy of Marin's Promise! Winner announced May 31!
Madeline: One of the things I love so much about following Cathy MacRae on Instagram and FB are all the adorable pictures she posts of her German Shepherd, Rezso.
I absolutely looooove pets, but due to severe time constraints and family pet allergies, we can’t have any. Well, aside from fish (but given their lack of snuggle-ability, I don’t feel like they really count). To cope with this, I’ve started writing pets into my books, like the adorable kitten who gets trained to be a spy cat in the Mercenary Maidens series, or the affable dog my earl rescues from the streets in the Earl of Benton.
My upcoming series, the Borderland Ladies, is no different. Well, maybe a little different in that it’s set in the medieval era. And what kind of pets did they have back then? These are the kind of questions that I love to research.
Generally speaking, medieval pets served a purpose. Cats were there for catching vermin, dogs were there for guarding the home and aiding with hunting. Dogs of nobles were cared for very well with their straw bedding changed out once a day and their water refreshed twice daily. They were typically fed bran bread and meat. Considering most peasants did not eat meat more than once a week (if they were lucky) or once a month, these dogs ate better than many humans!
There were several main types of dogs used for hunting in the medieval days. The mastiff, which was similar to the mastiffs of today: large and powerful. These dogs were used to take down large prey as well as guard homes and were even brought into battle as war dogs. The greyhound, which was prized for its swiftness and used to take down smaller prey. Spaniels which were great for charging into the brush and flushing out birds for hunters to take down. Then there was the alaunt, a fierce and determined dog who could take down a bear on its own. These powerful dogs were mercurial and were known for sometimes attacking and even killing their owners and handlers.
There were always exceptions to utilitarian pet ownership, of course. Some animals were kept for spectacle and prestige, like the menageries held by royals that had beasts such as lions, elephants, cheetahs, etc. These poor beasts were unfortunately not often cared for properly and were placed in cages that were far too small.
Fortunately, there were pets that people loved as well. Though in times where good food was sold at a premium, one had to possess excessive resources to have a pet simply for companionship. Oftentimes nuns and monks would keep song birds or had cats and dogs useless for hunting, but wonderful for snuggling. The church did not feel they could ban such ownership of pets, but did ask the nuns and monks to engage in pet ownership lightly as food consumed by the animals could otherwise be eaten by humans.
Leave it to the excessively wealthy to go extravagant with their pet ownership. There are accounts of people owning animals like monkeys, squirrels and even badgers. No thanks on the badger! I’ve even read it was not uncommon for these animals to wear adorable little collars with bells affixed to them. Probably to know where they scamper off to (badger, I’m looking at you!).
I’ve had a lot of fun creating and love the pets in my Borderland Ladies series. Initially, I’d planned to give each of the five sisters a pet, but then it got a little overwhelming and I had to scale down. LOL. In Marin’s Promise, you’ll meet an adorable little black cat named Bixby who totally stole my heart (and I hope he steals yours too).
Here’s an excerpt from Marin’s Promise where the hero, Bran (a reiver), first seizes control of Werrick Castle:
“The reiver made an agreeable humming sound and strode forward, toward the keep. A black cat trotted from the stables and wound his way around the man’s feet. Fitting. Bixby always did have an affinity for rats.
Marin did not wish the little feline to be kicked by a man so brutal, and quickly stepped forward to shoo Bixby away. Before she could reach him, the reiver lifted the animal into his arms and scratched at the place Bixby liked best, right between his ears.
Very well. She would leave the rat-lover to the rat.”
Marin’s Promise released yesterday, May 28th
A LADY WHO WILL DEFEND HER FAMILY AND HER CASTLE...
Lady Marin Barrington, eldest of the Earl of Werrick's five daughters, is a born protector. Not only has she taken on the role of mistress of the castle and caregiver to her sisters upon their mother's death, she also acts in her father's stead while he is serving the king abroad. Dedicated and resolute, failure is never an option for her. So, when a reiver forces his way into the castle, Marin won't surrender easily and takes it upon herself to kill the usurper. Except plans go awry when passions are awoken and matters get complicated.
A MAN WHO MUST SUCCEED NO MATTER THE COST...
Bran Douglas's sister is going to be hanged, unless he agrees to take Werrick Castle. Ever a pawn in a rich man's game, Bran has no choice but to comply. He quickly discovers getting into the castle is the easy part. Dealing with its mistress, however, will take every ounce of cunning and determination he can muster, especially when she turns his blood to fire.
A PROMISE THAT CHANGES IT ALL...
In a game where desperation and love dictate the lives of many, a simple promise can change the tide of favor and open the door to pleasure and danger alike.
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Cathy: Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Madeline! Please come back soon with the other books in the series!
Readers, don't forget to comment below for a chance to win a kindle copy of Marin's Promise!
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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.
She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She does a weekly podcast with several author friends called History, Books and Wine that releases every Thursday to chat about their favorite topics.
Find her here:
Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page:
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Author Amazon Profile page:
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Today I have guest author Kate Hill on the blog, sharing an excerpt from her historical romantic suspense, Captain's Mercy.
Mercy Brown’s life changes when she accepts a position as companion to the disabled sister of wealthy shipyard owner Jonah Barnes. She is instantly attracted to the rugged former sea captain, even if his brusque manner offends her. Mercy soon finds herself entangled in the quirky family’s secrets.
From the first, Mercy is troubled by prowlers, disturbances from the attic, and unearthly howls on the property. After meeting several unusual household members, including a groundskeeper who works by night and the mischievous Maxwell Barnes, Mercy realizes she should flee while she can.
Pages from Mercy’s first novel go missing and Jonah’s domineering personality causes tension in the house. Only Mercy’s fondness for her young companion, Faith Barnes, as well as her fascination with Jonah prevent her from leaving, but will her desire for him endanger her life?
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“Mr. Barnes?” she called again.
She glanced over her shoulder, back toward the stairs. When she turned around, she cried out, startled to find herself facing Jonah who now stood outside the attic door, holding a lamp.
“Miss Brown, what are you doing up here?” he demanded, wearing his usual scowl.
“I heard noise from up here. A crash. I thought perhaps lightning had struck the house and someone might be hurt.” She couldn’t keep the tremors from her voice. “I’m also worried about your siblings. You don’t suppose they’re caught in the storm?”
Jonah’s brow furrowed and he stepped closer to her. He held up the lamp and studied her face.
“I’m sure they’re fine,” he said in a gentler tone. “Max is quite capable and I doubt they’d venture out until after this passes. Are you all right, Miss Brown?”
Another clap of thunder made her jump.
“You don’t look fine,” he said. “Are you afraid of the storm?”
She chuckled nervously. “Silly isn’t it? A grown person afraid of a thunderstorm.”
“Why don’t we wait it out in the library?”
“There’s no need for you to keep me company.”
Again she jumped at the thunder and lightning.
“Keeping you company is far more pleasant than the paperwork I’ve been looking over.” He offered her his arm in a gallant gesture that took her aback. She rested her hand on it lightly. Goodness, she shouldn’t enjoy how solid and warm he felt, yet she was unable to ignore it. His arms were rock hard from years at sea and working in the shipyard.
On their way downstairs, she asked, “What were you doing in the attic? I thought I heard howling up there a short time ago and then a crash.”
“The wind, I’m sure. No doubt the crash you heard was Michaels. He tripped over an old trunk. He’s up there now, making repairs on a window that was blown open by the storm. He’s also trying to get rid of more unwanted guests of the flying rodent variety, so I remind you to stay away from the attic.”
“Why do you suppose the pests keep coming back?”
“I’m not sure. My expertise is the sea. Ask me about whales and sharks and I could probably answer. Bats are another story.”
“Do you still go to sea?” she asked, eager to keep her mind off the storm.
“Not as much as I used to.”
“Do you miss it?”
“At times. I miss the straightforwardness of being at sea. The simplicity. Aboard ship, a man is valued more for what he knows than for his bloodlines.”
“You don’t have much use for polite society, do you?”
“As long as rich men keep buying my ships, I like it well enough.”
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Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, spending time with her family and pets, and running the Compelling Beasts Blog, dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. She also writes under the name Saloni Quinby. Find her online at https://www.kate-hill.com and https://www.twitter.com/katehillromance.
Deception and family honor are at stake, so is the heroine’s heart in this new medieval pirate romance from USA Today bestselling author, Ruth A. Casie, which releases Feb. 12! Preorder today! Amazon: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B07M81Y7HM
The Pirate’s Jewel
Wesley Reynolds will do anything to avenge his family’s banishment from Dundhragon Castle even throw in with the notorious pirate, MacAlpin. His plan, ruin Lord Ewan’s trading network. He has a more devious plan for his father’s ‘best friend,’ the man who abandoned them at the eleventh hour. He’ll ruin the man’s most precious jewel, his daughter Darla. Wesley’s so close to ruining the trade network and succeeding he can almost taste it, but revenge is not nearly as sweet as Darla’s kisses.
Darla Maxwell, beloved by her parents has no prospects of marriage. Her father and Lord Ewan search to find her the right husband. Darla’s special gifts are frightening to many. She has visions that often come true. The murky image of a man haunts her, she’s sure it’s Lord Ewan’s soon-to-be son-in-law, but the vision morphs when she meets Wesley. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer to her, her destiny lies with Wesley.
When revelations surface indicating Wesley has been deceived and his revenge misplaced. Will he find the truth of what really happened to his family in time to stop the pirates? Will Darla ever forgive him? Will he ever forgive himself?
RELEASES FEBRUARY 12th
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Cyrbev
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all.
Ruth lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her writing voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance.
Visit her website to see what she writes. Her historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary suspense will keep you turning the pages until the end. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.
Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, Pinterest RuthACasie. Instagram RuthACasie
Today I have Madeline Martin on my blog to give us a little insight on her newest book, Highland Ruse, and with great reasons why she writes about spies, but isn't one herself.
You're going to love this!
(And isn't this cover fabulous?)
Thanks for joining us today, Madeline!
Oftentimes we as writers will write the characters we wish we could be. That is most definitely the case with the Mercenary Maidens series where the heroines are swept into an underground organization of all female spies. These women are tough, skilled and all kinds of awesome. In honor of the release of my second book, Highland Ruse, coming out, I’m going to share how my Mercenary Maidens are awesome spies and how I am so not.
The Mercenary Maidens are trained to be stealthy and can walk quietly when needed.
Every joint in my body audibly pops, especially my ankles.
The Mercenary Maidens are fluent in English and Gaelic with some of the girls also able to speak several other languages.
I can pass with rusty French and know enough Spanish to get me onto an episode of Dora.
The Mercenary Maidens have an expert on medicine, healing and gadget creation.
I swear by Motrin, abhor the odor of Valerian root and manage to break most things I touch.
The Mercenary Maidens have mad skills at being covert and smooth, lying when necessary to ensure their survival and success.
When I try to lie, my face goes all red, my arm pits get sweaty, my brain overheats and I can’t remember what gibberish I’m spewing on about.
The Mercenary Maidens are graceful and sure of themselves whether fighting, or captivating a room.
I have actually tripped up an entire flight of stairs only to fall once I got to the top. I’ve fallen down quite a few as well, and regularly trip over the sidewalk, my own feet and air.
The Mercenary Maidens have amazing fighting moves they execute with grace and skill.
My hip pops when my foot goes higher than my waist.
The Mercenary Maidens are exceptional horse riders.
I rode a pony at a Ren Faire once.
The Mercenary Maidens are always planning the next move, orchestrating everything like a complicated chess game.
I’m always plotting out my food schedule and fantasizing about my next meal.
The Mercenary Maidens navigate an elegant party seamlessly and beautifully.
I once fell in a fountain while holding a glass of wine.
The Mercenary Maidens know how to use many different weapons and with considerable skill.
I cut myself on a plastic butter knife once and burned my chest when a spent bullet shell fell down my shirt.
The Mercenary Maidens can fight in a corset.
I can barely take wearing one more than five hours without feeling stabby.
The Mercenary Maidens are able to handle Scottish rain, sleet and snow.
I’m a Florida girl who dons a parka when it hits 60.
All that said, I think you can understand why I write about spies instead of trying to be a spy myself. But the concept is so cool, I just can’t get it out of my head! So, all those fun ideas get put into my books for my heroines to navigate to perfection and I get the experience of writing about it. Win, win!
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About Highland Ruse:
Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.
Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.
Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal?
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Praise for Highland Ruse:
“Fans of swashbuckling, high-drama adventure and romance are sure to revel in the second entry in the Mercenary Maidens series. With an empowered heroine and tormented hero, a high degree of sensuality and a fast-moving plot, readers are sure to be satisfied from beginning to end. The added mystery and contemporary theme of addiction enhance the story so it truly resonates with readers.” – RT Reviews
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Free Preview of Ch1: http://www.madelinemartin.com/2017/11/highland-ruse-preview-of-chapter-1/
Google Play: http://hyperurl.co/hrgp
BN Paperback: http://hyperurl.co/hrbnpb
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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance with tons of page-turning action and tough heroines. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) and Mr. Awesome.
3/17/2017 10 Comments
Barbara Bettis is visiting today with some great info on St. Patrick. And, as a special treat, she's offering her book The Lady of the Forest for 99 cents for a limited time--
AND a chance to win a $5 gift certificate!
So, read up on St. Patrick in her fun post below, scoop up a fantastic book at a fantastic price, and comment below for a chance to win the gift certificate!
Happy St. Patrick's Day! from Barbara Bettis-
Today my latest book goes on sale for 99 cents. Please check out The Lady of the Forest. AMAZON
To celebrate, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card to one commenter.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ’Tis the Wearing of the Green, so pin on your shamrock, watch out for leprechauns and pass the corned beef and cabbage.
Yes, the venerable observance named for Ireland’s primary patron saint has become a holiday throughout the world, often celebrated with parades. Like many holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, the commemoration has taken on multiple layers over the centuries.
At its heart, March 17 is the day tradition says St. Patrick died. Originally it was a feast day, a day of spiritual renewal, and was celebrated from the 9th or 10th Century, although one source says the Catholic Church made it an official feast day in the 1600s.
Who was St. Patrick? He was born in Roman Britain in about 385 AD of Roman-British descent. He says in his Confessio ( Confession) that at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland where he became a slave and tended sheep. After four years, he escaped when he had a dream in which God told him to go to the coast. He did, and found sailors willing to give him passage (after he prayed for God to give them a sign).
He returned home, where, some years later he reported he had a vision of a man who handed him a letter headed “The Voice of the Irish.” When Patrick started to read, he heard the voices of many saying, 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"
This inspired him to study for the priesthood. He was ordained and eventually sent to Ireland, arriving March 25, in the year 433.
Some traditions say he brought Christianity to Ireland, but other scholars report that Christian missionaries were already in Ireland when he arrived. However, he took his message throughout the countryside, converting thousands of people and building churches.
He is said to have explained the Holy Trinity using the shamrock. This symbol proved effective, sources say, because the people were familiar with triads from their Celtic deities. However it occurred, St. Patrick was extremely successful in converting the Irish to Christianity.
There are conflicting theories on the year of his death, but the most commonly accepted is 461. He was buried on cathedral hill, (where Down Cathedral later was built) in Downpatrick, about 21 miles south of what is now Belfast, Ireland.
He drove the snakes from Ireland. That’s one of the most famous myths surrounding the saint. In fact, scientists say, there were never snakes on that island.
These days, we’re so familiar with the celebratory nature of the holiday—wearing green, parades, corned beef and cabbage. Oddly enough, blue was always associated with St. Patrick. However, over the years various Irish rebellious organizations adopted green as their color and green has since been associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
Ironically, the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held —you guessed it—in the U.S. In 1762, Irish soldiers stationed with the British army in the Colonies marched in New York City.
And that traditional Irish fare of corned beef and cabbage—isn’t. In Ireland, beef was too valuable to be eaten by the ordinary people. They dined on pork—bacon or ham. Not until immigrants arrived in the U.S. to find beef the cheaper meat did it supplant ham/bacon.
Often associated with the Day’s celebration, yet not connected with St. Patrick, leprechauns are straight from the Celtic folk tales. They’re mischievous sprites who love to plague humans and who guard their treasure by fair means or foul.
Perhaps mortals will never find the leprechauns’ gold at the end of the rainbow. But the culture of the world is richer for this holiday honoring the saint who was instrumental in bringing Christianity to Ireland and inspiring a tradition that—for one day—brings people of all nationalities together. Because as the saying goes, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.”
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http://www.catholic.org/news/national/story.php?id=73999 http://www.ireland.com/en-us/articles/st-patrick-facts/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick#Dating http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/why-do-irish-americans-eat-corned-beef-and-cabbage-instead-of-bacon-for-st-patricks-day-196470851-237570541 https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=101 http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/lebor4.html (The Tuatha de Dannan) http://store.isisbooks.com/The_Triple_Goddess_s/401.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_deity https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-celtic-triple-goddess-and-the-divine-hag/ http://www.yourirish.com/folklore/legend-of-leprechauns
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He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate's past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
#Sale 99 cents: The Lady of the Forest. AMAZON
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Thank you, Barbara! It was great to have your post on this St. Patrick's day!
Readers, be sure to leave your comment below to be entered for a chance to win the gift certificate. If you do not wish to leave your email address (I promise to use it only to contact the winner), you'll need to check back in a couple of days to see if you've won. ~Cathy
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