Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Why Ruth A. Casie Writes Historicals
Years ago when I worked for a large bank I did a lot of international business travel. I can remember my first overseas assignment very clearly. It was a two week trip to five European cities. I brought six paperbacks thinking I would catch up on my reading—there was never enough time to read at home. We had three small children. Settled in my seat, I finished a book and a half by the time I landed in Brussels.
Client calls with local bank directors filled my days, but after business hours and over the weekend I was on my own. I filled the time with walking tours, sometimes in groups other times using the track provided by the hotel. Each time I came face to face with history; the Grand Place in Brussels, the Place de la Concorde in Paris, and Hampton Court in England.
As I went on to the different cities I tried to hear the sounds, smell the aromas, and see the sights from a different perspective, a different time. Stories by Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey and Lynn Kurland had me enthralled along with Clive Cussler. I know he's not exactly romance but his Dirk Pit stories always start with some historical fact or thread that's crucial to solving the mystery. I read my books at night and visited places where I imagined the stories unfolding.
Historical facts mixed with chivalry and magic are the most compelling stories to me. The romance of the middle ages with knights and princesses and their myths of druids, fairies, and fae tossed in for good measure all drew me in. Time travel stories and the ability to visit the past, protect the future, or simply experience a different time were the most compelling stories. Personally, I want my fiction based on fact but I don't necessarily want the cold truth of reality. I know that history doesn't always end with a happily ever after but taking a little poetic license to alter history just a bit to make it all work out is what I enjoy reading—and writing.
Ruth A. Casie, a USA Today Bestselling Author, writes historical fantasy and contemporary romances for Harlequin, Carina Press, and Timeless Scribes. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, NJ, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross stitch. You can reach her at www.RuthACasie.com , and join her newsletter, on Twitter @RuthACasie, at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RuthACasie or at Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/
Welcome to week 2 of our blog hop! I'm hosting Ruth A. Casie and an excerpt from her book, The Highlander's English Woman.
Excerpt Two: The Highlander’s English Woman by Ruth A. Casie
Jamie’s focus turned to Laura, the younger of the two sisters. Laura and Lisbeth were alike from their slender, petite size bodies, long auburn hair, and large green eyes with a fan of thick lashes. The sisters may be similar in appearance, however, not in temperament. Lisbeth was the deep thinker. Laura was head strong and outspoken, the feistier defiant sister.
“How are you and Lisbeth faring?” He gazed back at Wesley.
Follow along next week by checking out Laurel O’Donnell’s blog for excerpt #3 http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/blog.html
Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.
Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.
Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.
Available at Amazon
Welcome to a new theme on Medieval Monday! For the next few weeks, we'll be featuring celebrations in our story excerpts.
To begin this new theme, I'm featuring Ruth A. Casie and her short story, The Druid Knight Tales, with a celebration of the shortest day of the year.
She woke before sunrise refreshed by a good night’s sleep. After her morning routine she picked up her staff and joined the others at the standing stones. Today, the shortest day of the year, they would welcome the day and celebrate the sacred marriage between Father Sky and Mother Earth. She waited while Doward finished cleansing and purifying the area for the Grand Master.
Ellyn and the people from all the clans proceeded through the outer circle to the Cove and its three standing stones. Doward came up to her. “Another year. They seem to hurry by.”
A wave of unease washed over her. She hardly made out what Doward said. She was too busy trying to control her rising apprehension.
The clans formed a large circle around the stones and waited. The Grand Master walked down the wide avenue and took his place. He stood beside her. She had imagined his tall, commanding presence quite correctly.
Everyone in the large circle faced east and waited for the sun to peek over the horizon. Slowly sunlight crept up and bathed the central Cove stone with its first rays of light.
“Hail and welcome,” declared Max.
“Hail and welcome,” the clans around him responded.
In unison they faced the center of the large circle.
“Hail this new day and year. We remember those who have left us. And we welcome those who have joined us by marriage, birth, or simply by choice.” He nodded toward Ellyn. “Ellyn of Brodgar, we welcome you into Fendrel’s clan.”
“Thank you, Grand Master.” Ellyn’s voice carried loud and clear. She faced Fendrel. “Thank you for making a place for me at your hearth.”
The first part of the morning ritual completed, the circle broke. She followed Max and the others as they made their way to the great oak in the nearby grove.
“Are you familiar with this part of the ritual?” Doward asked.
“Yes. The Grand Master will enter the Otherworld and meet with the Ancestors.”
“There is more to the ritual,” Doward said. “To ensure a good year and banish evil, when the Grand Master returns with the message from the Ancestors, the women will cut down and collect springs of mistletoe from the sacred oak tree. The Grand Master will give the sprigs to the families in the clan for them to hang in their house.”
Everyone gathered around the ancient oak. Once again she and Doward stood in the great circle next to the Grand Master.
Max waited for quiet before he faced the east and raised his arms. “Hail, Guardians of the East. I summon the power of air.” His voice echoed through the grove.
“By the air in her breath, be with us now,” the congregation replied.
He turned to the south. “Hail, Guardians of the South. I summon the power of fire.”
“By the fire in her spirit, be with us now,” came the reply.
He faced the west. “Hail, Guardians of the West. I summon the power of water.”
“By the waters of her womb, be with us now.”
Turning north he said, “Hail, Guardians of the North. I summon the power of earth.”
“By the earth that is her body, be with us now.” Every eye turned to Max when he faced the ancient oak, mistletoe hanging in great bunches from its mighty branches.
“As above, so below.
As within, so without.
Four stars in this place be
To open the door to the Ancestors to me.”
The cold air chilled even more and the sky turned an array of colors. Every muscle in Ellyn’s body tensed. This was magick she was not supposed to see. She must be too close to the Grand Master. She struggled to move away but was fixed to the spot. Slowly the world began to spin. She took a few deep breaths to steady herself, planted her staff deep into the ground, and held on. She peered through a hazy filter and witnessed Doward’s nod. She studied his lips silently mouthing, Safe journey.
Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, was given a year to find his soul mate. On the final day, the sacred mistletoe has shriveled and died—proclaiming his failure. He must do what no other Grand Master has done before and journey to meet with the Ancestors formally relinquish his title.
Ellyn of Brodgar has the gift of healing. But each use of her magick, through a kiss, depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Time is running out as she searches for a way to continue saving lives—especially her own.
Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld together—a place filled with magick and wonder, it’s also fraught with danger, traps, and death. They have only until the third sunset to find the Ancestors, or be lost to the world forever. The domineering druid must work with the stubborn healer, not only for survival, but for the promise of the future—a future together.
Included an epilogue fifteen years later. See how the man destined for Max and Ellyn’s daughter takes the first steps in becoming a druid knight.
Arik, son of Fendrel and Dimia, prepares for training with his adopted brother, Bran, setting into motion a ripple effect that will carry love, betrayal, and death across the centuries.
Please welcome Ruth A. Casie with her excerpt from The Maxwell Ghost, her story in the Once Upon a Haunted Castle anthology.
What a great read for the upcoming season!
Excerpt from THE MAXWELL GHOST, a featured novella in Once Upon a Haunted Castle
He and Laura were targets in the swift moving water. He needed to get farther downstream, away from the marshland. He cursed himself for worrying about her propriety rather than her safety.
The sound of splashing from up river grew closer.
“Wrap your arms around my waist and try not to lose your seat.”
They reached the far bank and raced along the river, the raiders not far behind.
“You need to let me down,” she yelled at him in the wind. “You can go faster without me.”
“Keep down,” he said between clenched teeth and pulled his sword. They raced on, the land a blur as they flew by.
The spray of water from his horse’s pounding hooves turned into small clouds of dust as they came out of the marshland into the meadow. His horse couldn’t maintain this speed much longer. They reached the area where the river dog-legged to the right. A dense fog hung low in the forest. Jamie let loose his battle cry then veered into the woods.
They raced on. Out of the mist his men charged and dashed past them set to do battle with the reivers close behind them.
Jamie and Laura raced on. Laura glanced over his shoulder.
“Rider behind us.” Jamie urged his horse on faster. If they didn’t stop soon, the poor animal would collapse.
Another glance. The man was gaining ground. Think, she told herself. Sunlight bounced off Jamie’s sword. Could it work? It had to.
“Put your sword on your left shoulder then make a quick half-turn to your left and face the rider. Don’t stop, charge,” Laura said as she lay as close to his horse as possible to give Jamie more room to maneuver.
“Don’t look. It’s not going to be a pretty sight.”
She closed her eyes tight.
Jamie followed her instructions. The sound of the horse’s hooves echoed in her head as he completed the maneuver and his horse sprang forward. With the full weight of the charging horse behind his sword, he hit the raider in the chest. The man fell to the ground. His disembodied head rolled somewhere in the mist.
Jamie turned his horse again and continued into the woods. Laura sat up. The trees sped by. She began to panic at the tall hedge row that loomed in front of them.
Their direction didn’t waver. Rather than slow down, the animal gathered speed. Jamie crushed her in front of him and held her head against his chest.
“I won’t let anything happen to you. Hold me.”
The sensation of flying through the air frightened and exhilarated her at the same time. For a moment, her heart stopped. How they landed without the horse falling or them being thrown was beyond her, but they did.
The horse slowed to a halt, lathered and blowing hard. His men were soon with them.
Back Cover Copy
In Ruth A. Casie’s The Maxwell Ghost, traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant at The Maxwell’s Caerlaverock Castle. Jamie Maxwell Collins, a man of reality not magic, serves Lord Herbert in exchange for his own farm. Laura Reynolds, Lord Herbert's distant cousin comes to the castle to solve the murders and put the ghost to rest. The two, long-time friends find their destinies intertwined with hidden passions, but all is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs some ghostly assistance to save Laura and declare his love.
Buy Links: Amazon/Kindle, iBook, BN, KOBO
Nature, both natural and supernatural, set the scene in Ruth A. Casie's book, The Guardian's Witch.
Excerpt from The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie
The berries Lisbeth had gathered tumbled forgotten from her hands. A tremor touched her lips while the vision slammed behind her eyes. She didn’t doubt the vision’s truth. Sometimes a bright light, warm and comforting, accompanied the vision; other times the wind howled, cold and disturbing. Today, panic clearly filled the air.
She spun around trying to pinpoint a direction and abruptly stopped. Facing south, she licked her lips nervously and tasted the sweetness of fresh water. A rushing sound burst in her ears. The river. Her head snapped east toward the river path and she ran. As she careened down the narrow trail, the outstretched branches tugged at her dress, pulled off her shawl and clawed at her face and arms. She took no notice. The cadence of her footfalls beat out a mantra, not him, not him, not him. She rushed on faster, mumbling enchanted words under her breath.
She exploded out of the forest and stood on the riverbank as the bridge gave way, sending the horse and rider plunging into the angry current. Swiftly the horse surfaced and headed for shore with an empty saddle. She stood on the bank, still mumbling as she scanned the river until she glimpsed a clear red aura shining deep in its middle. Her relief was momentary when the blackness began to creep in. There wasn’t much time.
Quickly she pulled off her heavy dress and, wearing only her chemise, dove into the river. Save him was her only thought. Down she plunged kicking hard against the current. The usually clear water, now choked with mud, churned with debris. She screamed the words in her head and made her demands. In response, the current slowed and as the mud began to settle, a lifeless hand beckoned to her from below.
Desperate to reach him, she kicked hard toward the deep river bottom. She was a strong swimmer and reached him quickly. She pulled on his arm but he didn’t budge. Something pinned him in place. She dropped his hand and pulled herself around him. The murky water made it difficult for her to see what held him. She resorted to running her hand over every inch of his body to locate what kept him captive. Her lungs burned. She needed to surface but she pressed on.
Frantically her hands felt their way along his leg until she found his foot caught in the debris. She shoved the timber away. The exertion cost her precious time and air. With one hand she grabbed his shirt collar and kicked off the bottom. With her free arm she reached for the surface. She didn’t take her eyes off him.
The higher she got, the more the water cleared. The wild current fought to get free of her restraint. She didn’t think. She focused on getting Alex out of the water.
The hand holding Alex’s collar cramped, sending spasms of pain up her arm. She did not let go. The last of her breath spent, her lungs screamed for fresh air. She forced herself not to breathe. She was certain she would break free of the water soon. Alex’s weight pulled at her. She wasn’t making any progress. If she didn’t do something quickly they would be back on the bottom. She glanced up. The light was brighter. She was close now. She held her legs together and undulated like a graceful giant fish. Once again her free arm reached hard and pulled the water out of her way. One last hard kick and she exploded into the air as if propelled from underneath. Alex floated face down next to her.
She gulped for air, exhausted. There was no time to waste. She held on to him as the current pulled them toward the rapids and the steep falls beyond. She turned him onto his back and swam for shore. She dragged the large knight onto the bank where his warhorse stood snorting and stomping. Worn out but thankful, she collapsed next to Alex gasping for air. Her hand was on his chest.
He didn’t stir. She fixed her eyes on his chest but she didn’t see any movement. She scanned his face. A small trickle of water escaped his mouth.
She rolled him on his side and pounded on his back. Nothing. She pounded again. More water trickled out of his mouth. She reached inside his wet shirt. No heartbeat.
She kept the building panic at bay. Think. Calmness overcame her. She rolled him onto his back and knelt above him. She placed her mouth over his and gave him her breath. She’d given her breath before, when the blacksmith’s wife gave birth and the baby didn’t breathe. That day she had tried everything but nothing worked. She wanted to move the baby’s chest, just one breath. In desperation she breathed for the child. It worked then. It had to work now.
She felt the tingle at her lips and a dizzying current raced through her. She closed her eyes and gave him another breath. Her hand pressed hard against this chest. She searched for a heartbeat, the rise and fall of his chest, anything to indicate he lived.
He shuddered with a shallow breath. Reassured, she felt a faint but steady beat and sank back on her heels. She observed the deadly gray pallor on his face retreat. His arms twitched as they came to life. His face contorted in a spasm as he choked to clear his lungs. He pushed himself up coughing out the last of the river sludge and sucked in large quantities of air.
Relief surged through her. She rose, retrieved her dress lying in a pool of sunlight, and quickly slipped it on. She calmed the restless warhorse with her gentle touch and whispered words. When she ventured a glance at the knight, she found herself staring into his compelling gray eyes. His gaze was riveted on her face. A fresh spasm of coughing took him, and she turned to leave.
“Wait.” He struggled to get the word out.
She stopped and took a deep breath.
He shook his head. His eyelids slid closed and he fell onto his back. He was asleep before his head touched the ground.
Back Cover Copy from The Guardian’s Witch
Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.
Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.
Despite his vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.
Buy Links: Amazon, BN, Kobo, iBooks
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