Serving the Serpent. Day 16. Sir Eglamour. A Knight and his dragon tale.

Dragon

Welcome to Here be Dragons Day 16.

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Serving the Serpent is now available. Click the cover to buy.

My post today is one of the dragon tales that was originally told in Middle English.
The Tale of Sir Eglamour of Artois.
Here is part of the introduction to this knight’s tale.

I woll you tell of a knyght
That was both hardy and wyght,
And stronge in ylke a stowre;
Of dedys of armys that he myght here
He wan degré with jurnay clere,
And in felde the floure

I was going to translate but I reckon it is fairly clear. The worthy knight has won renown and is the flower of the field amongst his peers.

Sir Eglamour falls in love with Christabel, an Earl’s daughter, and though she knows she shouldn’t she falls in love right back. Emboldened by love Sir Eglamour, a poor but worthy knight approaches his beloved Christabel’s father.
The Earl is furious and sets the knight two nigh impossible tasks to complete to win the fair maiden’s hand.
The first two trials take him far from home but he achieves his goals and after many adventures returns with the proof of his victories.
Angered that Sir Eglamour still lives the wicked Earl insists on a third task. This is the most deadly of all, for Eglamour must defeat a dragon.
The brave knight agrees but asks for time to recover his strength before he makes this new journey. The Earl’s noblemen and household support the Knight’s request and he is granted twelve weeks to recuperate from the first two tasks.
During this time, Eglamour and the Earl’s daughter meet secretly and sweetly.

Lindworm kissBefore he leaves the Earl’s castle, Christabel informs Eglamour she is with child. On his knees Eglamour offers her a magic ring, gained in the earlier adventures. He swears to her he will return triumphant and as soon as he can, for she is his woman and his love, and all he does is for her.
Sir Eglamour makes the journey to find the dragon and soon, due to his skill at arms the beast lays dead at his feet. But the knight is wounded and worn down by the conflict. He will take months to recover.
Back in England Christabel bears a child she cannot hide. Her father is so enraged he sets her and the infant adrift in a small boat. No water, no food, and at the mercy of the current Christabel prays for her knight. The tiny craft carries her safe to a distant shore. Below is the passage from the story and my translation of the Middle English.

The lady syked with herte sare,
The wynd rose and to a roche here bare
And thereon gon sche lende.
Sche was full fayn, I undurstonde,
Sche wend hyt had be byggyd londe
And there up gan sche wende.
Nothyng ellys sygh sche dere
Butt see fowles that wylde were
That fast flew here hende.
A grype come in all hyr care,
The yong chyld away he bare
To a countré unkende.

The lady sighed with heart sore
The wind rose and on a rock her bore
And there on she landed
She was full glad, I understood
She wondered at such a big land
And then up she got to look about
Nothing else she saw there
But fowls that lived wild
That fast flew from her hand
A Griffin came in all her dispair
The child away he bare
To a country unkind

So poor Christabel stands alone and grieving for her infant that the wicked Griffin stole.
Now at this point if I had been critiquing for the author I would have said, slow down, as the story goes into over drive. The child is saved by a King and brought up as a royal prince. Christabel, who heads out in the boat again finds her way to a kingdom where the King recognises her as his niece and she is given a beautiful home.
Sir Eglamour returns to England once he recovers from his wounds after his battle with the dragon, and is told the cruel fate of Christabel and son. He usurps the Earl with the help of the household and goes in search of his love.
Fifteen years pass before Sir Eglamour is reunited with his beloved Christabel and his son.
The family travel back to England where the wicked Earl falls from his tower room at the sight of them approaching the castle. Thus, Sir Egramour takes the lands of his wife’s father.

If you want to read the whole of Sir Egramour’s story you can find it here.
http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/hudson-sir-eglamour-of-artois

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

 

Solstice Island by Mae Clair. Guest post and free read.

Today I hand the blog over to the lovely and talented Mae Clair, who wants to tell you about a fabulous free read: Solstice Island.

Solstice Island Final

End of Summer Sale: Solstice Island by Mae Clair is FREE 8/31 and 9/1

#cryptidfiction #romance #adventure

I know summer isn’t officially over until the autumnal equinox rolls around mid-September, but by the time the calendar reads August 31, I’m already thinking fall. My husband and I will be closing our pool this coming weekend, Halloween stuff is stocked in most every store I visit, and the days are growing noticeably shorter. I live in the northeast where summer is much, much too short. Blink and it’s easy to miss. I love fall, but I thrive on summer. So…I’m lamenting the demise of my favorite season with an end of summer sale on SOLSTICE ISLAND, my breezy romantic adventure novella.

Why should you read it (other than the fact it’s like a shot of summer wrapped up inside Kindle pages)? I’m glad you asked. 

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Read Solstice Island by Mae Clair:

10. You’ll meet a hot charter boat captain trying to live down his family legacy.
9. You’ll encounter a spunky heroine cryptozoologist, determined hot captain should embrace said family legacy and all the baggage that goes with it.
8. You’ll be able to impress your friends with your stunning new knowledge of cryptozoology.
7. You may find yourself struck by the uncontrollable urge to look up blurry images of strange creatures online or go on a cryptid hunt (think Loch Ness, Big Foot, and the Jersey Devil).
6. You’ll learn why you should never ignore a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream.
5. The next time your boat is attacked by a rampaging sea monster, you’ll know precisely what to do.
4. You’ll be swept up in a tale of romance, adventure, and folklore.
3. You’ll uncover buried treasure, thwart a villain, and discover a new use for a boat oar.
2. As a 72 page novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND makes a quick end of summer read.

And the number one reason you should read SOLSTICE ISLAND:

1. It’s FREE on Amazon August 31 and September 1!
http://www.amazon.com/Solstice-Island-Mae-Clair-ebook/dp/B00JHN4EBC

SOLSTICE ISLAND Blurb:

Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?
Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.
Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.
It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.
Warning: A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.
About Mae Clair:
Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a kid. As an adult, she stumbled onto the field of cryptozoology and realized there were others like her who loved speculating about weird and wonderful creatures.

Her blog, From the Pen of Mae Clair, features a weekly post each Monday where she examines a different myth or urban legend. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who will factor into an upcoming series of novels.

As a writer, she pens tales of romantic mystery flavored with a twist of myth or folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, Mae lives in Pennsylvania. Her passions include cats, history and exploring old graveyards. Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website and Blog
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads
Sign up for Mae’s Newsletter

Download SOLSTICE ISLAND Free from:
Amazon

Add SOLSTICE ISLAND to your Goodreads TBR

Tuesday Treat from Christmas Carols.

nice strawberry ladyWelcome to Tuesday Treat. Your treat today comes from my newest book.

Christmas Carols, a sweet Victorian love story, went up for pre-order yesterday.

Click the cover to order it with a 20% earlybird discount.

Enjoy.

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Excerpt

The lilies sat in one of the small alcoves right on the other side of the nave. As far from their original position at the bottom of the steps leading to the organ as was possible. She tutted as she crossed the nave to pick up the large arrangement to take it back to where it belonged. “I’ll have to speak to the verger and find out who moved them.”
The tall flowers blocked her view, so she took small slow steps.
“Good morning, Mrs. Broadbrace.”
She peered around the side of the floral display. “Good morning, Mr. Grafton. I must say I greatly enjoyed your performance last night.”
He sneezed and sniffed. “Please tell me, madam, is your presence always announced with flowers? I can smell lilies.”
“No, and yes, sir. I’m just placing this arrangement back where it belongs. Someone had moved them.”
“I know. I asked Oswald to remove them before the recital last night.”
She set the flowers down. “I don’t understand, sir.”
He took off his hat. Several strands of his fair hair stood up. The dog sat at his side. “The matter is quite simple, ma’am. I have an aversion to lilies. They have a debilitating effect.”
“Lilies?”
“Well, all flowers to be truthful, but lilies more than most. I must ask you to refrain from using them in the displays you place anywhere near my seat at the organ.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d be so kind could you remove them at once?” He sneezed again.
“I’ve never heard the like.”
An expression that might have been a smile rose on his face. “I’m sure I am not the only individual to suffer from the symptoms they induce.”
“Of course I’ll take them away, Mr. Grafton. May I ask, are there any flowers that don’t affect you?”
He pursed his lips and tapped one finger against the cane in his hand. Several seconds passed until he spoke. “Daisies, I believe they cause no reaction at all.”
“I can’t possibly acquire daisies this time of year!”
“Then perhaps you can turn your thoughts to using something else in your displays?”

Blurb

Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

Tuesday Treat from Christmas Carols.

 nice strawberry lady

Welcome to Tuesday Treat and today I am sharing a little excerpt from my forthcoming release with Liquid Silver Books. Christmas Carols. This is a sweet, Victorian, love story. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

HRchristmascarolsExcerpt

Not again! The heavy fragrance of lilies wafted up to Stephen where he sat ready to begin the final rehearsal for the evening’s recital. He sneezed. “Who is there?” “Oh, Mr. Grafton, good afternoon. I am Mrs. Broadbrace. I have come to arrange some flowers. I do apologize if I’m disturbing you.” “You were here yesterday, were you not?” “Yes, I was.” “Hmm. Is it your intention to spend a great deal of time here arranging flowers in the church?” A rustle and chink followed by another blast of scent told him she’d put the darn lilies down. “I don’t intend to be here every day, sir. However, with the holy season almost upon us there are decisions I must make about the floral work. I’ll need to order flowers for the arrangements for the Advent services and some for the Christmas Day service, too. There are also two weddings. I would have thought Mr. Francis might have said. I’m sure he’ll be expecting you to play.” Stephen sneezed again and sucked in a breath. Damn the woman’s impertinence and her overpowering lilies. “I’m well aware of the weddings and of the seasonal catalogue of music the vicar requires. All I need is peace and quiet to rehearse the pieces for my performance tonight. That includes not being disturbed by the building of floral tributes.” “I am working as quietly as I can, Mr. Grafton.” A sniff followed her words, and a wave of discomfort rose. He’d neither the right nor need to be quite so abrupt. From the timbre of her voice she didn’t fit into the matronly group of females who so often gave their time to the church. This lady sounded little more than a girl, young enough to expect some chivalry, even from such as him. “Accept my apologies, Mrs. Broadbrace. I am finding today’s rehearsal a trial. I’ll leave you to get on and I’ll take a short walk.” He felt along the bench beside him and picked up the leather leash. “Come, Blue, time for a walk.”

 Blurb

Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.

As yet there are no buy links or pre-order links. As soon as I get some I’ll let you know.

Thanks for reading.

On a personal note-I am dealing with some difficult circumstances at present and am not posting here as often as I usually do. I hope to get back to normal by the end of this month. Thanks for stopping by.

Daisy Banks

Sexy Snippets A Perfect Match.

snippets button

Welcome to Sunday’s Sexy Snippets thanks to Nuthouse Scribblers.

To read on you must be over 18 and by reading on you acknowledge you are.

This week I am offering you seven sentences from my new story A Perfect Match to be published by Taliesain Publishing.

I hope you enjoy them.

There are eleven other authors taking part in Sexy Snippets this week. You can find links to them by clicking on the Snippet image above.

All writers thrive on a little encouragement, so if you read their posts do comment if you possibly can.

At present I have no art work to offer you for A Perfect Match,

but be sure I will share it with you as soon as I can.

In this snippet my hero has just returned home to his house in the upper city. He’s been working hard and is in need of a break.

“Good, now finish what you began earlier.”
Tasha pressed the smooth rounds of her breasts against his back for a second before she slid around him to nestle between his thighs.
The bath water came up to her shoulders and darkened the tips of her trailing fair hair. She rolled her fingers against his thighs and traced a tormenting fingernail along the length of his erection to encourage his engorged swell.
A blissful groan left him as she bent closer and took the tip between her smooth warm lips.
Home, delightful.

Find me on the web here:

Blog https://daisybanks.wordpress.com/
Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/
Twitter @DaisyBanks12
Facebook http://on.fb.me/18iRC35
Pinterest http://bit.ly/16sF1XG

All my Lyrical Press titles are available again.

LyricalHeaderLogo1

I am thrilled to say all my Lyrical Press titles are again available. To give you a reminder of them I’ve posted the art work and a little snippet about each of them here.

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Sometimes scandal is worth more than its weight in gold.

Love was folly, in Prudence Wellbourne’s innocence.a Now well-coined, sophisticated and wiser, she can easily live without it. But the one man who holds the key to her stubborn heart calls that belief into question.

Fifteen years has done nothing to cool Argyle Clairmonte’s desire for Prudence. His reckless attempt to regain her love lands him in Newgate prison and the Bailey court. Only Prudence’s public admission of the truth, despite the scandal it will bring, can save him from the bitter consequences of his foiled plans.Is hindsight the cure for love’s recklessness? Prudence must find an eloquent answer, or watch Argyle swing from The Tyburn Tree.

                                            

      New cover for Fiona's WishLeft shattered by her lover, Fiona Murray believes not one good man lives on this planet. She leaves civilization to work on a lonely isle off Ireland’s coast.

When lonely Selkie Ronan hears Fiona’s passionate call, he can’t help but answer her. She is all he desires, and for her, he will leave all he’s ever known–the deep blue sea. But Fate and the sea are fickle mistresses, and want him back. Will he find the strength to surrender all he is to be with Fiona?

And can Fiona, knowing her destiny without him, let him live the life he deserves?

                                                              Timeless     

Their love will be eternal, the legend says…if they survive.

Lonely and forced into a life of secrecy, 400-year-old Magnus finds Sian–the sexy music film producer who’s working in his house– tough to ignore. As she resists his alter ego when he invades her dreams to seduce her, her innate powers astound him, and his need only grows. In dreams or reality, he’s determined to make her his. She is meant for him alone.

Independent, hard-working Sian has hopes and plans for the future thatinclude the stately house at Darnwell. Not its aloof owner. She’s there to acquire the home for a video shoot, nothing more. By day, each layer she explores in Magnus’s grand old home with him leads her deeper into love. But by night, he seduces her in her dreams, gives her ecstasy like she’s never known. Then she learns his secret: Come the full moon, she is the only one who can control his wolf curse. First though, she has to survive it.

To Eternity, the sequel to Timeless is now completed and ready for submission I hope to be telling you more about that very soon.

These books are available at 

http://amzn.to/1frdsRs

I do hope you enjoy them when you read them.

             

     

The Cure to Valentine’s Day.

I’m visiting Elle’s blog today. You can find me here.

Elle Rush. 

I welcome Elle Rush to the blog today with her thoughts on an alternate Valantines Day for those of you who would like something different from the hearts and flowers.

If you are single or just the unromantic type, you have just survived another Valentine’s Day.  Congratulations. I know it can be trying. I may have a solution for you for next year though.

You know how for the entire month of December, television channels play at least one holiday movie a night? And how by the time the 15th rolls around you are ready to do something completely illegal and probably non-survivable to the next Santa or Christmas tree salesman you see on your screen?  There is a cure for that – a movie that that celebrates the holiday without actually celebrating the holiday.

Die Hard.

Yep, it’s set on Christmas Eve and there are holiday decorations on display and even Christmas carols playing in the background. But mostly it’s about John McClane shooting the hell out of Nakatomi Plaza. “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…” and “The quarterback is toast” and most memorably “Yippie-kay-yay!”  It’s the perfect cure to your holiday blues.

We need the equivalent for Valentine’s Day. And not some schlocky horror movie either. That’s been done to death (get it – to death?) Please, those people all deserved their run-ins with the madman’s chainsaw or wood chipper or what-have-you for being out celebrating the romantic holiday in question.  I’m talking about a good, old-fashioned blow ‘em up with Cupid hovering in the background dodging flying cars after the getaway vehicle explodes through the plate glass window. I’m talking mayhem in the chocolate goodies aisle and little white heart-holding teddy bears littering the floor with cotton stuffing falling out of their mortal bullet wounds. You know, fun stuff.

Alas, no such movie exists that I know of. Instead, I offer you a story about a woman who doesn’t have time for such lovey-dovey stuff and tries to escape it but gets sucked in to a happily-ever-after ending anyway.

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

BLURB:

Sydney Richardson should have trusted her instincts and locked the door when a Greek god appeared on her doorstep at sunrise. After months of work, she needs every second of the day to wrap up a two-part fundraiser for burn victims like herself and she can’t afford to waste time with a TV hunk, no matter how good he looks in a toga.

Chris Peck, worshipped by millions as Zeus on the hit drama Olympus, desperately wants to prove to the producers of a soon-to-be-cast romantic comedy that he doesn’t need fight scenes or special effects to make the jump to the big screen. Acting as the slave-for-a-day in the show’s fan appreciation contest was supposed to cement his everyman credibility but the winner wants nothing to do with him.

Chris is captivated by the woman who refuses to fawn over his looks and fame, and he promises to put her fundraising efforts over the top if she’ll spend the day with him. However, just when he convinces Sydney they could have a chance together, the movie’s producers offer him an audition that would mean breaking his promise and leaving Sydney in the lurch. The king of the gods has until sunset to prove to his new off-screen love interest that Hollywood magic and reality can co-exist.

Links:  Liquid Silver Books, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, B&N Nook, Kobo,

Bio:

Elle Rush is a Canadian romance author from Winnipeg, Manitoba. When she’s not travelling, she’s hard at work writing her contemporary romance eBooks which are set all over the world. Elle likes to write smart heroines, funny dialogue, and heroes who are a little scared of the women they’re falling for.  Follow her at Elle Rush or on Twitter @elle_rush.

Chapter 1

There shouldn’t be a six in the morning on a Saturday unless you stayed up for it after an exhausting, exhilarating Friday night. It was a rule somewhere. If a person were demented enough to get up before daybreak on a weekend, there were only three acceptable reasons: a newborn, a paycheck, or a fire alarm. Answering the door didn’t make the list. Nobody should ever knock on someone else’s door at such a perverse hour. It was uncivilized, but since the moron in question seemed to be unaware of this polite societal convention, it was up to Sydney Richardson to educate him. Possibly with a brick to the cranium.

She had planned this Saturday down to the minute, and she needed every second of it. Her precise schedule was supposed to start with her alarm going off at six fifty-two, allowing her a single eight-minute snooze cycle before she rolled out of bed at seven on the dot to hit the shower. This was the first weekend in a month that she hadn’t pulled an extra shift or two, and neither Saturday’s nor Sunday’s to-do list had “answer the door before sunrise” on it.

This was the weekend. Months of blood and sweat and tears and migraines had gone into today’s events. She’d started her charity with the hope of raising enough money to help one or two people afford the same medical procedures that got her out of the hospital and back to her life. The snowball effect had caught her unaware. The more she raised, the more people got involved and the bigger things got, until the small fundraiser had become a multi-part, day-long fundraiser with dozens of volunteers who all looked up to her. She wasn’t going to let anyone down today—not her donors, not her volunteers, and absolutely not the people she was supposed to be helping.

But it wasn’t supposed to start yet.

Sure, now she was awake a whole hour early, but she’d stayed up half an hour later than she intended to the night before and watched an old M*A*S*H re-run after she’d come home from a girlfriend’s birthday party at Yellow Fin Sushi. Sydney had told her body it could sleep until seven, and now it got back at her for lying by walking her into the open closet door. Dammit. After grabbing her robe and feeling her way out of the bedroom, she ricocheted off the wall between the framed Beverly Hills Cop and Raiders of the Lost Ark posters on the way down the hall. At this rate she might not make it to the door.

Her cupcake nightshirt didn’t matter, she thought as she limped through the house. Her red hair pulled into a Pebbles Flintstone-style ponytail on the top of her head didn’t matter. The plastic framed glasses she had to jam on to find her way down the main hall since she wasn’t stopping to put in her contacts didn’t matter. What mattered was making the pounding on her door go away so she only had to deal with the Japanese drumming group inside her skull. Sake was evil.

She peeked through the peephole and spied a man in a black tuxedo. A suit she would have ignored, but the shock of a tuxedo woke her up a little. She squinted and took a second look: tall, dark hair, light eyes. He was very handsome in a movie star kind of way. At least, Sydney assumed he was handsome. The fish-eyed view and lack of caffeine might have been coloring her perception. “Who are you?”

“Your slave for the day.”

It was much too early for this. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m Chris Peck.”

“You look like him. Kinda. Why are you at my house?”

“I’m really Chris Peck. I play Zeus on Olympus. You entered the show’s sweepstakes on the network website and won first prize of a Greek slave for the day, namely yours truly. You got a confirmation call to expect your slave from sunrise to sunset today.”

Her synapses started to fire. Slowly. Olympus was a hit primetime cable drama about a group of Greek gods on Mount Olympus during the decline of Greece’s golden age. It was part Spartacus, part Game of Thrones, and part Hercules. She had submitted a ton of entries to the sweepstakes. They were offering a $1000 DVD library of historically-based television shows and documentaries as second prize. The first place prize never even registered because she wasn’t a diehard fan of the show.

She watched it semi-regularly. She liked a lot of the actors but despised one in particular, so it came out a wash. To be honest, the only ones she made sure not to miss were the episodes where her favorite drama actor was guest starring as Dionysus. Seeing the defunct FBI show’s once team leader playing the god of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a toga was a beautiful thing to behold. Sydney enjoyed splashing around in the shallow end of the pool on occasion, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

She hadn’t paid much attention to the show’s lead actor. In hindsight, that might have been a mistake, because the king of the gods was standing on the other side of her front door, and—from what she could tell—he was heavenly.

Sydney flipped the deadbolt off and cracked open the door, leaving the security chain on. She rubbed her bleary eyes and repositioned her glasses. It was definitely him. Chris Peck. Zeus. The peephole didn’t do this guy any favors. He was much cuter in person than he looked on television. Taller too. And not in a toga. Whoever had said that a well-tailored suit was to a woman what lingerie was to a man hadn’t been kidding. His tuxedo was giving her some naughty ideas about going back to bed that had nothing to do with an extra hour of shut-eye. It had been a very long while, but she was pretty sure when a clean-cut, brown-haired, hazel-eyed Greek god magically appeared on a woman’s doorstep, sleep was not the first thought that should come to mind. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, tingles or no tingles, she had too much on her to-do list to waste any time on a toga party fantasy, let alone on an actual god at the door. Sydney tilted her head and stared at him. “Wow. You really are Chris Peck.”

She was rewarded with a blinding smile. “And you are Sydney Richardson. At least I hope you are, because if you aren’t this is really embarrassing.”

“What do you mean I got a call? Nobody called me,” she insisted. If she’d won a prize, they should have at least contacted her to make sure she’d be home for delivery. This was a hell of a delivery.

“Yes, they did. My assistant says she did. She left a message confirming the date and time. And she sent flowers.”

“No, she didn’t.”

“Yes, she did.”

Tuxedo Boy was going to argue with her before she’d had any coffee? “I’m pretty sure I would have remembered somebody telling me I was going to have a slave show up at the butt crack of dawn on a Saturday,” she snapped. There was no way in hell she would have agreed to this Saturday. Next weekend, or the one after that, would have been much more convenient. Today was absolutely not an option.

The suicidal actor opened his mouth to defend himself again when Sydney waved him off. “Wait a minute.” It was difficult to push through the fog without any caffeine, but there was something there. “Is your assistant’s name Kristin?”

“Yes.”

“There was a message on my machine, on Wednesday, I think. Some girl named Kristin said she was cancelling my regular nine o’clock appointment on Saturday. She didn’t leave a number. Since I don’t know a Kristin, and I didn’t have any regular appointments scheduled, I didn’t worry about it. I think the message is still on my voicemail.” Sydney smiled in victory. She had a memory like a steel trap. A rusted trap, on occasion, but it was working fine this morning.

“Oh, crap.”

“What?”

“It sounds like my fight trainer got a dozen roses and a note saying I was looking forward to my day of servitude.”

She wasn’t pleased to be awake, and this whole waste of time was a pain in the ass, but that was pretty funny. “Maybe she likes roses.”

“His name is Russ, and he’s former navy. I’m thinking not. So how can I serve you this morning?”

Sydney stood corrected. This was hilarious. It was always good to begin the day with a laugh. It set the tone for what followed. Now that she was up she had the chance to get a jump start on her list. With some juggling, she could shift her first appointment of the day forward, which would gain her about half an hour. Her schedule had been tight to the point where a couple minutes could have cost a bus connection and thrown off her entire afternoon. This could work in her favor. All she had to do now was send Zeus on his way.

Sydney stifled a yawn. “You could leave. I’m sorry about the missed message confusion, but today isn’t going to work for me. Maybe you could have your assistant contact me again and we could reschedule. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

She shut the door in his face. If this was a regular hangover hallucination, she’d have to drink sake more often

Words of love for Valentine’s Day.

My best wishes to you and my hopes you experience a Valentine’s Day filled with love.

Here are some of the words of love that always make me smile.

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My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.
                                                                    John Keats

I’ll break and forge the stars anew,

Shatter the heavens with a song;

Immortal in my love for you,

Because I love you, very strong.

                                    From the Call by Rupert Brooke

 

I come apart

In your hands

Like pieces of a vast

And unsolved puzzle.

                                       Linda Paston

 

The cry of my body for completeness

That cry is to you.

                                                 Mary Carolyn Davies

 

I am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky!
How beautiful thou art!

                                           John Keats

Close your eyes and think of me
Close your eyes and try to see
Our hearts together and what could be
Our love forever as destiny
                                               Elizabeth Smith

My guest today is Gemma Brocato

My guest today is Gemma Brocato who has been brave enough to answer Daisy’s twenty questions.

Welcome to the blog, Gemma.

Daisy, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it in the past year or so that I’ve known you and I’m delighted to be able to contribute.

Due to the recent acquisition of Lyrical Press, my publisher, by Kensington Books, my debut novel, Cooking Up Love, is temporarily unavailable while they take care of the paperwork. But don’t worry! I’m giving away a copy of the book to one of your readers (a print copy for anyone in the US or a digital copy for anyone else in the world). Just leave a comment to enter the drawing.  

 cookinguplove_Cover

1        How long have you been writing? All my life, it seems. I started focusing on writing a novel in 2005, but I’ve only actually pursued publication seriously for the past two years.

2       Do you have a favorite book you have written? I love each of my stories, for different reasons. I know you aren’t supposed to have favorites, just like with your kids, but my Hearts In Harmony, due out from Lyrical Press in May 2014, holds a special place in my heart. It’s the second in my Five Senses Series and is based on sound. I touch on some fairly emotional (at least for me) issues, and even though I know the story by heart, I still cry over some portions of it.

3       Have you always wanted to write? Not really. Not professionally, anyway. I never kept a diary or journal. I’m not even particularly good at writing letters.

4       Are you a plotter or pantster writer? Definitely a pantser, although I do a rough chapter sketch for each book, just to make sure the story remains cohesive.

5       What do you enjoy most about writing? Those moments when I’ve painted a character into a particularly sticky corner and I realize I’d given them an out in the first part of the book. The glare from the lightbulb going off over my head at those times is positively blinding.

6       Do you have a favorite affirmation on writing? Eg., This from Chuck Wendig is one of my favorites. The One No-Fooling Rule Is “write.” Write, write, … write. Write better today than you did yesterday and better tomorrow than you did today. Onward, fair pen monkey, onward. If you’re not a writer, something will stop you — your own doubts, hate from haters, a bad review, poor time management, a hungry raccoon that nibbles off your fingers, whatever. If you’re a writer, you’ll write. And you’ll never stop to look back.

     My daughter made a bulletin board out of wine corks once and painted a quote from Anne Sexton on the frame. “When I am writing, I am doing what I was meant to do.”

2012-08-26 11.37.13

7       How do you develop your characters? I don’t keep any outlines or anything like that. Although, I attended a workshop last spring that featured Michael Hague that dealt with the characters inner and outer journeys that I’ve found very helpful.

8       What is the most exciting time for you in your writing, the new beginning or the completed story? The offer of a contract? It’s all exciting but I most enjoy beginning a new story. Although, I’ve been known to celebrate contract offers at one of my favorite restaurants. When I received my second contract, they presented me with a lovely dessert.

Celebrating Hearts

9       If you have experienced rejection as a writer, how did you deal with it? I think we’ve all experienced rejection as writers. I try to find some way to improve my writing based on the comments of the contest judged entries, or agent remarks. I believe most writers are always trying to improve their craft, whether they are NYT best-sellers, or the unpublished, but hopeful author.

10  Do you ever write yourself into your stories? Not myself so much as my experiences. I do include bits and pieces of my family. In fact, my mother called one day to tell me she recognized herself in something I’d written.

11    Have you ever used a ‘real life’ incident in your writing? Yes, in fact, I just finished a scene in my current work in progress that happened last summer when my family was returning from vacation. It was a harrowing, but comical experience.

12   What is your favorite way to find inspiration? I do read the newspaper and often find inspiration there.

13   Who are your favorite authors? Gosh, there are so many. My number one favorite is Suzanne Brockmann. But I continue to discover new authors whose work I can’t get enough of for different reasons. My list also includes Laura Griffin, Lisa Jackson, Terri L Austin and one of my Lyrical sisters, Amy Lee Burgess. These ladies are in my auto-buy list.

14   Do you feel you are influenced by any particular authors? Not really.

15   What is the most difficult aspect of writing for you? The middle of any work always snags me. Once I work it out though, I usually speed through the end of the story.

16   Coffee or Tea? Both, depending on the time of day.

17   Early rising lark or night lover owl? Again, both. I stay up late and get up early. One of the nice things about working for yourself is the ability to take naps.

18   What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Meeting my girlfriends for coffee or lunch.

19   Do you think you will still be writing in ten years time? I think I will be. I hope so.

20 What question do you wish I’d asked? How much is your fee?

 

Book Blurb For Cooking Up Love

Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the café and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself.

 

Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the café could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet.

 

Jack’s brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil–a recipe for romance.

 

Gemma retouched 3

About Gemma Brocato

Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

 

Connect with Gemma on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web at www.Gemmabrocato.com

 

A snippet from Valentine Wishes

Valentine's Wishes-high-res

This is a little snippet from Valentine Wishes. The story will be available on the 10th of February, I’ll post a pre-order link as soon as I get one. In this section the fairy, Poppy, decides about wishes.

I don’t want to lose my mortals but I do want to see them happy. I know I can help them find the mates they want.

Better slow down a bit here.

She bit her lip. I’ve not actually ever made a real big wish happen before, not ever. Somehow, I don’t think a big wish will be so easy as a stay-clean wish to the windows, or a stay-dust-free wish to the shelves. Maybe I ought to think about it a good bit before the party and see if I can remember what they said about big wishes at the court. Hey, why worry, everyone has to have a first!

She crept out into the kitchen with tingles of anticipation making her wings itch. The room smelled fresh and clean. Tonight she had no fear she’d slip on a grease spot as she hovered up and landed on the window ledge. Before she made her way out of the window, she sent a little tiny wish to the surface of the stove to keep it spotless. I’ve done all I can tonight, tomorrow will be the big test. She ducked under the window net and flew out into the fresh air.

Later this week I’ll be posting my blog tour schedule for Valentine Wishes. Don’t forget to come take a peek.

Xx Daisy.