#Pre-order ‘Freedom’s Path by Linda Carroll-Bradd, Book 3 in The Deerbourne Inn Series

Freedom’s Path, Book 3 in Deerbourne Inn series by Linda Carroll-Bradd

The story behind the story

Several years ago, I saw a reference in a historical blog about quilts being used as signals for the Underground Railroad. As someone who has quilted in the past, I was interested but didn’t pursue it until I saw the title of Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. I read that book and a firsthand account of a man who served on the railroad titled The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom.

Learning about the role women played in this moral dilemma brought the heroine to life in my mind. As I researched maps of the actual routes, I crossed my fingers and was thankful a known path cut through Vermont.  Figuring out the role of the hero was easy because I cast him as her worst nightmare–a soldier hunting down abolitionist activity in her town. With Colin and Sidonie on opposite sides of the controversial issue in 1855, I had no trouble developing the plot that I hope readers find interesting. 

BLURB

Working as a maid in the Deerbourne Inn gives freedom-fighter Sidonie Demers the perfect cover for helping escaping slaves travel farther along the Underground Railroad. The patterns in her quilts serve as messages directing them to the safest route. The cause is a personal one for octoroon Sidonie whose mother and grandmother escaped bondage years earlier.

Army Corporal Colin Crawford arrives in Willow Springs, in disguise as a salesman, to ferret out abolitionist activity. Raised in a state that forbids slavery, he’s conflicted about upholding the Fugitive Slave Act but believes in laws and fulfilling his duty. The attraction between Colin and Sidonie is evident and irresistible, but what will happen when their true identities are revealed?

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JZ2DGB6

Barnes & Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/freedoms-path-linda-carroll-bradd/1129787098?ean=2940161602201

EXCERPT

As he waited for Kevyn’s footsteps to fade, Colin finished his tart. His mind whirled with a topic that he worried might be too forward. After a swallow of coffee, he angled his head and met her gaze. “I saw how you broke that man’s hold. Smart move.”

Eyes wide, she gasped, rested a hand on the table edge, and crouched next to the end. “Oh, please don’t tell Missus Deerbourne that I stomped on a guest’s foot.” Her dark brows drew together. “I’m not sure she’d view my action in the same way you do.”

Her response rankled. Wasn’t the innkeeper concerned for the safety of her workers? He wished he could offer comfort by covering her hand with his. “Can you not carry a small knife in a pocket to protect yourself?”

A laugh escaped as she shook her head then gripped the band of her hat and pulled it lower on her forehead. “Not an appropriate accessory for someone in my position.”

Colin disliked the idea of her being vulnerable to a man’s mauling. “The foot stomp can take a man by surprise, but often not for long enough to effect an escape. Might I demonstrate another move that guarantees a longer distraction?” He sorted through the various moves involved in his ranger tactical training for the one most effective to someone her size. Leverage was what was needed to counter a larger foe.

“I am eager to learn.” She set the tray on the table. “What do I have to do?”

Bracing both hands on the table, he pushed himself to a stand and took a couple steps away from the bench. “Walk toward me like you’re about to grab my arms.”

A blush rose in her cheeks, and she averted her gaze. “Oh, I couldn’t, Mister Crawford.”

Her modesty produced a chuckle. “Miss Demers, don’t worry. You won’t hurt me. Remember, you’re learning a new skill.”

After a nod, she stepped forward with her arms outstretched and fingers spread wide. “Like this?”

“Keep walking.” He balanced his weight on the balls of his feet. When she came within reach, he grabbed the thumb of her left hand and bent it backward.

“Ow.” She contorted her body, back arching in the opposite direction.

He knew her movements were instinctual, with her body acting on reflex to reduce the pressure. “See how you moved to get away from the pain.” He released his hold with reluctance, because he’d enjoyed the slide of her soft palm in his.

BIO

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Interested in learning about Linda’s upcoming releases? Click here to join newsletter list. http://eepurl.com/bjKueH

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By Reservation Only (Deerbourne Inn) by Barbara Edwards available for pre-order

It’s the grand opening of The Deerbourne Inn! Award-winning Chef Nathan Harte has worked long and hard to restore this historic property in Willow Spring, Vermont. He’s ready to greet his guests with fine cuisine, comfortable rooms, and maybe even a ghost or two. 

He’s escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life, but is he ready to deal with a broken arm, a quirky arsonist, and a long-ago mystery? And what might he find up in the three hundred year old attics? 

Victoria Harte, his sister, has claimed the two cottages for her patients: wounded military suffering from PTSD who need the peace and quiet of the Vermont countryside. 

http://a.co/d/atQwzPx

Barbara Edwards

The Deerbourne Inn is in Vermont. a small town near all the area attractions. Do you ski? Fish? Hike? Like Fall foliage? Hunt antiques? There is something for everyone.  

Link: http://a.co/d/atQwzPx

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

 blog: https://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/

Website http://barbaraedwards.net

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards.Author

Twitter  https://www.twitter.com/Barb_ed

Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/496095.Barbara_Edwards

#Cover “By Reservation Only” by Barbara Edwards

Check my new book cover! By Reservation Only will be released soon from The Wild Rose Press.

I’m inviting you to visit the Deerbourne Inn, the setting for the series.. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the cool nights, warm days and glorious autumn colors.  Get acquainted with the new owner, Nathan Harte, an award-winning chef, escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life. His Red Clover Cafe will feature his diverse menu while the Inn’s breakfast menu sparkles.

Walk through the centuries old building and pick a room on the second or third floor. Old fashioned wallpaper, original antiques and crafted items from local artists made each room individual, yet give it flavor.

Ignore the occasional weeping from an empty room or a snip of female laughter unless you’re curious about who haunts the place. 

Victoria Harte, his sister, has claimed the two cottages for her patients: wounded military suffering from PTSD who need the peace and quiet of the Vermont countryside. 

The Deerbourne Inn is in Willow Springs, Vermont, a fictional small town near all the area attractions. Do you ski? Fish? Hike? Like Fall foliage? Hunt antiques? There is something for everyone. 

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

 blog: https://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/

Website http://barbaraedwards.net

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards.Author

Twitter  https://www.twitter.com/Barb_ed

Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/496095.Barbara_Edwards

Toni V. Sweeney presents #Sinners

Welcome Toni V. Sweeney to my blog.
Toni, Please tell us more about how you came to write Sinners.

One thing about writing about a dynasty—it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people.

When I decided to write a family saga,  I took the easy way out.  Writing about the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy, I decided to tell only the stories about the beginning and end of that particular reign. Part 1, The Narrative of Riven the Heretic (7 novels) recorded their origins.  Part 2, The kan Ingan Archives (8 novels), told of their scandal-laden and inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later. 

Suffice it to say writing a family saga isn’t easy.  Whatever is said in the original book has to be maintained in all the others.  It can’t be changed unless there’s a very good reason.  If a character is taken on an ocean journey by his father and he’s five-years-old at that time, you can’t have another character state dogmatically in another book that he was twelve when it happened.  Don’t think some eagle-eyed little nit-picker of a reader won’t catch it and promptly fire off an e-mail to your website, pointing this out.  Same with spellings.  A character’s name has to be spelled the same way throughout; if it’s italicized in one book, keep it consistently italicized in all of them.  A person’s character may change, his faith, his philosphy may be converted—indeed, that’s the stuff stories are made of because they involve conflict—but unless you state specifically there’s hair dye involved or colored contacts, make certain his blond hair stays blond and his brown eyes brown.  (Of course if it’s fantasy, you can totally change his appearance and have a plausible reason.)  I always think of Stephen King’s example when he was writing Christine:  A specific make of car drove into an alley, a different make of car came out.  I did that once myself.  Not with cars, but I had a character who was blond, only to suddenly become a brunet without explanation (or the use of Clairol for Men.)  Thank Goodness for the delete/replace button!

Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters’ names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years.  Sometimes it’s easier to make a tangible chart, a family tree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from time to time. Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.

About the Author:

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. 

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.  In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by netgalley.com.

She is an Amazon reviewer, is in the 1% of reviewers for Goodreads, and in 2015 and 2016 was voted one of the Top 10 authors of those years by Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. In 2013, the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice voted The kan Ingan Archives (Part Two of the Arcanian Chronicles) a Special Mention, and the following year, named the individual novels The Man from Cymene, and Space Studs, from the same series two of the Top 8 SF/fantasy novels of 2014. 

As of 2018, Toni currently has 55 novels in print, including 3 series, and 3 trilogies. 

Find out more about Toni:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney 

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLQBB8

Twitter:  @ToniVSweeney

Blurb:

Aric kan Ingan had it all. 

Pampered and spoiled, he was groomed since the age of twelve to be heir to the throne of Arcanis…until his uncle surprised everyone by falling in love with an Earthwoman.

Elizabeth Sheffield wanted it all.

Headstrong and beautiful, she’d never met a man she couldn’t wrap around her little finger…until she met Aric. 

The vengeful former heir and the margrave’s bride are instant enemies, trading insults and threats, until the unexpected happens: They fall in love.

While Aric and Elizabeth engage in their illicit affair, other forces in the kingdom gather for the more sinister purpose of rebellion and murder…

…with Aric as the not-so-innocent pawn.

EXCERPT:

On the fourth floor, outside the hallway leading to the royal apartments, Kozlu waited for him. The old man looked him up and down disapprovingly, staring at his travel-dusty clothes.

“You couldn’t take time to change?”

“Why should I? I’m only going to see my uncle.” His tone bordered on disrespect for the man who’d been his tutor as he’d been the margrave’s.

“Aric, it’s more than that and you know it.” Kozlu’s reply held the knowledge he was speaking to someone who had no intention of listening. He started up the stairs, not looking to see if Aric followed.

So it’s like that, is it? Already dispensing with respect since I’m no longer the heir.

“I suppose you want me to return to my rooms and dress in my most formal uniform, complete with metals and insigne, before I meet the creature?” He saw Kozlu’s face darken. “Why don’t I go back to the barracks and rout all the Black Shields, and have them mount a dress parade in the courtyard?”

“Lower your voice.” Kozlu nodded toward the guards on the landing below.

Realizing how close he was to letting his anger take over, Aric took a deep breath.

“You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?” Kozlu frowned.

“As much as possible,” he admitted. “It seemed the most appropriate thing to do.”

“You’d best calm yourself a little,” the elder suggestion. “You look as if you could kill.”

“If I thought I could get away with it, I might,” he muttered. As Kozlu looked around at him sharply, he said hastily, “Don’t worry. I’ll behave myself.”

They started climbing again.

“You may as well accept what’s happened,” Kozlu went on. “The council has.”

“The council isn’t losing anything.” Aric’s answer was sullen. “I was taken from my mother to be my uncle’s heir. For eight years, it’s been drilled into me how Arcanis will someday be mine, and now…to lose it to some mongrel Milky?” He shook his head. “I thought my uncle had more pride in our family. Even someone from one of the other planets—Gataeus, Scylla, even Nereis—would be better than a near-barbarian.”

“I think it’s you who’ve too much pride, Aric,” the old man answered quietly. “Someday, you’ll find yourself in the dust because of it.”

Aric looked rebellious and didn’t answer.

They reached the fifth landing, coming around a dark corner into the archway opening onto one of the stone-balustraded terraces.

Two people sat on a stone bench set in an arrangement of flower-filled urns surrounding a javancia tree, its thick branches offering protection from the ocean’s wind and the morning sun. One was obviously his uncle, and the other was…

She.

“Lord Aric, sire.” Kozlu bowed and backed out of his uncle’s presence, leaving him alone in the entranceway. For the barest moment, Aric was tempted to run after the old man, away from the unpleasantness awaiting him. Briefly, he regretted that third glass of brandy.

Buy Links:

Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/sinner-8712018-02-11-21-39-57-detail

eBook/Kindle from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sinner-Arcanian-Chronicles-Part-Book-ebook/dp/B07B614JNF/

Icy Stone Blackstone’s inspiration for Gypsy Charm

Please welcome Icy Snow Blackstone to Barbara Edwards Comments. Tell your readers why you wrote Gypsy Charm.
My inspiration for my novelette Gypsy Charm was my cat Thibault Minuet. I wanted to do a story about a cat but couldn’t figure out how to get started, so I watched my feline domestic companion for clues on how to begin. He wasn’t much help; all he did was lounge around on the window sills, or saunter silently through the house in that languid,
miniature panther stalk, while I talked to him about anything and everything as I went about my work. Somehow, through my “conversations with Thibault,” I realized how Gypsy Charm should begin…with a girl talking to her cat.
I would write a story about this young lady and her cat, a black cat, who was
companionable and lovable, and too human when it came to his mistress. I’d have her talk to him as people do their pets, but he’d understand, really understand, and in his own catly way, be determined to protect his owner from everyone, even herself. Why did he do this? Not because he was simply a loyal pet, though he’s definitely that, but because he’s under a spell and protecting Lisa is part of the way he will free himself.
After that, it was easy. Tomas the cat took on a furry, heroic shape. The gypsy brothers and their grandmother, and Lisa and her roommate began to emerge as real people. It was fun creating these characters and telling the story of Lisa’s adventure with the gypsies. As for the gypsy charm? There are two in the story…the one Mrs. Gray gives Lisa in
payment for her kindness, and the one placed upon Tomas for being such as a smarty cat.
Blurb: Gypsy Charm is the tale of Lisa Carpenter’s encounter with an old gypsy woman,
the giving of a wish charm, and a black cat. Unknown to our heroine, the cat has an
agenda all his own, and unknown to either of them, so does the old gypsy woman.
Ecverpt:
“These my grandsons. Isaac—” Mrs. Lee nodded at the first one as he
straightened. “—and David.”
David’s movements were so smooth and sleek Lisa was reminded of a leopard
stalking across a jungle glade. A glossy, golden-coated leopard, slinking low to the
ground. That thought sent a quiver through her. He held out a large but well-shaped
hand, saying grudgingly, “H’lo.”
“Hi.” She nodded at Isaac, shook the hand David offered her. He squeezed it a
moment, grip very warm as it tightened gently before he released it. Lisa took a slow,
deep breath. The tips of her fingers tingled. She shook them slightly.
“And…” Mrs. Lee was still talking. “…Tomas.” She looked around. “Where’s
Tomas? Tomasso!”
  • Two pointed ears and a small head covered in short silky fur peeped from under
    the sofa’s valance. A black cat emerged, stretched, and leaped onto the arm of the sofa
    with incredible grace and an inquisitive yowl.
    “This Tomas.” Mrs. Lee waved an introductory hand. “My machka.
    The cat poised itself on the armrest, leaning toward Lisa, gold-green eyes
    regarding her gravely. His right paw came up.
    “Oh, he’s beautiful!” Lisa placed her hand under the cat’s paw. It was soft,
    smooth and as warm as David’s hand had been. It pressed briefly against her fingers,
    claws grazing gently before it withdrew. With a second, softer yowl, Tomas leaped from
    the arm and settled himself in her lap. He blinked and regarded Lisa solemnly.
    “You like cats?” Mrs. Lee asked.
    “I love them,” Lisa assured her. “And this one is so…so…”
    “Ain’t he, though?” David muttered. Lisa wondered if he ever spoke in anything other than a low growl.
    “He likes to think he’s really macho,” Isaac laughed. “A real ladies’ man…uh, cat.” He flicked a finger at the cat’s ears. Tomas dodged, cocking his head to look at Isaac. “Right, Tomasso?”
    “I’d have to agree,” Lisa answered, reaching out and stroking the furry head.
    Tomas pushed against her hand. “He’s a very handsome dude.”
    David smiled and the two brothers looked at each other. They seemed to be
    sharing a private joke, which Tomas didn’t appear to appreciate. Growling softly, he bestowed a surprising glare upon the two.
    Suddenly, they all seemed to be staring at her. Even the cat. Four pairs of eyes riveted on Lisa. Waiting for her to drink her tea.
    Lisa began to feel uneasy. A startling panic twisted in her stomach as she realized she was alone in a van with three strangers, two of whom were very large and muscular and standing between her and the door. And Mrs. Lee— She might be old but that walking stick of hers could be a very deadly weapon.
    Was this a mistake? Undoubtedly. People were always saying she was too
    friendly for her own good.
    All together, they smiled. Tomas purred loudly, claws kneading at her thighs.
    “Well! Since you’re safe and sound now—” Putting down the cup, Lisa set the cat aside and stood up. For a moment, his claws clung to her skirt. Hoping she didn’t sound frightened and certain she failed, she extricated Tomas, grimacing slightly at the single snag his claws made in her new skirt, then shot a pretend glance at her watch as she went on, “Guess I’d better be on my way. I’ve people waiting for me and they’ll be
    worrying.”
    Liar. Her housemate wouldn’t be home for another two hours.
    She aimed herself for the door behind the two young men. Neither moved. The twisting inside grew tighter. Lisa stopped.
    “Isaac,” Mrs. Lee called softly, and gestured.
    He took a step forward, raising one arm.
    Lisa stumbled backward, her own raised, preparing to ward off a blow, then
    realized he was holding out his left arm to his grandmother. Around his wrist was a small gold chain with tiny disks dangling from it.
  • “Here.” With a twist of her fingers, Mrs. Lee pulled one disk free. She held it out to Lisa. “You take. For helping me.”
    “I couldn’t—”
    “You take. Otherwise I owe you.” Taking Lisa’s hand, she placed the object on her palm, closing her fingers around it. “Is wish-charm.”
    “Wish-charm? What’s that?” It looked like a small gold coin but the
    inscription… She’d never seen symbols like those before. Are they Romanes?
    “Good for one special wish. Baksheesh. You keep safe. Use carefully. Don’t
    waste on pepperoni pizza!” Mrs. Lee shook her finger and laughed.
    “I won’t.” Lisa laughed, too, her fear disappearing. “I promise.” She studied the charm, feeling a strange gratitude. “It’s beautiful. Thank you, Mrs. Lee.”
    This time when she turned toward the door, Isaac and David moved aside. In a moment, she was outside, down the makeshift steps and at her car. When Lisa climbed into the Civic, and waved, they raised their hands and waved back.
    As the car drove away, however, Mrs. Lee said, “A good girl, but too trusting. She needs protector.”
    “She’s pretty. I like her.” David straightened, adding “For a gaje, I mean.” He and Isaac glanced at each other and then at their Grandmother. “So, Gram, which one of us will it be?”
    She looked at Tomas.
    “Oh, Gram, no.” The protest was half-hearted, as if he knew it was no use to argue.
    The cat was crouching on the sofa. He looked at Mrs. Lee and then at the door through which Lisa had gone, tail twitching angrily. He shook his head as if seconding David’s protest.
    “You heard me,” Mrs. Lee said. Tomas transferred his gaze back to her. He
    didn’t move. “Go!”
    “You heard Gram,” Isaac prompted.
    Tomas stayed there a moment longer, giving a single grrrwl of protest before leaping to the floor. David pushed the door open and Tomas leaped out. Isaac came to stand beside his brother. “Good luck, Bro. I mean it.”
    The cat looked in the direction the car had vanished. After a moment’s hesitation, he threw a strident yowl back at the two men standing in the door before starting down the street with a graceful, long-legged lope.
    They waited until his small figure disappeared around the bend in the road before going back inside.
    “Still don’t see why Tomas gets to have all the fun,” David grumbled.
    “You call that fun?” Issac elbowed his brother in the ribs. “Would you like to change places with him?”
    “What do you think?”
    “I think you’d better shut up.” Isaac pulled the camper door shut and locked it.

    Buy Links:

    Paperback exclusively from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat
    romance/catfantasy/gypsy-charm21-detail
    Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-CharmIcy-Snow-Blackstone
    ebook/dp/B01JNV7X92/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524754110&sr=8-
    1&keywords=Gyps
    About the Author:
    Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics. She married a minister, raised seven children, and lived there all her life.
    Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. The present Icy Snow Blackstone (aka author Toni V. Sweeney) lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County,
    Nebraska, where she continues to write romances.
    As of 2017, Icy Snow has eleven novels published by Class Act Books. Her
    contemporary romance, Tuesday’s Child, was given the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice award for Best Contemporary Novel of 2014. A SciFi romance,
    Earthman’s Bride and Vietnam-era romance Jericho Road, have also received awards.
    She is also the author of Jericho Road, Bargain with Lucifer, Brother Devil, and Gypsy
    Charm, romances all set in the South, as well as the paranormal romance The Irish
    Lady’s Spanish Lover.
    Learn More about Icy Snow at: http://www.classactbooks.com/our-
    authors/manufacturers/icy-snow-blackstone

Toni V. Sweeney about the kan Ingan Archives #Series #Sinner

  • Welcome to  the Blog for Barbara Edwards
    Toni V. Sweeney will explain her series.
    One thing about writing about a dynasty—it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people.
    When I decided to write a family saga, I took the easy way out. Writing about the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy, I decided to tell only the stories about the beginning and end of that particular reign. Part 1, The Narrative of Riven the Heretic (7 novels) recorded their origins. Part 2, The kan Ingan Archives (8 novels), told of their scandal-laden and inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later.
    Suffice it to say writing a family saga isn’t easy. Whatever is said in the original book has to be maintained in all the others. It can’t be changed unless there’s a very good reason. If a character is taken on an ocean journey by his father and he’s five-years-old at that time, you can’t have another character state dogmatically in another book that he was
    twelve when it happened. Don’t think some eagle-eyed little nit-picker of a reader won’t catch it and promptly fire off an e-mail to your website, pointing this out. Same with spellings. A character’s name has to be spelled the same way throughout; if it’s italicized in one book, keep it consistently italicized in all of them. A person’s character may change, his faith, his philosphy may be converted—indeed, that’s the stuff stories are
    made of because they involve conflict—but unless you state specifically there’s hair dye involved or colored contacts, make certain his blond hair stays blond and his brown eyes brown. (Of course if it’s fantasy, you can totally change his appearance and have a plausible reason.) I always think of Stephen King’s example when he was writing Christine: A specific make of car drove into an alley, a different make of car came out. I did that once myself. Not with cars, but I had a character who was blond, only to
    suddenly become a brunet without explanation (or the use of Clairol for Men.) Thank Goodness for the delete/replace button!
    Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters’ names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years. Sometimes it’s easier to make a tangible chart, a familytree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from time
    to time. Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.
    About the Author:
    Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a
    decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by netgalley.com. She is an Amazon reviewer, is in the 1% of reviewers for Goodreads, and in 2015 and 2016 was voted one of the Top 10 authors of those years by Preditors & Editors Reader
    Poll. In 2013, the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice voted The kan Ingan  Archives (Part Two of the Arcanian Chronicles) a Special Mention, and the following year, named the individual novels The Man from Cymene, and Space Studs, from the same series two of the Top 8 SF/fantasy novels of 2014.
    As of 2018, Toni currently has 55 novels in print, including 3 series, and 3 trilogies.
    Find out more about Toni:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney
    Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com//e/B002BLQBB8
    Twitter: @ToniVSweeney
    Blurb:
    Aric kan Ingan had it all.
    Pampered and spoiled, he was groomed since the age of twelve to be heir to the throne of Arcanis…until his uncle surprised everyone by falling in love with an Earthwoman.
    Elizabeth Sheffield wanted it all.
    Headstrong and beautiful, she’d never met a man she couldn’t wrap around her little finger…until she met Aric.
    The vengeful former heir and the margrave’s bride are instant enemies, trading insults and threats, until the unexpected happens: They fall in love.
    While Aric and Elizabeth engage in their illicit affair, other forces in the kingdom gather for the more sinister purpose of rebellion and murder…
    …with Aric as the not-so-innocent pawn.
    EXCERPT:
  • On the fourth floor, outside the hallway leading to the royal apartments, Kozlu waited
    for him. The old man looked him up and down disapprovingly, staring at his travel-dusty
    clothes.
    “You couldn’t take time to change?”
    “Why should I? I’m only going to see my uncle.” His tone bordered on disrespect for
    the man who’d been his tutor as he’d been the margrave’s.
    “Aric, it’s more than that and you know it.” Kozlu’s reply held the knowledge he was speaking to someone who had no intention of listening. He started up the stairs, not
    looking to see if Aric followed.
    So it’s like that, is it? Already dispensing with respect since I’m no longer the heir.
    “I suppose you want me to return to my rooms and dress in my most formal uniform,
    complete with metals and insigne, before I meet the creature?” He saw Kozlu’s face
    darken. “Why don’t I go back to the barracks and rout all the Black Shields, and have
    them mount a dress parade in the courtyard?”
    “Lower your voice.” Kozlu nodded toward the guards on the landing below.
    Realizing how close he was to letting his anger take over, Aric took a deep breath.
    “You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?” Kozlu frowned.
    “As much as possible,” he admitted. “It seemed the most appropriate thing to do.”
    “You’d best calm yourself a little,” the elder suggestion. “You look as if you could
    kill.”
    “If I thought I could get away with it, I might,” he muttered. As Kozlu looked around
    at him sharply, he said hastily, “Don’t worry. I’ll behave myself.”
    They started climbing again.
    “You may as well accept what’s happened,” Kozlu went on. “The council has.”
    “The council isn’t losing anything.” Aric’s answer was sullen. “I was taken from my
    mother to be my uncle’s heir. For eight years, it’s been drilled into me how Arcanis will
    someday be mine, and now…to lose it to some mongrel Milky?” He shook his head. “I
    thought my uncle had more pride in our family. Even someone from one of the other
    planets—Gataeus, Scylla, even Nereis—would be better than a near-barbarian.”
    “I think it’s you who’ve too much pride, Aric,” the old man answered quietly.
    “Someday, you’ll find yourself in the dust because of it.”
    Aric looked rebellious and didn’t answer.
    They reached the fifth landing, coming around a dark corner into the archway opening onto one of the stone-balustraded terraces.
    Two people sat on a stone bench set in an arrangement of flower-filled urns
    surrounding a javancia tree, its thick branches offering protection from the ocean’s wind and the morning sun. One was obviously his uncle, and the other was…
    She.
    “Lord Aric, sire.” Kozlu bowed and backed out of his uncle’s presence, leaving him alone in the entranceway. For the barest moment, Aric was tempted to run after the old man, away from the unpleasantness awaiting him. Briefly, he regretted that third glass of brandy.

Author Paul McDermott presents “Spear of Destiny” from Barbara Edwards

Hello Paul McDermott,

Tell our readers why you wrote “Spear of Destiny.”

My current book. The Spear of Destiny, was inspired by a combination of circumstances which were not ‘typical’ of my “general” creative processes. I lived in Denmark for a number of years and had the privilege of meeting people who had been active members of the Danish Resistance Movement (mødstandsbevægelsen). during WW2. I have attempted to redress the balance a little by raising awareness and offering sincere thanks. I’ve kept close to the recorded facts as we know them, but I’ve altered the names: these patriots have earned the right to have their anonymity preserved.

When the Danish billionaire Carsten Ree had the wreck of U-534 refloated and it was installed as a permanent exhibit in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, the story almost wrote itself. The basis of the story appeared as my NaNo entry in November 2010, the end result of 30 days of madness and strong coffee! 

The Spear of Destiny was a new departure for me. Although it’s based on real events in the closing days of WW2, and I had to make sure I had facts (names, dates etc.) accurate. I’ve kept very close to the recorded facts of the sinking of U-534 but I decided to add the Spear. I did this because of Hitler’s known weakness, superstition. He believes he has found a powerful secret weapon which he can use to turn the War in Germany’s favour. This light drizzle of fantasy in what is essentially an account of historical events is my way of adding an original slant to the yarn

One of the most satisfying things I took from writing The Spear of Destiny was having the opportunity to honour the memory of a number of real people alongside my fictional characters. One such hero is Captain Johnny Walker. Although he only plays a small role in my story, he was almost entirely responsible for the success of the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic. General consensus is, he literally worked himself to death in the process.

The research was more extensive than I’d needed for my previous fiction work but it was satisfying.

About the Author:

Born in the Year of the Tiger, Paul’s natural curiosity combined with the deep-seated feline need to roam has meant that over the years he’s never been able to call any one place home. His wanderlust has led him from one town to another, and even from one country to another.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write – my father claims to possess a story I wrote when I was six, which filled 4 standard school exercise books! What I do remember from that time was being told off for doing the Liverpool Echo crossword before he got home from work!” 

While Paul was living in Denmark, he allowed himself to be persuaded to write for a purpose instead of purely for his own amusement. Perhaps it was the catalyst of breathing the same air as Hans Christian Andersen. 

More about Paul at:

www.paulmcdermottbooks.webs.com

www.thewriterschatroom.com

Blurb:

In 1945, U-boat Kapitän Herbert Nollau must deliver a weapon which will turn the war in Germany’s favour. His orders are delivered verbally. There will be no written records… and no witnesses. 

Alone, far from home, hunted by the Danish Resistance and the might of the Allied Forces, he must obey either his final Orders…or the inner voice of his conscience.

Excerpt:

Überlojtnant Herbert Nollau stood with his Zeiss nightglasses glued to his eyes, impervious to the rain whipped across his cheeks by half a gale. This howled almost exactly at ninety degrees to the tide, which had just reached the full but had not yet begun its retreat. His command craft, U-534, sat uneasily at anchor, dipping at bow and stern in the current, yawing appreciably as frequent Force Ten gusts buffeted her broad flanks. Low, heavy rainclouds hunkered closer, seeming to settle on the upper branches of the natural pine forest which spread untamed, unculled, across the low hills of Schleswig-Holstein. 

An identical pair of black Opel staff cars bracketed a canvas bodied Mercedes half-track transport wagon, all three vehicles picking their way carefully along an unmarked country road. The headlights were taped down to the size and shape of a feral cat’s vertical slits, acknowledging the strict rules governing all traffic during the hours of darkness. The road to the harbour just outside Lübeck was neither tarmac’ed nor enhanced with any form of lighting. The drivers were obliged to steer cautiously around every twist, using the gears and brakes more frequently than the accelerator.

“Amateurs!” he thought to himself, as the three sets of headlights crawled slowly closer. 

He blanked the thought as soon as it intruded on his consciousness, forcing himself back into State-approved Wehrmacht thinking, based on purely practical matters directly related to carrying out current instructions, with maximum efficiency, without question. He pulled the collar of his oilskins closer around his throat in a futile attempt to prevent the rain from seeping through, soaking his uniform. Raising his night glasses once more, he cursed the weather, the Wehrmacht and the world in general, feeling more exposed and vulnerable with every minute that passed as he waited for the convoy of lights to crawl closer, carrying the equipment which he had been ordered to collect. It bothered him that he was expected to set sail immediately, and await orders concerning his destination by radio once he had cleared the bay and entered Store Bælt: technically, that section of the North Sea was neutral Danish waters, and if he were to remain on the surface for any length of time in order to receive orders …

As the lights snaked around another pair of curves and began their final descent to the shoreline and the jetty where U534 was waiting, Herbert Nollau realized that he had on board a much more powerful sender/receiver than any other U-boat: in fact, not just one but two radios equipped with the Enigma cryptographic programme had been installed, ostensibly for testing. With a sudden jolt, the deceptively young-looking Überlojtnant realized that this technology was far more sophisticated than that which had previously been regarded as the best in the world: apart from being guaranteed unbreakable as a code, it could also send and receive radio signals without his craft needing to surface.

He shook his head to clear the worst of the pools which had formed in the upturned brim of his sou’wester and made his way down the ladder bolted to the side of the conning tower, aiming to be waiting on the quay before the three vehicles wheezed to a halt. His mechanic’s ear analysed and diagnosed a list of faults he could clearly identify from the laboured chugging of each engine. Furious at this indication of inefficiency, a corner of his mind decided that he would have had the senior officer responsible for each vehicle court-martialled, if the decision had been up to him. In spite of the horrors he had witnessed in three years of naval warfare, he shuddered. His orders, distasteful though they might be, were crystal clear …

Two gaunt, silent shadows slid with simultaneous choreography from the rear seat of each of the Opels: their sleek black trenchcoats almost touched the planks of the jetty, glistening in the starlight as if the officers wearing them had been marching for hours in the rain rather than just stepping out of a warm, dry car. Nollau fired off his most formal salute: the four SS-officers responded with a world-weary, bent-elbow half-salute and pointedly refrained from returning Nollau’s “Heil, Hitler!” One detached himself for a moment and gave a hand-signal to the driver of the canvas-sided truck.  The driver immediately hammered his fist twice on the bulkhead behind his seat. Four soldiers appeared over the tailgate of the wagon and began to manoeuvre something long and heavy out of the cargo space.

Turning to face his command meant that Herbert Nollau had to turn his back on the four staff officers. Somehow he managed to do this with an insolence which stated quite clearly that, as far as he was concerned, they were barely worthy of his contempt.

He placed a small, shrill whistle to his lips and blew, one long (but not overloud) blast. Within ten seconds, the deck was populated by about twenty matelots, standing at ease, who somehow contrived to arrive from nowhere and in total silence. Close to the bows, and just for’ard of ’midships , cables were deployed from two small jib cranes. Within seconds, the submariner crew were on the jetty, taking the unidentified cargo from the shoulders of the four soldiers and hoisting it with ease onto the foredeck, thence by some lightningfast legerdemain out of sight below decks. The crew had followed, leaving Überlojtnant Nollau as the only member of the Senior Service still on the jetty. At a silent gesture from one of the anonymous black trenchcoats the four soldiers climbed back over the tailgate, into the truck. After about four attempts, the driver managed to coax the engine into life and began to back and fill, facing back the way he had come.

As he completed the manoeuvre and gunned the engine to set off up the hill, the four SS officers opened their trenchcoats to reveal the muzzles of rapid fire MP40 machine pistols. With one accord they raised their weapons and sent round after deadly round of ammunition into both the cab and the rear of the vehicle, holding the triggers steady. Before the hail of bullets ceased, the fuel tanks of the wagon exploded, sending flames soaring high into the night sky, setting small fires in the tree tops as they lost their intensity and curled back towards the ground.

Suddenly, Herbert Nollau’s orders seemed fractionally less dishonourable.

Having emptied their weapons, the four executioners appeared to have rediscovered some of their habitual swagger and pride. Crashing the butts of the now-empty weapons against the rough wooden planking of the jetty they raised their right arms to the fullest, and screamed: “Heil, Hitler!” as their heels crashed together in perfect unison.

            Sick to his stomach at the pleasure his countrymen took from the callous murder of fellow Germans, it was all Herbert Nollau could do to raise his arm, bent-elbowed, in the less formal salute he would never under normal circumstances have accepted from others nor used himself.

About the author:

Website: www.PaulMcDermottBooks.webs.com

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/paul.mcdermott.7737

Also: www.whimsicalproductions.com and www.thewriterschatroom.com

The Spear of Destiny is available at:

Paperback exclusively at the Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/historical-fiction/the-spear-of-destiny-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZKRH5K/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718491