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#TuesdayBookBlog In This Small Spot by Caren J. Werlinger A beautifully written and inspiring look at convent life and a woman’s spiritual journey #RBRT #lesbianfiction

Hi all:

I bring you a book with a pretty uncommon plot and setting, by an author I’ve grown a fan of, thanks to Rosie’s group.

In This Small Spot by Caren J. Werlinger

In This Small Spot by  Caren J. Werlinger 

WINNER – 2014 Golden Crown Literary Society Best Dramatic Fiction
“Here, the true you is most often magnified, for better or for worse.”
Abbess Theodora
In a world increasingly connected to computers and machines but disconnected to self and others, Dr. Michele Stewart finds herself drowning in a life that no longer holds meaning. Searching for a deeper connection after losing her partner, Alice, she enters a contemplative monastery, living a life dedicated to prayer, to faith in things unseen. Though most of her family and friends are convinced that she has become a nun to run away from her life, she finds herself more attuned to life than she has been in years. Stripped of the things that define most people in the outside world – career, clothing, possessions – she rediscovers a long forgotten part of herself. But sooner than she expects, the outside world intrudes, forcing her to confront doubts and demons she thought she had left behind. The ultimate test of her vocation comes from the unlikeliest source when she finds herself falling in love again. As she struggles to discern where she belongs, she discovers the terrifying truth of Abbess Theodora’s warning. For better or for worse.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CLG16CW/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CLG16CW/

https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00CLG16CW/

Author Caren J. Werlinger
Author Caren J. Werlinger

 

About the author:

Bestselling author Caren Werlinger published her first award-winning novel, Looking Through Windows, in 2008. Since then, she has published sixteen more novels, winning several more awards, including the 2021 Alice B medal. Influenced by a diverse array of authors, including Rumer Godden, J.R.R. Tolkein, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Willa Cather and the Brontë sisters, Caren writes literary fiction that features the struggles and joys of characters readers can identify with. Her stories cover a wide range of genres: historical fiction, contemporary drama, and fantasy, including the award-winning Dragonmage Saga, a fantasy trilogy set in ancient Ireland. She has lived in Virginia for thirty years where she practices physical therapy, teaches anatomy, and lives with her wife and their canine fur-children.

https://www.amazon.com/Caren-J.-Werlinger/e/B002BOI2ZI/

Check out her blog: http://cjwerlinger.wordpress.com

My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you are interested in getting your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for this opportunity.

This is the fourth of Werlinger’s novels I read, and although the setting and the central theme of the story is quite different from that of the others, I also enjoyed it immensely, and I’m sure it won’t be the last (if I can help it).

This is not a new novel, but the author is due to publish a companion novel (I don’t know much about it, so I’m not sure if it’s a sequel, a prequel, or something else) in the next couple of months and wanted to remind her readers of it, and also, hopefully, get new readers to discover it.

The description provides enough information for readers to get a good sense of what is to come, but I’ll add a few of my thoughts. Michelle (Mickey), the main character, is a successful surgeon, who also teaches at an important medical school, and who often worked with cancer sufferers. She had lived for many years with her partner, Alice, who had died from cancer a few years back by the time we meet her in the novel. She doesn’t suddenly decide to leave everything and go to the convent, as some of her friends and people who knew her might think, as we learn that she had thought about it when she was much younger, just out of high school, but decided to go to university, study, and then met her partner. The book is narrated in the third person, mostly from Mickey’s point of view, although there are some chapters where the third person becomes that of an outside observer with some moments of insight into one of the characters’ minds (I’m being a bit cryptic, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers). The novel initially alternates chapters from the now of the action (from the time when Mickey is setting off to go enter the convent), with others from her life before that, offering us an insight into her relationship with Alice, her interaction with others, and also Alice’s illness and its aftermath. There is no confusion between the different chapters and timelines, and the format works well to offer us a good understanding of what Mickey’s life had been like before and how she got to the convent, while also learning about convent life and about the process of her integration into the religious community.

Faith, vocation, and spirituality play an important part in the novel, as you can easily imagine, but you don’t need to practise Roman Catholicism or be particularly religious to enjoy the book. Anybody who has wondered about the meaning of life or spiritual matters would find much to identify with in the pages of this book. This novel is about the journey of a particular woman struggling with grief, trying to recover her zest for life, and to discover what is really important for her. Her life outside was full of stress and pressures, but although life in a convent is completely different, it is not without its challenges, and she discovers that you cannot hide from yourself, and you cannot put off dealing with things and people forever, however difficult and painful they might be. And, a convent is not a place where everybody is perfect, tolerant, and patient either, as she soon finds out. There is prejudice, pettiness, likes and dislikes, and the enclosed atmosphere and the fact that you are forced to live together with people you might not have chosen makes it all the harder, amplifying annoyances that you might, otherwise, have easily dismissed. But, there are some wonderful moments, and the novel is also full of joy, beauty, inspiration, and a few laughs.

We get to know Mickey quite well, and although I’ve read that some reviewers disliked her, that was not my case. Having worked as a doctor and left Medicine as well, I felt particularly drawn to her, perhaps because I was aware of some of the challenges of the profession, and although she is far from perfect and can be annoying at times, she does try to do what she thinks is right, even when it is not what might come naturally or make her happy. She is far from humble and doesn’t always ask for help when she should, but she tries her best, and she has a sense of humour, and is always ready to help others, even those she doesn’t particularly like. She discovers that there are plenty of things she has to deal with before she can truly move on, and she struggles with her feelings and emotions. I did find her a believable character, and I got to feel for her, as I did for the rest of the convent. We don’t get to know all the other characters as well, but I grew fond of the convent and its inhabitants, as I did of Mickey’s brother, of Alice’s sister, and of some of the other characters who make brief appearances. I particularly enjoyed the way the author creates a powerful picture of the abbey and its inhabitants, and I loved the sense of community, the different roles and personalities, and the way they all find a place and become a part of something bigger.

The writing is beautiful, as I have come to expect from this writer, and although this is not a page-turner in the traditional sense (much of what happens is every day and not the stuff of adventure books or thrillers), it flows well, and it has a sense of rhythm to go with the seasons and with the character’s experiences. There are melodramatic moments as well, when life puts not only Mickey but others also, to the test. And don’t expect everything to go smoothly and a traditional happy ending. This is not a fairy tale, and I have seen that some readers felt disappointed when they got to the ending. No, this is not the typical lesbian romance novel, H.E.A and all. Tears also make an appearance. To be fair to Werlinger, though, even if we might have missed the clues, what happens is not surprising or totally unexpected. And, personally, I thought the ending was more than appropriate and quite optimistic, in a bitter-sweet way.

I always advise possible readers to check a sample of the book, if they can, to decide if the writing style suits them, and that applies here as well. I highlighted a lot of sentences and paragraphs that seemed particularly beautiful to me and/or gave me pause, and I have chosen a few to give you an idea of what to expect.

But remember that an abbey is not a place where you can run from yourself. Quite the contrary. Having stripped away the disguises and distractions of the outside world: clothes, career, material possessions, the true you is most often magnified, for better or for worse.

Prayer wasn’t dependent upon the skill of the person offering the prayer; it wasn’t limited geographically or physically; it wasn’t even limited by reality or any of the laws of science.

The two people in our lives who could never be married gave us the best example of how to build a life together as completely equal partners.

Sometimes God knocks us off our feet with something dramatic, but, in my experience, more often, he simply whispers and waits for us to be quiet enough to hear.

Any warnings? Well, this is not a “clean” novel, and although there is no violence, there are some hard scenes to do with injuries and sickness and the odd swear word. There are also some mild lesbian sex scenes (nothing full-blown or explicit), and there is much talk about grief, illness, and death of loved ones, so those who could be badly affected by these topics might want to skip it or wait until they feel they are in a better place. As I have said, I found it quite hopeful and inspiring, so I wouldn’t discount it just because of the storyline, either.

I recommend this novel to people who enjoy beautiful writing, reading about enclosed communities (particularly of women), those who might feel curious about monastic life (I’ve always been), and anybody interested in characters going through major changes and crises in their lives. The author explains in her acknowledgments that she had thought about becoming a nun when she was younger, had researched the topic at the time, and also had family connections in the church, so this is a book born of her personal search as well as a work of fiction. It works wonderfully on both counts, and I can’t wait for her next book.

Thanks to the author, to Rosie and her whole team for their support, and to all of you for reading, liking, sharing… Stay safe, and keep smiling!

 

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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview CRAFT YOUR OWN HAPPY: A COLLECTION OF 25 CREATIVE PROJECTS TO CRAFT YOUR WAY TO MINDFULNESS by Becci Mai Ford (@beccimai27) (@penswordbooks) Inspiring, positive, a great gift #crafts

Hi all:

I bring you something a bit different today. I hadn’t realised Pen & Sword also published crafts books, and when I mentioned it in relation to a crocheting book (more on that to come), Rosie Croft suggested I had a look at this book. I realise it won’t be available until the end of the month, but as I know some of you like to plan their gifts, I thought I’d bring it to you now.

Craft Your Own Happy A collection of 25 creative projects to craft your way to mindfulness by Becci Mai Ford

Craft Your Own Happy: A collection of 25 creative projects to craft your way to mindfulness by Becci Mai Ford

Craft Your Own Happy is a collection of mindful craft projects to make you smile! Perfect for those moments when you need a bit of self-care and relaxation time.

Do you ever feel like you spend too much of your day staring at screens, feeling anxious or stressed out? If the answer is yes – then you need this book! The cute colorful projects have all been designed with the feel-good-factor in mind. Crafting can help to take you away from the worries and pressures of your daily life, and give you back those moments of slowness and focus which can help to reduce anxiety.

Unlike other craft books, this is a book that you can dip into and find projects based upon how you are feeling. So you can craft to suit your mood! There are 25 beginner friendly projects to choose from including cross stitching, embroidery, paper craft and more… Why worry when you can craft happy!

https://penandswordbooks.com/imprints/white-owl/craft-your-own-happy.html#.X0uT7MgzbIU

https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Your-Own-Happy-mindfulness/dp/1526747391

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Craft-Your-Own-Happy-mindfulness/dp/1526747391/

https://www.amazon.es/Craft-Your-Own-Happy-Mindfulness/dp/1526747391/

Author and craft specialist Becci Mai Ford

About the author:

Becci Mai Ford is a smiley maker who loves color. A keen crafter who enjoys making a mess, Becci started crafting at a young age and hasn’t stopped since! She is now the founder of Ellbie Co. a mindfulness craft kit company that aims to spread happiness through making!

Inspired by all things cute and a desire to combat anxiety by crafting. Becci currently works in Brighton out of her tiny rainbow filled office space (The make happy corner!). Where she designs new crafty projects, blogs and tries her best to brighten as many peoples days as possible. She is making life up as she goes along – and so far it’s been a lot of fun!

https://www.womenwhocreateuk.com/blog/beccamaiford

https://jofisherwrites.com/2017/11/20/becci-mai-ford-on-crafting-for-mindfulness-building-a-creative-business-and-taking-chances-in-life-ellbie-co/

@beccimai27

@EllbieCo

My review:

I thank NetGalley and Pen & Sword books for providing me an ARC e-book copy of this book (and thank Rosie Croft for recommending it to me).

I am not a great expert in crafting. Quite the opposite. Although I love crafted and hand-made objects, I have very little skill, and I am quite clumsy (I can do very basic knitting, and I am not too bad at crocheting, but that’s about it), so it is not something I pursue often. These days, though, with the forced lockdown due to the pandemic, many people have turned to doing craft projects at home, either on their own or with their children, and as I have been interested in Mindfulness (and meditate regularly) since I attended a workshop six years ago, this book seemed to tick several boxes.

The author of the books sells craft kits, has appeared on TV, and has been interviewed by many well-known UK magazines, and she explains that she saw this book as an extension of her craft kits.

The book is divided into a number of chapters: Basics (where she gives basic instruction on embroidery for absolute beginners); Chapter 1. Anxiety makes, which includes: daily ritual embroidery, flower wall decoration, needle felted unicorn keyring, relaxing rainbow cross stitch); Chapter 2. Get outside, including: clay leaf ring dish, gratitude stones, ocean scene resin necklace, pressed flower phone case; Chapter 3. Happy home: kawaii concrete planter, pompom footstool, resin art clock, yarn wall hanging; Chapter 4. Gratitude makes: the grateful game, clay diorama, kawaii felt card, origami lucky paper stars, peg prompts; Chapter 5. Tidy mind makes: macramé jewellery organiser, kawaii taco felt headphone organiser, kawaii toast make-up bag; Chapter 6. Self-care crafting: embroidery patch, ‘you are enough’ felt banner, kawaii tassel necklace; Chapter 7. Hibernate: heated hand warmers, honeycomb quilted cushion, eye-mask; and a section with the templates of the projects included in the book.

The author explains in the introduction her personal experience with stress and anxiety and how, after trying more standard forms of mindfulness, she realised that to stop her mind from racing and making her anxious what really worked for her was to keep herself busy doing something that was not only not too taxing for her brain, but also something that she enjoyed and made her and others happy. That’s how she started crafting and this book has projects that would suit all levels of skill, although she breaks them down into easy-to-follow steps, so even I would dare to try some of the most complex ones.

She uses a big variety of materials (resin, cement, paints, wood, buttons, shells, sand, tree leaves, cotton, and wool…) and as you can see from the list, creates a large variety of objects, some very simple, and some more elaborate. I particularly liked the fact that she provides practical advice (she warns readers of messy projects, tells us how long they might take, and also explains which ones can be done over a long period of time and are suitable to just work on for a few minutes a day), and she includes projects that are fast and easy to complete, and some that might take a long time to finish, so readers can find something that suits their mood at any given time. She includes a list of materials at the beginning, breaks down each activity into individual steps, illustrating each step with its own image. I am sure those readers who are creative and imaginative when it comes to crafting would find plenty to inspire them here. And many of the projects are eminently suitable for team working, so if you run out of ideas of what to do when you are looking after children or stuck in the house with your nearest and dearest, I’d recommend picking this book up.

The author is full of encouragement and positive advice, that although common-sense and not new or ground-breaking we often forget in the whirlwind of our daily lives. I particularly enjoyed the way she emphasises that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting, home decoration, or even happiness, and how little things can make a big difference.

Just a couple of quotes from the book:

For me, I think a happy home is a home that doesn’t live in the pages of interior design magazines. A happy home is where you have made your own mark on the environment. A happy home is a place where you can look around and see the love and meaning in the objects surrounding you and a place that actively connects with your personality.

Self-care consists of all the things you do to take care of yourself, to protect your mental well-being. It isn’t about doing specific activities; it is about doing what is right for you in order to ensure your mental wellness.

In sum, this is a book for people who like crafting, or who’d like to try it but don’t feel confident enough, for those looking for something different to keep their minds occupied, and it would make a great gift to people who might benefit from these kinds of activities, even if they have never given it a thought. No degree of expertise is required, and I found it inspiring and full of positive energy as well. Although I read it in e-book format, due to the nature of the projects and to the section of templates, I recommend getting a paperback copy if possible. Don’t forget to visit the author’s website for more information and to check some other projects.

Thanks to the author, to NetGalley, and to the publisher for the book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and keep reading, reviewing, smiling, and always to stay safe.

 

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Book review Book reviews

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview DO YOU REALIZE?: A NOVEL by Kevin Kuhn (@Big_Kuhna). An inspiring read that will challenge your beliefs.

[amazon_link asins=’0399184414,B00U6SFUSS,1878424114,1481900803,0399185046,8854410624,0813343062′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’wwwauthortran-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0a35eb57-a5c7-11e7-93f1-dd86c980b6ba’]Hi, all:

Today I bring you another review I’ve written for Rosie’s Book Review Team. Rosie kindly sends us updates with the new books and if the description intrigues me I go and check the book and sometimes read a sample. I was intrigued by this book but although when it got into the list I had too many reviews pending, I could not resist. It was well worth it.

Do You Realize?: A Novel by Kevin Kuhn
Do You Realize?: A Novel by Kevin Kuhn

Do You Realize?: A Novel by Kevin Kuhn

A 2017 Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner for Visionary Fiction and a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist.

George is a middle-management, middle-class, middle-aged guy who hates his job and struggles to stay connected to his wife and teenage children. Most guys might end up with a steamy affair and a flashy car for their midlife crises, but George gets a quirky philosophical physics professor named Shiloh. Trapped with this mysterious misfit on his morning commuter train, George is dragged into awkward conversations about love, fear, music, and the meaning of life. Shiloh also asks George to beta-test an app he wrote for the new Apple Watch–and with a free watch included, how could he say no?

When tragedy strikes, throwing George out of his uncomfortable comfort zone, he learns that Shiloh’s app lets him journey through alternate versions of his past. As challenges mount in his own reality, George must make a decision that will change him–and possibly the entire multiverse–forever.

https://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Realize-Kevin-Kuhn-ebook/dp/B06VX1QQHX/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Do-You-Realize-Kevin-Kuhn-ebook/dp/B06VX1QQHX/

Author Kevin A. Kuhn
Author Kevin A. Kuhn

About the author:

Kevin Kuhn lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his wife Melinda, three children, and two fierce schnoodles. He is a technology executive who enjoys sipping cheap bourbon, avoiding yard work, and living vicariously through his children’s sports. While Kevin has no musical skill whatsoever, he appreciates a broad spectrum of artists from Pink Floyd to Prince and Radiohead to the Rolling Stones. His golf game is horrific with flashes of mediocrity.

https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-A.-Kuhn/e/B01N10T2O6/

My review:

I’m reviewing this novel on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie and to the author for this opportunity. If you are an author and are looking for reviews, you can check here.

It is a bit difficult to categorise this story. It is not straight science-fiction, although there are sci-fi elements (a strange app that allows people to travel between dimensions and parallel universes), elements of family drama (a man in crisis who can no longer stand his job, whose teenage children are having difficulties, whose relationship with his wife is starting to suffer, and who experiences a number of tragedies in his life), and much discussion about the philosophy of life, humanity, the future, and matters that could fit into the category of spiritual and inspirational literature.

The novel follows the story of George, who has a managerial position in an insurance company but hates his job, and whose whole life seems to have lost its zest and momentum. He meets a man in the train, Shiloh, who asks him interesting questions (all related to song titles that also serve as chapter titles) that make him think and who keeps challenging his beliefs. At some point, he gives him an Apple watch and tells him to test an App of his creation. This App allows him to travel to his own past, only it is not his real past. He can travel to a parallel dimension and relive a day in his life, but instead of his real life, it is the life of a different version of him in that dimension. So his experience in that world is not necessarily the same but it has many points of contact with the one he already lived through. Whatever happens in one version of the world does not impact another. Although to begin with, he travels with the intention of changing things in his present, he soon realises that is not possible. He becomes frustrated as he is not sure why he has been chosen or the whole purpose of the experiment and Shiloh is less than forthcoming. George needs to come to terms with what his life is really about and learn what is really important.

There is nothing peculiar or remarkable about George at first sight. He loves his wife, Elena, a stay at home mom, but their relationship has become lost in everyday tension, problems, and stress. He is not particularly insightful and his life does not appear to be important. It is not evident why Shiloh has chosen him. Perhaps the fact that there is nothing particularly remarkable or peculiar about him is intended to make the readers find it easier to put themselves in his shoes and follow the process, as he is a very familiar and recognisable character, even if we do not share his personal attributes or his life story.

I liked the interaction between George and Shiloh and the fact that he was a pretty mysterious but engaging character. I liked his T-shirts (always with funny puns on Physics-related subjects) and his enthusiasm. His interactions with George were definitely more tell than show, and they made me think at times of Philosophy treatises, like Plato’s Dialogues, even if the ideas were based more on concepts and theories of modern Physics, Ethics, music, and even sports.

The novel is divided into a number of sections. First, we have the conversations between George and Shiloh that I found illuminating and fascinating, although at times they could be frustrating and somewhat repetitive; especially when George seemed a bit slow in understanding some of the ideas and the concepts.

Second, we have George’s everyday life, where we get to know his wife, and his daughter, and son, although I felt I knew more about the children than about the parents, particularly George. That is likely due to the fact that the story, although told in the third person, is told mostly from George’s point of view (until the very end of the novel, where we see Shiloh’s perspective), and although he shares some memories, he reflects and thinks more about his family than he does about himself. They are all nice at heart and, in many ways, their problems are very much those of a fairly privileged society, until tragedy strikes.

Third, we have the chapters where George travels in time and he starts to realise what his life is really about.

And last, but not least, there are the dreams. One of the side effects of those trips are very vivid and weird dreams and these seem to be consist of visions of what most of us would think time travel would be like, as these dreams take him from prehistoric times to a faraway future.

Although I was not sure how connected I felt to George’s character, towards the end I felt engaged with him and his family (perhaps because I could personally relate to some of the things they go through as a family). Although it was more of an intellectual experience than an emotional one for most of the book, I did become attached to the family by the end. And the book gave me much to think about.

The book reminded me a novel I read not long ago, The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello (you can check my review here), and although the stories and the writing styles are quite different, both of them went beyond the plot to question much bigger things.

The novel flows and ebbs. It is not a fast read, but it is an engaging one and I wanted to keep reading, intrigued, like the protagonist by what Shiloh would come up with next. I did not find his explanations of physics, ethics, and other concepts complex to understand and, apart from some moment of irritation when George seems to find it difficult to accept and understand what is happening, I found the style of writing easy to follow, with heavy moments and some lighter ones, and I thought the balance between the theoretical discussions and the life drama was well-achieved for most of the book.

I’d recommend this book to people looking for inspiring books and books providing bite-size information about recent theories in Physics, Ethics, and views of the world we live in that will make them think about the future and reconsider their priorities. I think lovers of music (Rock and Roll in particular) and sports will enjoy it in particular.This is not a book full of action for those who love adventures, or a standard sci-fi book, so I’d recommend readers to check a sample of the book and see how they feel.

Thanks to Rosie for her efforts and for offering us such great books, thanks to the author, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, and of course, REVIEW!

 

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New books

#Newbook UPON YOUR LOVE by Marie Lavender (@MarieLavender1). A period drama with suspense, passion, love, as well as many truths about the human condition. #TuesdayBookBlog

Hi all:

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will remember Marie Lavender, author extraordinaire who’s written and published many books, and who also is a strong supporter of other writers. She got in touch with me and I knew you’d be interested in her new book, part of the series Heiresses in Love. With Valentine’s Day so close, I was sure you’d still be in the mood for great romance.

Marie has also been kind enough to talk about her inspiration for the series and how it developed, something that, as both a reader and a writer, always fascinates me. But, first things first. Let’s read a bit about the novel:

Cover of Upon Your Love by Marie Lavender. Series Heiresses in Love
Upon Your Love by Marie Lavender

Upon Your Love (Series Heiresses in Love, Book three) by Marie Lavender

The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…

Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?

Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?

Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?

Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.

But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…

Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?

And, here an excerpt, so you can get into the atmosphere:

The neigh of a horse brought her out of her reverie and she looked over, but her mare stood quietly beside the stream. Adrienne’s instincts nagged at her and she stood up, her ears on alert. The clomp of hoof beats came to her on the swift afternoon breeze. Was the rider coming from the estate or perhaps it was simply a stranger? In any case, a sense of unease grew in the pit of her stomach and she reached down to unearth a small dagger Gabriel had gifted to her two summers ago. She kept it in a sheath around her thigh. Gabe had always said that if she didn’t have a sword on hand, it was best to have something. And she couldn’t agree more.

She clucked her tongue to alert Persephone and led her quickly by the reins under the cover of the trees. The rider was closer now and her mare shifted uneasily, blowing a breath out of her nose. She must have heard the approaching horse as well. “Shh. It’s all right,” Adrienne whispered, stroking her neck. She tied the reins to a tree and waited.

When the rider appeared from the forest, she couldn’t see him clearly. It was a man—that much she was certain—but the lapels of his dark coat and the thicket of limbs brushing her face kept her from placing his identity. He had dark hair and was tall, his body lean and muscled. She watched as he got down from a fine, black stallion and led it to the stream for a rest. The man took a drink from his cupped hands. He wiped the remnants of the water from his chin, and then seemed to search the area nearby. She shivered. Was it possible the man had been tracking her? If that was the case, her dagger would certainly come in handy. Adrienne crouched on alert, spying through her vantage point in the trees. From behind, she observed as the tension eased from his shoulders and he sighed.

A frisson of unease ran through her again. Taking it as a sign, she confirmed he was still faced away before she quietly eased out of her haven. Stepping up behind him, she lifted her dagger to his throat. A smile of grim determination danced over her lips as he stiffened.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Are you following me?”

“What if I was?”

Fine shivers moved along the surface of her skin, caused by the deep timbre of his voice.

“I would have to ask for your reasons, Monsieur.”

“I haven’t come to kidnap you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he sighed. “I didn’t expect you’d be prepared. I commend the effort, of course.”

She frowned. The compliment threw her for a moment, but she then brushed it off. Surely, he ridiculed her, and thought he could overtake her somehow. She shook her head. He would be gravely disappointed.

“You will state your reasons for your presence and your identity, sir.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You will regret it, of course.”

“Indeed? Do you intend to harm an unarmed man?”

She scoffed. “Unarmed? No, I doubt that. With the way you appeared to be tracking me, I am sure you’re quite armed.”

“Right again. What will you do about it?”

She shrugged. “This is Bellamont land. You’ve clearly trespassed. If I must, I will drag you straight back to the house. You know, I believe the foreman has a Winchester sporting rifle. He can be quite formidable when he puts his mind to the task.”

“I’m sure,” he murmured.

“What say you then?”

“I say, Mademoiselle, that you have no idea who you’re dealing with.”

Before she could open her mouth to take him to task, she felt a blow to her arm and the numbing pain caused her to drop the knife. Everything else happened in a blur. As he turned, he caught her leg, which caused her to collapse. But, before she landed, he grasped her up in his arms. He was too close, she thought. Panic threatened inside of her, but she fought it by degrees. She was a fighter, not some idiot who would succumb to a man’s power. Gabriel had taught her many tricks, as had her father. She forced herself to go limp so that he’d pull her closer. She let her eyes drift closed and pretended to have swooned.

Mon Dieu,” he whispered.

Then she unmanned him with a swift rise of her knee. He coughed out a grunted response, releasing her.

She retreated from him, intent on finding her dagger, but did not see it. The leaves in the grass crunched beneath her hands and knees as she struggled to her feet. She would have to rely on the resources of the forest to save her if he pursued further. Somehow, she doubted he’d be able to. She turned and her mouth dropped open as she looked at her attacker.

His dark hair had fallen over one eye and he was hardly doubled over in pain. No, he scowled at her now and he seemed quite well. She’d missed her target, she realized. His identity shocked her further. She felt quite stupid for not recognizing him, even from behind. But, why had Christian tried to attack her?

 “How…,” she whispered.

“You are not as fast as I, Mademoiselle.” Then he laughed, but there was no mirth in his expression. His eyes seemed darker suddenly. “You little brat,” he bit out. “You almost had me.”

She sucked in a breath and, when she saw him advance, she backed away. But, it effectively put her back right up against a nearby tree. She cursed. Christian closed in, blocking her in with his arms as he braced his hands on the tree trunk. Her breaths came out in harsh pants and her stomach had fallen somewhere at her feet. Dear God, what would he do? She jerked her arms out to break his hold, but his muscles were like the ratlines between the shrouds of a mast in a ship’s rigging. Solid. Struggling with his obvious intimidation of her, she managed, “Why are you trying to kidnap me?”

Some of the arrogance left his face. “I’m not. I thought we already established that.”

“Then why… this?” she asked, weakly. And why couldn’t she breathe? His clean, male scent caused her to feel lightheaded. No, she thought. That just had to be terror.

“I wanted to get you alone so that we could continue our plans. I didn’t mean for you to see me as a threat. I certainly didn’t expect a dagger at my throat.” He reached out and cupped her face, stroking the line of her jaw gently with his thumb.

Adrienne gazed into his nearly black eyes. She thought she saw a hint of admiration and something more, perhaps desire, in his gaze.

“P… plans?” she stammered, annoyed with the hypnotic effect he had on her. And what was that strange, but wonderful scent coming off him? She detected cologne which contained a hint of fresh pine. But then, she’d smelled it before, both in her room and at the Broussard’s engagement party. Even though the fragrance was pleasant, she tried to ignore it.

“Our matchmaking endeavor, chére.”

“Oh. That.”

“Yes, that. Did you forget?”

She cleared her throat. “No, of course not.” Her resolve returned in full force then. She slapped his hand aside and sidestepped him. Stalking away to locate Persephone, she unearthed her mare from the brush in no time. When she returned, he still stood there, watching her. She shivered again.

Mon Dieu, she thought. Why was this happening to her? Why did the man tie her in knots?

Heiresses in Love a saga like no other (I recognise Oak Alley. I’ve been there!)

As I mentioned, I asked Marie about her inspiration for this series, as I knew you’d be as curious as me about her process, and here is what she said:

Origins of an Epic Romance 

When the Heiresses in Love Series first came to me, I really had no idea that there would be more than one novel. Fate stepped in, however, and the muse led me to where I am today, with four series and 25 books published.

In 2002, a seed of an idea materialized in my head. The image of a couple arguing about the man’s actions was so clear. I could see every detail – the room, what the people looked like, what they wore, and what the heroine felt in those moments. It played like a movie in my mind. From there, the notion became a Victorian maritime story set in France – Upon Your Return. Years later, when the novel was finally finished and even once there was a book contract involved in 2012, I thought it was a standalone.

Then one day, out of the blue, I couldn’t get another image of my head. It was a young woman stowing away on board a clipper ship. Suddenly, I just knew. This was the same ship, La Voyageur, which was mentioned in the first book. I called the new novel Upon Your Honor. The series began to take form, and it became a story about a family spanning generations.

The third book, Upon Your Love, came to me not too long after that. I always knew Gabriel’s sister, Adrienne, would get her own story. She was compelling with her fearless take on life and her impish antics. But I didn’t know the half of it.

Suddenly, in the middle of her tale, other characters, previous ones as well as new ones, wanted me to tell their stories too. I remembered the feedback from some reviews for UYR and UYH. Readers wanted more; they needed to know Fara’s origins – her parents and what made her uncle so harsh, as well as other details. So, I honored those requests. Meanwhile, more revelations came to light. Characters we knew from the other books had important journeys to take, as did Adrienne, and it became a natural evolution to adjust the historical romance story to include a family saga.

So, the Heiresses in Love Series came to be, an empire of sorts, a period drama with suspense, passion, love, as well as many truths about the human condition.

Soon, I realized that this – not just the act of writing – was why I write. I write to tell a character’s story to the best of my ability. I write for my readers too. Beyond that, I always learn more about people, and about myself in the process.

It’s quite a rewarding journey, and I love every moment of it.

Thanks, Marie!

Covers of the three novels in the series Heiresses in Love by Marie Lavender
Heiresses in Love Series by Marie Lavender

As you can see, Upon Your Love is Book three on the series Heiresses in Love and I was sure you’d be interested in the rest of the series, here are the links:

UPON YOUR RETURN

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

myBook.to/UYR

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-your-return-marie-lavender/1115291084

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Upon-Your-Return/Marie-Lavender/9781484978092

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/4284739

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-return/

book trailer:

 

UPON YOUR HONOR

SmartURL (UNIVERSAL):  http://smarturl.it/uponyourhonor

myBook.to/UYH

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-your-honor-marie-lavender/1119268362

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Upon-Your-Honor/Marie-Lavender/9781625260420

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/4762748

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-honor/

book trailer:  http://youtu.be/dLOteuscV04

 

UPON YOUR LOVE

Amazon Universal link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XBPVS7D

myBook.to/UYL

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-love/

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/6969887

 

OTHER BOOKS

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2kJ2wKW

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=6842447479054&type=author&query=Marie+Lavender

CreateSpace:  http://bit.ly/1Tp7JE8

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/heychica80

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Marie%20Lavender&fcsearchfield=Author

Publisher: http://solsticepublishing.com/marie-lavender/

 

And, of course, a bit of information on Marie herself and links so you can follow here everywhere:

Author Marie Lavender
Author Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Links:

http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
http://www.ambrosiainnovations.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Thanks very much to Marie Lavender for this opportunity to present her new novel and for letting us into her inspiration and her writing process, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!

 

Categories
New books

#Newbook 101 Kind Quotes by Erika King (@AuthorErikaKind)

Hi all:

As you know, Friday is my day to share new books and have guest authors come to tell us about their work. Today it’s the turn of Erika King a wonderful blogger I met through another common blogger friend. She shares inspirational quotes every day, songs, her poems and her own songs, and also posts exploring life-changing topics. I can say I look forward to her posts every day.

Erika King
Erika King

Here a bit about her in her own words, from her website/blog:

Hi, I am Erika! I was born in Vienna but grew up in another part of Austria and in the Principality of Liechtenstein (within the Swiss alps) where I still live.  I am running a Practice for Aromatherapy and Self-Development. I am a singer and author.

For a long time I was dominated and controlled by fears and outside influences.  From teenage times to adulthood my life was overshadowed by destructive thought patterns. One day I stood up and started to face my fears one by one. My life changed completely.  Today I grab my chances and lead the life I always wished for. In order to share my wonderful insights I wrote I’m Free – Awareness of Who You Are by Discovering Who You Are Not!

When I started blogging in May 2014 I had no idea what this was about. I did it in order to promote my book and was trained therefore by my publisher. After 10 months of increasing and intensifying interactions, of finding dear friends all over the world, and so much love everywhere I changed again and so did my blog changed. It got so much more personal and has developed to a blog from soul to soul. It has become a place for everyone to pause for a moment, to lighten up the heart, to smile, to get inspired, and to fuel with good vibs. We are all wonderful beings who came into this world in order to explore, discover, experience, create, and simply enjoy the lifetime in a human body with all senses. I want you to open your heart in order to hear, see, and feel clearer about yourself, your life, and the world. Therefore we need the happenings in our lives as signposts and tools. It is neither good nor bad – it simply is. Whatever happens has its reason in order to show us something or make us develop something. Life is simply all about living with everything it has in store for us.

I am not sitting on a cloud with an enlightened smile on my face all day long. I can be angry, stubborn, impatient, sad, and frustrated as well. But I know that these are characteristics which are part of my experience but not part of me. I am profoundly happy as a basic condition of my being. Therefore I don’t deny negative feelings because I know that they will show me something in order to discover a new part of myself.

Reach out for the stars but only as high as your feet still touch the ground!

You’ve probably already realised why people who start following her can’t leave.

And, the good news are that recently she’s published a book collecting some of her best loved quotes and adding some new ones.

101 Kind Quotes. Daily Inspirations by Erika King
101 Kind Quotes. Daily Inspirations by Erika King

Here I copy from her post explaining how the book came to be (and yes, I’m mentioned as Erika asked me for a brief introduction to the book. And I’m in good company.)

101 KIND Quotes is a collection of quotes as I post them daily on my blog. I have been doing this for almost two years and you can imagine that quite a lot have come together. To pick only 101 was a bit of a challenge.

I started in mid-January and created almost all the 101 quotes anew. Because of copyright issues, I only used my own photos. New quotes were immediately included in this book. That means you will find quotes I have not posted yet. The past 2 weeks I spent with creating the cover, the acknowledgment, bio, introduction but most of all with putting the file together. That formatting process was a challenge but it made me almost a Word expert…LOL!

Why 101 quotes and not 100? In order to fill the last page

Now to some important details:

  • The idea:It was the end of November when Kritika of From The Soul To The Nip Of The Pen suggested publishing a calendar with quotes. I thought that is an awesome idea. But that would have meant creating 366 memes just asap because Christmas and the New Year were close. No, too late for that! But you know me… once the wheel is spinning in my head I don’t give up on it anymore and so I developed the idea of a quote book. I had time to create it and it did not have to have so many quotes.
  • The cover photoshows the modern skyline of Vienna (where I am from). The photo was taken by my youngest sister lately. When I thought about creating the cover I remembered it. My sister is an early bird. She took the photo in the morning close to where she lives.
  • The forward: I could not feel any more honored! Two of our published authors here on WordPress agreed to write a forward for me. They are Olga ofAuthorTranslatorOlgaand Sylvester of Syl65’s Blog. You guys are incredible. Thank  you so very much!

 

Links to the book:

Paperback: amazon.com  and also on CreateSpace. The e-book edition will be available soon too (working on it).

Kindle version: here.

And if you want to get a closer look, here is a preview…

Thanks to Erika for her inspiration, her book and her mention, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!

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