Wednesday, February 23, 2011


A very few more clicks and The Celtic Rose will have registered 3,000 hits in its relatively short life.  In celebration, I will be happy to offer visitor #3,000 a free PDF download of any of my books (see including my new historical release The Comet or a print copy of my futuristic romance, Scion.  PDF downloads are easily convertible to Kindle.  Just PLEASE, if you would like to be considered for this, leave your email address!  It won't be used for anything except to notify you if you are #3,000.

Good luck and good "hitting!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Some of you may recognize this beautiful cover by Annie Marshall for my newly-released historical romance, The Comet.  The book came out on 1/20/11 but I've been waiting for it to be available on Kindle to make it official on the blog. 

This book was a labor of love.  It has been twelve years in my mind and a full year in intensive research.  The "Celtic" part of the book comes in the last half, set in Wales in 1067 as the Welsh reeled from the death of their strong king and the invasion of England by Normans.  They knew full well that they could be next unless their men and mountains protected them.  I'm sure no Welshman lay easy in his bed during those days, including apparently some of my very remote ancestors whose surnames I have borrowed for the book!  I was fortunate, too, in having been raised in an area where Welsh place names are common, so perhaps my tongue was less badly twisted than some as I created names.  What few Welsh genes may be somewhere in my DNA are buried under an avalanche of Irish and Cornish, but all of it is Celtic.  I was reminded of that many times while growing up!  I wonder what it is that makes us of that descent STILL so die-hard about it?

Anyway, here is an outline of the book, which I hope you might try if you enjoy historicals.  I do, and this was a joy to write!

An ambitious young Norman knight, Neel, is seriously wounded at the Battle of Hastings and nursed back to health by a Saxon girl, Rowena.  For her, it is only a matter of Christian charityy and she is shocked to receive his proposal of marriage in return.  It is an offer she can’t refuse, but her land is invaded, her birthright stolen.  How can she love the enemy—her husband?

For Neel, Normandy is only a bad memory.  His future lies in Rowena’s land and her bed, but he is not welcome in either.

From pastoral Sussex to the furthest reaches of Wales, he will seek to make her his own
Fumbling at the gaudy tie, she drew out a necklace of stones like the eyes of a cat.  Carefully drilled and strung on a fine wire, they slid through her fingers smoothly.
“They are called topaz,” Neel explained.  Stunned, Rowena had neither moved nor spoken.  “They are the color of your eyes.  I have given Bryna a gown for you, too.  And a head covering.”  He smiled at her.  “I think you will like ours better.  All I ask is that you wear them for Christ’s Mass.” 
She remained obdurately silent, but she could not…dared not…refuse.  No doubt the gown was Norman.  He called her “little Saxon,” yet did not wish her to appear to be one.  And perhaps, if Ralf had spoken truly, he was correct and she wasn’t one at all.
“Here,” Neel said as if her acceptance was a given.  “Sit beside me and I will put it on you.”
Still mute, she perched rigidly on the edge of the mattress she had shared with him in perfect comfort when he was unconscious.  This time he was awake and aware and so was she-- jolted by every nuance as he touched her for the first time.
He was efficient, raising her wild hair with a hand holding its weight, parting it and dropping it forward over both shoulders so that he could fix the clasp of the necklace.  She felt the cold, rich stones against her collarbones and heard the tiny snick of the clasp as he put his claim on her.
He lifted her hair back carefully, not catching it in the necklace.  But he did not take his hands from her shoulders after he had done it.
She fell back upon manners, drilled into her by Bryna.  “I have nothing for you,” she said faintly.
“Then give me a kiss.”
There it was--the trap she had sensed.  She could wrest her body from beneath his hands and bolt for the door and he couldn’t stop her, but that was only postponing the inevitable.  Slowly, she turned her head to the side, not moving towards him but not moving away.
“Come,” he said softly, inching closer.  How was he doing that…hurt as he was? 
“Be careful,” she said, ambiguously.
“It’s just a kiss.”
It would be capitulation…unspoken acknowledgement of his ownership.  But just as the needs of the body had drawn her to offered food, other needs tempted her, too.  Trapped not by his hands but by her own indecision, she made no move to resist as he turned her within their circle, now at her waist.  It was an awkward position, though, leaving her in imminent danger of falling off the side of the bed.
“Better hold on,” he said, the devil incarnate.  She did, twining her hands in his fine tunic as he spread his palm against her back to support her.  The other hand cupped the back of her head.  Infinitely gentle, he lowered his face to hers, teasing at her lips.
“Very sweet,” he murmured.  It was nothing like she had thought a kiss would be.  She had imagined Ralf plunging his tongue into her as Leofric had done…pictured him groping her breast, hurting her, gross and fetid.
It was not like that at all.  Neel’s tongue traced the outline of hers lips, slow and enticing, not a bit revolting.  When his lips nudged hers gently she opened her mouth, sighing.  He kissed her slowly and deeply, a silken invasion that set her heart pounding.  Her hold on him increased, involuntarily, and she felt his response in the strength of his hand on her back, fingers splayed, supporting her.  Guiding her.  He drew her against his chest until she could feel her breasts taut and aching against his warm flesh and started to resist.  Immediately, his grip slackened and he lifted his face from hers.
“I’m only playing, little Saxon,” he whispered.

                     Also available at Fictionwise and AllRomanceEBooks
Release Date:  1/20/11

CONTEST:  If you’d like to enter a drawing for a free PDF copy or Kindle download of The Comet, leave your name, mailing address and the name of the stones from which Rowena’s necklace is made!  I will draw a name at random five days from today.  Easy cheesy!


Monday, February 14, 2011


It's the last day for my offer of a free PDF copy of my novella Stupid Cupid.  If you would like a copy of this little novella set in Ireland, just leave a comment and your email address.

Stupid Cupid is the story of what happens when both Cupid and a pugilistic couple in need of his services arrive in the meadow where my faerie band from Confessions of the Cleaning Lady have been living in peace--until then!

If you like paranormal with an Irish twist, enjoy this free book with its adorable cover by DCL cover artist Annie Marshall.


Monday, February 7, 2011


Permission to forward granted and appreciated!
Valley Forge Romance Writers
2011 THE SHEILA Contest

Deadline: All entries must be received no later than February 12, 2011, 11:59 p.m., eastern standard time
Submissions: Total of 35 pages, including synopsis (not to exceed 5 pages).
Finalists will have a week after notification to submit a revised entry for review by the final round judges. 
Judging: Entrants will receive a detailed score sheet from four qualified judges including, whenever possible, at least one published author. The lowest score will be dropped before determining the final score. The top five entries in each category will advance to the finals.

Single Title Romance – Emilia Pisani, Simon and Schuster
Historical (short or long and Regencies) – Holly Blanck, St. Martin’s Press
Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal –  Leah Hultenschmidt, SourceBooks                                         
Women's Fiction with Romantic Elements/Chick Lit – Alex Logan, Grand Central
Romantic Suspense – Leis Pederson, Berkeley
- $25 for all VFRW members / $30 for all non-VFRW members.
- For non-electronic payment methods, contact the contest chair ( before January 29, 2011, to make arrangements.  Only money orders will be accepted.
- All entry fees are non-refundable except in the case of category cancellation, as stated above. 
- If you have any questions, please email

For detailed Rules and Entry Form, visit our website:

Jeannine Standen, Contest Chair, at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Power and Fae and a Magickal Duel

Cross the Magic Portal into Ais Linn…where unicorns roam and werewolves prowl…where a faery wizard and his mortal wife struggle to protect the Earth from the Lord of Dark fire…

That’s the story of Wizard’s Wife in a nutshell.

Inspired by the Harmonic Convergence of 1987, and aided by the Encyclopedia of Fairies, I found the story of white wizard Tavis McMuir’s fight against black wizard Exeter Dubhtina required more than a little research into not only faeries, hobgoblins, brownies, bogies, and other supernatural beings, but into the Celtic literature and language itself.

Beginning with the name of the magic dimension from which Tavis comes—his name is Celtic for David and that’s what he’s called for a good part of the story—I googled and binged and poured through and other vast references, to set the stage for my story.

Ais Linn is a faery realm, a dimension where magic abides and guides the inhabitants’lives. Its people are the ailiff fae, the people gifted with Power, called by the Irish the Little People. There are many type of fae, from the Trooping faeries, which are human-sized and indistinguishable from mortals when under the guise of glamour, to the sprites, butterfly-winged creatures able to sit on the palm of a hand. There are good fae and bad fae and the worst of the lot are the solitary faeries, who live alone and like it that way. Like everywhere else, there are those who rule and those who are ruled. In Ais Linn, the Lords of Fire –the Tiarnas d’Tina rule, the Tiarna d’Geal Tina (Lord of White Fire) in the North, the Tiarna d’Doit Tina (Lord of Black Fire) in the South. As their names indicate, one practices white magic, the other black, and as would be expect, soon there is a power struggle between the ruling families, when the son of the previous Lord of Black Fire inherits his father’s domain.

Exeter Dubtina wants power and doesn’t care what he does to get it. He and Tavis have always been rivals. Even as lads when sparring with each other during the feiles-- to which all fae are invited, the festivals being a neutral ground—they always fought to a draw, so Exeter is smart enough to realize he may need more than his own power to overcome the Champion of White Fire. His first attempt is accomplished while his father is still alive, sending his sister Siobhan to seduce the—at that point—virginal Geal Tina heir—and get herself with child so her brother can raise a White Fire wizardling in the Doit Tina faith. Though Tavis falls in love with her, Siobhan fails in her mission due to the intervention of Tavis’ father, Prince Padraig. Undaunted, Exeter sets about for other nefarious ways to accomplish this end.

Physically, Exeter himself is an alpha fae, beautiful to behold and frightening in that beauty.

Like all the other male faeries, he was exceptionally handsome. At the moment, his wings and antenna weren’t visible. Megan wondered if he would have the same dragonfly-like wings as David, Brigid, and Ossian possessed, or if—being a purveyor of dark magic—he would possess wings like those of a bat or some other nightdweller. Oh, yes, my Lord Exeter’s handsome, she thought. In a Fallen Angel-sort of way. Wings aside, Exeter could easily have been mistaken for the stereotypical portrait of a vampire…tall, pale, his black hair brushing his waist in a thick, straight fall. His eyes were so dark they appeared black. There was only one difference Megan could see. His pupils were dark crimson, and oblique. Like a cat’s.

His magic aside, Exeter is Tavis’ exact opposite in appearance, one as dark as the other is light. Davis, as described by Megan:

Copper brows winged above his eyes, not arching as they had before, but arrow-straight. And the eyes but...there’s no white in them. They were like an animal’s, the entire eye a deep green iris. That, however, wasn’t the most disturbing thing. Protruding from his forehead were antenna. Not butterfly-like but smoky, feathery tendrils floating in the air above his head. They wavered back and forth, like seaweed drifting in a stream, then stiffened and pointed in her direction.

He turned his head slightly, an ear twitching, Nearly lobeless, peaked on top. The left one sported a small golden ring with an emerald set in it. Dragonfly-like, his wings didn’t come from under his shoulder blades as she’d always suppose wings should, but grew on each side of his upper spine. Not the tiny things shown in drawings of fairies either, but equaling David’s height. Delicately translucent in bronzes and golds, the colors of a Monarch's wings magnified.

In Casteal Dubtina, Exeter surrounds himself with those predisposed to evil …indeed, his band of trusted knights, his Wolf Pack, are just that…faery werewolves, roving the Damhain Garrai, the Dark Garden, in search of sprites to terrorize.

Surprisingly, there are no females visible in his casteal, other than his sister.

The Tiarna Doit’s sexuality isn’t mentioned one way or another, though he does (SPOILER ALERT HERE: skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know) seem more than taken with Megan and gets into her bed by magical and less than fair means while corrupting Tavis’ fidelity, also. Tavis, on the other hand, while admitting to being less than a choir boy before he met Megan, is almost desperate to assure his new wife she has his complete faith and trust.

“Yes, I suppose you wizards are the Rock Stars of the faery world? Do you have groupies? Wizard-groupies panting at the bedchamber door?”

She was startled to see him flush slightly, the color rising up his throat and disappearing into his hairline. “We do have a reputation for attractin’ th’ lasses, though I’ve na been as free as some in that department. An’ na at all since th’ night I set eyes on you, Megan, I swear.”

Tavis loves Megan enough to disobey his father’s orders and marry her. He confesses his previous “sin” with Siobhan Dubhtina, but there are some things he keeps quiet about, things he doesn’t want to hurt his wife by having her know. And there’s always a chance those very things will one day rear their ugly heads and attack him.

Ais Linn’s other inhabitants are no less magical or wonderful…Sir Liam, Exeter’s chief knight, a werewolf torn between his love for Brigid, a White Fire follower and his allegiance to the Dark Lord; Denis, a leprechaun, and Siorchain the unicorn, a creature who sure he can’t be touched by anyone deemed a sinner. Siorchain’s aware of the secret David harbors as well as the shattering of his purity by a single involuntary act, and chooses to keep that secret.

So there they are, two powerful men, each with millennia of magic behind them, each trained to be the most frightening force in his own realm, pitted against each other…one fighting for his wife and unborn child, his domain, and a small planet called Earth, the other fighting for ownership of everything.

“Scrioss agus tina! Titim gan éirí ort!”

The curses fall as they square off against each other, girded in armor, wielding their magic. Two men, equal in age, physical strength, and magical knowledge…and only one will walk away from the fight…only one will claim all of Ais Linn, the Earth, and Megan McMuir and her baby.

Which will it be?

Wizard’s Wife is available from Class Act Books