Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hidden by the Rose


You  might call me a rose person. As a former professional gardener, and as a resident of a gardener’s hell called Texas, you would think that these would be mutually exclusive. Not so.
There is a type of rose that is sturdy enough to have survived largely unhybridized since the days of the ancient Chinese dynasties. This type of rose is the so-called antique or “China” rose. Here is a rose variety so strong of spirit that it can withstand years of total neglect, droughts, impoverished soil—ah, yes, the very words that reflect my gardening experience in Texas.
So what does this have to do with a book, you may ask? My husband and I are the proud parents of a YA fantasy novel called Hidden by the Rose.  The setting is Britannia in ca. 430 AD. The title is taken from the book, from a passage when the young heroine Caylith hears that she is a “thorn in the side” of some very unpleasant people. She gravely remarks that “a thorn is a weapon, hidden by the rose.”
The symbol of the rose is a central one in this book. The  ancient rose called Rosa canina, the dog-rose, was planted even thousands of years ago around properties in Britannia to keep intruders at bay. Under its light pink, five-petalled clusters of blooms lay half-inch thorns, curved and strong, enough like vicious teeth to have given it the name.
Caylith, too, is a rose person. She is drawn to all plants, and the dog rose is one of her favorites. Its plump hips (seed cases) yield a tea that has a profound effect on her. And its dog-teeth properties are strong enough to help her bring down some evil people.
In a way, of course, the title of this book refers to Caylith herself. Although she is “not tall” (her own words to describe her 5-foot frame), she becomes quite a warrior—in spirit, anyway. Her feisty personality and her determination to win the day are the very thorns that are hidden beneath her attractive appearance. 
All this is a round-about way of inviting you to try our novel series “The Twilight of Magic.”  It is geared at readers from ‘tweens to teens and finally to adults in the final sweet romance. The first in the series, Running Over Rainbows, has won five-star reviews, and of course we'd love you to start with that first book.
This very short excerpt will give you a bit of the flavor of the novel. Caylith finds herself in a magical garden with one whom she had feared, who has revealed himself to be not only a king, but her grandfather.
I  thought about the world I had just escaped.
“Yes, I miss dear Mama. She taught me to be strong of mind and to follow in the old traditions. I am not the best of students, but I have tried. She never had time to teach me about my ancestors before she…left.” The image of a great hungry fire filled my mind. “I will not believe she is really gone. She would have fought like a mother bear to protect what was hers. I am sure she was taken captive by the savage Eire-Landers.”
The king’s eyes seemed to flash dangerously beneath the great wing-like brows. I understood his passion. “Yes, I am sure your blood ran strong in Mama.”
The soothing atmosphere of the garden loosened my tongue. I was starting to release all my pent-up fears and dreams to a complete stranger, but I did not regret it. “I was wrong to think you are like the evil duke. He wants my property only. He does not want me.”
Grandfather uttered what sounded like a sigh within a sob. I looked at him, but his beard was bent so close to his chest that I could not see his face.
I stood then, and the king slowly rose also. We stood close together for a long minute. “Your High—Grandfather…” I said in almost a whisper. His great bearded head bent lower. “Will you ever forgive me for running from you?”
The king’s face began to glow as though a kiln fire ignited from within. Instead of answering, he held out his hand to me, palm up. I placed my diminutive hand inside his, and we walked slowly out of the garden.

Thanks, Celtic Rose friends! ~Bil and Bon Franks 

Children of the Dust  and
Where Wild Ponies Ran from MuseItUp in 2013


  1. Hidden by the Rose sounds like a delightful story I'd love to get lost in. And thank you for the rose lesson. We have many of those beautiful but "snarly" roses growing at the edge of our wood. Best of luck with your book!

    1. Dear Maeve,

      I found out when I moved to Texas that there are rose clubs devoted to visiting old abandoned gravesites and other such untended land, searching for lost varieties of these wonderful roses. If you can get over the brambly-ness of them, they are absolutely beautiful in their five-petal simplicity.

      Thank you for the really nice comments! ~Bil and Bon

  2. Welcome to The Celtic Rose. Your book sounds like a sure winner!

    1. Miriam, we are always grateful and really delighted to be on this most beautiful of sites. You're gracious to give us such space!

      Thanks, and all success on your own wonderful books. ~Bil and Bon

  3. Beautiful blog, Erin/Bon and Bill and Miriam. You are most welcome on the historical fiction excerpts blog and Lindsy's Romantics if you would like. Congratulations on your latest release - as others have said, it sounds a winner.

  4. Wow, Lindsay, how gracious of you! We would love to visit your sites.

    Our novels are a product of one of your own publihers, MuseItUp, the same house you suggested to us. So with a huge thank you, for several reasons, we welcome your comments today.

    xox Bil and Bon

  5. Miriam, indeed this is a beautiful site. So Bil & Bon are not your real names? LOL I'm a new fellow MIUer and this makes me remember when I first joined my local RWA chapter and everyone it seemed had two names! I could never remember which was the real name and the pen name. After several years, I've pretty much got it figured, guess I will at MIU also. :)
    Love the rose theme you've done with this book and the symbolism with your heroine.
    I can sympathize with you on our Texas weather. It's pretty much the pits in any season. Ah, but it can also be amazing in any season with the exception of summer. Good luck with sales, y'all.

  6. Hi, Marsha, We're happy to clear up the issue of our names. Bil and Bon Franks are, indeed, the authors of this series. Erin O'Quinn (Bon's pen name) departed from us some time back to write steamier romance novels, but we're firmly in the YA-adult historical fantasy genre. We don't have an easy way to log into this site under our names.

    You'll find two more novels coming from Bil and Bon in this series, which was born as a result of wanting to put St. Patrick in a novel. He is our inspiration and our, um, MuseItUp Publishing!

    We love Texas for its wide-openness, even if gardening is a challenge. Thank you for your visit. We'll look for your books on MIU. ~Bil and Bon (honest, we're the real deal)

    1. Love the rose theme. Here on the coast, we have hardy roses growing in the marram grass. They help prevent erosion of the sand dunes. The excerpt was intriguing, thank you.

    2. Dear Mary,

      So glad you like the theme! You didn't say which coast yob live on, but the mentimon of sand dunes makes us think of the southeast coast???

      Thanks for tuning in today. We're gratified that you liked the excerpt. Caylith has gone from a slow admiration of her elderly aunt and now to a new perspective on another "old" person. She doesn't even realize it, but she's learning from them.

  7. Hi Bil and Bon, I've been waiting to read this book after enjoying the first one. I'm a bit past being a YA but I love reading the books.

    Excuse me while I go buy it.

    Muse newbie,


    1. Dear Leona,

      You gladden our read Running Over Rainbows and liked it enough to pick up the sequel. A fan club in the making! Bil says that he, too, is a little past YA but he thinks you'll like it.

      Many thanks, Bil and Bon

  8. Lovely post - I'm reading and enjoying Running over Rainbows at the moment so I'll eventually be looking for this one too!

  9. Yowza! Thanks, Romy! Your own marvelous creation SUMMER OF THE EAGLE is one of our top picks for any generation of reader.

    Ww are glad you stopped by to cheer us along this morning. Happy Monday.

    :~) Bil and Bon

  10. Yay! Miriam got us our own names for her blog. Now we can correct our mistake and call Romy's book by its correct title, SUMMER OF THE EAGLES.

    And we can use this opportunity to thank Miriam again for letting us showcase our work on this most gorgeous of blogsites.

    Best of success to all who roam here. ~Bil and Bon

  11. Congrats on the new release in your intriguing Twilight of Magic series, Bil and Bon. The cover is lovely, the story sounds wonderful. I wish you every success!

  12. I've never had much luck with roses, I'll have to check out those hardier varieties ;) a wonderful metaphor for your heroine - beautiful with a bite! Best of luck with the series

    1. Hi, Sessha. Yes, beautiful with a bite about says it! She's peevish and immature, but is forced to grow up, ironically, in a world of make believe.

      Thanks for the kind words. :~) Bil and Bon

  13. Thanks a lot, Pat.

    The cover artist, Marion Sipe, is a marvel all unto herself. She did the covers for all four books, and each one tells as much a story as the book itself. Thank you for your words of support. We can feel the positive vibes!