Monthly Archives: March 2015
History is one of my passions. I love “going” back in time to discover what our ancestors were like and how they functioned, which shows how much we’ve changed as a society. Here are a couple of things I learned while writing this book.
1) I had to bend the rules a little to make the story work.
When the Vikings invaded the UK, they settled around the Orkney Islands, in Ireland, England, and Scotland. Among a lot of other places too, but the part of Scotland where I wanted my Vikings doesn’t appear to have actually had many, if any. So I pushed them farther north with the Saxons and set up a kingship for them. One of the bad guys in the story, Ingvar the White Raven, became king of the area and snuffed out his Saxon neighbors. I fandangled the names of the native people a bit, giving them a little Old English and Scottish flair.
2) I had no idea the Viking reach was so far out into the world.
You think Vikings, you think Sweden, Denmark, you know, cold places. You can easily figure in the UK, although I had no idea Normandy referred to ‘northmen’ which is, of course, the Vikings. While doing research, I was astounded to learn than the Vikings had a huge influence on Russia, which I mention the hero, Hella, has visited, and even Byzantine. The Vikings set their longships to sail from Greece to Turkey and even into Africa. Amazing!
3) By the 11th century, they’d discovered North America.
This doesn’t factor into Her Heart’s Surrender, but I found it incredibly amazing. There are all kinds of hoaxes suggesting Europeans made it to the New World much sooner than we can historically prove, but the Vikings actually made it to North America and would have colonized but for the aggressive Native Americans they encountered. That’s saying something, because we’re all well-aware of how mighty the Vikings were, but it was unlikely they were willing to send great armies to foreign shores just to colonize there. Too impractical, although their discovery of the Canadian coastline was.
Taken from her village as a child, Ealasaid has lived under the iron rule of a Viking king for far too long. The only good to come out of her life is her son. As long as the king lives, their freedom and hope for the future seems dismal. Despite her contempt for the king and his bloodline, she’s drawn to Hella Ingvasson, the man who kidnapped her, and the plight he faces when the king dies.
His father’s final demand is that Hella must wed if he’s to claim the throne. What better revenge than to marry the thrall his father hated most? Despite her fears Hella will become like his father, Ealasaid agrees to marry for her son’s sake, but she quickly learns her husband’s battle scarred body provides more pleasure than nightmares.
Word comes that her brothers also survived the raid and have assembled an army. They march toward a Norse settlement with the intention of revenge. Unless she can reach her brothers and convince them not to slaughter the man and people she’s come to love, Hella may become another bloody stain on history’s tapestry.
“You seem troubled, Hella.” His name rolled from her lips smooth as wind through the oaks. “Shall I send for Erik or Bjorn? Company might soothe your nerves.”
Erik would have to be informed of Ingvar’s plan should Hella fail to marry, but he didn’t want to share it yet. “They’ll suggest we drink ourselves blind and let the problem wait for tomorrow. There are not enough tomorrows to prevent my trouble.”
Her lips puckered, a clear sign she wanted to ask, but there were limits to her curiosity.
There wasn’t any harm in telling her. Everyone would learn his plight soon enough. “It’s about my father’s last wish.”
“Ingvar speaks from beyond the death veil.” She quirked an eyebrow. “What does the old king require you to do? Will you unite Northumbria to conquer Byzantium or Spain?”
“No, it’s much more difficult.” He tore the end off the bread and ripped it into little bits. “I must take a wife or lose Solstad.”
Ealasaid stared, then burst into laughter.
“I’m pleased my troubles amuse you.” He smashed his hand on top of the crumbs. “Explain how my misfortune is a cause for laughter.”
She wiped tears from her eyes. “You’ve fought battles others would run from. You grew up in the White Raven’s shadow. You take what you want and leave nothing behind. I find it difficult to see how marriage is a horror you cannot face.”
“Indeed, my sorrows are reason for mirth.” He shoveled scalding soup into his mouth and swallowed. She wouldn’t have dared talk to his father this way, but Ealasaid had never held her tongue around him. “Be gone. Instruct another thrall to bring the rest of my courses.”
“You must have dozens of conquests. Surely one would make a suitable wife for the new king of Solstad.” She twirled a pale strand of hair around her finger. “Inga the butcher’s daughter? She’s fair of face and quick to laugh. Or Giera. The daughter of some jarl or the other north of here.”
“You’re not helping. Go on, leave.”
“As you wish, m’lord.” She curtsied then turned for the door. “May the gods resolve your inheritance issues and favor you with a mighty queen and a hundred strong Viking babies born with clubs in their hands.”
About the author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/authorallisonmerritt
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/Allison_Merritt
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If you follow many authors and/or blogs that feature authors (like this one perhaps), you probably see some cover reveals from time to time. Usually they take place before the book is out, so you may be wondering why authors do this. Well for one thing, the cover is a vitally important part of the book and whether or not people want to pick it up to read too. It is also a way to say thank you to the cover artists out there who are often underappreciated in the publishing industry. They are artists make no mistake about it and they deserve to have the spotlight shined on their work. Think of cover reveals as a gallery show for cover artists, a chance for people to appreciate their art simply for the art. It is also a time for the author to just sit back and appreciate that their hard work has paid off. A cover reveal is the calm before and after the storm. They have survived writing and editing their baby and it’s not yet time to get out there and promote like crazy. It’s a chance to say “Ah, I did it! I wrote a book and it has a beautiful cover.” It’s like when new parents want to share the photos of their babies with the world, it’s a moment of pure joy!
And that is what the lovely Dawn Brower is sharing with us today, her latest moment of pure joy!
The year is 1941 and paradise is a way of life in Hawaii. For Rebecca O’Shea things couldn’t be more perfect. She has her dream career as a naval nurse, and is in love with the man of her dreams—it seems she has it all.
An empathic gift she’s had all her life starts to grow, showering her with emotions and premonitions that suggest a great darkness is near. Just when she thinks she cannot take anymore her guardian, Joel, arrives to help her.
Rebecca’s life is thrown into chaos when war hits Hawaii’s shore. As the Japanese bomb her home, her gift explodes within her. Loss and pain become her new way of life. She abandons all hope and shuts down her empathic abilities. With bodies littering the hospitals and seas, her calling as a nurse is put to good use, but her heart remains unreachable. Can she find her way out of the blackness and accept her true fate? Or will the prevailing death and destruction of war consume her?
Broken Pearl is published by Three Worlds Press. For more information on this book or their other works please visit: http://www.threeworldsproductionsllc.com/.
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Publisher: Three Worlds Press
Length: 42k/about 137 pages in eBook
Available in eBook and print
Scandalous Endeavors is my debut and as a first time writer I learned a lot about my style and the craft. I am not going to bore you with all of the details but would like to discuss one aspect of writing Scandalous Endeavors. This is a historical book set in the Victorian time period. It required me to do a lot of research in order to get the details correct, and sometimes there were no clear answers.
I discovered that research is fun and learned plenty of new stuff along the way. For example I discovered that a horse moved faster than a train during the time period Scandalous Endeavors is set in. This is in part because trains could not travel a straight route. Rather they had to go around land formations. For example a horse could go over a hill but a train had to go around it.
During my research I looked up everything from what types of foods they eat to how they traveled and what they wore. The heroine Lady Amelia is in mourning throughout the book so I did a hefty amount of research on mourning rules and dress. I discovered every detail of life in mourning had rules right down to the stationary Victorians in mourning used. It had a black border around it. They covered mirrors in black cloth and often hired mourners for the funeral procession.
My biggest discovery about research was that I only used a small amount of what I learned. Hours of researching one thing led to a sentence or two in the book. Often it was more of a sprinkling of detail throughout.
The intensive research added to the stories authenticity and helped bring the era to life. In the end I wound up with a rich and authentic back drop for the story I was telling.
Lady Amelia has only known the comfort of life in mid-eighteenth century English aristocracy. But when first her mother and then her father die, she finds herself alone, grief stricken and….. not of age. Her appointed guardian, an American uncle, has ordered her travel to his plantation where she must remain for at least two years when she will come of age.
With the help of Lady Grace and Lady Sarah, Lady Amelia gets her uncle to agree to give her four weeks to settle her affairs and unbeknownst to him…find an English lord to marry so she can remain in her beloved England. Despite her mourning period she endeavors to trap one of London’s eligible bachelors in matrimony.
Lord Goldstone, Lady Grace’s nephew is devilishly handsome, but a Scottish Duke and so entirely unacceptable as a possible husband. After all Scotland is not her beloved London and environs. He also has a nasty habit of showing up at all the wrong moments and thwarting her carefully laid plans to ensnare a suitable husband. Sparks fly as the pair find themselves at odds with each other and drawn to each other at the same time. Can they find a way to stop arguing long enough to explore their growing passion? Is it strong enough to make Lady Amelia give up her English home after all? Or will Lady Amelia find a suitable English lord and avoid social exile in America? Time is running out.
Lord Roseington wrapped his arms around her and stood up, setting her on her feet. “Yes, Amelia, everything is okay now.” He reached up and removed her arms from around him, then took a step back. “We must stop winding up in these situations before we cause a scandal.”
She looked at him through hooded eyes. “‘Tis a wonder we haven’t already.”
A man cleared his voice behind her.
Amelia turned her head, already knowing who had caught them. “Lord Goldstone, you mustn’t trouble yourself with keeping our secret.”
“What she means to say is that there is no secret to be kept. Amelia carelessly got close enough to the hearth to catch her skirts ablaze. I could not very well let her burn up.”
“No, Roseington, you were obliged to help. I am glad to know that you were not taking advantage of our dear Amelia.” He glanced at her and flashed a rakish smirk. “Indeed, you are a hero. Let us go share the story while Amelia changes her charred gown.”
She tried her hardest to shoot daggers at him from her narrowed glare. His grin only deepened at the attempt, which increased her ire. “Don’t you dare tell a soul. I would most definitely perish from the embarrassment!” Amelia spat the words out with anger and annoyance. How dare he ruin everything for a second time, and then jest about sharing her humiliation. If he were not Scottish, she would trap him instead. That would teach him a lesson.
“Do not worry your head over it, Lady Amelia. We will not breathe a word of this little mishap,” Lord Roseington said. “Right, Goldstone?”
“Of course not. All of your secrets are safe with me.” He winked.
Amelia blushed at what he had implied. “Thank you. Now that it is settled I am going to retire for the evening. Enjoy the rest of the party. Lord Roseington, Lord Goldstone.” She inclined her head to them before spinning on her heels and speeding from the room.
Author Bio and Links
Amanda Marie dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. Her hobbies include reading, writing, crocheting, traveling, photography, and spending time with her family. Some of Amanda Marie’s favorite places in the continental U.S. are Harper’s Ferry West Virginia and Sea Brook New Hampshire. She loves the history that surrounds them and visits them every chance she gets.
Amanda Marie lives along the Lake Huron shore line in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long standing love affair with sugary junk food.
Join Amanda Marie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorAmandaMarie1
Visit her blog at http://musingsbymandy.wordpress.com/
Write to Amanda Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/AmandaMarieAuth
Three Worlds Press http://www.threeworldsproductionsllc.com/?mbt_book=scandalous-endeavor
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RKDC3CI
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/794424853928522/
To purchase at Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121404535?ean=9780985355944
Tomorrow, (March 17, 2015) my book MINX JULIETTE, book 2 in the Toxic Tango Troop series is coming out in print. Now, you’d think that would be easy to deal with. The excitement is great, the waiting, difficult, and the time…so slow to tick by. However, I find that the stress of all the edits and rewrites that take so much time, can drive you to drink! Okay, maybe a glass of wine or I’d have no chance to work on the books.
I love to write. I don’t mind the edits, and I tend to be patient to a point in my elderly years. (I’m only 54). So, what’s the problem? I’m the one who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, and stress is one thing I have trouble with. The good doctor put me on sedatives for those moments in time when I suffer anxiety attacks. He’s a great guy, telling me that I can function somewhat normally.
The problem being that I’ve NEVER been normal a day in my life! HA! I prefer being unique. Many other people have a hard time dealing with life, but I’ve learned how to roll with the punches and be more patient. When I do have the anxiety attacks, I force myself to take deep breaths and BREATHE through it.
What do you do when you just can’t get a break and the walls close in on you?
Frankly, I’m working on answers for that dilemma.
Happy reading and writing…