You have made it all the way here, so you may as well sit down, take a minute to look around, and enjoy. What you will find, depends on the day and my mood. You just never can tell.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Three Year Journey

The Three Year Journey began in 2020. As the pandemic is slowly but surely making its way into history, a question people ask and ask often is how others got through it. My story begins in January 2020, before the pandemic hit. My last child was a senior in high school. She had been accepted into many different colleges and universities, and many were not close to home. I was aware of the significant changes coming at me in several months. For the last ten years or so, my daughter and I spent most of our time together as she was a competitive dancer. She had dance practice every day and some weekends. During the competitive season, we had weekend-long events and traveled around the state and even the country for events. I learned how to do ballet dancer hair. I learned to sew and alter and fit. I gemmed, jeweled, and bedazzled. I had contacts at dance apparel companies around the world. I had a full-time job outside my full-time job. It was busy and crazy, but I enjoyed it too.  

As my tiny dancer entered her last year at home, I could see my busy lifestyle and close relationship with my girl coming to an end. My house would be child-free, and I would be at loose ends. My husband suggested that I look into going back to school. I'd obtained an associate degree in paralegal studies right out of high school, but I'd always had the intention to return. Then life happened, which included children. There was simply no time to go back to school. In 2020, with the future I was facing before me, it sounded like a great idea.  

I searched online for accredited and reputable online, fully electronic programs. I wanted a program that I could do in my own time, in my own home, whenever I had time, and wherever I could. I found a few, but the one I ended up with was through Northern Arizona University. They had a program of business that fit my needs and wants perfectly. It was competency-based and entirely online. In a moment of determination, I applied to the college and then sat back and waited. I had not been in school for 25 years and was not confident I would get in. After all, I'm not 18, and I don't have SATs or ACTS behind me. I did, however, get in. Surprise! After some frustration trying to obtain my transcript from my associate's degree, I was set up to begin university.  

I was excited. I could do this. I'm a writer, a published writer, after all. I could do this! I'm sorry to say I almost could NOT do this. The program had classes that you must take, just like any college. Within those classes are specific lessons that must be learned. In each lesson, you must complete and pass with a grade no lower than 86 an assignment, an exam, and an essay. I did well on the assignments and the exams. I didn't have any issues there. The essays, however, were a significant bump in the road. When I was in high school, we didn't have essays. We had extended response. We had complete sentence structures. We had reports. I assumed incorrectly that a report was the same as an essay. Wow. I was so wrong. No worries, I'm a writer. I could figure this out. I'm not going to lie. It was not easy. After some serious frustration, a lot of tears, and driving my husband up the wall, I finally figured it out. That first semester almost did me in. I was passing exams with flying colors. I was doing assignments with ease and even some enjoyment. I was reading and learning, which was great! The essays, well, they were the reason I came really, incredibly close to quitting. So close that I contacted my counselor to ask if my credits were transferrable. It was a rough period. I had a professor send me a harsh message saying that as the program was based on a lot of essays, I needed to really think hard about whether or not I should be in it. That hurt. It about broke my spirit.  

So, after more tears and angry frustration, I decided I had to ask for help. My husband, thankfully, explained how an essay works. What the ingredients for an essay are. How to format. How to get evidence and cite things properly. I needed a serious lesson on how to write an essay. Once I felt better about the issue, I drafted and passed a rewrite of my failed essays. I shed more tears over that, more in relief than anything else at that point. I don't know how many essays I wrote throughout my college career, but I feel it was close to 120. I can now say I am pretty darn awesome at essay writing.  

I began my program in February 2020, and as we know, Covid hit in March 2020. The world shut down for many people. Mine did not. I continued to work full-time, in the office, for the entirety of the pandemic. I put in my hours at work, and then I would spend another 30+ hours a week on schoolwork. On average, I completed 24 credit hours each semester and was able to complete a four-year degree in two years and seven months. If I had understood the essays from the get-go, it would have been even faster, as that first semester was slow.  

The college experience helped me to survive the tiny dancer going off to college at Purdue. I was so busy with schoolwork I didn't miss the crazy schedule of dance. It helped get me through the horrible days of sadness with my children all grown and flown. It kept my mind busy instead of lonely. I am so grateful to have started that program, and not going to lie, I am so glad (relieved) to be done. I now have an associate degree in paralegal studies, and as of December 16, 2022, I have a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis on Human Resources with a minor in Computer Information Technology. That's how I survived the pandemic and how I survived my drop into an empty nest.  

Now, what will 2023 bring? We will wait and see.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Fresno Farmer's Market

Welcome to Spring 2022!

Now that the world is starting to reopen since March 2020, I have decided to rejoin it by getting back out and about with events.  This Saturday, May 28, 2022, is opening day for the Fresno Farmers Market.  I along with fellow author and friend, Becca Besser, will be there for the opening day's events.  Check back here for future date of attendance for this event as I plan on taking part in the the market at least once a month through September  2022.  

Here is a quick excerpt from their page:

Rebecca Besser is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and is a member of the International Thriller Writers. Her most notable credits are a short story in an anthology published by Atria Books (Simon & Schuster), a nonfiction article about skydiving for children for NY assessment testing (McGraw Hill), and a children’s poem in an early reader (Oxford University Press India). She is best known for her works of adult horror, especially zombie and organ harvesting, but has been published in the areas of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and children’s. She will be signing/selling books and homemade cross stitch bookmarks.

Courtney Rene is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She mainly writes young adult books in the paranormal genre with contemporary, fantasy, and alter dimensional themes. She hopes to break into the mystery genre soon. She will be signing/selling books, and will be attending intermittently throughout the summer, but will be there opening day!

It looks to be a lovely day with lots of fun things to see. If you come out, be sure to stop over and say hello, pick up from free swag, and maybe a new book or two to read.

Stay tuned, as there are several exciting updates that I will be making over the next few months, including...a new release on the way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sci-Fi Thriller: COLD

I am generally, just your average paranormal fantasy writer. However, I stepped outside my box to write the book COLD.  This is a Sci-fi thriller book that steps into many realms, including paranormal, mystery thriller, and new adult.  I began this book as a stand alone story, but realized once I got to know the characters that no, it would end up being a series.  Book Two in the Elements Series is in the works.  

Where to find this book: 


Barnes and Noble

Google Books 

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Release - Feathers

Feathers, by Courtney Rene

My latest books is on it's way to final publication.  Look for it on August 1, 2018.  It will be available in both print and electron formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, through the publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press, and other fine book retailers.

Look for it August 1 2018

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Once Upon A Christmas Moon - Blog Tour Stop

Just in time for the holidays, I bring you, Once Upon a Christmas Moon, an Anthology of love, pets, and the holidays.  As with most tours I host, the authors of this book will be giving away a copy of their previous anthologies: A Valentine Anthology, A St. Patrick's Day Tale and A May Day Anthology, to three randomly drawn commenters.  

Title: Once Upon a Christmas Moon
Authors: Christine Young, C. L. Kraemer, Genie Gabriel
ISBN: ebook: 978-1-62420-369-5   POD: 978-1979071093
Genre: Anthology/Roamnce/Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Amazon

A collection of stories about the magic of romance at Christmas time.


When Archer Steele shows up at Calanthe Durand's failing plantation with
an alligator over his shoulder, Cali thinks she's never seen a more
handsome man. During the war she had to defend herself and her servants
from both union and confederate soldiers. Independent and
self-sufficient, she vows to never marry. But Archer Steele has
different ideas. The first time Archer sees Cali in town, he feels an
instant attraction. He decides he will do everything and anything to
convince the beautiful Miss Durand he is worthy of her love. During the
weeks leading up to Christmas, he gives her twelve gifts in hopes she
will fall in love with him.

An ancient evil from the old country has arrived in the high desert of
Oregon. Gnome children are vanishing then re-appearing, showing various
stages of traumatization. Tiamoon, warrior gnome, will put her skills to
use alongside Killian, a handsome warrior, also in need of a cause.

With their world destroyed and their space ship malfunctioning, the
dogizens of Planet Canid have little choice but to crash land on Earth.
They face tortuous experiments at the hands of the Geeks in Green...or
they can trust an eccentric inventor and his zany family to deliver the
Canine Queen's puppies and help them celebrate new lives.

Once Upon a Christmas Moon

Twelve Days to Love
by, Christine Young

Near New Orleans October 2,1867

“Sam! Close the shutters on the back landing. I’ll get the front. Hurry. There’s a storm coming.” Calanthe Durand felt the small hairs on the back of her neck rise and shivers run down her spine. A big storm was on its way, probably a hurricane. Energy and fear poured through her like the pounding rain and flooding that accompanied high winds. Closing the house to the storm was imperative.

Cali took a moment to smile. She’d heard Sam grunt. He didn’t talk much, but she wouldn’t have survived the war or these last two years without Sam and his daughter Daisy. Both sides, the North and the South, had occupied their home. Daisy and Sam were family, the only family she had. She’d do whatever was necessary to protect them. Even with emancipation, life wasn’t easy for blacks in the south.

“I’ve got them, Miss Cali.” Daisy rushed past her and out the door. Wind whipped her hair and tugged at her dress. Branches torn from trees landed on the porch.

Cali followed, the storm swirling around her, her hair beating against her face. Her breath was ragged, and fast as her heart thundered. She pushed and tugged at her skirt, trying to detangle the fabric from her legs. “Get inside!” The tempest raging around them swallowed her voice.

“Not until we’re finished here.” Daisy fastened a shutter before moving on to the next one.

They worked together to protect the windows from the storm on the raised porch which stood five feet off the ground as wind howled around the eaves. A steady rain poured from the black sky, and lightning slashed the darkness.

Cali pushed dripping strands of hair that had slipped from her chignon away from her face. “I’ll light the candles. It could get dark here pretty fast.”

“Horses and livestock are safe for now.” Sam stepped beside her. “Hope it’s not a big one.”
“Hello up there. Hello, bonjour, anyone home?”

Hearing the voice from below, Cali left the protection of the house to lean over the porch railing. Below her a man stood, with cupped hands to his mouth and a dead gator slung over one shoulder a quiver filled with arrows on the other. “Hello. Can I get shelter from the hurricane?”

“Don’t know if it’s a hurricane.” Terrified of unknown men, Cali didn’t want to do the charitable thing. She pursed her lips, thinking, but all that came to surface was memories of troops commandeering her home. Good lord but she’d had to hollow out a bedpost to hide her jewelry. The soldiers had taken everything they could see. Sometimes she felt as if the war had ripped her soul from her body.

“Maybe not a hurricane. Could be just a bad storm, but I don’t want to be on the swamp right now. The water’s rising.” A loud roar and a thunderclap followed his pause. Behind him an old Cyprus tree crashed to the ground, uprooted by the wind.

“You can take shelter in the stable.” Cali watched his back stiffen, while she swallowed hard, but she wasn’t about to back down. The stable was good enough for some wandering man who she owed nothing. Besides, there was a tack room with a bed. No one slept there anymore, but she kept it clean and the moss in the mattress was fresh. Daisy had rolled it out two days ago. Yet a small niggling in the back of her head kept telling her this wasn’t a traveling man but one of means. He was a man she should treat as a gentleman. She’d been taught better but the war had changed all that and the lessons she learned were not served to her with a silver spoon.

“Much obliged.” He nodded before turning toward the barn. His natural swagger and broad shoulders sent a different kind of sensation through her. Warmth swept inside, swirling within and heating her frozen heart. For a moment he looked back, a strange expression on his well-chiseled face.

Boots and Blades
C.L. Kraemer

High Desert, Central Oregon

Killian stared at the rise of rock from the desert floor. The emerging sun tricked the sky into revealing pink and blue streamers across the horizon exposing the severe lines of craggy mountains. Pine trees scented the air, and the slightest hint of sage tickled his nose.

“Where are they disappearing to? They’re much too young to be running away.”
“Master Killian?”

The young man turned his blue gray eyes from the mountain to answer. “Yes, Ms. Luna. What can I do for you?”

“Are you sitting out here at this early hour worrying about the young ones?” Luna’s black hair was braided down her back and she sported a shawl bright with her clan’s colors. She handed the young man a steaming cup of coffee. “I hope you don’t mind black. I’ve yet to milk the goat.”

Killian flashed her a seldom seen smile. “Ms. Luna, you make the best coffee in the desert. Black is fine.”
Taking up a spot next to him on the porch, she turned her attention to the mountains admiring the soft colors of rose and tan springing to life in the morning sun. “What is it that haunts you so?”

“The illogicality of it all.”

“Aye, I figured that. It is indeed illogical. The children are too responsible to leave unannounced, yet they are snatched from their beds in the middle of the night with no clues.”

Killian sipped the wicked black brew and allowed the liquid to spike his taste buds. The brilliant light of a new day was caressing the landscape and warming the air. “The kinders disappearing are not inclined to run off. 
They are the eldest and most reliable. These missings make no sense. They don’t happen in the same area or at the same time. They’re completely arbitrary and being so—random—has given me pause to find a method. If I were to discover a pattern, the recovery would be simpler.”

Luna watched the anguish distort his handsome young face. His blue eyes clouded to a dark grey when he spoke of the missing children, and his normally full mouth stretched to a tight slash across his face.

“I don’t wish to sound cruel, but none of these are young ones of your own family. Why take their absence to heart?”

Killian relaxed his scowl a bit, and a smile began to touch his lips. “Because it is they who will be the leaders of our clans in but a few short years. I had hoped to retire my sword someday to warm my boots by a fire. Having a mate and young ones around isn’t such a bad idea.”

He automatically sipped his dark brew. It would indeed be nice to warm my feet by a fire with a mate and children. The problem being I’ve found no person who makes me think in such terms.

“Well, I must admit, Master Killian, I never would have thought you to be the settling type.” She picked up his cup, returning from the kitchen minutes later with fresh coffee in the container.

“Neither had I, Ms. Luna, neither had I, however, aside from our missing young ones, there has been no conflict between the clans, nor have the Others tried to interfere in our affairs in a very long time. It is a good thing for many but for me, what good is a warrior without a war?”

Luna could only agree with his forlorn assessment; what good, indeed, was a warrior without a war? “Maybe a solution will arrive in the near future. You never know.”

Killian shrugged his shoulders. Who knew indeed?

Christmas Pawsibilities
by Genie Gabriel

“So where is this alien craft?”

Fletcher had never completely trusted Commander Viktor Atrocitor. Since he had taken command of GIG two years ago, the atmosphere at the agency had become cold and suspicious, like the man himself. He seemed carved from six and a half feet of granite, blocky and scowling.

“It has disappeared.” Fletcher knew this statement would draw Atrocitor’s ire and disdain, but what was the use of denying the obvious?

“Fool! Can you do nothing right?” Atrocitor turned to the GIG agents waiting at a wary distance. “Search the neighborhood. Someone must have seen something or is hiding them.”

While Atrocitor berated Fletcher, other GIG agents spread throughout the neighborhood, offending pretty much everyone by demanding they stay in their houses while their property was overrun and searched.

After two hours of fruitless searching, Commander Atrocitor called a halt. “If you want to save your career and this town, you will bring me these aliens within twenty-four hours.”

As Fletcher watched the caravan of GIG vehicles disappear down the road out of Watermark, he felt like a six-year-old kid again. Bullied and humiliated for his belief that beings from distant galaxies simply wanted to explore and build alliances. They weren’t like aliens in movies who wanted to destroy humanity.

That’s why Fletcher started working at Geeks in Green. He thought he found other humans like himself who believed alliances with aliens could benefit everyone. Now he was starting to believe the rumors about Commander Atrocitor being heartless and determined to eliminate aliens were true. How could he know for sure?

His thoughts were interrupted when Agnes staggered out the back door toward the barn. “Who’s disturbing my goats?”

With her hair disheveled and her clothes askew, she did indeed look as if she had spent a raucous night of partying—the after-effects of being zapped by a ray gun.

Laycee and Fletcher followed Agnes into the barn, where the spacecraft was once again visible. Now the hatch was open, with guards standing on either side pointing ray guns at Agnes, Laycee and Fletcher.
“Holy extraterrestrial!”

With a sizzle of purple, one of the alien guards fired his gun and Fletcher crumpled to the ground.
“Why did you do that?” Ryan hustled out of the spacecraft.

“He is of GIG,” one of the guards stated. “He is a danger to our Queen.”

“Is he dead?” Ryan knelt over Fletcher’s inert body.

“Simply stunned. We will revive him when the danger to our Queen is gone.” The two guards loaded Fletcher onto a transport board, which levitated and moved inside the spacecraft.

“Your mouth isn’t moving but I can hear your words.” Laycee’s shocked whisper matched the stunned expression in her eyes.

“Our Canine Queen is birthing and is not to be disturbed.” This time the alien’s mouth moved as he spoke, and he looked like any other human except for a twinkle of star light in his eyes. “Weren’t you getting milk for the royal puppies?”

“Yes.” Ryan refocused his attention on this task, determined to ignore Laycee’s presence. What was she doing here anyway? “Agnes, do you have milk from your goats?”

“My goats don’t much like to be milked.”

“Surely it can’t be that difficult,” Ryan said.

Agnes lifted an eyebrow. “You’re welcome to try. I’ll get a clean bucket.”

Determined to get milk for the Queen’s puppies, Ryan began stalking one of the goats.

“I think it should be a female,” Laycee said.

Ryan felt like a first grader again. “I knew that.”

Laycee coughed behind her hand to cover her laughter. “There’s a girl goat on top of the space ship.”

Ryan looked up the curved, smooth surface. “Maybe there’s another girl somewhere easier to reach.”

He stepped around the space ship and over the boards broken when the craft crashed through the roof. “There’s a girl! Help me get her into a stall.”


While Ryan circled around the nanny goat one way, Laycee closed in on her from the other side. The little goat narrowed her eyes at the humans and, when they were within a couple feet of her, she let out a bleat and ran between Ryan’s legs. Startled, he stumbled and dropped to one knee.

“Watch out!” Laycee’s shout made Ryan turn in time to see an irritated male goat charging toward him.


Christie L. Kraemer Bio
A traveler for most of her life, C. L. Kraemer has settled in the Northwest with her husband and two cats. When not creating a new world or entity, she likes riding next to her husband on their Harleys.

Genie Gabriel Bio
Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life. So began my journey of being more in tune with animals than with people.

I went through the expected motions of marriage, kids, divorce, and career, but usually out of step with most of the human population. This proved to be an advantage in developing an independence and a curiosity about things most people don’t even consider.

A minor health issue led to energy healing and becoming a master level Reiki practitioner. Working at the local animal shelter flipped on the switch to communicating with animals. Each dog I adopted showed miraculous changes most people couldn’t believe.

As a writer, I explored the mysteries of why people behave as they do, and also became fascinated by science, especially quantum physics. But perhaps my favorite way of writing stories is to ask the question, “What if?” and dive into those imagined worlds—surrounded by my beloved furbabies, of course!

Christine Young Bio
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children.  Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

Christmas, anthology, romance, fantasy, adventure, mystery

Rogue’s Angels

Christine Young
            Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/achristay/
            Google +: https://plus.google.com

C. L. Kraemer

Genie Gabriel
Website URL: www.GenieGabriel.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Love Sick Love, by D. A. Cairns - Blog Tour Stop

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  The holiday season is official upon us.  I intend to eat until my pants are uncomfortably tight and then sleep the afternoon away.  I love this season of food.  I don't care all that much about the presents, but the food?  Bring it on!  

So with the season of giving (and food) in mind, this week I'd like to welcome D. A. Cairns to my blog with his new release, Love Sick, Love.  He will be GIVING AWAY: one digital copy of this new book to one lucky commentor, so be sure to say hello and welcome David to my blog.  

Title: Love Sick Love
Author: D. A. Cairns
ISBN: 978-1-62420-340-4
Genre: Family Life / Marriage & Divorce
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4 (contains a scene of rape)
Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Lovesick is a brutally honest and confronting story of love, sexual obsession and hope.

Angus has battled an obsession with sex throughout his adult life. Although outwardly a model husband and father with a respectable life and a well-paying job, he has a shameful secret life which he has become highly skilled at hiding.

Cassy is married to Angus and has no idea about his secret life. In fact, with her own worries she has been pulling away from him, emotionally and physically which is making his behaviour worse. Although she does not know it, Cassy is fanning the flames of an inferno which threatens to destroy their marriage.

Lovesickness: the eternal bane of humanity, the inescapable affliction which we simultaneously crave and fear. For Angus and Cassy, already in the thirteenth year of their marriage, the painful journey to true happiness has only just began.
Lovesick is a brutally honest and confronting story of love, sexual obsession and hope.

She seems agitated, and although I know she is a nervy, jittery type of character, I sense heightened tension on this occasion and naturally so. I feel it too. She’s watching me furtively as I return to her with a schooner of beer in my hand. I offer it to her, and she smiles. Her actions are quick but indecisive. As I settle, I detect reticence.

“Is everything okay?” I ask. “Is this spot all right?”

Her nodding head juxtaposes her words. “Maybe over there is better.”

As she scurries to the other side of the room, I follow, exploding with anticipation. She sits in one chair, then moves before I can join her, and I’m just about to sit down when she moves again.

“Are we playing musical chairs?”

The meaning of the question, and its allusion to childhood games eludes her, and by the time I have settled she’s moved again and is now sitting on a stool directly in front of me. Our knees almost touch, and she leans forward, wide eyed as though she has something exciting to say. I wait, but she retracts, averts her eyes, then quickly glances back to me.

“Talk to me,” I say. “What’s on your mind?”

I study her face and note her blemishes and the lines which quietly assert her maturity. She’s in her late thirties, thirty-eight maybe, but she looks younger. Her expression changes rapidly through numerous emotional displays, but I can’t read anything except uncertainty. She wants to speak, but either won’t or can’t.

“I want to be with you. You like me too, so there is nothing to stop us,” I say.

“Except you are married.”

There is no conviction in her tone. No reproach. It is a statement of fact, which is perhaps not as meaningless to her as it is to me.

“Okay,” I say, cautiously. I’m convinced if I play this right, I can seduce her and make her my secret lover. There is an element of moral ambivalence. “Let me explain why I am chasing you when I’m married.”

She looks away, and sips her beer. I have nearly finished, while her glass is nearly full. My head and heart are also beyond capacity, verging on chaotic inundation. I’m going to justify my adulterous intentions, or at least attempt to.

“My wife and I have been married for twenty years, and we’re friends. We get on well most of the time, but our marriage is really more like a business arrangement. We both work and have little time together. Time we do have is taken up with shopping, and cleaning and visiting, or arguing about money or our children. She’s unwell. Mentally. She’s been diagnosed with depression, but I think she’s bi polar as well. We’re often at odds over little things. She tends to be very negative and critical. She’s miserable actually, and at lot of the time she makes me miserable.”

With the painful realization I’m slandering the woman I love—or perhaps once loved— and have committed to spending the rest of my life with, I pause and take a mouthful of beer. Lying too, with frightening ease. Cassy isn’t sick and we haven’t been married for twenty years; not even close. Chao-xing’s watching me intently, fascinated I suspect. I don’t want to speak ill of my wife. Actually, I don’t want to talk about her at all, but some of this is necessary so Chao-xing will understand where I’m coming from, and not think badly of me. Adultery is a bad thing to do, but I’m not a bad person. I blame circumstances. Years of neglect and sexual frustration. I blame my wife though I would never say that out loud. I don’t want to blame her but am less inclined to blame myself. The uncomfortable truth is I can’t help myself. I’m out of control, but rationalization is a better option than accepting the facts.

“I need some fun and excitement and I need sex.”
Chao-xing is typically unruffled by my directness, but she moves seats again, shifting to my right where she reclines as though tired. She’s staring at me, examining me, interrogating me with her eyes.

Heavy metal lover and cricket tragic, D.A. Cairns lives in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, where he works as an English language teacher and writes stories in his very limited spare time. He has had over fifty short stories published (but who’s counting, right?) He blogs at Square Pegs http://dacairns.blogspot.com.au and has authored four novels, Devolution, Loathe Your Neighbor, Ashmore Grief, and A Muddy Red River which is also available from Rogue Phoenix Press.

love sick love, lovesickness, sexual addiction, obsession, divorce

Website URL:           http://dacairns.weebly.com
Twitter handle: @da_cairns

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blog Tour - North of the Azores by Ruth Danes

Morning readers and friends of the page.  Welcome to a new post and blog tour stop for the book, North of the Azores, a new release by author, Ruth Danes.  As per-usual, with all the stops that I host for books, Ruth will give a digital copy of North of the Azores to one randomly drawn commenter.

Title: North of the Azores
Author: Ruth Danes
ISBN: 978-1-62420-336-7
Genre: Historical Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

A young princess is forced to choose a new life in an unfamiliar world where she finds adventure, friendship and love.

The year is 1780 and the Devil’s Isles, a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, have recently been conquered by Britain after a brief war. The inhabitants of the Devil’s Isles practice magic and both human and animal sacrifice. Nebula, a young princess from the islands, struggles with this and is beginning to question what she has been taught.

Aware of a plot to kill everyone on the islands, Nebula defects to the British side where she takes on a new identity and a new life. Under the name Adeliza, she works in England as a maid for a Dr Moon. Only two men know her real identity; the kind-hearted doctor and the seemingly terrifying Mr Lastman.

I slept well and when I awoke I felt very weak but no longer ill. The doctor was present when I opened my eyes. He examined me, asked me some questions and gave me something to drink. Mr Lastman knocked and entered the room. Both men sat in front of me.

“Well, young lady, you are one of the lucky few who will be able to say you wore red lace and rubies and survived but we will have the truth now, if you please. Who are you?”

I looked at their solemn faces. There was no way I could lie anymore. I ran my tongue over my teeth to moisten my terror-dried mouth.

“My name is Nebula, I am a low princess from the Devil’s Isles and I am the last of the House of Beaumarch. I was given that name when the High Queen called me to her court when I was seven years old. I was born Adeliza and I turned thirteen in May.

“Every Islander knew about the plot to blow everything up on the night before the treaty was signed. I didn’t want to take part so I swam to the Mermaid and told all. I dressed as a boy, a boy from the streets of Arx, because I heard women are not well treated on ships and I needed to be disguised before I left land. I also recognised some of the men and knew they might have recognised me if I was dressed as a low princess.”
There was silence. I hung my head, my stomach churning and my palms sweating.

At last the doctor spoke. His voice was like granite.

“When you inhabited the Devil’s Isles, you and your ilk were responsible for the death and torture of many good, honest men and indeed, many good, honest women too. We all know the female royalty of that accursed race openly controlled everything that took place in that godforsaken land.

“As Gowther, you did indeed save many lives but your real motive was to save yourself, was it not? You could kill but you never had the courage to endure what you have inflicted on others. You also made an attempt to seriously injure Mr Lastman, and no, I do not want to hear it. You have repeated yourself many times stating you only wanted to escape and never meant to do any harm but you cannot be so stupid as to realize a face full of boiling soup is excruciatingly painful at best and deadly at worst. Besides, you should never have tried to escape in the first place. We all trusted you not to and you broke our trust.

“Finally, you wandered about the Mermaid when you knew you were ill, aye, maybe you did not know quite what ailed you, but you must have felt very ill for a good few hours before we saw your rash. The rash is never the first symptom of red lace and rubies. You knowingly spread that sickness and in doing so, you defied your captain, whose word is law on this ship, for a second time. It is impossible to know for sure but you can never clearly square the question with your conscience of would more men have been spared if you had obeyed your captain and reported your sickness immediately. Or was that part of your plan? A last attempt at causing mayhem and taking a few souls before being dispatched to Bristol and then to hell?”

Here he paused. I did not dare speak, I could only shake my head, trying desperately not to give way to the tears and the hysteria which were rising inside me.

The doctor resumed speaking in the same cold, hard voice.

“The orders that we received at Westmarnoch are clear. As soon as we dock at Bristol, you are to be handed over to the commissioners there, after which you are to be kept safe until you are hanged with as much pomp as possible in the heart of the city. We have docked at Bristol, with just over half of the men that set sail from here two years ago, and we will be released from quarantine tomorrow.

“Look at me, Adeliza.”

I forced myself to meet his gaze. His eyes were unforgiving but his voice had softened somewhat.
“That will not be your fate if you obey Mr Lastman and me.”

My heart seemed to stop and my face expressed the astonishment that my tongue could not. I scarcely dared believe my ears.

“Neither of us agree that anyone should be executed for who they are as opposed to what they have done. You have indeed committed many crimes but none that should be punished by death.

“Neither of us trust you, nor do we like you, but we are willing to save you.

“As you already know I am a doctor and a magistrate in a large village, a few days ride from Bristol, called Swanford. I am a bachelor but also a very busy man. On my return, I will take on two apprentice physicians and I will need a maid to help the man and woman who have been my servants for more than twenty years.
“If you swear to obey both Mr Lastman and me on anything and everything, I will take you back to Swanford with me to join my household as that maid. I will treat you as I have always treated my servants, with kindness but also with firmness. You will receive board and lodging along with anything else absolutely necessary until you are at least seventeen, at which point I may consider paying you wages. My word will be law and you will obey the upper servants, Mr and Mrs Dottey, as you will obey me. You will treat the apprentices with every respect and courtesy, as indeed you will treat everyone else with whom you come into contact.

“You will only ever speak, read and write English. You will make no attempt to escape your new life nor will you ever speak of your past life. We will think of some story and stick with it.

“You will stay within my household until you turn one-and-twenty. After this point you are free to leave my service if I believe you to be harmless. If you give any reason to cause either of us any worry, you will regret it. Neither of us are disposed to be merciful twice and you might remember the order for your execution stands until you die.”

I fell to my knees in gratitude and disbelief.

“Sir, I don’t know what to say… Thank you, thank you very, very much. I will be your maid and I will do whatever you say.”

The doctor nodded, satisfied but not softened. Mr Lastman snorted.

“I’ll believe you if you keep your word for the next eight years. Here.” He handed me a comb. “You might as well tackle the knots in your hair before you start your new life.”

I thanked him inarticulately but from the depths of my heart for his kindness as I took the comb but his coldness soon stopped my tongue. With a heavy heart, I realized nothing I could then say or do would change either man’s opinion of me and it was on their opinion of me and my behavior my life rested.

Author Bio
Ruth Danes has enjoyed history and fiction since childhood and has travelled widely within three continents. These interests and experiences were the inspiration for the Life on Another Island series which is set in a world where many characters unexpectedly start new lives in foreign, sometimes seemingly hostile, lands.
Ruth currently lives in the heart of England and works in administration. Writing novels forms her secret life.

Alternative history; historical thrillers; 18th century historical fiction; historical romances