The lovely Alice Renaud is visiting today to tell us about her latest release, an anthology jam-packed with love and magic and mysticism and all the things. I can't wait to curl up with this entire collection!
Take it away, Alice...
When I say “a special time of year”, what do you think? A lot of folks will answer, “Christmas”, but maybe a different season, a different date, comes to your mind? I love Christmas, in the UK, we start celebrating it in early November – if you’ve seen our winters, you’ll understand why! But other dates have a special place in my heart.
I love the times when one season changes into another. Those turning points of the year were major feasts in the old, pagan, Celtic calendar. They had evocative names: Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasa, Samhain. At those times the barrier between this world and the Otherworld became thin and transparent… so much so that the gods and monsters of the Otherworld could cross into our universe and walk among humans.
Imbolc, the spring festival on 1 February, and Lughnasa, on 1 August, are all but forgotten. A trace of them remains in the old church calendar. In my church (Anglican/Episcopalian), 1 February is marked as Candlemas, the day when candles used to be blessed – a remnant of the old festival of light and new birth. 1 August is Lammas Day – the first day of the harvest.
The summer and winter feasts have fared better. Samhain was adopted by the Catholic Church, and became a festival to commemorate the dead: the feast of All Hallows (All Souls), on 1 November. The day before was All Hallows’ Eve… Halloween. The monsters are still here, though these days they’re mostly kids in masks, going door to door to ask for candy. Trick’ o treating is actually an old Irish and British tradition, which Irish immigrants brought to the New World.
I do love Halloween… but I also have a special affection for the summer feast of Beltaine, Walpurgis in Germany, on 1 May. May Day in England used to be a day of merry-making. Folks would cut branches of flowering trees, especially the May thorn (or hawthorn) and decorate their houses with them. Sweethearts would take advantage of the warmer weather to kiss and cuddle outdoors, away from their families’ prying eyes. There was dancing, music, eating and drinking.
When I arrived in England twenty-odd years ago, I was delighted to discover that the old traditions still endured, or had been revived. Every May Day there is a fair in the park close to my house, with traditional folk dancing and other entertainment. Ice cream and cakes have replaced the hog roasts… but the beer still flows and the hawthorn still flowers.
In my story The Sweetest Magic of All, the apprentice witch Sapphire and the warlock Aaron meet at midsummer (another special time of year) and go back in time to the 17th century, to locate a magical amulet. They arrive on May Eve – Beltaine, Walpurgis night. A time of magic, when normal rules are suspended. The magic of that special time of year has a powerful effect on them, which they hadn’t anticipated!
Mystic Desire is a collection of brand new supernatural romance stories by award-winning BVS authors!
The Sweetest Magic of All by Alice Renaud: When a sexy apprentice witch and a hot warlock go back in time to locate a magical amulet, they find more than they bargained for. It's May Eve, the most magical night of the year, and normal rules don't apply...
An Awareness of Evil by Dee S. Knight: Only two things stand between evil and a small girl: the visions of Amanda McMasters and Detective Brendan Gilchrist. Neither can afford to be wrong.
Dream Catcher by Callie Carmen: Long ago a medicine man had made a matched set of dream catchers as a wedding gift to protect the Chief’s daughter and her warrior husband. He had called upon the benevolent spirits to keep the two soul mates safe and in a loving, healthy marriage. It was foretold that if the two dream catchers were ever divided the new owners would be drawn together as soul mates. Was that possible?
Love from the Mist by Patricia Elliott: When Jace Warden learns that his brother plans to announce his engagement at a family get together, he flees to the other side of the world to escape the joyous celebration. Or at least attempts to… His plane never makes it, and he winds up trapped on an island. Little does he realize, he’s not alone; there’s a mischievous little entity milling about, and she wants to play.
Love that Binds by Carol Schoenig: On the outskirts of a small town where nothing grows, a young girl, Ianthee, is being bullied and accused of being a witch. Young Caleb, inexplicably drawn to Ianthee, comes to her rescue. Before they can explore their feelings, Caleb and his family disappear. What happened to him, and what part does a long-ago legend play in their lives?
The Mortal Vampire by Suzanne Smith: Remy enjoys life as a vampire, never giving a thought to sucking every last drop of tasty blood out of his unfortunate victims and leaving them door nail dead. But his cold and carefree existence changes the day he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious mortal Angela.
Through the Veil by Jan Selbourne: A beautiful March day in 1875 ends in tragedy when the wagon carrying Helen and Marcus plunges down the mountainside. Generations pass before Rachel Finlay finds an old sepia photo of a man and woman. She knows them, but she’s never met them and now, for the peace of mind she desperately craves, she goes back to where it began. In time, through the veil, knowing she may never return.
Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and lovelorn witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” will be out later this year. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
You can get in touch with Alice here:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B
I'm delighted to welcome fellow author Peggy Jaeger to my blog-o-sphere to share with you her latest release. I think this gorgeous cover gives you a giant hint on what to expect when you read this book. What it doesn't convey is the humour you'll find between the covers - fun!
In case you can't quite make out the back cover, here's the blurb:
When I first saw Cynderella all covered in soot in that sexy maid uniform, I knew I wanted to be her Prince.
She’s a small and savvy businesswoman who’s built her cleaning company from the ground up. But now that Dirty Damsels is booming, I’ve been hired to arrange a hostile takeover.
But the temptation of having her was too much to ignore… We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night, skin-on-skin, with my beautiful Ella.
Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.
Ooh, doesn't that sound delicious?!?
And because the heroine is an expert at cleaning, here are a few tips to keep your house sparkling.
5 cleaning hacks for your home from Ella Jones, CEO of DIRTY DAMSELS
I don't know about you, but I need to try that dishwasher cleaning hack.
Check out this excerpt!
The bathroom door opened.
In his tailored suit he’d been impressive and striking. With a white bulky towel wrapped around his waist, and the humidity in the bathroom sluicing off his damp torso, he was downright magnificent. Those wide and solid shoulders tapered down into biceps I could tell regularly attended a gym with him, and then into forearms corded with strong sinew and veins.
“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I’m almost done. I’m sorry.” I blushed again and I cursed my fair skin. But really, how could I not blush and stutter when faced with this unbelievable specimen of hotness standing five feet away from me, all wet and hard muscled and gorgeous?
He moved like a panther across the rug, soundlessly stalking, as if playing with his prey, until he came to the opposite side of the bed.
He took one corner of the sheet in his hand and yanked it. “Do you have enough on your side?”
Speech was impossible because I knew I’d start blabbering again, so I nodded and tucked the sheet under the mattress.
“Hospital corners.” He nodded and then mimicked my motions. “I love a tight sheet.”
I couldn’t help but stare at the way his biceps swelled when he lifted the mattress as if it weighed nothing, and shot the sheet under it. Nor could I forgo glancing at the thick mat of black hair crisscrossing from one side of his pecs to the other and then down, disappearing below the towel. And I’d have to have been struck blind and stupid – which I’m neither – not to notice and admire the trim, tight waist and abdomen the towel was securely wrapped around.
At least I prayed it was securely wrapped.
I grabbed the comforter, shook it out and he helped me place it over the bed.
“Toss me one of those,” he commanded when I grabbed a pillow and began tugging the case on.
He caught both in midair.
The bed made, I turned to tell him about the platter of food, but stopped before the words could leave my throat. He’d moved without a sound again, coming to stand so close to me I could smell the citrus scent of the soap he’d used wafting off his body.
He placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. I swear my body temperature went up ten degrees. I figured by now I resembled one of those cartoons where the character’s head turns beet red and then explodes upward.
“Thanks, Cinderella.” A devilish grin tripped across his tired face. “But I need to crash now, so…”
I truly could have stood there for the rest of the afternoon basking in his hotness, but I got the hint.
I nodded and made one last visual sweep of the room.
“Do you want me to close the blinds?” I asked, turning back just in time to see him drop the towel and slide – gloriously naked – into the freshly made bed.
Holy Mother of God. The man had a butt made for grabbing. Two perfect, round, and tight cheeks dipped from that narrow waist, leading downward to two thick and powerful thighs. Since his back was to me he didn’t notice my jaw hanging open to my knees while he burrowed under the comforter.
“Mmm…sure. Thanks, Cinderella.”
Even half asleep his voice made my heart skip a few beats and my girlie parts go zing.
Eager to read more? Here are the handy buy links.
Amazon: Exclusive to KU readers for free.
Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TBBPHM8
Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1640348409
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
To learn more about Peggy, or to contact her, use one of these links. Or leave a message in the comment section below!
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
I'm pleased-as-punch to announce that my latest book, Love Proof, is now ready to purchase for your reading pleasure.
Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.
Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.
Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she's pretty sure she's falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm doing a giveaway!
In case you were wondering what an author does on the launch day of her book, here's a photo of me in my writing turret eating bonbons - ha! Mr. S and I are building our sundeck. I'll eat lots of bonbons once it's finished.
Enjoy your day!
Who doesn't love a hunky firefighter story? Snap up this book by my fellow Wild Rose Press author, Jana Richards.
Here's a peek inside:
Riley looked into her beautiful blue eyes and her smiling face and did the only thing he was capable of doing at the moment.
He kissed her.
Maybe later, he told himself, when sanity returned, he’d think of a hundred reasons why pulling Iris into his arms, holding her snug against his body, and plundering her soft, sweet mouth was not a good idea. But for now, right now, as she wound her arms around his neck and made tiny sounds of excitement deep in her throat, it felt exactly right.
Heaven. Having Iris in his corner made him believe everything was possible.
He stepped backward toward the stairs, pulling Iris with him, intent on taking her upstairs to his room. He suddenly tripped, nearly losing his balance. He glanced behind him and saw the object he’d stumbled over. A set of luggage sat next to the stairs, still bearing tags from the retailer.
“What the hell is this?”
Iris kissed his neck. “I’m sorry. I should have taken them up to my room.”
Iris had bought new luggage for her trip. Her plans hadn’t changed.
She’s leaving me.
The thought acted as effectively as a bucket of cold water tossed over his head. What was he doing? She was leaving in three weeks and didn’t plan to return. The calendar in the kitchen reminded him of that every day. Why start something that would only lead to heartache?
He’d already lost too many people in his life.
And Riley instinctively knew that if he let himself get close to Iris, let himself love her, a part of him would not survive when she left.
This sounds like the perfect beach read to me! Grab your copy for only 99¢!
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003552TVU
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B003552TVU
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jana_Richards_Burning_Love?id=wVTYBAAAQBAJ
Stay in touch with Jana here:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG
Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter