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Spring is in the air

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You know spring is in the air when I can't help but take out the chariot and take the mile and a bit walk to the mailbox with the entire crew... minus the horses (wouldn't that be a sight!).

Of course, the walk wouldn't be complete without children bickering and fighting in the stroller, asking if we're done yet, or stealing each other's hat or blanket.

But it's spring, and nothing can get me down today. The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and I'm one happy girl :)

Follow Christine’s adventure by subscribing to her mailing list: http://eepurl.com/UKdW9

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Here there be Pirates! Giveaway!

HereThereBePirates-GiveAway-Large I know I said I wasn't really blogging... but every once in awhile I have to make an exception. Like in the case of this awesome blog hop and giveaway full of pirates, pirate books, and pirate authors.

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Dan Eldredge today. Check out the interview below :)

Enter the Giveaway HERE

What made you want to write about pirates in the first place? What is it about them that intrigued you as a writer?

In the Golden Age of Piracy, men became pirates for any number of reasons, from avoiding the law to a desire to get rich to being a captured seaman who joins the pirates for lack of anywhere else to go.  Yet once they embarked on a life of piracy, there was no going home again.  From that point on, it was piracy to the end.  Pirates could be in many cases hardened criminals, but they were also real people trying to make the best of their situation.  Some did this more respectably than others.

The pirates in my novels contain shades of all of these motivations, but some of the pirate leaders are motivated by something more noble--the desire to escape tyranny and found nations of their own.  In practice their methods are far less than noble, but the refusal of many countries to deal with them as legitimate leaves them few other options.

PoA_new_cover_croppedTell us a little about your book, The Pirates of Alnari,  that you’re giving away for this event.

Martyn and Arycke are two young nobles forced into hiding after experiencing an act of unspeakable violence. They buy passage on the Isalian frigate Selene, but after a bloody battle against two pirate vessels, Martyn and Arycke find themselves shipwrecked castaways along with the beautiful young woman Starissa, her ever-watchful grandfather, and the rest of the Selene's crew.

Unfortunately for the survivors, they now find themselves stranded within reach of the pirate city of Alnari. In short order, Martyn and Arycke find themselves fighting for their lives, not only against marauding bands of savage pirates, but mutinous elements within the Selene's own crew.

The shipwrecked survivors are dragged into a maelstrom of vengeance and intrigue, as rival pirate lords maneuver against each other for dominance over Alnari. Martyn, Arycke, and the rest of the Selene's crew will need every ounce of courage, cunning, and strength they possess if they hope to escape alive...

In reality, pirates were awful people that most of us wouldn’t want to run across if we were sailing a ship, but in our culture they’ve been romanticized so often that it’s almost expected by some folk. Do you have trouble balancing reality with the romanticized aura of the pirate, or do you not worry too much about that when crafting your tales?

Sure, pirates frequently tortured prisoners and did other horrible things, but so did practically everyone else during that era.  The pirates in my novels have their goals--nefarious goals in many cases--and they do whatever is necessary to achieve them.  That said, many of my non-pirate characters can be similarly despicable, and characters on both sides of the law can be heroes as well.

How often do you turn to real-life pirates for inspiration in creating your characters or plot?

I don’t have any pirates specifically modeled after historical figures, but I do have a character who has some shades of Blackbeard in him.  The self-styled Lord Baron Thurenne is a huge beast of a man who wears a tiger pelt as a cape, earning him the appellation “The Tiger of Alnari.”  He has built for himself a reputation of ferocity and bloodthirstiness in battle, and is more feared for his brutality than his seamanship, so if you see his ship on the horizon, you’d better not let him catch you...

What makes your series (or book) different from other piratical adventures out there? What’s your main goal with your pirate stories?

The Pirates of Alnari is not historical fiction in the sense that it does not take place on Earth, but it’s also not fantasy like Pirates of the Caribbean in that there are no magical or supernatural elements.  My villains don’t have towering magic powers to unleash against the world, but then my heroes can’t fall back on magic to save themselves either.  I wanted my explore the struggles of my characters as they navigate a dangerous world, some as they merely try to survive, while others wish to excel.  Everyone is only human, with all the ingenuity and frailty that implies.  My characters start out as small fry, ground under by the implacable wheels of history, but as they grow in stature they will begin to influence events on a grander scale--should they be lucky enough to survive.

Bonus Question: If you had to design a pirate flag for yourself, what would it look like?

Solid black with no device.  For my enemies, there is no hope in the abyss of death. :)

 

 

Dan Eldredge -Flag

About Dan Eldredge:

Dan EldredgeAfter earning degrees in Astronomy and Physics, Dan Eldredge has worked in the defense industry for more than a decade. He has been writing fantasy stories since the 1980s and fills his free time with various forms of roleplaying, wargaming, miniature painting, paintball, and studying military history. He lives in New England.

Contact:

Website Twitter Facebook

 

Cover Reveal: Crisis of Serenity by Denise Moncrief

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: July 17, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-047-3   ISBN
10: 1-631120-47-6
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-048-0      ISBN 10: 1-631120-48-4
Crisis of Serenity
Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom
of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her.
Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more
than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.
Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the
men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who
extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen
for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake,
and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The
longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so
much.
When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of
Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis
might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge.
When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all
their wits to survive.

New Release and #Review: The Letter Drawer by Sarah Galloway

Brand new release from a brand new author! I got excited about this book early on because the editor is a good friend of mine so when a call for beta readers went out I jumped at the chance. Meaning I read this book a couple weeks ago and I can tell you it's an awesome read.

The story is touching and heartwarming. It kept me engrossed from the beginning and had me rooting for a happily-ever-after.

I really loved how this story wasn't "perfect". Characters made mistakes and had real struggles. When Evan struggles with his faith I could really relate to him and I felt his pain.

The themes of christianity are very strong in this book so if that is something that bothers you this isn't the book for you. Just a heads up ;)

I'm giving The Letter Drawer 4 out of 5 stars. I think it's a great story that will draw a lot of readers in and create true fans of Sarah Galloway's work.

Purchase from Amazon HERE

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre:  Fiction, Christian, Romance
Release Date: June 12, 2014
Digital ISBN ISBN-10: 1631120506 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-050-3
Print ISBN-10: 1631120514 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-051-0

Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html

The Letter Drawer
True love never dies, but is it enough to heal a broken faith?
Claire and Evan met when they were children. They grew up together and fell in love. When Evan became a soldier, he and Claire held onto their love, remaining faithful to one another through every deployment. As the years passed, it seemed that life had given them everything they ever wanted … until tragedy struck.
Evan, left in the wake of tragedies, is now forced to decide what is most precious to him. Will love heal him or will devastation destroy his faith? Can Evan’s family show him the way? Can love truly set him free?
About Sarah Galloway
Sarah Galloway is an Army wife and a mother to four wonderful children. She began writing as a child and continued her love of writing throughout her life. Sarah wrote The Letter Drawer while her husband was deployed in Afghanistan in 2012. She and her husband are residents of Colorado Springs, CO, but are currentlystationed in beautiful Monterey, CA.
Sarah and her husband are both avid readers and enjoy a library of books that they keep along the length of their wall in their home office. One of her favorite past times is curling up with a good book while her Great Dane snores at her feet.
Sarah is also a Registered Nurse and spent many sleepless nights working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Colorado Springs. She is very humbled by the tiny miracles that she saw during her years there and she loves all of the babies and families that she had the opportunity to care for. Sarah is continuing her education to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and plans to graduate at the end of 2014. Sarah’s passions include writing, healing people, and providing comfort to those who need it most.
How to reach Sarah Galloway

Facebook www.facebook.com/nurse.izzy

Twitter @sddlnscp
Excerpt of The Letter Drawer
They had been so young, so very young. She remembered walking to the school bus, alone and scared. Her first day of first grade and then there he was, a young boy in a dress shirt and slacks, a lunch box in his hand and a blue and red backpack on his back. Tall and quiet, the boy’s eyes did not meet hers. His dark brown hair was well cropped above his big brown eyes. She saw him and lost some of her fear. Walking up next to him, she stood silently as they waited for the bus.
That was the beginning of it. From that moment on, they were never far from one another. She chose a seat next to him in class and she always picked the seat next to him on the bus ride home. They sat in silence at first, both looking straight ahead with their hands folded neatly in their lap.
Later, when she could finally stand the silence no more, she glanced over at him. “My name is Claire, what’s yours?”
The boy’s voice was quiet. “Evan.”
“Evan,” she repeated softly. “Okay.”
He gave her a puzzled look. “Okay what?”
“Okay, I like your name Evan. You can be my friend.”
Evan looked at her, a small, confused smile playing at the corner of his lips.
Time went on. They played, built forts, explored the forest behind their neighborhood, and laughed. They grew up together. They became best friends, and that did not change.
Middle school approached and Evan became an awkward, lanky boy while Claire was a dark-haired, green-eyed beauty. She didn’t seem to care. All of the sudden, the boys noticed Claire, but still, she stayed by Evan.
“Hey Claire,” they would say. “Want to come hang out with us after school?”
“No thanks,” replied Claire.
“Why not?”
“I’m studying with Evan.”
Despite the whispering, whining, and complaining that came from the other boys, Claire never wavered. When she left school, she always walked to the bus with Evan. She rode with him, laughed, and told jokes with him, even when the others snickered or sneered.
One day, as they rode next to each other, Claire realized that what she felt for Evan was more than just friendship. She reached over and took his strong, masculine hand, clasping it in her own much smaller one. He looked up at her, waiting for something.
Wondering what was on her mind, he interrupted the silence. “Claire?”
“Yes, Evan?”
Brown eyes sparkled back at her. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, Evan.”
The gaze lasted a moment longer. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Evan.”
He left his hand sandwiched between hers. “Alright then.”
When the bus came to a stop, Claire stood and waited for Evan to stand beside her and they walked off together, as they always did.
Standing there on the sidewalk, Claire silently stared at Evan, not moving.
Evan was clearly confused. “Ummm, did you want to come over and study?”
“Not really.”
Absently, he scratched the top of his head. “Alright then. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“No.” She halted him with her hand on his shoulder. “Come with me.”
Pausing for a moment, he gave her an inquiring look. “Where are we going?”
She clasped his hand in hers. “Just come.”
They were seventeen and when she took his hand this time, it was because she loved him. She led him into the forest and back through trees they hadn’t been under in years. They walked through the thick underbrush and finally came to a clearing. He looked at it and smiled. A couple of old, beat-up pieces of plywood leaned together were held there by nails creating a sanctuary fashioned by children. Various odd blankets and pieces of bark and wood that were tattered and faded and barely recognizable lay underneath them.
Confused, he glanced from her to their favorite childhood place. “Claire, this is our old fort.”
She pulled him toward it. “Yes.”
“I had forgotten about this place.”
The light breeze rushed through her hair. “Do you remember when we built it?”
Nostalgia was obvious on his features. “Of course I do! Oh gosh, how old were we, nine, ten maybe?”
“We were in third grade. It was fun. Come and sit with me under it now, will you?”
As she pulled him forward, he laughed. “Okay Claire.”
On their hands and knees, the dusty ground was cool and soft as they crawled into the tattered old fort. When they were sitting under it, there was barely enough room for both of them and Evan’s body was cramped against Claire’s so that they would fit.
Claire smiled at Evan and touched his forehead, brushing a lock of fallen hair away from his eyes.
A serious expression fell across his face. “Claire, can I ask you something?”          
“Of course.”
Evan’s eyes trailed off to the horizon. “Why do you still stay with me?”
“What do you mean?”
He shifted his gaze back to her. “I mean, you’re … well, you’re beautiful Claire. All those guys want to be with you, the good looking ones, the ones all the girls want to be with, and you still always hang out with me.”
“Well,” said Claire blushing. “That’s part of what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“What is?”
Unblinking eyes stared back at her as she spoke. “Evan, I think I’m in love with you.”
A friendly bear hug enveloped her. “I love you too, Claire.”
“No, you don’t understand. Not like a friend, not like we are best friends. I think I have fallen in love with you.”
He looked at her, as though he was barely registering what she was saying. She looked back into his dark brown eyes. Still, he said nothing. Finally, she leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. It was a soft and tender kiss, yet it was warm and inviting, too. And it was perfect, like they had done it all of their lives.
The words fell out of her mouth in a whisper. “Evan, I mean it. I love you.”
His voice was soft and tender. “Oh Claire, I love you too.”
Now he put his arms around her and she rested her head on his shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body. They stayed that way, he held her and she curled up within his arms, finally able to relax now that she knew that he loved her too.
That had been twenty years ago.
Claire thought back on the memory and smiled. Twenty years. Has it really been that long? Twenty years since she realized that she truly did love Evan. It seems like only yesterday.
She closed her eyes and pictured him as he looked now. Sharp jaw, strong features, tall and lean and handsome. Evan was the kind of guy that women looked at twice when he walked by, although he didn’t realize it. Those soft, gentle brown eyes that she loved and adored still made her feel weak and he still had the shock of deep brown hair that he had to trim constantly because it grew so quickly.
He had been such a scrawny kid that nobody understood why she went for him when she could have any boy in the school, had she wanted them. They simply didn’t understand love. She had belonged to Evan from the first time she saw him. She had always been his.
Evan had taken more convincing. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Claire, because he did. It was more that he was terrified of her. He was scared to death that she would realize how amazing she was and that she would go fleeting off into the arms of one of the rough looking muscled guys that were always hitting on her. Eventually though, he realized that she only saw him and he began to feel safe with her. In time he learned that they truly did belong together and that she would never leave him. He didn’t quite understand why, but he knew it to be true all the same.
Claire closed her eyes and pictured Evan next to her. She could almost feel his breath on her skin. But it was too soon, he wouldn’t be home for another five months. Sighing, sheforced herself up to make breakfast.
Claire pulled the contents from her cupboard to make pancakes and began mixing the batter. As she was holding the bowl under one arm and whisking with the other, she heard Eve’s soft footsteps on the linoleum. The quiet, dainty sound of Eve’s feet were soon overshadowed by Connor’s much louder thuds.
Her two children came into the kitchen, both still half-asleep. Seventeen-year-old Connor was in sweatpants and a t-shirt, while thirteen-year-old Eve stood in a long night shirt and knit sleep pants.
Claire greeted them warmly. “Good morning kids.”
“Mmmph,” groaned Connor.
Eve yawned. “Morning.”
“Oh come on now you two, it’s a beautiful day, just look outside.”
They both looked out the window, indifference on their faces.
Jackson, the family pet, came meandering into the kitchen when he heard the kids. The huge, black Great Dane pressed himself against Connor.
“Oooph.” The air rushed out of Connor. “Jackson, it’s too early.”
The dog quite happily moseyed away to Eve who patted him lightly on the head. Then he walked to Claire and sat down next to her. She leaned playfully on him while she waited for the pancake in the skillet to be ready to flip, he didn’t budge.
Connor got out the milk and poured himself a glass. “Do you want some Eve? Mom?”
“Yeah,” yawned Eve as she took her place at the table, wiping sleep from her eyes.
Claire flipped a pancake in the skillet. “No thank you honey.”
Connor poured a second glass and walked it to Eve who took it, thanked him and sipped at it as she tried to will herself awake. Claire finished cooking breakfast and put some on the plates, handing them to the kids. She watched as Connor carefully poured syrup onto each pancake and then handed the bottle to his sister. Eve cut up her pancakes with a fork first, and then lathered syrup all over the small fragments.
Eve handed the bottle to her Mom. Claire put a tiny dollop of syrup on her single pancake and then spread it across in a thin, even layer. She smiled as she watched the kids eat. Slowly, they began to wake up.
Connor finished first, his voice still hazy. “I’m gonna shower.”
“Okay,” said Claire.
Connor left and Eve sat at the table with her daughter.
There was silence before Eve finally spoke. “Mom?”
“Yeah?”
“I miss Dad.”
Claire sighed. “So do I. Five more months and he’ll be home.”
Eve’s face drooped. “It’s still so long.”
Claire’s heart ached as she looked across the table at her daughter. “I know honey. I miss him too. Soon, soon he will be home.”
Eve looked up at her mother with solemn eyes. “Can he stay this time?”
Patting her daughter’s hand, she spoke. “I hope so honey.”
“Me too.”
Eve’s young face flushed and Claire could tell she was holding back tears. Claire opened her arms and Eve walked to her mother and hugged her. Claire held her daughter and silently thanked God that, unlike most thirteen year olds, Eve still let her comfort her this way. She stroked Eve’s dark brown hair until she finally let go.
Her daughter’s eyes looked moist, but she no longer looked as though she would begin to cry. “Are you okay honey?”
“Yeah, it’s just one of those days I guess. I’m gonna get ready.”
She watched Eve disappear down the hallway to her room. Alone in the kitchen, Claire began picking up plates and putting them in the sink. She heard the shower stop and a few minutes later, Connor emerged looking much more like the bright, chipper boy that he was. He takes after his father so much. He was tall and lean, just like Evan, and he had those same deep brown eyes. Claire smiled at him and he returned the grin.
As she finished rinsing the dishes, she looked over at him. “Connor?”
He slung his backpack over his shoulder. “Yeah?”
“Would you mind dropping Eve off at school this morning? I am going to write your father a letter.”
His free arm wrapped around her shoulder and hugged her. “Sure Mom.”
“Thanks honey.”
“You’re welcome.”
He was such a good boy. They were both good kids. She was so thankful for them.           
“C’mon Eve,” Connor called from the kitchen. “Five minutes.”
Eve’s voice trailed in from her bedroom. “Okay, I’ll be there.”
Just in time, Eve appeared with her book bag slung over her shoulder and Connor walked with her to the door. Eve looked as though she were a little less sad and Claire felt relieved.
Claire lifted her hand to wave goodbye to her children. “Have a good day guys.”
“We will Mom,” replied Eve. “Love you.”
“Love you,” chimed Connor.
Her heart swelled with joy. “I love you both, too.” Her children were so good to her. She watched out the window as they climbed into Connor’s old but reliable car, laughing about something. Then she returned to the nook.
As they pulled away, Claire sat in the warm light that shone through the window onto the breakfast table. The glossy surface was cool against her wrists, but the sun was warm on her back. She brushed her hair back with her hands, feeling the soft curls run through her fingers. Retrieving a piece of paper from the little drawer hidden under the surface of the table, Claire began to write.
My Dearest Evan...
Claire wrote the letter, telling him everything that was in her heart. She read it over. When she was satisfied that she had said everything that she needed to say, she signed it:
Your wife,
Claire
She placed a red lipstick kiss at the corner of it by her name. She slipped the letter into an envelope and addressed it to the APO address where the Army would receive the mail before dispensing it to the soldiers.
She closed her eyes for a moment, holding the letter in her hand and feeling the sun on her back. In that moment, she felt at peace. Her white, gauzy nightgown flowed softly in the ruffle of the breeze coming in through the window. It brushed against her thigh and then floated away as quickly as a whisper. Her hair fluttered against her face and she closed her eyes, embracing the wind. As she opened her eyes and rose, she felt the sun’s rays leave her back. Placing the letter on the edge of the kitchen counter, she walked to the bedroom. As she slipped into a pair of jeans, she retrieved a lemon yellow blouse that was well fitted to her figure. She could almost hear Evan telling her how beautiful she was and how he could get lost in her eyes forever. Moving back to the kitchen, she paused to pick up her car keys. She glanced at the letter before deciding she would place it in the outgoing mail in the afternoon. When she climbed into her car, a soft smile rested gently on her lips.
That was the last time Claire’s family ever saw her alive.

Cover Reveal: The Porcelain Child by Jessica Dall

Genre: Fiction, Alternative History, Romance, Historical, Family Saga
Release Date: July 3, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-058-9   ISBN 10: 1631120581
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-059-6      ISBN 10: 163112059X
The Porcelain Child
With less than a decade of stable rule behind them, Lord Protector Richard Seymour has passed away leaving the country once again in turmoil. With her connection to the old regimes, seemingly on all sides thanks to her mother, Adela, Mary might find herself pulled into the heat of battle whether she wants it or not.
Book 2 of The Broken Line Series, The Porcelain Child picks up with the next generation thrown into the mix.