Sunday, April 27, 2014

SILVERHAWK a 2014 RONE Finalist!

I am So Thrilled!! I learned over the weekend that SILVERHAWK has been named a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, conducted by InD'tale Magazine. The winner will be announced in July at the Romance Novels Convention in Las Vegas.

Thanks to all of you who voted in the first round of fan voting!! Finalists will be submitted to a panel of judges for the final decision.

Only books that received a certain ranking by the magazine's reviewers were nominated for the award. SILVERHAWK was in the medieval category (of course :)
Again, thank you for voting!! To celebrate,  I'll be running several contests over the next few weeks. I'll announce the details very soon.

Until then, I'll just do my happy dance here in my corner. Or perhaps in the middle of the room.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Eggs in Medieval Times? by Barbara Bettis ...

I did the following blog for the Snarkology, Melissa Snark's blogsite. Because it's so topical, I'm reblogging it on my site.  Thanks, Melissa!!

Here it is, Easter, and you may have boiled and colored eggs with your children or grandchildren. If so, you’ll be joining in a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.


I was when I first learned about Easter eggs in medieval times. Never would it have occurred to me that more than a thousand years ago eggs were boiled, and even colored, to become a part of what was considered the most meaningful and solemn of Christian holidays.

In fact, eggs have been considered symbols of spring and of rebirth for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and the Romans may have used eggs as symbols of new life and fertility, it is believed.

Even the name “Easter” is thought to have come from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, according to 8th Century writer, the Venerable Bede. The month coinciding with our April was called “Eostremonat” or Eostre’s month. That name eventually could have been tied to the Christian holiday held in that month. Christian Easter then could have assimilated the earlier symbols.

Yet, how does an egg connect to the death and resurrection of Jesus? It is perceived as the tomb, from which Jesus arose—an empty shell, appearing dead, yet from which comes life. It is a symbol of new life, as mentioned earlier.

Those earliest Easter eggs were called Pace Eggs (or paschal eggs), because the Christian Easter period was first called Pasch, coming from the word Passover.

Lent, which includes forty days of fasting, prohibited consumption of meat and dairy products. Chickens didn’t stop laying during that period, so many eggs were boiled to preserve them. (In reality, I’m not sure how long those eggs lasted—have you ever kept a real hard-boiled egg for several days, especially unrefrigerated? They don’t smell too good. I can’t imagine what they were like after 40 days.)

Nevertheless once Easter arrived, depending upon the country, the eggs were given to guests and/or employed in a game in which the ends were tapped against others’ eggs to see which could last without breaking. In some parts of England, children rolled them down hills, seeing which eggs could reach the bottom with fewest cracks.

Some eggs were painted or dyed, red for the blood of Christ (in some countries); the colors of the local lord, complete with heraldic figures, in others. In some Eastern European countries, they were gilded gold and silver in elaborate patterns.

Less well-off folks could boil them in onion skins, often with string wrapped around to provide a design. Some people used beet juice to impart pink color or spinach water for green. Other means were employed for decorating, as well, such as using wax at succeeding stages of boiling in different colors to produce a multi-colored, marble-looking egg.

Today, eggs are such an ordinary food staple, we don’t consider them symbolic of anything. Yet to medieval folks, they represented new life—in the earth’s cycle of death and rebirth/renewal, in the new life represented by Christ’s death and resurrection. They were an essential part of the Easter celebration.

This year, when my grandchildren and I color eggs, I plan to share this story of the ancient Easter egg.

But I don’t think we’ll try the onion skin method of boiling.

If you’d like a recipe for the old-fashioned Pace Eggs, try this link:

Other sources include: Cosman, Madeleine Pelner. Medieval Holidays and Festivals, 1981.  Pearson Education publishing as Fact Monster;  Jordan, Anne. Christianity. (5 April 2000);   Harbaugh, H. The Guardian, Volume 29 (1878);;; and for quick references, Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Join Savannah Young's Wilde Ones for a Wild Ride

Today I’m happy to welcome Savannah Young, who recently released the first two novels in the OLD TOWN COUNTRY ROMANCE SERIES: WILDE RIDERS and THE WILDE ONE. Congratulations. I’m thrilled for you! Please tell us a little about the books.

Love to! It's WILDE RIDERS and it's part of an exciting new series.

WILDE RIDERS is the first novel in a spicy new contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. WILDE RIDERS can be read as a stand alone nvel or as part of the series.

Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can't believe he's coming back. But his late father's bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper's help.

Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.

Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she's stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can't wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her...until she meets Cooper Wilde. He's not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him.

If you like your trucks loud, your beer cold and your men'll love WILDE RIDERS.


THE WILDE ONE is the second novel in the spicy 
contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. Each novel in the OLD TOWN COUNTRY ROMANCE series can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.

Tucker Wilde joined the United States Army right out of high school and was injured in Iraq. But more than just his leg was shattered in the Middle East. The war also crushed his spirit and damaged his soul. When a strange couple arrives at his family’s bar, Haymakers, Tucker can see signs of mental and emotional abuse and is immediately drawn to the lovely but fragile girl seated at his bar.

Gracie Parker has been a victim of abuse her entire life. When her boyfriend, Dex, beats her in the parking lot of Haymakers and abandons her, it’s almost too much for the nineteen-year-old to bear. That is until Tucker appears like a warrior knight from the darkness to save her.

Tucker and Gracie are two broken people who are immediately drawn together. But their relationship and even their very lives are threatened by Dex who will stop at nothing to get Gracie back.

If you like your trucks loud, your beer cold and your men'll love THE WILDE ONE.

 Here's an excerpt:

The drive into New Jersey is exhausting. My only saving grace is that most of the traffic is going into the city instead of out of the city like I am. You’ve got to love those bridge and tunnel guys. I wouldn’t date one but I have a little bit of respect for them. The commute into Manhattan turns a nine hour work day into an eleven hour one, if you’re lucky.
  I can feel my stomach start to knot as I get further away from the city and further away from civilization. Pretty soon I’ll be in the sticks surrounded by woods and farmland. I can almost smell the manure that will no doubt take days to completely rid from my nasal passages. I pray that I don’t run into any animals, especially cows, which are huge, smelly and completely freak me out. The only live animals I ever care to see have to fit comfortably in a handbag, like a Chihuahua or Teacup Poodle, for example.
I  have an appointment with a man named Jake Wilde. He asked me to come early, before the place opened at noon, so he could give me his full attention. I try to imagine what someone named Jake Wilde would look like and all I can come up with is an old gunslinger like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.

As I pull into Old Town the place looks exactly like I thought it would. The buildings in the town square are old and I image the place hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.

Haymakers is just past the town square, down the hill from the deli, next to the gas station. Those were the exact directions I was given, in those words. I take that to mean the town only has one gas station and one deli.

When I pull into the parking lot, there’s only one other vehicle sitting there. It’s an old beat-up Dodge Ram. Nothing like fitting the country bumpkin stereotype like a glove. Then I have a brief moment of panic and wonder if it’s safe to park my BMW in the dirt lot. Then I remind myself where I am. Who is going to mess with it in the middle of the day? A stray deer from the woods out back? The only thing I probably have to worry about is it getting dusty.

I take in a deep breath. I have to be thankful there’s no manure smell yet. The quicker you do this, I remind myself, the quicker you can get back to the lovely asphalt jungle you call home.

I’m hit with a gust of wind as soon as I get out of my car. How is it possible that Old Town is even windier than lower Manhattan? I didn’t think I’d ever find a place windier than Wall Street. Even the Windy City didn’t seem this windy when I had business in Chicago.

When I enter the bar, I try to smooth down my thick hair, which I know is probably a complete mess from the gust. I’m surprised by the homey feel of the place. How could someone like me possibly feel at home in a country bar? Even if I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, if I even owned jeans and cowboy boots, I wouldn’t fit in at a place like this. 

I hear someone clear his throat and I turn to see a guy about my age, mid-twenties, standing next to me. I can’t help my surprise when I see he’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, like he just stepped off a golf course. He looks as out of place in this country bar as I feel.

“Are you Jake Wilde?” I ask.

The guy gives me the faintest hint of a smile but it’s almost as if it pains him to give that much. His deep brown eyes look even more distressed and I can’t help but wonder what’s behind those sad eyes.

He rakes his fingers through his thick dark hair. “A little windy out, isn’t it?”

My hand automatically goes to my hair and I try to casually flatten it down again. I imagine I must look like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel.

“Your hair looks fine,” the guy tries to assure me. But he’s got that hint of a smile on his face again and it makes me wonder if he’s lying just to make me feel better.

“I’m Cooper Wilde,” the guy says as he offers a hand.

 I don’t know why I suddenly feel nervous about shaking it. It’s a business meeting. That’s what people do. But the way this guy is looking at me gives me the feeling that he might be interested in more than just business.

But I’m not, I remind myself. Not only because I’ve all but sworn off men, I’m here to do a job. I’ve been working for H & C Bank for two years and this is my first solo assignment as a lead investigator. If I continue to do well, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a Vice President before I turn thirty. I don’t need a man to throw me off my career trajectory. And definitely not some guy in a country bar in rural New Jersey.

Love the sound of that blurb and excerpt. Cooper definitely sounds like a guy to watch out for. What’s your next project?

I’m currently working on the last two books in the OLD TOWN COUNTRY ROMANCE SERIES. A WILDE NIGHT is Hunter’s story and WILDE TIMES is Jake’s story.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Write every day. Make it a habit.

Great advice and something I need to do more of. Thanks so much for being here today, and best of luck with the release. I hope you’ll come back again.
Here's where you can find Karen, Savannah, and the Wilde Ones.