Wednesday, July 31, 2019

There Are Winners Under That Virtual Bed

 On today's Welcome Wednesday, I welcome popular writer of Regencies, Barbara Monajem, Barbara is celebrating the release just a week ago of her latest book, The Smuggler's Escape.

Please tell us about the history of this particular book.

Ten years after I first wrote the story of The Smuggler’s Escape, it’s finally out in the world. Why, you ask (or at least Barbara Bettis asked) did it take ten whole years?

To tell the truth, it didn’t. It spent most of the time moldering under the virtual bed where an author puts manuscripts she doesn’t know how to fix, but can’t quite bring herself to discard forever. (I keep almost everything. I’m really, really bad at throwing things away.)

Years ago, when I entered contests for unpublished writers, the first scene (now the second one) actually won one of them! I was thrilled when it garnered a request for the full manuscript from an editor—but she rejected it. Rightly so.

For one thing, it was too long. Way, waaay too long. For another, it rambled away from the main plot, giving secondary characters too much room on the page. Also, the motivation was unconvincing. And in one version (there are always more than one), the hero was an inconsiderate lover. I had forgotten about that flaw until I started writing this blog. Why, if he was such a dud, would the heroine want him back?

I had plenty of ideas for other stories, so I set that manuscript aside and moved on… Then last year, when I had finished the final full manuscript of my Scandalous Kisses series and was wondering what to do next, I discovered that ten-year-old manuscript under the virtual bed and read it. And liked it! There were lots of good bits – action and adventure, banter between the hero and heroine, and some lusty love scenes, too. (The hero had improved greatly in that version.) All I had to do was fix the motivation, cut about 20,000 words, promise the secondary characters that they would have their own stories later, and voilà!

There’s also a sequel under the virtual bed. It too needs work—and I can’t wait to get right down to it!


After escaping the guillotine, Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in England. Determined to make her own way, she joins the local smugglers, but when their plans are uncovered, Richard, Lord Boltwood steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard Boltwood’s plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

Noelle needs Richard’s help, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?


Setup: Noelle needs Richard’s help, but she doesn’t want him interfering in the smuggling business. She refuses to marry him, and she can’t afford to let him seduce her, either. Richard has other ideas…

Noelle slid off Snowflake’s back, passed her to a surprised groom, and hastened toward the house. The wind ceased its fitful snatching at her bonnet and tore it off good and proper, dancing with it in the sunlight, tossing it around the side of Boltwood Manor.

Noelle picked up her skirts and ran after the hat. The wind teased it away from her grasping fingers and threw it this way and that across the lawn. Noelle followed, cursing, while the wind tugged her hair out of its pins and flapped it into her face. The bonnet flew through the herb garden, lit briefly on the outstretched hand of a stone nymph, and fluttered toward the terrace.

Richard Boltwood stepped through the French doors to the terrace, reached out a long arm, and rescued Noelle’s hat from the wind.

Sacré tonnerre, but he was beautiful. Most improperly, he wore only shirt and breeches. His sleeves couldn’t hide those powerful shoulders and arms, nor his breeches the muscles of his thighs. The open neck of his shirt revealed his firm throat and a few hairs of the masculine chest she had seen and touched only once.

His face was bright with laughter, his bearing confident. Masterful. Irresistible. In spite of herself, Noelle quivered inside.

No. This was no time for quivering. She hurried forward. “Richard, I must speak with you.”

“With pleasure,” Richard said. “Your bonnet, ma’am.” He held it out but made no attempt to touch her.

Noelle closed her fingers around the ribbons, and immediately Richard put his hands behind his back. She moved closer, and he inched away. “In private!” she whispered. She put her hands on her hips and scowled at him. The hat strained away from her hand, and her hair flapped in her face. “Stay here! It’s urgent. I need your help immediately.”

“Ah,” Richard said, “I am of course at your service, my love, but do consider. Your only legitimate excuse for such a precipitate arrival must be desperate love for me, but if there is to be no touching, it won’t look like love, will it?” He danced away like the bonnet on the wind. “You do look delightfully desperate, my sweet.”

“That was your idea,” Noelle fumed. “I never said I wouldn’t touch you, merely that it would be wiser not.”

“It would have been wiser not to involve yourself in the free trade. As to not touching me, do as you please, as long as you understand that if you touch me, I will consider it a clear invitation to touch you in return.” His lips twitched.

Nom de Dieu.” She must keep her distance, but he was making that impossible. “Oh, very well. You may kiss my hand.”

“Your Majesty is most gracious.” He took her gloved hand in his and tugged at the tip of one finger.
She tried to draw away, but he wouldn’t let go. “What are you doing?”

“Exactly what it looks like. I won’t waste one of my burning kisses on a mere glove.” A few seconds later, the glove was in his breeches pocket. He took her cool hand into his large warm one and brought it within an inch of his lips.

The warmth of his hand, the heat of his breath, traveled all the way to her toes. “Get on with it,” she said, quivering with impatience. Get it over with before it kills me. When he did nothing, she pulled at her hand.

He didn’t let go. “It’s not enough. No woman who gallops to her lover’s door would be content with one little kiss.” He paused. “On her hand.”

Waiting for that kiss was torture, and she had urgent news. She said in French, “Richard, the excisemen are nearby! We don’t have time for playing games.”

“This is no game,” he answered in the same language. “Lives are at stake, and therefore our charade must appear real.”


Did that mean he accepted her refusal to marry him? In which case, she should be glad. Or at the very least, relieved.

She didn’t have time for emotions. “Lives are at stake, and therefore we must hurry.”

“But not appear to do so,” he said. “A bargain—both your hands. It’s not dangerous, surely . . . just a little hand kiss or two.”

Before she had a chance to respond, he took the other hand, pried her fingers open, and released the ribbons of her hat.

It fluttered away across the lawn. “My bonnet!”

“What’s a mere bonnet when one is deep in love?” Richard removed the second glove and stowed it in his pocket. He pulled her close and pressed his hot lips to the back of one tingling hand.

Something inside Noelle pulsed in response. Yes.

His lips settled hotly on the other hand.

Oh, yes.

“Enough?” Richard whispered. “We have demonstrated love, but what about passion?”

Noelle couldn’t bring herself to move. Her breathing quickened, and her knees felt abominably weak.

“Only a passionate woman would ride ventre à terre to the man she loves.” He turned her hands over and cupped them in his large ones. “You, my sweet, are the essence of passion.”

He pressed his lips into one palm and then the other. The pulsing inside her deepened to a throb.

She couldn’t help it. She whimpered, staring at his lips and her hand.
His tongue reached out and gently, devastatingly, licked her palm.
Dieu du ciel. His arms surrounded her and his heady aroma overwhelmed her senses. She drank it in through her very pores. I love you. Oh, how I love you. She pressed her face into the hollow at his throat.


She made a small despairing sound, and immediately his arms loosened. He pushed up her chin and deposited a swift kiss on her lips. “You do love me, and you know it.”

Buy links:


Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Regency mysteries are next on the agenda.

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding (because it was too weird to resist) and to succeed at knitting socks. She managed the first (it was dreadful) but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Social media links:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Ruth A Casie Visits Medieval Monday

I'm delighted to welcome USA Today's bestselling author The Highlander’s English Woman .    
Ruth A. Casie to Medieval Monday. As part of the Summer blog theme, "Villians and Bad Boys", Ruth introduces us to the villain in her exciting novel, 
Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.
Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.
Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.
Buy Links: AmazonB&N | iBooks | Kobo

 “You’ll let me know your decision, Wesley.”
Jamie brought Laura to a halt. An exasperated male voice drifted out of the great hall.
“I want to make the announcement as soon as possible. With Richard gone and Glen Kirk so close to the Scottish border, you need someone strong to hold back the devils.” Lord Bryce Mitchell of Ravencroft, the manse next to Glen Kirk, stood with Wesley and Darla.
Standing at the great hall entrance, Jamie stiffened when Laura’s pulse skittered into a panic beneath his fingertips. Jamie’s free hand covered hers until the beat settled into a normal rhythm. If Bryce couldn’t feel sympathetic toward the family, couldn’t he at least curb his speech?
Follow Ruth to next week’s snippet (Aug 5) here:
Miss last week and a chance to comment? Check it out here:
Be sure to leave a comment for Ruth to be in the running for my giveaway – an eCopy of The Highlander’s English Woman. A winner will be randomly selected and announced next week on Medieval Monday, September 9th.
And to read and comment on Barb's latest excerpt of one of her favorite villains, visit Ruth's blog:

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Bestselling Author Colleen Donnelly Explores Truth in Fiction

Why do you read? At the heart of most  fiction lies the exploration of relationships or self-discovery--with the added promise of a happily ever after or a happy for now in romance fiction.

Today on Welcome Wednesday, award-winning and Amazon Bestselling author Colleen Donnelly talks about that and other truths we find in fiction. Here is Colleen's insight.

Truth in Fiction 
Books are doorways for the imagination and the soul. Chances are, a writer will reveal something in a story they wouldn’t dare disclose out loud. Likewise, a reader may experience the release of some deeply hidden treasure or longing through a twisted plot or a heartbroken heroine. Characters have a way of dragging writers and readers along with them on their story arc of self-discovery, churning up and satisfying who and what is buried within.
Ponder the books that have spoken to you. Did you ever write or read an adventure or fantasy for the pure pleasure of escape? Have you delved into romance because it touched what had been too long untapped? Have you lived out revenge through crime dramas? Have you ever written, read, or related to any of the following:

   *  Being accused of having an affair with the one person you actually wanted far more from than just a tryst.
* Having the illusion of being a bride turn to the   delusion of feeling ordinary under the demands of another.

*  Loving one but engaged to another.

*  In a relationship for all of   the wrong reasons.

*  Knowing you’ve been betrayed, but unable to prove it.

I have. And I’m thankful for the person, myself or another, who spelled it out on a page so I could see myself, find solace in the fact that I was not alone, and realize a path through it.

You have a story in your soul or imagination that will either be read or written, and you will gasp with relief when you at last see it on the page.

Colleen L Donnelly, writer of historical fiction with a heart, is an Amazon #1 Bestseller, recipient of two Crowned Heart Rone Awards, a Rone Finalist, and winner of Rom Com Reader’s Crown.

Find her at
And her books at:
Mine to Tell
Asked For
Love on a Train
The Lady’s Arrangement
Out of Splinters and Ashes

Sunday, July 21, 2019

It's ONE LAST KISS from Sherry Ewing on Medieval Monday

Let's welcome the very talented Sherry Ewing to Medieval Monday. She's sharing a look at her latest publications, One Last Kiss: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Five).

With a cover like this one, the novella has got to be absolutely terrific!

So here's peek at her Bad Boy/Villain--the theme of the Summer blog tours. 

Don't forget to leave a comment for her drawing for a copy of the book. All drawings will be at the end of the blog tour in early September.


Sometimes it takes a miracle to find your heart’s desire…

Scotland, 1182: Banished from his homeland, Thomas of Clan Kincaid lives among distant relatives, reluctantly accepting he may never return home… Until an encounter with the castle’s healer tells him of a woman traveling across time—for him.

Dare he believe the impossible?

Present Day, Michigan: Jade Calloway is used to being alone, and as Christmas approaches, she’s skeptical when told she’ll embark on an extraordinary journey. How could a trip to San Francisco be anything but ordinary? But when a ring magically appears, and she sees a ghostly man in her dreams...

Dare she believe in the possible?

Thrust back in time, Jade encounters Thomas—her fantasy ghost. Talk about extraordinary. But as time works against them, they must learn to trust in miracles.

Can they accept impossible love before time interferes?

One Last Kiss is a medieval/time travel in my Knights of Berwyck series. It first appeared in the Bluestocking Belles’ 2018 box set Follow Your Star Home. This novella is now available for individual sale. Release date: July 11, 2019.

“Aye, your horse,” he replied with a quizzical look. “’Tis the account I heard tell from Lord Dristan on why I found you in such a condition.”

So, that’s what they told everyone instead of the truth of my being from the future because really… who would believe such an outrageous story? God forbid what would happen to her if these people knew where she really came from. A brief image of being burned at the stake caused her to gulp hard.

Be sure to leave a comment for Sherry to be in the running for her giveaway – an eCopy of One Last Kiss. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Medieval Monday, September 9th.

Miss last week and a chance to comment? Check it out here:

Follow Sherry to next week’s snippet (July 29th) here:

And for a peek at Barb's excerpt snippet for this week, visit Sherry's blog at:

Buy Links:

Apple Books:
Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ruth A. Casie's Characters Interviewed on TV--Read All About It

We are in for such a wonderful surprise on today's Welcome Wednesday. Ruth Casie has prepared a very special presentation for her newest release THE PIRATE'S JEWEL. 

So sit back, grab a glass of your favorite beverage (white wine's in the fridge) and enjoy this TV broadcast.

The Pirate’s Jewel
Previously Recorded
Welcome to this special edition of The Inside Scoop. I am your host and moderator, Justin Case. In our continuing effort to bring you information about the people portrayed in The Stelton Legacy, we’ve been able to pull off a real coup. Today our guests are Lord and Lady Wesley Reynolds, the parents of Lady Lisbeth Reynolds-Stelton. Lisbeth is the wife of Alex Stelton, the seventh son of the seventh son of Phillip and Celeste Stelton, but that is another story.

Tonight we meet Lady Darla Maxwell, a young woman whose father, Graeme Maxwell, and close friend, Lord Ewan MacDougall were searching for a suitable husband for her. Lady Darla has a … magical background which as a young woman she sought to deny. I hope we can find out more about how her magic influenced the outcome of the story.

Lord Wesley Reynolds, the son of the well-known silk merchant William Reynolds, has a most interesting background that I hope he’ll elaborate on today. It’s what made him the man trusted by the King of England as well as the Guardians of Scotland.
One moment, please. I’m getting instructions from our producer. 

(Listens to instructions over his ear piece). Ladies and gentlemen. Our producer has just informed me our guests have arrived at the studio.

Ah. The lights have dimmed. A hush has come over the studio. I can see into the wings. Yes. The door has opened. The anticipation in the room is palpable. Wait. I see them. They’re walking toward us. They have a stately and commanding appearance, and they’re holding hands. It is very tender and touching.

(Justin rose from his chair as his guests’ approach.)

Justin: Lord Wesley, Lady Darla. It’s good to meet you.
(Chairs scrape the floor, feet shuffle as everyone takes their seats.)

Justin: Lady Darla please sit here next to Lord Wesley.

(Darla and Wesley hold hands. Wesley eases back in his chair and crosses his legs in a relaxed position.)

Justin: Thank you for granting us an interview. Everyone here at Inside Scoop is excited you’re with us.

Lord Wesley: Lady Darla and I are happy to be with you today.

Justin: Our time is short so unless you have any questions I’d like to get right to the questions.

Wesley: I have no questions at the moment. Please begin.

Justin: (Papers rustle as Justin gets settled.) Lord Wesley, you have a very interesting personal history with several twists and turns. Please explain how your background made you the man you are today.

Wesley: As a young man I followed in my father’s footsteps. He was both an excellent silk merchant and business man. He taught me the silk business from cultivating the silk worms, to making the final bolts of cloth, to selling and shipping the bolts. I learned by traveling with him and observing him at his work. He was a well-respected merchant and excellent negotiator. When he passed away, I was ready to take over although I will never be able to take his place.

(Darla squeezes Wesley’s hand, her face full of encouragement.)

Justin: I understand you sailed out of the Cinque Ports in southern Europe, in the service of the King of England. Some say you were a privateer.

(Wesley let's go of Darla’s hand and moves to the edge of his seat.)
Wesley: Why do you ask?

Darla: Wesley. (She touches her husband’s arm.)

Wesley: My Love, it still pains me to think of those days much less speak about them.

(Darla gives her husband an encouraging smile. Wesley turns back to Justin and lets out a slow breath.)

Wesley: I provided the king with the silks he wanted, as I did with many monarchs across Europe. Because of my connections I was a good sounding board for him. I had my own ships and one thing led to another. I had no love for the Spanish. They thought I was a charity, taking my goods without paying for them. So, I simply took from their ships to repay their debt. All in all, a good transaction.

Darla: When Wesley’s father took ill he went to help him.

Wesley: There were certain family incidents that happened. Over the years, my brother told me what happened and why. I believed Darla’s father and Lord Ewan, my father’s closest friends plotted against him and my family. I thought they ruined his business and took his property, circumstances that led to his death.

Justin: You said you thought they conspired against your father. I surmise you don’t believe that now. What made you believe it in the first place and why did you have a change of heart?

Wesley: Simply said, I put my trust in someone close and was deceived.

Justin: Did this have anything to do with the pirate king, MacAlpin?

(Wesley chuckles.)
Ruth A. Casie
Wesley: I understand why you ask. The MacAlpin has the reputation of being a ruthless savage pirate. But, in all my dealings with him he proved to be fair and trustworthy. He was instrumental is seeing justice was served. It was difficult after years of believing something so strongly that it became your essence, to have the truth uncovered and recognize you’d been lied to for a very long time.

Justin: I’m sure it is. I understand Lady Darla was at your side.

Darla: From the first moment we met on the docks by my father’s ship and I mistook him for Lord Ewan’s son-in-law, Magnus I was drawn to Wesley. I was relieved to learn he wasn’t Magnus. Very pleased in deed.

Wesley: Darla’s father, Lord Graeme Maxwell--

Justin: The renowned gem and jewelry merchant?

(Darla beamed with pride.)

Wesley: Yes. Maxwell and Lord Ewan were nothing like I expected. After my father’s death I was told again of their thievery, had it stamped into my brain. I didn’t question it. You see, from an early age I was fostered to the Highland Maxwells. When I came back and worked with my father he had already moved the family from our home on Lord Ewan’s island, forced out I was told. I accepted it as truth and when my father died I vowed to take revenge for all the injustices Graeme Maxwell and Ewan 
MacDougall did to my father and family.

Darla: Wesley thought to use me as a pawn in his effort to hurt my father.

Wesley: (He turns to Darla) That wasn’t one of my shining moments. The more time we spent together and the more I got to know you, your father, and Lord Ewan, the more I knew I had it all wrong, but evil kept buzzing in my ear, pushing me to carry out the plans.

Darla: You found the truth. It’s all over now.
(Wesley holds Darla’s hand and looks into her eyes.)

Wesley: I’m a very lucky man.
(Justin coughs to remind them they aren’t alone. They both turn toward Justin.)

Justin: Lady Darla, I understand you have unique insight—
Wesley: Come Darla. (Wesley gets to his feet.) It’s time to leave.

(Justin, astonished by Lord Wesley’s action looks at Wesley. Darla remains calm and seated.)

Justin: M’lord. I apologize if I have offended you or your lady.

Darla: No, Mr. Case. My husband is very protective. (Darla stands next to her husband.) I do have a unique ability. I have second sight. I see things before they happen. Some people—

Wesley: Unintelligent, witless ones--

Darla: Mr. Case gets your meaning. Some people believe it witchcraft. They say and do foolish things. It is why I kept to myself while growing up. Why I never allowed myself to become attached to a gentleman. How could I get someone I loved tangled in that rat’s nest. Some may see my gift as a blessing, but I assure you it is not. Imagine knowing something terrible is going to happen and you’re not able to influence it at all. I thought I would never marry. I was satisfied with being alone the rest of my life. I was wrong. I had no idea that I waited for the right person, my soul mate. I never saw that coming until I met Wesley. So much for my second sight. When I found him I knew I would never let him go. He is my love, my life.

(Wesley takes his wife in his arms. Justin stands.)

Wesley: As you are mine. (Wesley turns to Justin.) Deception and family honor were at stake.

Darla: So was my heart.

Wesley: Do you have any other questions?

Justin: No, Lord Wesley. Thank you both for speaking to us. (He turns to the audience.) Thank you for coming today. Lady Darla hasn’t told us much about her second sight, but I understand it is quite interesting. You can find out more about Lady Darla’s magic and Lord Wesley in The Pirate’s Jewel. Until next time.

The Pirate’s Jewel: Blurb:
Deception and family honor are at stake – so is her heart.
Wesley Reynolds will do anything to avenge his family’s banishment from Dundhragon Castle even throw in with the notorious pirate, MacAlpin. His plan, ruin Lord Ewan’s trading network. He has a more devious plan for his father’s ‘best friend,’ the man who abandoned them at the eleventh hour. He’ll ruin the man’s most precious jewel, his daughter Darla. Wesley’s so close to ruining the trade network and succeeding he can almost taste it, but revenge is not nearly as sweet as Darla’s kisses.
Darla Maxwell, beloved by her parents has no prospects of marriage. Her father and Lord Ewan search to find her the right husband. Darla’s special gifts are frightening to many. She has visions that often come true. The murky image of a man haunts her, she’s sure it’s Lord Ewan’s soon-to-be son-in-law, but the vision morphs when she meets Wesley. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer to her, her destiny lies with Wesley.
When revelations surface indicating Wesley has been deceived and his revenge misplaced. Will he find the truth of what really happened to his family in time to stop the pirates? Will Darla ever forgive him? Will he ever forgive himself?
Buy Link: Kindle Unlimited

About the Author
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.

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