Welcome to Lyndi’s adventurous friend Helen C. Johannes!!
When I was in high school, I had a friend who’d never ridden an escalator, never traveled more than 50 miles from home. I couldn’t fathom a life so limited in experiences. Even at the tender age of 16, I’d crossed the United States from coast to coast by car, sailed the Atlantic from NYC to Germany and back, lived in a foreign country and five US states, attended 12 schools, and earned my driver’s license in two states. Most would say I’d already lived an adventure.
Well, I was a military brat, and that was normal. Travel and moving every couple of years was so ingrained that I carried on as an adult, eventually visiting most of the continental US states plus Alaska and Hawaii, and dipping my toes/fingers in both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Pacific, plus the Caribbean.
After all that traveling, that apparent rootlessness, it’s hardly a surprise my author tagline is Brave men, bold women—hearts in search of home. Or that my characters find themselves on cross-country journeys. Or, ultimately, that what each of them desires is a sense of belonging, be it to a place or a group of people.
My heroine in LORD OF DRUEMARWIN is on the ultimate journey, leaving behind her family, her culture, even her landscape for the sake of the man she loves. Here’s a snippet.
LORD OF DRUEMARWIN – PAGES FROM THE HEART Winner in Fantasy Romance, Crown of Tolem series
Tag line: In a world of lies and betrayal, can they trust each other?
Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.
Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.
With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.
“Raell, now is not the time—”
Aye, it wasn’t. They stood in torchlight on an open parapet while assassins stalked them, but this might be her only chance to reach him across that precipice he’d thrown up between them, to secure the future they were meant to share.
“Does my honor mean naught? When weighed with D’nalian honor, is mine lesser because ‘tis a woman’s honor? Or because ‘tis a Tolemak’s honor? Be honest and tell me that.”
The world had gone silent; Raell could hear nothing over the rush of blood in her ears, the terrible heavy beats of her heart while she waited, dizzy with fear, breathless with longing, for the man she loved to respond with a word, a look, even a blink. Even a shift of his gaze she’d take as a sign he’d at least heard, mayhap begun to consider—
“Yes, be honest, Lord Naed,” said a voice she’d heard but once, a voice that raised all the fine hairs on her body and made her innards contract into a cold, tight knot. “Tell us both how much honor means to a bastard who’s betrayed his countrymen and his blood.”
Helen C. Johannes writes award-winning fantasy romance inspired by the fairy tales she grew up reading and the amazing historical places she’s visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. She writes tales of adventure and romance in fully realized worlds sprung from pure imagination and a lifelong interest in history, culture, and literature. Warriors on horseback, women who refuse to sit idly at home, and passion that cannot be denied or outrun—that’s what readers will find in her books.
The Prince of Val-Feyridge, Crown of Tolem #1
Contact email: email@example.com
Welcome to guest author Laura Strickland, here to talk about her new book, Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure. Take it away, Laura!
The thing I hear most often when I attend Steampunk Festivals and other events promoting my books is, “What’s Steampunk?” It’s a fair question. Many readers aren’t familiar with the genre, and feel a bit intimidated by it. But as I’ve learned since starting this wild ride, penning my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures series, there’s no easy answer. Steampunk means something different to all those who love it.
For some of us, it’s all about the gadgets. Steampunk aficionados love to tinker. They build teapot racers, life-sized robots and fully-operational automatons. Others love the costuming, and the chance to transform into someone other than their every-day selves, to walk for even a few hours on the wild side. Goggles and helmets, brass-buttoned jackets and sweeping skirts…and stepping through the looking glass.
For me, it’s all about what-might-have-been. What if the glorious age of steam heralded by the Industrial Revolution had never been superseded by electricity and the internal combustion engine? What if the Victorian age hadn’t died but merely morphed into something bigger, grander—and more twisted?
If you’d like to imagine the Steampunk world, think Victorian, with a twist. Just a little bit darker (a la Jack the Ripper), a little bit weirder, and to those of us who appreciate the strange, that much more delightful.
The characters in my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures books are real—far from perfect, they have warts and fears, and disadvantages. The city’s real too—Victorian Buffalo, city (if not time) of my birth. Buffalo makes the perfect setting for Steampunk, industrial, gritty and yes, it has an edge.
Me, I love the edge. I love the twist. If you do too, come walk the brick streets of Steampunk Buffalo with me. You may never want to leave.
BUFFALO STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aauK5ob3zI
Blurb for new release: Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure
When Maddie MacGillicuddy loses her job, she’s desperate to find another. Though good jobs are available at the stables, only men are hired. A big, strapping girl, she becomes Matty in her brother’s clothing. Complications arise when a city magnate, assembling a tournament hockey team, admires Matty’s skating skills and recruits “him,” with real money and the city’s reputation on the line.
Huritt Gilbert is used to battling his way through life. At the stables, he routinely endures racial slurs, sometimes striking back. He’s never met a woman like Maddie and would do anything for her, including accept the dangerous position of goalie for her team. But when competition heats up, loyalties get twisted. Will Gilbert and Maddie play for glory, or love?
“Gilbert, you should see how good Maddie skates.”
“I’d like to,” Gilbert said in his dusky voice. The dark—which somehow matched that voice—seemed to close around them. It made the encounter feel more intimate than it should.
Maddie shivered. “I’d better get Roddy home. It’s getting colder.”
“Going to snow some more, too,” Gilbert offered, not taking his eyes from Maddie’s. “I can always tell.”
He wagged his dark head. Maddie had a sudden and completely inappropriate impulse to plunge her fingers through that black hair. But he still held her fingers captive.
He told her, “I get an instinct for certain things—sometimes I just know.”
“I see. And are you never wrong?”
He shrugged those wide shoulders. “Seldom enough.”
“Come on, Maddie,” Roddy demanded, completely immune to any undertones. “I’m hungry.”
“Yes, all right.”
She tugged at her fingers again; this time Gilbert let them go. Together, they climbed up over the bank and trudged to the foot of Ferry Street.
“Do you live far?” Gilbert asked. “Can I see you home?”
“Peach Street,” Maddie told him, wishing this somehow enchanting encounter had happened on any other day than the one during which she’d destroyed her life. “I think we’ll be all right.” She hoped so.
Gilbert nodded. “Maybe I’ll see you again on the ice.”
Later she wondered if he, with all his bright instincts, had uttered a prophecy.
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she’s writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura’s mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Author Web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317
Author Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Author Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/760146.Laura_Strickland
Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951
BookBub page: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=Laura+Strickland
Paul Carlson, Janet Joyce Holden, Michael Bailey, Carla Robinson,
Jeff Seeman, Kate Jonez, Gary Phillips, Lucio Rodriguez, Terry Bisson,
explore the future of trucking in this new science fiction anthology!
There’s something for every genre fiction fan in this follow-up to
the hit “18 wheels of Horror – a Trailer Full of Trucking Terrors.”
A disembodied driver wages war on self-driving trucks… A haul
through time takes an unexpected turn… Reality shatters for a
trucker using an experimental delivery device… Stargazing gives an
overweight driver a new lease on life… A young girl risks her life
to hitch a ride out of an apocalyptic wasteland…
“Skyways” trucking Science Fiction novel series, in which
legendary driver Jake McGraw (now an AI) and his son Sammy find new
adventures on the mysterious skyway between worlds.
exotic alien fuel additive at a truck stop, and the two find out just
how fast their Big Rig will go.
caught in a rebellion, and learns a terrible secret about her past
that affects not only hers and her beloved daughter’s lives, but
threatens humanity itself.
quantum delivery device, and has to make a choice that could re-unite
him with his son, or take him to a unknown future.
experimental driving program, but a cyber-attack by hackers turns him
into an revenge-fueled ghost in the machine.
Magazine, a trucker helps out a young hitchhiker as they travel over
the miles-high mountain that an apocalyptic seismic event has thrust
through the heart of America.
hundreds of trucks through the blasted wasteland of middle America,
and a group of drivers discover a secret that could change the
world—if it doesn’t get them killed first.
the robot drivers that threaten to take over human jobs—and who
also yearn for freedom.
water for a droughtriddled future, but encounter a time paradox
threatens to destroy everything they know.
oils deep into the Arctic tries to find out what the Canadian
government is doing with the odd cargo.
flies through a hidden wormhole and winds up thousands of light years
from home. Scared and lost, he struggles to find a way back to his family.
apocalyptic wasteland, who risks her life to stow away on a truck
that could carry her to freedom.
him years after he committed a hit and run accident. But things are
far from what they seem…
lease on life thanks to the fantastic things he sees while looking at
experimental technology propelling her truck has somehow brought back
a ghost from her past.
afoul of a government agent when he tries to smuggle contraband alien
technology, and his fugitive sister in-law works to save him with a
seemingly magical interdimensional artifact.
when he goes to work for a high-tech autonomous trucking company.
volatile rocket fuel through gang-war torn Los Angeles, and nothing,
not bullets, bombs, or bad luck, will stop him from delivering his
for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Interesting story about Bozeman, Montana, not too far from the Bitterroot. Seems like they have a lot of problems that my new home city, Asheville, NC, is dealing with:
Is it possible to build up too much fun for anyone to afford?
So this week, I’m trying something new, after being invited by author Lisabet Sarai to join in a bit of good work! Each participating author will identify a charity they wish to benefit, and then pledges to donate a certain amount of money to their charity for each comment made by a reader.
Furever Friends is a cat rescue organization in Asheville, NC. I have fostered–and foster
failed!– for them, and in fact, have my dear Daisy Mae, Reba and Clarice all thanks to them.
Fortunately, I’ve passed on more kittens than I’ve kept to great furever homes, and I am so pleased to be able to work with Pam and Glynn Lookabill and the other volunteers.
Kitten season is coming up, however, and they will need a new influx of cash for the rounds and rounds of bottle babes, kittens and mommas that will come through their doors.
So as a result, I will donate $5 for each comment made as part of this blog hop to Pam and her group.
If you, too, love kitties and want to help out, contact Pam at fureverfriends at bellsouth dot net, and she can give you all the particulars!
Now for the entertainment part of the post, here is a blurb and excerpt from THE LOST CHORD, a YA fantasy from Dragonfly Publishing with Bee Warrick, a girl on the autism spectrum, as a heroine!
A poisonous wave is spreading disease and discord across the eleven known universes. Seven special people, known as Keys, must strike the Lost Chord in order to restore the balance. Among those Keys is Bee Warrick, an autistic teenager from Earth who has traveled between the realms for years without realizing it. Can Bee help the Conductor find the other Keys before a bitter enemy strikes the wrong chord and shatters the universes?
Halfway through, her brother Reese barged in. The tall, broad-built boy plopped down on her bright pink bedspread and dropped his football helmet on the floor, where it rolled in a circle before coming to a stop.
Bee jumped and covered her ears to protect herself from the sound.
“Hey there little SPED girl. I see Mom isn’t riding you about your homework.” He glared at her. “Must be nice to be autistic.”
“I’m not stupid like you.” Bee knew Reese wasn’t supposed to call her names. Mom had told him often enough, ever since she was little. But he never stopped, so now she called them back.
She wasn’t sure exactly what ‘autistic’ was supposed to be; she’d read about it in books. She was just what she was, not some word that started with A. Her favorite book was Songs of the Gorilla Nation, about a woman with autism who’d learned to communicate with gorillas.
At least gorillas didn’t make fun of you, she thought.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
Reese twisted up his face at her. He had the same auburn hair as Bee, a color received from their father’s genes. She hardly remembered their father. He came and took Reese away every other weekend. He never took her. She didn’t even bother to go to the window and look at him any more.
“Bzzzzzzz,” she said, annoyed and wishing he’d go away.
“You know that’s so damn lame. Knock it off. People talk about you at school. SPED.”
Bee knew that term was derogatory by the tone of Reese’s voice, though she couldn’t understand why it was bad. ‘Special’ was something that was extra good. So special education should be something really great, like a Christmas present.
Besides she wasn’t in specials any more. Just speech. Her classes were regular, just like everyone else, and she finally didn’t have a TSS following her everywhere.
Ever since she could remember, she’d been in therapy—occupational therapy, where she’d swung in a net and glued letters on paper; hippotherapy, where she rode and cared for horses at a local farm (she’d liked that); and de-sensitizing therapy, when her mother had scrubbed her body with a surgical sponge for 15 minutes at a time several times a day (she’d hated that).
The longest had been speech therapy, where she’d struggled to learn language, a process that was short-circuited somewhere in her brain. So much didn’t make sense.
Like special education.
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Thanks so much for hosting me at Romance Lives Forever, Kayelle Allen!!
And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the series trailer!
Coming to Armadillocon in Austin, Texas July 25-27, 2014!
Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. When an old friend invites him to St. Louis, the new center of terrorist-decimated America, he leaves his old world behind.
Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians, before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. Following his trail, she meets the man who once saved her, and repays her debt.
Gathering diverse companions as they travel toward St. Louis, the two encounter deadly obstacles, including Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist determined to take revenge for the white man.
But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. They have to battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.
Also available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other online sources. From Zumaya Publications–get your copy soon!
One case in point is the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina–most specifically the gardens there. I could live in the conservatory. No, really. I could. Well, if it had a refrigerator. And a hotplate, at least. And maybe a pillow. But it is, for me, the most appealing place on the estate. (A sure second would be the solarium inside–if I’d ever lived in the house, I could have spent most of my time right there taking in the sun through the overhead glass, surrounded by tropical plants.)
We’ve visited in the summer before, and there are beautiful rose and azalea gardens and layouts fashioned on international themes, such as the Italian Garden, or seasonal gardens like the tulip extravaganza. But for me, there’s something special about the hothouse blooms.
I imagined my grandmother would have had a grand old time here. Some of her favorite plants around the Indiana farm where she lived had come from her travels around the country. She’d proudly tell us about her visits to Washington or Chicago and how she just had to “tie her shoe” right next to a plant that she really admired. Lo and behold, a little clipping would end up in her jacket pocket for her to take home and propagate. Awesome!
One room in particular features orchids of every shape and size. Cattleyas, dendrobium, phalaenopsis and so many more delight the visitor at every angle. I was traveling with our exchange student Yurie, and we both fell in love with these odd little blooms (below) that looked like dwarf faces with beards:
The site has inspired me so much, of course, that I’ve included it as a setting for a scene in one of my books, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE (written as Alana Lorens). I’d gladly go back and visit any time, and I’m fortunate that my daughter and her fiancee work for the Biltmore company so we have a reason to go there a few times a year.
I highly recommend it if you get a chance. Just take a seat in the large open greenhouse and breath deeply, taking in the scent and sight of the beautiful plants around you. I guarantee it will inspire you, too!