Monday, November 18, 2019

My Last Book Stop

The “Jennifer Wilck Book Tour” is officially over for 2019. My last stop was a temple holiday bazaar, which was very successful—hello, I write Jewish romance, these are my people!—and provided me the opportunity to sell lots of books and meet some interesting people. The bazaar was well-run, and I highly recommend it.

For those of you following along, you can rest assured that once again, I found the fool! There’s always someone, who either looks down their noses at romance writers or is obnoxious, offensive or worse. Luckily for me, I felt completely safe with the armed security guards who were also there (although deeply saddened they needed to be, and that their presence made me feel safer). The fools I meet are usually men (sorry). Women who feel disdain for romance tend to sniff and strut away. It’s the men who stop, when they really, really shouldn’t.

Most people I know who find out I write romance novels want to know if they, or someone else they know, ever makes it into one of my books. They usually give me a wink, as if what they’re really asking is, “Is your sex true to life?” No, it’s not, and no, I don’t write about people I know in my books.

I do, however, feel perfectly comfortable, and justified, in writing about the fools I meet in my blog.

Today is no exception. J

I’m actually not going to focus on the man who had an issue with the logo on my brand new banner—Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After. As far as I’m concerned, we’re in approximately hour 4,945 of the worst dystopian-novel-made-into-a-movie-come-to-life and frankly, even if you hate romance novels, if you don’t like my logo, there’s this big house in DC that I hear is looking for employees (or scapegoats), and maybe you should apply. You can’t miss it. It’s white.

Nope, today’s blog is about the lovely gentleman who came up to me and stood there, staring at my books. Now, I’ve got to admit I cringe every time a man approaches my book table. From previous experience, and as mentioned in several blog posts, like here and here, it’s often the men who have something to say. This one apparently studied the dictionary. He looked at my books, and my banner with the above-mentioned logo, and asked me if I wrote romance. I did not say, “Duh.” I smiled and said, “Yes.” He said, “Well, I’m more of a misanthropic misogynist.” So I responded, not with what I wanted to say, which was, “Oh how cute, you’ve made it to M in the dictionary. Read a little further, to ‘moron’!” but instead, I just said, “Well, then my books are definitely not for you.” Apparently I was a little loud, because his wife—who obviously provides hope to all bachelors everywhere—called him over to her. 

Crisis averted and entertainment provided.




Monday, November 11, 2019

Holiday Romance Gift Haul Giveaway

HOLIDAY ROMANCE GIFT HAUL GIVEAWAY
November 7-27

Grand Prize Haul Includes Gifts from 40 Authors!


Christmas is coming early for one lucky winner. 7 gift cards, 17 paperbacks (most autographed), a light diffuser and essential oil collection, a T-shirt, 2 literary-themed mugs, Godiva chocolate, 3 gorgeous pieces of jewelry, book-themed ornaments, a book tote, and swag galore from some of your favorite authors. Enter Nov 7-27 for your chance to win the haul!

Then pull in your own book haul with page-turning reads from our book fair. Ebooks in all romance genres, 2.99 or less, or FREE. While you’re shopping, play our scavenger hunt game with a bonus gift box of holiday goodies up for grabs!


(This giveaway is sponsored by the authors listed below)

Amanda Uhl • Amy Knupp • Angelica Kate • Angelica R. Jackson • Aubrey Wynne • Brooke Warren • C.D. Gorri • Calinda B • Callie Bardot • Crystal Dawn • DB McNicol • Debbie White • E.B. Black • Eichin Chang-Lim • Eliza Watson • Elizabeth Rose • Ellen Mint • Em Petrova • G.K. Brady • Holly Cortelyou • Jacqueline Diamond • Jennifer Wilck • Joanne Dannon • Josie Riviera • Judith Sterling • Karina Kantas • Kat Drennan • Kat Samuels • Kerry Blaisdell • Leeann Betts • Linda Mooney • Lori Herter • Lucy Lakestone • Melissa McClone • Michelle Dalton • Michelle Jo Quinn • Mona Sedrak • Nikki Lynn Barrett • Penelope Wylde • Renee Ann Miller • S.L. Sterling • Sabrina Kade • Soraya Naomi • Stephanie Queen • Stormy Legend • Susan Jean Ricci • Tammy Andresen • Tana Stone • Theresa Paolo • Tracy Ellen • Zoe Dawson • Aileen Harkwood

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Bookstore in the Hallmark Town

Crazy weekends make for tired Mondays.

Once again, I went to a book signing. This time, it was in Montgomery, NY, at the Montgomery Book Exchange. I was invited by a writer friend of mine to participate, so of course, I said yes (I’m easy).

I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it was held at a used bookstore. But it was terrific! 

The drive up north was beautiful—farmland and foliage, which would have been spectacular three weeks earlier. But the golds, oranges and browns were breathtaking. Montgomery is a quaint, Hallmark-type town that I want to explore someday when I’m not lugging a suitcase full of books. Walt, the owner, was so nice and professional and knowledgeable.

The three other authors—Roni Denholtz, Ruth Casie and Jean Joachim—were lovely. I knew two out of three of them prior to the signing. Now that I know all four, I consider myself lucky. Writers are friendly folks, and romance writers are some of the best and most supportive people you’ll ever meet. I loved spending time with them, chatting, laughing and learning. And they write great books, so check them out here, here and here!

The bookstore had steady traffic throughout the day—and cookies!!!—and I sold books. More importantly, I made connections with readers and Walt, and he’s now carrying my books. So if you’re in the area, stop by!

One more stop on the book tour and then I’m done for the season!






Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Welcome Back, Peggy Jaeger

I’m going to admit this honestly because, really, why lie? I’m a techno-phobe. Most people who know me will disagree because I do so much with social media and blogging. But the truth is it all scares the bejeezus out of me. 

I came to the techno-table later in life.  I had my very first romance book published right before I turned 55 and up until then I still used a flip-phone and only received calls on it because actually making one gave me stomach pains.

Being traditionally published as opposed to self (or Indie) published was the direction I wanted my writing career to move in. All I wanted to do was write my stories, submit them to an editor, be assigned a cover and then write the next book. It all worked wonderfully until two of my publishers dropped me because of lack-luster sales. I couldn’t blame them, even though I thought they’d made a mistake in letting me go. Publishing, like everything in our world, is profit driven. Why would a publisher want to invest money in an author by paying cover designers, editors, booking promotion tours and giveaways, if they didn’t feel they would get a return on their investment. Makes sound business sense.

Unless you’re the author being dropped.

Wake up calls are reality checks for a reason, kids. When my second publisher dropped me I already had book two written and edited and book 3 in the series plotted. I’d invested months in perfecting the manuscript and getting it reader ready. I didn’t want to start a search process for another publisher, knowing that would be another year or more of my life, and I didn’t want to just store it in a file on my computer. That was a little too much like assigning it to the land of lost toys. But what to do? I knew nothing NOTHING about self-publishing. At every romance and writing conference I’d ever attended I took all the craft classes and none of the business of publishing/indie publishing classes. The very thought of learning how to do all the formatting, marketing, distribution, pricing… gave me migraines, so I avoided those classes like they were the Ebola virus.

But…I wanted this book released and since I was now publisher-orphaned, there was only one solution: self publish it.

I knew nothing, remember, about how to do this. It’s all done electronically now through Amazon and all the other online book retailers. The learning curve for me was vast. Mount Everest-to-the-moon vast. 

When I finally came to the decision to go this route, I didn’t hem or haw or waste a moment. So, how did I learn how to do all the stuff that seemed like learning Greek in a week to me? 

Well, the thing about self-publishing on Amazon is that they actually hold your hand and walk you through everything with videos and instructions. You-Tube became my best friend for two weeks solid. After all the learning, trials and errors – goodness, the errors! – I was able to upload an actual manuscript I’d formatted in their Kindle Create program. I designed my own book cover using Canva and Deposit photos, too. I didn’t pay a book designer because I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t have it professionally edited ( as in paying someone oodles of money to do so) but asked a friend of mine who actually teaches English composition at the college level to walk through the book with me. Her insights were great and I wanted to credit her in the book on the copyright page. She didn’t want her name made public because she was afraid other authors would ask her to do the same and she didn’t want to. But because she’s my friend, she agreed to help me.

I offered the book in a digital format only to begin with, and not Print on Demand, and exclusively with Amazon. That means you can only read it if you have a Kindle. It was easier for me to do this first, as an experiment really, just to see if I could actually accomplish it.

It’s a seven day miracle that I could. And did.

So, here’s the moral of my twisted story. You’re never too old to learn something new- even if it terrifies you; with Indie publishing you make the timeline – not wait in line for a year or more for a release like you do with a traditional house. All the profits from the book sales go to you directly every month. You don’t need to wait around to get a check quarterly or semi-annually sent to you. Plus, you can actually see how many books you sell everyday directly from Amazon. You don’t need an agent, so more money for you! Yay, to that.

There are drawbacks, though. My cover is not professionally done and to my eyes looks it. But like I said, this was more an experiment than anything. The only thing the entire process cost me was time.

Will I self publish another book? Probably. I still have five manuscripts from two different series that I owe to one publisher (of my three), the one who didn’t leave me stranded on the sidewalk in the dead of winter, shoeless and hungry.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, even for me. What I really learned from this entire process is that as an author, I’ve got options for publication where I didn’t think I had more than the traditional choice before.

That’s kinda cool, I think.

Book blurb:
Nell Newbery has trust issues. It’s hard to trust when you’re the daughter of a fallen financial scion who bilked people out of billions. Nell’s done everything in her power to keep away from men who see her as their ticket to fortune and fame. All she wants to do is run her ultra-successful business, HELPFUL HUNKS, in peace.

But it wouldn’t hurt to find a guy who doesn’t know a thing about her father’s felonious past; one she can give her heart to and trust it won’t come back to her battered, bruised, and broken.

Is Charlie Churchill that guy? On the surface he seems perfect, all polished manners and quiet mirth. Nell’s convinced he knows nothing about her, other than she likes superhero movies and views junk food as a food group.

Can she trust him to be what he appears to be? Or is he just pretending?

For Nell, trust is everything in life…and in love.

Excerpt:
We made our way into the assigned theater, found our seats and settled in. The theater was full to capacity but we had a great view, dead center and luckily the two people in front of us weren’t tall, so I’d be able to see the screen without shifting left or right. 
I sighed when I realized my good fortune. Charlie turned toward me and asked, “Everything okay?”
“Yeah.” I lowered my voice. “I was offering up a silent thank you to the God of the vertically challenged because I’m not behind a giant. The last time I was at a movie the guy in front me had to be an NBA player. His torso was as long as my entire body and his shoulders obliterated the screen.”
He stared at me a moment, his forehead creased, his head tilted. “I wasn’t aware there was a God of the vertically challenged.”
I nodded. “Saint Shortstack.”
The lighting in the theater had dimmed, but his quick smile lit up my little area like a fourth of July fireworks explosion. 
Concentrating on the movie should have been easy since I’d been looking forward to it for months. The man seated next to me, though, proved to be a huge distraction. Despite the spacious stadium designed chairs, our bodies came in frequent contact. His thigh brushed mine and our knees bumped several times when Charlie leaned over to scoop some popcorn from the tub in my lap. Our elbows met when we placed them on the armrests. The subtle, tempting scent of his cologne wafted toward me every time he moved closer to grab the candy box out of my hand and pour himself a few pieces. His fingers grazed mine as he handed the box back and a frisson of desire shuddered down my spine from the innocent touch.
My fantasy superhero actors filled the screen and my attention should have been focused on them. At any other time it would have. Instead, my concentration was centered totally on the man sitting next to me.
When Iron Man took Pepper into his arms and kissed her silly, I remembered the incredible sensation of Charlie’s lips on mine. When Black Widow cupped the Hulk’s cheek to reassure him, the memory of Charlie’s fingers skimming my jaw had me squirming in my seat. Even when the team was saving the world and I should have paid attention to who was getting knocked out or wounded, the fascinating man next to me stole my every thought.
At one point my leg started bobbing, an old tick from my teen years that reared itself whenever my nerves popped up. I nearly came out of the chair when Charlie placed a hand on my knee, leaned in close and whispered, “What’s wrong, Nell?”
My knee instantly stopped bouncing.
“Sorry. Thinking about something work related.” I had to lie. I couldn’t admit the reason I was so keyed up was because of him. Sitting next to him, his touch – however innocent - heck, even the smell of him, was such a turn-on that my body wouldn’t quiet down. It was like I’d drunk six cups of caffeinated coffee and then been forced to stay immobile while all my adrenaline fought to be set free.
He squeezed my knee then patted my thigh.  Both gestures sent my nerve endings into hyperdrive. 
“Work will always be there,” he said softly, his lips delightfully close to my ear. “Relax.”
“Impossible,” I muttered.

Buy Links:
Exclusive to KU  and Kindle only: 


Author bio:

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??!"

Social Media links:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/


Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0












Monday, October 28, 2019

Barnes & Noble Book Signing

Another weekend, another book signing.

I know that sounds so blasé. I don’t mean it to. Every time I get to sign books, I’m excited. There have just been a lot of them lately, and the activity will continue until Thanksgiving.

This time, it was at Barnes & Noble. Whoa. Just looking at that makes me feel like a real author (cue Sally Field). Just because my books are available at online retailers, doesn’t mean they are carried in brick and mortar bookstores. And when Barnes & Noble offer book signings, they generally like to carry the books of the authors they promote. Luckily, as time has gone by, they’ve realized that as long as they are ABLE to get them in one way or another, they can host the author. Or maybe it’s luckily for me.

The store manager of the Barnes & Noble is a big romance fan (not all managers are) and contacted my local chapter of romance writers, looking for authors who would like to attend her event. Of course, I volunteered.

It was a great day. There were seventeen of us there and they put us smack in the middle of the store—you’d be surprised at how often we’re shuffled off into an alcove where no one knows to visit us. There was even a sign advertising some of us. And streamers! 

I was excited to see so many of the authors I know on social media but haven’t had the chance to meet in person. Authors are fun to be around, especially romance ones. We chatted and laughed with each other and with customers, and sold books! And, I made connections—both with the store manager, who will now invite me to other events, and with other writers, who will include me in events they find out about. So it was a great success.



Next week, I’m signing at an independent bookstore in Montgomery, NY. I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area!



And if you haven't heard, my Hanukkah novella is up for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks! Only $1.99. Order now and it will magically appear on your e-reader on December 2!


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Welcome Linda Nightingale!

Good morning, everyone! Jennifer is extending her hospitality to me today to talk about my new book, Sinners’ Opera, which was released by The Wild Rose Press October 7th.  This is the second incarnation of Morgan’s and Isabeau’s love story. The first edition was published by a Canadian publisher in 2015. When I received my rights  back, I immediately sent the book to my editor with the Black Rose line. The book has undergone a rewrite.
The book is set in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC. The hero is an English lord, a concert pianist…and a vampire. He has everything except what he most desires—Isabeau. The tag line is Death if his punishment; she his prize.
Since he is a concert pianist, I thought we’d talk about pianos. This blog might be more than you’ve ever wanted to know about pianos, and I will only brush the surface of this most spiritual of instruments. In fact, I’m now looking for a baby grand with a player system (I don’t play). That’s a little not-very-interesting aside.
In Sinners’ Opera, Morgan’s choice of pianos in a Bosendorfer, a very expensive piano. Bosendorfer is an Austrian piano maker, and, since 2008, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha, a Japanese piano manufacturer and is one of the world’s largest producers of pianos. Today, a lot of pianos are made in  Japan or Indonesia. 
Another premium piano is the Steinway. You’ll find many concert halls have Steinways. Steinway & Sons is an American piano company founded in 1853 by in Manhattan by German piano builder Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg. Along with C. Bechstein (Liszt’s personal favorite), Bosendorfer, and Bluthner, Steinway is often referred to as the Big Four. Steinway’s share of the high-end piano market frequently exceeds 80%.
Another piano with  a good, rich sound is the American piano, Mason & Hamlin. Mason & Hamlin is an American piano based in Haverhill, Massachusetts, founded in 1854. In the 19thcentury, they also manufactured a large number of pump organs. They are not inexpensive by any means, but not as expensive as the Steinway or Bosendorfer.
There are a lot of pianos with smaller price tags than $30-80,000.  Samick, an Indonesian company, manufactures several lines of pianos, the top of their line being Kohler & Campbell, which also once was an American piano. The Yamaha is more costly, and to my tastes too ‘bright’, meaning that the sound tends to be more high-pitched. 
Baldwin, an American piano, founded in 1862 in Cincinnati, is a good, rich piano but the grands or baby grands are still quite expensive.
Kawai is a Japanese piano company and more affordable than the Yahama. The piano company has been striving to improve their pianos and now are recognized for their sound quality. Since I can’t afford one of the Big Boys, maybe I’ll take a look at a Kawaii.
Quickly, let’s look at piano player systems. There are two best known and most used. QRS Pianomation and PianoDisc. Both reproduce keystrokes from recorded music which are transmitted to the piano from solenoids on the inside of the piano (that’s a very simplified version of what goes on). The capabilities of these systems range from those that simply play the piano (often all that’s desired for home use) all the way to those that allow composers to create, play, and print entire orchestral scores without ever leaving the piano bench. I only want one of the new QRS iPad compatible systems.
Morgan and I hope this zippity quick piano lesson hasn’t bored you, but maybe put the desire for a piano into your heart.
Do you research online or in brick-and-mortar stores. There are SO many brands of pianos, and you need to choose one that resonates with you. Also, I don’t know a lot about pianos, so forgive me any mistakes.



Sinners’ Opera 

Tagline:  Vampire Morgan D’Arcy has everything except what he most desires…a woman he has loved since the day she was born…Isabeau.
Keywords:  The Wild Rose Press, vampires, New releases, books about vampires, obsession and love books, paranormal romance books, Linda Nightingale, Morgan D’Arcy

Blurb:
Morgan D'Arcy is an English lord, a classical pianist, and a vampire. He has everything except what he desires most—Isabeau. As the Angel Gabriel he’s steered her life and career choice, preparing her to become Lady D'Arcy. Many forces oppose Morgan's daring plan—not the least of which is Vampyre law.
Isabeau Gervase is a brilliant geneticist Though she no longer believes in angels, she sees a ticket to a Nobel Prize in Gabriel's secrets—secrets that have led her to a startling conclusion. Gabriel isn't human, and she fully intends to identify the species she named the Angel Genome. Morgan is ready to come back into Isabeau's life, but this time as a man not an angel. Will he outsmart his enemies, protect his beloved and escape death himself? For the first time in eternity, the clock is ticking.
Excerpt:
Hunger gnawed at me.  An edgy dark feeling possessed me. I gravitated to the piano as I always did in times of trouble.  Alone in the room, the 1930s Bosendorfer gleamed sleek black, waiting patiently for my hands to bring her to life.  I settled on the bench to await Lucien St. Albans.  ’od’s blood, what had brought the most powerful vampire in the world halfway across the globe to my door?
Avery and a tall black shadow appeared in the doorway.  My old ally’s stance was unyielding, blocking the way.  “My Lord, Luc—”

“Lucien St. Albans.”  The shadow shouldered Avery aside.  “I’ve waited for hours.”

Undaunted, the old man stepped in front of the dark prince of the Vampyre.  “My Lord, does it please you to receive your guest?”

“Children, stop bickering.”  It was the game they always played.

I studied the beautiful, ruthless vampire who’d found me wandering a rutted road in the spring of 1659.  Without him, the morning sun would have ended my pilgrimage to the Vampyre.  That night in Paris I hadn’t known what it meant to be a vampire, and I was one.  My vampire mother had perished to mortal revenge. Lucien St. Albans took me under his wing, guided my discovery of self and taught me to control bewildering powers of mind and body.  He had been my teacher, and once we’d shared blood. Through thick and thin, Lucien had been my most loyal friend.

He strode across the room, his presence resonating the air, and posed with his arm resting on the marble Louis XV mantel. Black hair streamed over the shoulders of his black suit.  As a young mortal man, Lucien had watched his countrymen nail a carpenter to a cross. Centuries later, he had the power to condemn me to crucifixion—in the sun.

“Good evening, Morgan.”  Mocking eyes glittered like scarabs.

“It was a good evening.”  I leaned my back against the piano, stretched the length of my legs in front of me, the patent formal shoes gleaming.

“What of courtly manners, My Lord?”

I withheld the smile he expected.  “I gave them up for Lent.”

“Lent is in February.” Long bronze fingers twirled an emerald-eyed griffin.  “The proper response is, ‘Welcome, Lucien, I’ve missed you.’”

Lucien toying with St. Averil’s heraldic symbol was a blatant challenge.  A knot of sick apprehension burned my stomach. I resisted rubbing my abdomen.

Masking dread with sarcasm, I let my gaze stray down the front of him, then flashed a smile.  “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

Lucien had dispensed with a Glamour.  Oblong pupils caught the light as he tossed me a fanged smile.  I swung a leg over the bench, ran my fingers along the keys, striking the first chords of a symphony I’d write as I played a game turned deadly.

About Linda:

After 14 years in Texas, Linda just returned home to her roots. She has seven published novels, four of which are available from Audible.com in audio. For many years, she bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. Our local author has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt.  She retired from a career as a legal assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center to write full time.

She has 2 wonderful sons—one in Texas; one in England—and 4 equally marvelous grandchildren.

Web Site:  http://www.lindanightingale.com– Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog:  https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/- Lots of interesting guests & prizes

Monday, October 21, 2019

Have You Heard About My Hanukkah Book?

The excitement of signing a new contract, revealing a new cover, and announcing a release date for a book never gets old. And with that in mind, I’m happy to share the cover and back cover blurb for Waiting for a Miracle, my short Hanukkah novella that releases December 2.


Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.

Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.

Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?

I can’t wait to share this Hanukkah story with you!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Welcome Judith Sterling

Night of the Owl (The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Four)
By Judith Sterling


Book Blurb
PhD student Ardyth Nightshade has renounced men and pursues her twentieth-century career with single-minded focus. When fate whisks her to medieval England, she meets her match in a man whose passions mirror her own. Can she sacrifice ambition for a love she never sought?
Hugh, Lord Seacrest confounds all who know him. He refuses to marry without a meeting of minds and hearts, and no lady has even approached his ideal…until Ardyth. But she's an odd one, with unique skills, shocking habits, and total conviction she needs no man. She also harbors secrets, and in the midst of rumors, plots, and murder, trust is fragile.
A woman outside of her time. A man ahead of his. They must take a leap of faith to forge a bond that will shape history.

Excerpt
            Ardyth looked from one tunnel entrance to the next, and then the next.  The ledge in front of them was substantial.  It ran along the rock wall to the right, all the way to the mouth of the cave, winding around it to continue along the outer cliff.
            Again, she pointed.  “Where does that lead?”
            “Shouldn’t you be doffing your clothes?”
            Her eyes narrowed.  “In other words, you don’t intend to answer my question.”
            He grinned.  “Clever, aren’t you?”
            She returned his smile.  “I like to think so.”
            “If you’re stalling because you cannot swim—”
            “Oh, I can swim.”  She could hardly wait to feel the cool water on her skin.
            He folded his arms, and his intense, gray eyes held a dare.  “Then show me.”
            “Hold this.”  She handed him the folded smock.  Get ready to eat crow, buddy!  Quickly, she removed her boots, hose, and tunics.  When only her thin, white chemise remained, she stole a peek at her skeptical host.  He stared at her bare feet.
            She sighed.  “I know.  My feet are hardly attractive.  In fact, I’ve always thought my toes resemble…”
            He raised his eyebrows.  “What?”
            Astronauts.  But I can’t tell you that.  “Nothing.”
            His eyebrows settled again, but the orbs beneath them seemed to glow with a new light.  “I beg to differ with your opinion.  Your feet are quite…lovely.”
            She almost laughed, until heat flooded her cheeks.  I’m blushing?  “Thank you,” she muttered.  With an inward groan, she started toward the water.  For crying out loud!  He only complimented your feet.  Your pale, crazy, NASA-evoking feet.  Get a grip!
            The ocean breeze caught the hem of her smock as she stepped into the surf.  Foamy water—colder than she would’ve liked—enveloped her feet.  Thank God for the heat of the sun!  But this was the closest she’d come to a bath in days, and she was determined to prove her skills to the man who underestimated her at every turn.  She waded forward, and the brisk, undulating water swallowed her calves, knees, thighs, and hips.
            “Lady Ardyth!”
            She turned.  Her dry smock in his hands, Hugh stood with feet well apart on the wet sand.
            “You needn’t prove your courage further!” he called above the lapping, swishing voice of the sea.  “Come back before—”
            “Courage isn’t the point!  Swimming is!”  The level of the surrounding water lowered to her thighs, signaling a coming wave.
            She turned just as it crested and dove headfirst into it.  Completely submerged in the chill, rushing water, she headed left and allowed herself to rise to the surface.  She swam freestyle for several strokes, then flipped onto her back and floated with abandon.  After a minute or two, she flipped over, and swam in the opposite direction.  Then she stood with the water at her ribs, waited for the next wave, and indulged in bodysurfing, which carried her with a whoosh back toward shore.
            Satisfied, she straightened, knee-deep in the water.  Her wet chemise clung to her frame, and she knew Lord Seacrest was getting a lordly eyeful.  Her nipples were rock-hard from the cold.
            She rolled her eyes toward the bright, blue sky.  My kingdom for a bra!  And throw in a pair of underwear, too!  But both articles of clothing were back at Nihtscua and not likely to appear anytime soon.  For the first time since plunging into the surf, she regarded Hugh.
            Eyes wide, her dry smock clutched in his hands, he stood as if frozen.  Only his gaze moved, traveling from her breasts to the apex of her thighs.
            She pulled the smock away from her flesh as best she could and advanced toward him, stopping an arm’s length away.  “I told you I could swim.”
            He blinked.  Then his full, sensual lips curled into a smile.  “Indeed, you did.”
            “And?”
            “And what?”
            “You’ve doubted me twice already.  Perhaps you owe me an apology.”
            His eyes widened, then relaxed.  “Perhaps I do.  Pray…forgive me.”
            The words couldn’t have come easily, and the fact he’d said them made her grin.  “I forgive you.  This time.  But I ask respectfully that you not underestimate me again.”
            For two seconds, he hesitated.  “ʼTis a reasonable request, and I shall endeavor to honor it.”  He gave her a quizzical look.  Then he shook his head and chuckled.  “Is there anything you cannot do?”
            She thought for a moment.  “I’ve never ridden aside.  If I’m going to ride something, I spread my legs.”  The instant the words left her mouth, she cringed inside.  Good God.  That came out all wrong!
            Humor curved his lips, but his eyes smoldered.  Did his thoughts mirror hers?  He took a step closer, and his masculine aura invaded her personal space.  “Tell me more.”

Buy Links

Author Bio
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media Links

A little extra…
The hero and heroine’s mutual love of history reflects my husband’s and mine.  You might say history brought us together because right around the same time, each of us decided independently to move from different parts of the country to Virginia, specifically to seek work at Colonial Williamsburg.  There’s a lot of both of us in Night of the Owl.  That’s why the book’s release date is perfect; it’s our 19th wedding anniversary!