Medieval Monday ~ Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu

MedMon

Please welcome Carmen Stefanescu to Medieval Monday! I’m thrilled to introduce her, since Carmen is from Romania, better known to many as Dracula’s country.  Her book, Shadows of the Past, sounds absolutely fascinating!

 

 

shadowsofthepastbk

Blurb:

Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

Excerpt:

 “Come, we should leave at once,” she said and glanced nervously over her shoulder. “Something terrible happened after you left for town. I think the Abbess found out about us. Our meeting in Uncle Ryan’s cabin is no longer a secret. We have been overheard. For all I know someone spies on us even as we speak. I think the Abbess, or one of her ‘friends,’ is hovering somewhere nearby and listening to every word.”

Andrew pulled Genevieve to his chest. “Do you regret you’ve come with me?”

Passion smothered Genevieve’s doubt and guilt. “Never,” she answered, aware of her body’s response to his touch, and she succumbed to his embrace.

Calming the gnawing unease in her mind and the thought of Sister Dominica guessing she was the dough of a sinner, Genevieve repeated, “Never.”

With her eyes closed and their bodies touching she became, for the very first time, simply a woman. She melted in his embrace in spite of the invisible vicious threat breathing around them. Aware they might never be alone again, she fought hard to silence the voice of conscience berating her.

“Oh, God. Please forgive me,” Andrew muttered under his breath when he bowed his head to kiss her. Their lips met in a passionate first kiss.

Genevieve’s spirits fell and her heart skipped a beat when, a couple of seconds later, she opened her eyes and her gaze fell on a knot strangers.

……….

Tears welled in Anne’s eyes, blurring her vision. She couldn’t explain them, or the sudden sadness seeping into her heart. This should’ve been a moment of happiness or, at least, contentment. She was with Neil again, and the outcome of their trip together should, very likely, bring their reconciliation. Why then did she seem detached from where she stood?

Anne shivered. Why the deep feeling of having seen this place, this forest before? And why the eerie sensation of being present here only in the body, while her mind was far away?

Away from the forest.

Away from Neil, the man who’d betrayed her trust and her love.

An onrush of sensations unfamiliar to her followed. Dizziness and a malevolent feeling of unreality suffocated her.

Anne edged cautiously closer to the rim of the bare cliff. Her foot tapped the edge. It seemed solid. She stared into the darkness of the abyss at her feet. It echoed the shadows in her heart.  An unusual curiosity took hold of her. Should she step ahead? What was down there? Other human bones? Another mystery? The presence of evil, creeping up and enveloping her, became almost palpable. The vines of fog folded around her, dragging her to the depth. Her throat turned dry, and she gasped for air.

Megan’s face contorted, the voice no longer pleasant. A hoarse gurgle, spluttering distorted words, “Yes, come… I’m waiting… I’ve been waiting for you for such a long time…”

Buy Links:

Wild Child Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Click here to learn more about Carmen.

My guest next week on Medieval Monday is Berengaria Brown

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Quote for the Week of January 25, 2015

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Today marks the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns–born January 25, 1759, in Alloway, Scotland.

The picture is a very old miniature leather booklet of his poems that I’ve had for many years. So instead of my usual quote, I’m going to include one of the songs he wrote.

Yet, this day is extra special to me. It also happens to be my sister’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Vici!

 

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,

The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

I loved this version the best out of all the others I viewed, even though it was promoting a book at the end of the video. :)

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Friday Feast ~ Baked Sweet Potatoes

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This week was a bit rough for me. My husband and I came down with the stomach flu and for days our diet consisted of mild broths, toast, crackers, ginger ale, tea, and scrambled eggs.

Naturally, I’m craving something more substantial, and this is what I found in my pantry. I picked these up last week, and now I’m ready for a heartier meal.

This recipe is courtesy of my sister-in-law from Thanksgiving. It screams comfort food to me. The meal is simple: Turkey Meatballs, Sweet Potatoes, and Butter leaf salad with avocado.

Is there anything special you’re cooking this weekend?

BAKED SWEET POTATOES

Sweet Potatoes (your choice on the quantity), washed and peeled, ends sliced

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil. Take each sweet potato and cut a slit ¾ of the way down. Continue making slits ½ inch apart. You’re opening up the sweet potato, but it’s still attached as a whole. Drizzle olive oil over the sweet potatoes, making sure that the oil gets in-between the slits. Season with sea salt and ground pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes or longer depending on the amount of potatoes you have on the baking sheet.

Enjoy!

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Medieval Monday ~ Highland Burn by Victoria Zak!

MedMon

Please welcome my dear friend and author, Victoria Zak to Medieval Monday! Her book, Highland Burn, is the first in her Guardians of Scotland and it’s fantastic! Step into the world of medieval Scotland with a paranormal twist…

 

 

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The Loch

Late summer of 1314

Medieval Scotland

Excerpt:

The unsettled nature of Scotland had left Abigale hardened. She’d seen firsthand the aftermath of battles fought; mended wounds, prayed over dead bodies, and even buried the dead. The nunnery where she grew up would set up tents to aid those wounded in battle. Abigale would assist in surgery and her passion grew for healing the sick and mending wounds. Life was to be valued, not destroyed.

In a way she blamed Lady Scotland for her misfortunes. Her father’s growing need to fight for Scotland had caused her to stay hidden, conceal her true identity, and grow up without a family. Her whole family had been affected by the battles fought for Scotland and the greed of claiming the crown. Though it was true she had long forgiven the Lady; she could not forget.

The Highlander seemed far away in thought, because he took a while to answer. “Some would say I’m a Highlander.” He approached Abigale. “May I?” The beautiful stranger reached for a piece of hair that was stuck to her face and tucked it behind her ear. He brushed a callused finger down her cheek to her slender neck leaving a fiery path trailing behind.

He held her stare and captivated her to the point that she could not form a coherent thought. Her body was no longer hers to control, her heart dropped, and desire pooled in her core setting her body on fire. This Highlander was so close to her she could feel his breath on her skin, she could smell his masculine scent and soon she wanted to taste his lips.

 

Highland Burn Book Blurb:

Will Love’s Flame Quench the Dragon’s Fire? …

The past never stays in the past, it rears its ugly head eventually. James the Black Douglas knows this all too well. With a past that has left him vengeful and his dragon blood thirsty, his reputation as a ruthless warrior haunts his enemies in their sleep. As his allegiance stands with Robert Bruce, the King of Scotland, he must now repay a debt to the king and agrees to marry his daughter, Abigale Bruce. The problem is he doesn’t want a wife. When flames start to burn out of control between him and the auburn-haired lass, he must decide to either kindle the flames of passion or shelter her from the truth and set her free.

It’s What Shines in the Dark That Brings Forth Your True Light…

Determined to keep his daughter safe and out of the hands of the English, Robert hides Abigale behind the safe walls of a nunnery. After eight long years of living her life in seclusion, Abigale is finally set free. But her new found freedom comes to an abrupt halt when she learns of her betrothal to the infamous Bogeyman – James the Black Douglas. She soon finds herself falling in love with the uncontainable and haunted man. Is her love enough to soften his hardened heart?

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qUrh7n

My guest next week on Medieval Monday is Carmen Stefanescu! 

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Quote for the Week of January 18, 2014

Garden at Kensington Palace, England

Garden at Kensington Palace, England

 

“Health and good humor are to the human body like sunshine to vegetation.”

–Jean B. Massillon

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Friday Feast ~ Eggnog Scones

IMG_2850I always find it sad when the holidays are over, since one of my favorite drinks is eggnog. I’m sure I could whip up a batch, but it marks the closure of another season when I can’t pick up my favorite brand at the store.

Over the weekend, I used the last of my eggnog to make my favorite scones.

Are there any holiday favorites (food or drink) that you’re missing?

EGGNOG SCONES

 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup eggnog

2 tablespoons sugar

Fresh or ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk ingredients.

Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules. Add sugar and toss to mix.

Add eggnog and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. For dough into a ball, put onto a lightly floured board, and give 10 to 12 kneads.

To make triangular scones, cut dough in half. Knead each half lightly into a ball and turn smooth side up. Pat or roll into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 or 8 wedges. Place wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Combine sugar with nutmeg and sprinkle on wedges. Bake about 12 minutes, or until light brown on top.

***UPDATED TO ADD EGGNOG RECIPE***

Old-Fashioned Eggnog

 6 eggs

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

4 cups whole milk

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend together eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Fold in whipping cream and vanilla. Pour into bowl or pitcher. Cover and chill thoroughly several hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Cover Reveal ~ Stormee Waters by Lynda Coker

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I’m celebrating the cover reveal for Stormee Waters by fellow Wild Rose Press  author, Lynda Coker. I’ve been patiently waiting for this book, and I’m happy to say that it will be released tomorrow!

Blurb:

Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble…

Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He’s adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he’s just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?

Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?

Excerpt:

She came back to reality and placed the box on the foyer table, picked up her purse, and stepped through the door. The evening light cast a deep shadow across the man at her side, giving the illusion that he became one with the darkness, and something more she couldn’t define. When he escorted her to a sleek, black sports car of indefinable origin, something more took on solid proportions in her imagination. Every tingling cell in her body warned her against the power of his striking personality. That feeling barely registered before another followed. Dirk Savage didn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own. She nibbled her lower lip and stole a glance at him as he helped her to fasten the seat belt.

“Don’t look so dismayed. I’m not going to ravish you, at least, not before we’ve had our dinner.”

Still leaning over her, with nothing but a thought between their lips, his low chuckle reached to the very bottom of her toes. Embarrassed by his scrutiny, she turned her head.

Fifteen minutes passed. He’d made no small talk, and she welcomed the silence. They’d cleared the congested part of town and cruised through an exclusive residential area. Expensive homes perched along the river’s edge.

Buy Links: (Release – January 14th)

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6034

Amazon: (Available January 14th))

Stormee Waters Launch Giveaway Link:  http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/p/stormee-waters-launch-giveaway.html

Lynda Coker Author Photo

Lynda is an author of contemporary romance that lingers in a reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she enjoys creating fabric art.  She offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.

Blog:  http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lyndacoker

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lyndacoker

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/lyndacoker/

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Medieval Monday ~ Marek by Bambi Lynn

MedMon

Please welcome Bambi Lynn to Medieval Monday. Her book, Marek is one that captured me from the moment I saw the cover. Sizzling and captivating!

 

 

 

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BLURB: Boring accountant, Kitty Petty, struggles to get through each day one at a time since the brutal murder of her husband. She spends every free moment caring for her young daughter, until the night she wakes to find her bed on fire.

Kitty doesn’t know how she got to the year 1196, much less how to get back. But if she doesn’t, her daughter will be institutionalized. Having failed to save her child from the clutches of a madman. Kitty vows to protect her future. But going back to her time means risking her own life and separating her from the knight she has grown to love.

Marek Stone wants to protect his wife from the people of Stonebridge. Katherine has been declared a demon after her miraculous rise from the funeral pyre, and the villagers want justice.

EXCERPT:

Marek jerked the laces free at the waist of his chausses, tugged them off and, naked, padded across to the tub. Stepping over the side, he sank into the steaming water. With a sigh, he closed his eyes, resting his head back against the rim.

The look of ecstasy on his face made Kitty want to rip off her own clothes and jump in with him. She realized she’d never known lust until that moment. She tried to deny it, but the pulse at her core could not be ignored, nor could the moisture that pooled between her thighs. Slowly she tiptoed over until she stood next to the tub, gazing down at him.

He did not open his eyes, but spoke so quietly he must have known she stood next to him. “If you have had a change of heart towards Bria, I am pleased. I would not deny her the affections of her mother. I have often told you not to toy with me, now I demand the same consideration of her. I would not have her disappointed in any way.”

She nodded vaguely, her gaze riveted to the water line just beneath his chest.

When she did not answer, he looked up at her. “Wife,” he snapped. Kitty jumped, having been caught gawking at his nudity, barely hidden beneath the water. “Continue to stare at me thus and you’ll find yourself possessed of me for the first time in years.”

Kitty could think of nothing more pleasant that being ‘possessed’ of this man.

He settled himself once again, but continued to look up at her. “I have not concerned myself with your whoring for some time. But I would like nothing more than for Bria to know the love of a happy family. You are a mistress of deceit. If you can make her believe she has that, I would be…grateful.” His expression softened.

Kitty fairly melted. He loved that child. All he wanted was for her to be happy. She knew in that moment that this man would never allow harm to come to his daughter, much less harm her himself. He wasn’t like Jake. She reached out, traced the tip of her finger along the scar that trailed into his wet hair.

The touch was like an electric shock. The downy hairs on the back of her neck prickled. A shiver racked her whole body.

He must have felt it, too. Marek grabbed her wrist and, before she could say anything to stop him, pulled her over the side and into his lap. Water sloshed onto the floor.

Her first thought, that he was ruining Bria’s favorite gown, evaporated as he pulled her against his chest, crushing his lips to hers.

Kitty knew she should resist. She couldn’t breathe. The frantic, almost desperate movement of his mouth on hers seared her. She kissed him back with all the pent up passion and loneliness she’d felt in recent months.

God! He was a good kisser. His lips were full and seemed to devour her. She opened her mouth wider, taking his tongue inside her. Her hands grasped his shoulders. Oh, but she could get used to this.

And her daughter would perish.

Available At: Amazon, B&N, Apple

Find Bambi online:

Hot Historicals ~ www.bambilynn.net

bambi@bambilynn.net

facebook.com/BambiLynn.HotHistoricals

twitter: @hot_historicals

 

Next week on Medieval Monday my guest author is Victoria Zak!

I will leave you with this wonderful video by Ruth A. Casie for Medieval Monday. I will be hosting these amazing authors and their medieval stories over the next twelve weeks. Enjoy!

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Quote for the Week of January 11, 2015

Drombeg Stone Circle, Ireland

Drombeg Stone Circle, Ireland

“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”

–Mark Twain

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Friday Feast ~ Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness

As most of you know, I love Guinness. My first taste of this drink was at a Renaissance Fair many years ago. I was smitten by this dark, luscious beer from the first sip.

Yet, my true taste was when I visited Ireland. It had been a verra long day on the Irish Ferry, and it was the first item I ordered when we went to dinner at a local pub. Let me tell you, Guinness does taste better in Ireland!

I wonder what the Dragon Knights would have thought of this beer.

Do you have any special recipes using Guinness, or ale? If so, please share.

Guinness Beef Stew

2 lbs. boneless beef sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and fresh ground pepper

All purpose flour for dredging

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)

¼ cup olive oil

4 medium onions

2 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 cups Guinness stout

6 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Season the meat with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Working in batches, cook the meat on all sides for 5 minutes, or until evenly browned. Remove meat from the pot. Stir in the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.

Return all the meat to the pot and add enough of the beef stock and the Guinness to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 60 – 70 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook for 30 – 40 minutes, until the vegetables and meat are tender, and the stew has thickened. (To thicken more, mix 2 tablespoons flour with ½ cup of water until smooth. Stir into the stew and cook for 5 minutes longer.)

Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty sourdough bread.

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