I’m as busy as this bee in the picture these days, so I’ll keep my recipe simple. I love this tasty spread. It’s great on scones, toast, gingersnaps, and oatmeal. I’m sure you can think of more ways to use this butter, too.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends!
“He who would harvest honey must endure the sting of the bees.” –Breton proverb
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter **
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Soften butter to room temperature. Mix in honey and lemon zest.
**I sometimes splurge and use Kerrygold Irish butter.
Please welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author and my friend, Mary Gillgannon. I enjoyed finding out more about Mary. Along with my interview, I’m featuring her new release, Wicked Wager. The cover is sensual, and I can hardly wait to open the pages of this book. Also, there are two rafflecopter giveaways, so don’t forget to enter!
Welcome, Mary! So glad you could join us today. Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?
I’m not a morning person—it takes me until about 10 a.m. before I’m close to functional—but oddly enough mornings are my best writing time. My theory is that the creative process of writing fiction is close enough to the dream state that I can go from one to the other quite easily, even as it takes the rational, organized part of my brain much longer to start working.
Fascinating, Mary. I’m a morning person and wake with the bird song, which is around 4am.
Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?
I’m about three-fourths of the way through the first draft of the sequel to my time-travel/reincarnation novel Call Down the Moon. The hero of this book is a Viking metalsmith who travels to present day L.A. to be reunited with his beloved, who was an Irish wise woman in the past and who is now an events planner. I briefly lived in L.A. after college, and it’s been fun to revisit that world, while still having sprinkling in references to Viking Ireland, one of my favorite settings.
Absolutely love time-travel stories!
What inspires you when you’re writing?
I like to listen to music. I have a very eclectic CD collection and enjoy everything from Sixties rock (the Doors, Dylan, Jethro Tull) to contemporary singers like Lana del Rey and Adele, along with Celtic artists like Lorenna McKennit. Also, although I don’t do it much while writing, I love to travel. Visits to Wales, Ireland and Scotland have directly influenced and helped me flesh out my books. But even when I go to places I’ll probably never write about, the excitement of seeing new things and experiencing a different environment always refreshes and recharges my creative side.
Lorenna is one of my favorites, too. She has a beautiful voice.
What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?
When one of my cats (we have four) jumps up on my desk, probably to go out my window onto the roof, that’s my favorite thing. Especially if it’s my darling Benjamin. Otherwise it’s my little succulent garden that I started about a year ago. Two of the plants have even bloomed, which is very gratifying as it means they’re happy.
So precious, Mary! And nothing makes me more happy (besides writing) than being out in my garden.
Now for the fun questions…
Do you prefer…
Champagne or Beer?
I really like champagne but it goes down far too easy and gives you a rotten hangover. Beer fills me up so I drink much it more moderately and so is probably a better choice.
Southern drawl or Scottish burr?
Oh, Scottish burr, for sure. Or an Irish accent or even an English one.
Kilt or Leather pants?
Since I was obsessed with Jim Morrison as an adolescent, I’d have to say leather pants.
Print book or e-reader?
Nothing beats a print book—the tactile satisfaction, the smell, the “realness” of it. But when traveling, I do read ebooks for the convenience.
When hardened gamester Marcus Revington wins Horngate Manor in a card game, he is delighted to finally own property. Even discovering he must marry the heiress of the estate doesn’t deter him.
The heiress, Penny Montgomery, is happy with her life raising horses at Horngate and has no desire to wed anyone. When she learns about her guardian’s Wicked Wager, she schemes to convince Marcus she’s unsuitable as a wife so he’ll forget his plan to marry her.
Who will win this battle of wits and wills? Or will they both discover the name of the game is love?
Please welcome Andrea R. Cooper to Medieval Monday! I’m featuring her book, Viking Flame. This story is the prequel to Viking Fire.
Let’s take a look into her world of Vikings….
Bram has agreed to marry an Irish nobleman’s daughter in exchange for land and his services fighting with the Laird Liannon’s clan against rival Irishmen. However, Bram’s intended does not stir his heart. Not like the Laird’s daughter, Kaireen.
Somehow, he must not only convince the Laird to amend his marriage contract, but win the heart of the stubborn feisty Kaireen.
Near the beach, the man quit rowing and yanked out a knife.
Bram didn’t move. “You go against your Captain’s orders t—”
“You made it to shore. That’s all we’s promised.” He spat at Bram’s boots. “No one said anything about you living afterwards.” When he dove forward, Bram ducked to the side and snatched the sailor’s arm, pinning it to his side. When the sailor slung with his free arm, Bram increased the pressure until the man was on his knees.
“Cease, or I will break your arm.” If it wasn’t for his pledge to Morga, he’d have snapped the man’s arm already. Once his contract was signed with the Laird, then he’d be free to fight in Ireland—or at least against other Vikings and rival Irishmen. The man continued to struggle, “Or perhaps a leg as well? What will your Captain say if you return without your weapon and injured? Will he be merciful and allow you to recover or throw you to the sharks?”
“Heathen scum!” He twisted his body to escape Bram’s grip.
As he did, Bram snapped the man’s wrist backward and the first mate let out a howl before the blade came closer to Bram’s chest.
“Now, hand me the knife.” When the man glared at him, he increased pressure on the bent wrist. “Or this heathen might do worse so that not even the sharks would want you.”
The first mate gulped and released his hold of the knife.
Bram broke his hold and snatched the blade out of the air before it hit the water. “Tell your Captain, I will not forget his hospitality nor will any of my eight brothers.”
The man paled. “What brings you to our island? To rape our women and pillage our churches?”
“No.” Bram rose and tucked the small blade into his boot. “To find my bride.”
Please welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author and my friend, J.C. McKenzie! I’m featuring her new release, Carpe Demon. This is book three in her Carus Series. I absolutely love this cover. And don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter at the bottom.
Let’s take a peek into her paranormal world…
As an ambassador with the Supernatural Regulatory Division, Andy McNeilly is responsible for acting as the Liaison for the Vancouver Vampire horde. The problem? She detests the Vampire Master, and the SRD can’t discover the beast she keeps locked inside.
After a menacing Demon throws an important Vampire event into chaos, Andy finds herself sniffing out crime scenes to identify and locate the mystery fiend from the nether realm. What she learns chills her bones.
Threatened by the Master Vampire to deal with the Demon, Andy’s complicated personal life doesn’t make things easier. She’s willing to risk her life and pride to keep loved ones safe. But how can she make a choice that will break one heart…and complete another?
The Demon’s grin widened. Standing a foot away from him with no room to maneuver and nothing to separate us, the serrated details of his shiny enamel glared at me.
My fingertips tingled as I started to shift.
Not fast enough.
The Demon lunged. His long nimble fingers closed around my neck as I shot my hands out, inside his arms, and dug my claws into his face. My elbows pushed against the insides of his arms. His hold should’ve weakened, but this Demon possessed uncanny strength. His frame stretched, growing to almost eight feet in height and giving his body an emaciated appearance. He pulled me close, his nose touching mine. I wrenched to the side, but my toes dangled above the floor.
“Bola sends his regards,” he said, his breath hitting my face.
My gums stung as fangs protruded and I hissed at him, ready to make the full change and get my fight on. I yanked on the mountain lion and spurred her into action.
“By all means, little nugget, shift into one of your animals.” He gnashed his sharp teeth together. “I love to rend the flesh of livestock, to mutilate the bodies of creatures, and to smash the bones of beasts.”
In honor of Duncan MacKay, the hero from my first book, Dragon Knight’s Sword, I wanted to share one of his favorites ~ Damson (Plum) Tarts.
This is a recipe I had on my blog last year, but I’m having a sale, so I’ve brought back this delicious treat. The digital copy of Dragon Knight’s Sword is only .99! Grab your copy now, since this is a limited offer.
And as an added treat, I’ve included an excerpt from the book.
Excerpt, Dragon Knight’s Sword ~
His stomach growled as he sought out the kitchens, nodding to a passing guard.
There was no need to cleanup if he was not going into the great hall. The smell of baking hit him as he rounded the long corridor to the kitchens. Closing his eyes, he inhaled the aroma. “Damson tarts.”
The plum and currant tarts were a favorite of his and he smiled inwardly knowing Moira had not only prepared them for the feast of Samhain, but for him, too. Samhain was fast approaching, but still over ten days out.
His stomach rumbled, and he quickened his pace.
Duncan’s heart slammed inside his chest at the vision before his eyes when he entered the kitchens. One of the tables was laden with many tarts, but it was the scene in the corner by the fire which undid him. He leaned against the wall for support and gazed on the sight.
Brigid was slumped in a chair, plum juice staining her hands and mouth. In her lap curled up against her was Nell, both of whom were sound asleep. A slight snore escaped from Brigid, causing Duncan to smile.
2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
***Damson: A small fruit with vibrant, dark blue skin and a strong sour flavor. Damsons are similar to plums. They have a large stone (pit) and are often juicy, but tend not to be eaten raw due to the tartness of their flesh.
Please welcome the wonderful Ruth A. Casie to Medieval Monday! I’m featuring her book, Knight of Rapture. Aww…time-travel and druids. My favorite!
Also, Ruth is the creator of our Medieval Monday video!
Blurb: He crossed the centuries to find her…
For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the right combination of runes to create the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is only the beginning of his quest. He arrives in the 21st century to find her memory of him erased, his legacy on the brink of destruction, and traces of dark magick at every turn.
A threat has followed…
Bran, the dark druid, is more determined than ever to get his revenge. His evil has spread across the centuries. Arik will lose all. Time is his weapon, and he’s made sure his plan leaves no one dear to Arik, in past or present, safe from the destruction.
But their enemy has overlooked the strongest magick of all…
Professor Rebeka Tyler is dealing with more than just a faulty memory. Ownership of Fayne Manor, her home, has been called into question. Convenient accidents begin happening putting those she cares for in the line of fire. And then there’s the unexpected arrival of a strange man dressed like he belonged in a medieval fair—a man who somehow is always around when needed, and always on her mind. She doesn’t know who to trust. But one thing is certain. Her family line and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall, not on her watch… in any century.
Excerpt: She took another step and past the stone marker.
The air chilled and the sky turned an array of colors. Everything around her began to swirl. She realized her mistake too late. The portal, she was in the portal.
Arik. Close to him now, she reached for him but her hand passed through the form. She examined her hand turning it over then spotted the shadow of the man.
The shadow turned towards her. She watched as the wind washed over his face and it changed. “Bran,” she whispered in disbelief. Her head swiveled while she searched for something, anything to grab on to. The portal had one use and she had no intention of leaving.
Get out, her brain shouted.
His lips twisted into a cynical sneer. He tilted his head in jaunty satisfaction, snapped his fingers and vanished.
“No,” she yelled. “Arik,” she closed her eyes and screamed in her head trying to mind touch him while the wind tore at her.
“Beka,” he boomed.
Her eyes snapped open. She shielded them from the dust and debris and stared at Arik on the other side of the opening. He stood at the high plateau, miles away. His hands were braced on the opening’s edges, which were nothing more than solid streams of whirling wind. He struggled to keep the portal from closing.
“Come.” His voice didn’t allow for any argument.
The wind whipped at her, pushed her back. She tried again. “I can’t. The wind. Keeps. Pushing. Me. Away.” She shoved her staff in front of her and anchored it in the ground. Against the gusting wind, pulled herself towards him.
“A little more, Beka.” He gripped the edge of the portal with one hand and stretched the other out to her. She shoved her hand towards him as far as she could. The tips of their fingers brushed. In a burst of effort he caught the top of her hand, a precarious hold. With a tight grasp she wrapped her fingers around his thumb.
Safe, she wasn’t far now.
She concentrated on his face. The corners of his mouth turned up as he pulled her towards safety. The wind grew stronger buffeting around them then changed its path.
Before she could brace herself for the new direction, the gust blasted them. Without a firm grip, her hand began to slip. She pushed through the building panic. His smile slipped. The expression on his face turned to determination. Again her hand slipped until he held her by her fingertips.
He held them fast—crushing them but that didn’t matter. He had to hold on to her. Every muscle strained. Inch by inch he brought her closer to him. She tried to help him the best way she could. Anchored to the edge of the portal, Arik encouraged her on. But his alternatives were limited. The closer she got to him, the stronger the gale blew. Just a little closer, that’s all she needed for Arik to grab her and get her out of the portal.
The wind exploded from another direction.
The blasting gale pushed her staff away from the opening, across the dirt, cutting an ugly scar in the ground and dragging her away with her staff.
To celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I thought to share one of my favorite recipes. My mom and I love to go visit tea rooms, sip tea (or champagne) and eat scones with clotted cream. It’s a ritual that anyone can enjoy–at home, a tea room, or even a garden.
Once, I took my husband to a tea room. He chose to have coffee and not tea. Of course, it was one of those places we’ll never forget–The Gresham Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. We’ll never forget our waiter, who was “struggling” as he put it, to get to everyone. We still chuckle over his response to us, but he served us well. A very memorable afternoon.
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and friends! Love you all!
CRANBERRY ORANGE & DARK CHOCOLATE SCONES
2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel (optional)
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Measure buttermilk in a 2-cup glass measure; beat in egg with a fork.
Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk or stir to mix well. Add the 8 tablespoons butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules.
Add cranberries, dark chocolate chips, sugar, and orange peel; toss lightly to distribute evenly. Add buttermilk mixture. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and give 5 to 6 kneads, just until well mixed. Form dough into a ball; cut into 8 wedges. Form each wedge into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, or slipat.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until light brown. Remove to a wire rack. Brush with the 1 tablespoon butter—if desired. Let cool, uncovered, at least 1 hour before serving.
MOCK DEVONSHIRE CREAM (A lovely substitute for clotted cream)
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ cup sour cream
Using a chilled bowl, beat cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar in the last few minutes of beating. Fold in sour cream and blend. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Please welcome the lovely and talented, Jenna Jaxon to Medieval Monday! I’m looking forward to reading this book in her ~ A Time Enough to Love series called, Beloveds.
Release date coming soon!
Passion never dies.
Lady Alyse Braedon frets over her renewed passion for Sir Geoffrey Longford, her first love. They have pledged their hearts to one another, despite the fact that both are recently widowed. Alyse worries that she has not properly mourned Thomas and cannot think herself as true wife to Geoffrey until she puts her feelings for her first husband to rest.
And then Thomas unaccountably appears in her bedroom. She is stunned and confused. When he begins to make love to her, however, she joyfully surrenders herself to his familiar caresses and expert ministrations…until Geoffrey arrives.
Faced with the dilemma of wanting two lovers, Alyse simply cannot choose–until Thomas suggests she doesn’t have to. Instead he and Geoffrey will share her. The scandalous proposition awakens new hungers within her. Can she allow herself to abandon all she’s been taught a proper woman should resist, and find pleasure with both her beloveds?
The familiar voice tugged at the edges of wakefulness. Had Geoffrey returned so soon? The sound did not have his deep tone. Yet ’twas a voice she knew well, rich and sensual.
“Do not fret, sweet. ’Twill be all right.”
Alyse struggled to open her eyes, though the heavy lids fought against her.
The bed dipped as someone sat beside her. . Good. Thank the Lord. Geoffrey had returned. Although she would swear it had not been he who had spoken.
A soft hand cupped her face, and she pressed her cheek against it, luxuriating in its warmth. She smiled and her eyes fluttered open at last.
The man seated on the bed had shoulder-length honey-blond hair and warm, beguiling brown eyes. He also defied fashion and wore a thin mustache and beard. His eyes brightened when he noticed she was awake and his mouth turned up in the lazy smile she had come to know so very well.
“Thomas.” The name came out a croak. Holy Father, had she conjured him with her guilt and longing? She shrank back into the pillows.
His smile widened and he caressed her, running one long finger along her jaw. “Aye, sweet Alyse. ’Tis I. Do you feel better now, my love?”
“Better?” She must be dying to see such an apparition. Or mayhap she was already dead and in heaven.
“Aye. You do not shiver as you did a moment ago. I hoped that meant you felt warmer.” He picked up her hand and kissed the knuckles.
Warmth flowed through her, soothing her, making her body tingle with that single touch of his lips.
“Is it really you?” Strength welled within her and she struggled to sit up.
“As ever I was.” He smiled, his gaze sweeping down her body. His eyes darkened with the desire she remembered well.
“Oh, Thomas.” She threw her arms around him, sighing when they embraced the hard-muscled chest she had lain upon so often. “I thought you dead, my love. Did I but dream?”
“Shhh, my sweet. I am here now.” He stroked her head then pulled it back to peer into her face. “I will always be with you, love.” He sank his mouth onto hers, and she melted at the touch of his insistent lips.
Like coming home.
I will update you when there is a release date for this book on a future Medieval Monday.
My guest next week on Medieval Monday is Ruth A. Casie!