Happy Thanksgiving!


No matter how you celebrate, I’m wishing everyone a day filled with peace and love on this Thanksgiving day. 

I am so grateful for all my friends–old ones and new, and my loving, beautiful family. You enrich my life each day.   

Check back tomorrow for a new recipe on “Friday Feast.” 

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Quote for the Week of November 23, 2014

Tower of London

Tower of London

“When the knight emerged forth from the battle, he did not fear losing his soul, but his heart.”

–Excerpt, Dragon Knight’s Medallion

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Thankful Author Blog Roundup with Angela Hayes!

thankful author buttonI’m participating in the Thankful Author Blog Roundup, so come find out what I’m thankful for and my brief interview.

Click on the link.

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Friday Feast ~ Mushroom Soup

IMG_2698Welcome to the start of “Friday Feast!” Every Friday, I will feature a new recipe–from appetizers to a simple meal. Nothing too difficult for any chef.

My love of cooking (and baking) is evident in my stories, since I’ve included feasts. What better way to bring a hero or heroine together (or not) over a fabulous meal.

Excerpt, Dragon Knight’s Medallion ~

Betha raised a brow in question, but only nodded. “Meet me over there between the two oaks. There is some stew, and a portion of a wreath cake. We can have a moment before the feasting and dancing resumes.”

At the mention of the cake, Aileen felt a searing heat on her face. All she could think of was Stephen licking the cinnamon from her chin last night and what he did afterwards. “Thank you, I’ll be along shortly.”

Mushroom Soup

8 oz. fresh mushrooms of your choice (cremini, button, or stemmed shitake mushrooms, sliced)

4 oz. fresh Portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

32 oz reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 carton)

2 cups sherry or white wine (your choice)

½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid is evaporated, stirring often.

Add broth and your choice of sherry or wine, and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with croutons and parmesan cheese.

As always, feel free to adjust to your own tastes. Omit the wine and add more broth. There are times when I’ve tossed in some red pepper flakes, or a dollop of sour cream. It’s a perfect soup for a cold, autumn day.


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Medieval Monday ~ The Good Knight

Welcome, Sarah Woodbury to Medieval Monday. Today, I’m featuring “The Good Knight,” from her Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery Series. I love a good medieval mystery!


Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales…

The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king.  But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his two best detectives—Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard—with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.

The Good Knight is free at all Amazon stores  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple iBookstore  Barnes and Noble  

Paperback at Amazon 

Paperback at Amazon UK

With two historian parents, Sarah couldn’t help but develop an interest in the past. She went on to get more than enough education herself (in anthropology) and began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded she let them out.  While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time while in college.  She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names.

With over 300,000 books sold, Sarah is the author of 17 novels and 2 novellas, all set in medieval Wales. She is currently working on the next Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery.

Sarah’s web page:  www.sarahwoodbury.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SarahWoodbury

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks/


The Good Knight

Chapter One

August, 1143 AD

Gwynedd (North Wales)

Look at you, girl.”

Gwen’s father, Meilyr, tsked under his breath and brought his borrowed horse closer to her side of the path. He’d been out of sorts since early morning when he’d found his horse lame and King Anarawd and his company of soldiers had left the castle without them, refusing to wait for Meilyr to find a replacement mount. Anarawd’s men-at-arms would have provided Meilyr with the fine escort he coveted.

“You’ll have no cause for complaint once we reach Owain Gwynedd’s court.” A breeze wafted over Gwen’s face and she closed her eyes, letting her pony find his own way for a moment. “I won’t embarrass you at the wedding.”

“If you cared more for your appearance, you would have been married yourself years ago and given me grandchildren long since.”

Gwen opened her eyes, her forehead wrinkling in annoyance. “And whose fault is it that I’m unmarried?” Her fingers flexed about the reins but she forced herself to relax. Her present appearance was her own doing, even if her father found it intolerable. In her bag, she had fine clothes and ribbons to weave through her hair, but saw no point in sullying any of them on the long journey to Aber Castle.

King Owain Gwynedd’s daughter was due to marry King Anarawd in three days’ time. Owain Gwynedd had invited Gwen, her father, and her almost twelve-year old brother, Gwalchmai, to furnish the entertainment for the event, provided King Owain and her father could bridge the six years of animosity and silence that separated them. Meilyr had sung for King Owain’s father, Gruffydd; he’d practically raised King Owain’s son, Hywel. But six years was six years. No wonder her father’s temper was short.

Even so, she couldn’t let her father’s comments go. Responsibility for the fact that she had no husband rested firmly on his shoulders. “Who refused the contract?”

“Rhys was a rapscallion and a laze-about,” Meilyr said.

And you weren’t about to give up your housekeeper, maidservant, cook, and child-minder to just anyone, were you?

But instead of speaking, Gwen bit her tongue and kept her thoughts to herself. She’d said it once and received a slap to her face. Many nights she’d lain quiet beside her younger brother, regretting that she hadn’t defied her father and stayed with Rhys. They could have eloped; in seven years, their marriage would have been as legal as any other. But her father was right and Gwen wasn’t too proud to admit it: Rhys had been a laze-about. She wouldn’t have been happy with him. Rhys’ father had almost cried when Meilyr had refused Rhys’ offer. It wasn’t only daughters who were sometimes hard to sell.

“Father!” Gwalchmai brought their cart to a halt. “Come look at this!”

“What now?” Meilyr said. “We’ll have to spend the night at Caerhun at present rate. You know how important it is not to keep King Owain waiting.”

“But Father!” Gwalchmai leapt from the cart and ran forward.

“He’s serious.” Gwen urged her pony after him, passing the cart, and then abruptly reined in beside her brother. “Mary, Mother of God…”

A slight rise and sudden dip in the path ahead had hidden the carnage until they were upon it. Twenty men and an equal number of horses lay dead in the road, their bodies contorted and their blood soaking the brown earth. Gwalchmai bent forward and retched into the grass beside the road. Gwen’s stomach threatened to undo her too, but she fought the bile down and dismounted to wrap her arms around her brother.

Meilyr reined in beside his children. “Stay back.”

Gwen glanced at her father and then back to the scene, noticing for the first time a man kneeling among the wreckage, one hand to a dead man’s chest and the other resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword. The man straightened and Gwen’s breath caught in her throat.


He’d cropped his dark brown hair shorter than when she’d known him, but his blue eyes still reached into the core of her. Her heart beat a little faster as she drank him in. Five years ago, Gareth had been a man-at-arms in the service of Prince Cadwaladr, King Owain Gwynedd’s brother. Gareth and Gwen had become friends, and then more than friends, but before he could ask her father for her hand, Gareth had a falling out with Prince Cadwaladr. In the end, Gareth hadn’t been able to persuade Meilyr that he could support her despite his lack of station.

Gwen was so focused on Gareth that she wasn’t aware of the other men among them—live ones—until they approached her family. A half dozen converged on them at the same time. One caught her upper arm in a tight grip. Another grabbed Meilyr’s bridle. “Who are you?” the soldier said.

Meilyr stood in the stirrups and pointed a finger at Gareth. “Tell them who I am!”

Gareth came forward, his eyes flicking from Meilyr to Gwalchmai to Gwen. He was broader in the shoulders, too, than she remembered.

“They are friends,” Gareth said. “Release them.”

And to Gwen’s astonishment, the man-at-arms who held her obeyed Gareth. Could it be that in the years since she’d last seen him, Gareth had regained something of what he’d lost?

Gareth halted by Meilyr’s horse. “I was sent from Aber to meet King Anarawd and escort him through Gwynedd. He wasn’t even due to arrive at Dolwyddelan Castle until today, but …” He gestured to the men on the ground. “Clearly, we were too late.”

Gwen looked past Gareth to the murdered men in the road.

“Turn away, Gwen,” Gareth said.

But Gwen couldn’t. The blood—on the dead men, on the ground, on the knees of Gareth’s breeches—mesmerized her. The men here had been slaughtered. Her skin twitched at the hate in the air. “You mean King Anarawd is—is—is among them?”

“The King is dead,” Gareth said.


This is the last Medieval Monday until after the holidays. My sincere thanks to all who stopped by and left a comment. I know many of you have told me how helpful these posts were in finding a new medieval author. 

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Quote for the Week of November 16, 2014

Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay, California

“Hold fast my bonny lass, for if you fall into the water,the fae will sweep you away to the stars.”

–Excerpt, Dragon Knight’s Medallion

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Winner Lolly Tova Cover Contest!

DragonKnightsSword_w7485_750Dragon Knight’s Sword won in a cover contest for October on Lolly Tova Cover Love.

This honor is extra special, since this is my first book. I would like to take a moment and thank everyone for the all the support via votes for “Duncan’s” cover. Isn’t it amazing!

My friends, you rock! You kept up the momentum and informed me daily of my percentage. Love you all!

Check out the page for my author spotlight on Lolly Tova here.

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Medieval Monday ~ Claiming the Highlander

Please welcome Historical Romance Author, Mageela Troche to Medieval Monday. Claiming the Highlander is another wonderful Scottish tale.


Mageela Troche loves Scotland. Claiming the Highlander is her latest novel set in those rugged, misty lands and revisits characters from her other two novels. Here a little about the book:

Caelen MacKenzie married heiress Lady Brenna Grant in his youth for a large parcel of land and an earldom. Years later, Scotland trembles from the tales of the Viking Highlander yet Caelen must face his most challenging battled—returning home and to the past he ran from.

Lady Brenna loves her husband. As her loyalties are tested, the life she was reared to live is in jeopardy. She know no other life as the Countess and wife to Caelen. Snagged in the power plays of men, she will do anything to save that life and the man she loves.

From the rugged western highlands to the glittering Scottish court, they must battle the machinations of powerful men scheming against them.

Excerpt from Claiming the Highlander

1244, Scotland

His bride didn’t want to marry.

The King of Scotland wanted this wedding. Her holdings couldn’t fall into the hands of the Islemen, so they could not encroach into Scotland. His father, Laird MacKenzie, wanted this marriage to increase his holdings and bring an earldom to the family, raising their standing from barons. Laird Grant wanted this marriage to increase his ties to the powerful MacKenzies.

His bride wanted a berry tart.

The king, Alexander II, ambled to the aisle and stared at the little girl, tugging to free her arm from her nursemaid’s grip. Behind the king, lords and ladies scooted closer, stretching their necks for a glimpse of the wailing bride.

“After the ceremony, ye may have one.” Her nursemaid tugged on her arm to drag the wee lass to the altar.

“Nay.” Brenna Grant plopped down on her behind, falling in a mess of plaid that flopped her about and a lot of chestnut hair that covered her face.

Caelen wagered she wore a pout to match her crossed arms. The nursemaid lowered herself and wagged a finger at his bride. “Ye will be a proper lady and marry or ye shall not have any treats and shall be locked in the chamber.”

His bride pushed aside her nursemaid’s outstretched hand and ran toward the altar and beyond it. “I am running away!” She ducked under the altar.

The bishop sputtered. Spit flew from the corners. He goggled at the king. The nursemaid stomped her way to the altar and flipped up the frontal. “Get yeself out from under there. I na spare the rod, child.”

“Nay,” she screamed. She kicked the altar. The whole thing shook. Even the gold cross wavered, then righted.

“Ye wicked girl. Ye not be going to heaven and seeing yer mama.”


Caelen snatched a tart from the table. He nudged aside the nursemaid and knelt down. “Here’s the treat if you come do this.”

Baby fine brown hair brushed her forehead. Her groomed brows furrowed over her narrowed eyes. Those brown eyes dominated her soft, full-cheeked face. Her lips were pressed into a stubborn line.

“She’ll get her dress dirty.”

“Enough. Take it and let’s wed.” He held out the treat. She stretched her neck out and chomped her teeth into the dough.

She climbed out on her hands and knees. Caelen took her dimpled hand. Caelen curled his hand carefully around hers. She held it so trustingly. He almost pulled away. This wedding would be done this day and two days hence, he would return to his foster home at Clan MacLean and return to training. He had to be a feared warrior like his grandfather and father so he could lead the clan one day.

He halted before the bishop and inclined his head. The bishop cleared his throat and watched Brenna eat her treat. She smacked her lips after each bite. Her nursemaid stretched out her neck and bore her black eyes into his happily eating bride. Brenna raised her nose high in the air and smacked her lips louder, even spitting out a chewed morsel. On her last bite, with fruit on the corners of her mouth, she was now his wife—the future Lairdess of the Clan MacKenzie and Countess of Wester Ross. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, leaving a smeared red trail across the fine silk of her heather-hued gown.

“That was the easiest way to get a lass to the altar.” Laird MacKenzie laughed. The boom traveled through the great hall. Brenna threw back her head and let out some gruff ha-ha.

“He shall never have it that easy again,” the King added.

Caelen took her sticky hand and led her to the dais. He picked her up and set her in the chair. She climbed to her knees. “Thank you,” she said, her tongue peeking out from between the gap in her teeth. She rubbed her eyes and then sat back on her heels.

She squirmed to free her legs from under her. She tapped Caelen on his forearm. “I lost my shoe.” She lifted her foot and wiggled her toes at him. Caelen ducked under the table and spotted a crumpled fluff that must be her slipper. It was the softest, most girlish material he had ever seen. He hooked his thumb on the back and lifted it out. The thing barely filled his palm. Brenna propped her foot on the chair’s arm. Her little plump toes wiggled. He cupped her heel in his palm, sure he would break her. He stared at her foot, left and then right. How did he put it on without ripping the thing or crushing her toes? He slipped her toes in and then the rest of her foot.

She smiled before sitting back on her legs. She propped her chin on her dimpled hand. “What does a husband do?”

Caelen shrugged.

“My da tells my new mama what to do but you can’t do that. I don’t like that. You have to protect me and love me.” Her high-pitched voice held a thread of authority. “We can play but you can’t scare me. I don’t like that.”

“And a wife?” He threw out as she drew in air.

“Same thing.” She shrugged. “Don’t forget. You’re my husband and I love you.”

Laird Grant lifted his cup. “To the bond of MacKenzie and Grant. May we cut down our enemies and love our women.”

The revelry swirled around them. As the French wine flowed, the toasts from their future children to the great battles Caelen would fight bounced off the great hall’s beams. Only the feast of pheasant, deer, swan, and every sea creature in Scottish waters ceased their shouts. Halfway through the procession of delights, Brenna curled up in her chair and dozed off.

She was nothing more than brown hair, wide, brown eyes, and the pinkest lips he had ever seen. She was funny looking.

She was his wife.

He didn’t even have chest hair.


Buy Claiming the Highlander at  http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=10&products_id=937 or http://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Highlander-Mageela-Troche-ebook/dp/B00N70RHWO/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410414322&sr=1-3&keywords=mageela+troche


Mageela Troche loves to make new friends. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/mageela.troche  at her http://mageelatroche.com/ or https://twitter.com/MageelaTroche

Mageela Troche has written three other novels and is currently writing her next novel in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment.



Next week on Medieval Monday my guest will be Sarah Woodbury. This will be the last post for Medieval Monday until after the holidays. I look forward to sharing more Medieval authors with you in the New Year! 

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Quote for the Week of November 9, 2014

Hills of Scotland

Hills of Scotland

“They made a lover’s potion mixed with roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, and gardenias, but both refused to drink from the vessel of love.”

–Excerpt Dragon Knight’s Medallion

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Pre-Order Dragon Knight’s Medallion!


Great news! Dragon Knight’s Medallion is available for pre-order on Kindle! Order your copy today from Amazon.

For those that want it in print, it will be available on December 5th from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press.

Excerpt ~ Dragon Knight’s Medallion

The salty tang of the sea drifted past her, and she longed for the water’s soothing comfort. Not waiting for an answer from her Knight, Aileen left the great hall seeking the solace of the ocean. A force unknown, each step bringing her closer to the water, drove her. Aileen could not get there fast enough, and her walk shifted to a full out run. She stumbled once, but kept the pace until the foam of the sea lapped at her boots.

She watched as the waves rocked back and forth to a timeless rhythm all their own. Their gentle cadence working their magic, Aileen felt her heart fall into tune with the sound. Her fingers were still tightly woven around the journal, and with strength from the water and something else she could not explain, Aileen opened to the first page of the journal.

Journal of Stephen Malcolm MacKay
January, in the year of our Lord, 1205…
Cold…so verra cold.

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