A New Dragon Knight!


I’m happy to say that the final galley is done for Dragon Knight’s Shield! I’ve had so much fun with Angus and Deirdre and can hardly wait to share their story with the world. All that I’m waiting for is a release date. In the meantime, here is the blurb…

Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him. 

Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.

Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?


I hope you enjoyed this small teaser. More to follow my friends.

Just a reminder, I’m attending the Seaside Scottish Games in Ventura, October 10-11, and will be signing books. I will be in the “Anacapa” building. If you’re in the area, please do stop by. I would love to meet you! Click here for the link to the games, or the website below. There will be no Friday Feast or Quote for the Week, but all will return next week. I have two wonderful authors visiting, so do check in starting on Tuesday.

Ventura Seaside Highland Games: http://www.seaside-games.com/

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Spotlight Interview and New Release: The Other Side: Melinda’s Story by Starr Gardinier


Please make welcome a wonderful author and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Starr Gardinier today! We’re celebrating her new release, The Other Side: Melinda’s Story.

I’m excited to share this book with everyone, but first let’s find out about Starr.

Grab your favorite beverage and get comfy…



MM: Welcome, Starr! Congratulations on your new release! So happy to have you here today. Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?

SG: Actually, it’s anytime I can get writing time. I would have to say evenings during the week and mornings during the weekends. I always work best in the mornings.

MM: Yes, I’m definitely a morning person, too. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

SG: Right now, I’m penning the third in the Other Side series. I’m excited! It’s coming together better than I had hoped!

MM: This is fabulous, Starr! Love hearing there’s going to be more. What inspires you when you’re writing?

SG: When the characters seem to take over. I believe all authors can relate to that concept. It does seem like they begin making the decisions. We just type it up.

MM: I always have a plan for my characters, but time after time, they’ll change everything on me! :) What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

SG: The picture of me and my husband. He spurs me on and when I look at it, I can almost hear him saying to keep it up. :)

MM: What a beautiful sentiment! I love it! Now for the fun part. Do you prefer…

Champagne or Beer? Champagne, most definitely

Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Scottish burr

Kilt or Leather pants? Kilt, much more fun!

Print book or e-reader? Print, always. I do read ebooks and it doesn’t bother me, but I will always prefer print.

Thanks so much for visiting today, Starr. Wishing you all the best.



Melinda’s family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the ‘Other Side’ that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them. Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the ‘Other Side’ truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind. With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?


Buy Links: 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Melindas-Story-ebook/dp/B013Y0GIXK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440537762&sr=1-1&keywords=the+other+side%3A+Melinda%27s+story&pebp=1440537767102&perid=1DQKT7S3FBXYHMVQZPWK

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-other-side-melinda-s-story-1

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-other-side-starr-gardinier/1122527380?ean=2940151148344

AllRomance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theothersidemelinda039sstory-1872915-143.html

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/melindas-story

Author Bio:

A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.

Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.

She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.

Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.

Please see more on her editing service at www.editing.queenwriter.com, read more about her at www.QueenWriter.com, and/or visit her blog at  www.qw-blog.blogspot.com.

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Medieval Monday ~ Medieval Food from Dragon Knight’s Sword


Welcome to Medieval Monday! Today, I’m sharing an excerpt that dealt with food from my first book, Dragon Knight’s Sword.

As a lover of history, I love researching information to use within my stories. Of course, I’m always finding a new tidbit to incorporate into a food and/or feast scene.

This particular excerpt is one of my favorites with Duncan and Brigid, so I thought I would share it once again with you. Plus, I’ve added a recipe, which has been tweaked from medieval times. I’ve posted this recipe before, but wanted to share it with those that are new to my blog.


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 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced

1 egg yolk

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.

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Quote for the Week of October 4, 2015



“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”

–Frank Capra

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Spotlight Interview and New Release: The Irish Warrior by Ashley York


Please make welcome my dear friend and fabulous author, Ashley York! We’re celebrating her new release, The Irish Warrior ~ A Norman Conquest Novella. I’m thrilled to have Ashley here today. Her books will sweep you to another time within the pages, and I’m sure this one will be another amazing adventure.

So my friends, grab your favorite beverage–or a wee dram, get comfy, and let’s meet Ashley…

MM: Welcome, Ashley! Congratulations on your new release. As with all your previous books, this is a stunning cover. Absolutely love it! Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?

AY: I am a morning person so it’s hard this time of year when sunrise is later and later. A typical writing day is I make my coffee and mentally organize what I need to get done. After two cups I’m usually ready to get to it.

MM: I hear you, Ashley! It is difficult to get up before the sun rises and birdsong, especially on these chilly mornings. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

AY: My new release, The Irish Warrior, has been on pre-order and comes out today. I hate finishing a story because I really love my characters. This time is different, however. After book two in the Norman Conquest series, The Gentle Knight, I started book three which will be The Seventh Son. This story is about Tadhg of Drogheda, Ireland.  It actually starts right after Tadhg’s sister, Brighit, leaves for the priory in The Gentle Knight. I was working out the time line and realized that telling Sean’s story first would help me with the details which is how the novella came into being.

MM: So exciting to hear. What inspires you when you’re writing?

AY: I love research and studied to be a History teacher. I had always planned on focusing not on dates or wars but on the actual people from the past. I like to think that all those people who say “I hated history” would have loved my class. The past is made up of people like us with the same desires for happiness and security as we have. So reading through primary documents and academic books does inspire me.

MM: I love doing research, too, Ashley. It’s extremely rewarding to find some small detail within the pages of history and turn it into an “imagine if” story. What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

AY: Does over my computer count? I have a map of Scotland, Ireland, and England on the wall right behind my desk. Taped to the top of my computer screen is a picture of my husband,  our two daughters and our son. It was taken the first Christmas that I started writing full-time. They inspire me.

MM: Absolutely, Ashley! I’ve often heard the same from other authors about their computers. I love that you have a picture taped to it, too. Now for the fun questions. Do you prefer…

Champagne or Beer? Champagne because it symbolizes celebration but I drink beer more often

Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Scottish burr please :)

Kilt or Leather pants? Kilt and not a leather kilt

Print book or e-reader? I love the feel of paperbacks in my hand but my Kindle is fully loaded ;)

Wishing you all the best, Ashley with The Irish Warrior!

The Irish Warrior ~


Outcast and alone, Thomasina MacDonell is hell bent on finding her brother, the only person who can thwart their father’s latest scheme to offer her as payment for his gambling debts. Disguised as a lad, she defiantly sets off on foot to locate him—never expecting to find a handsome, Irish warrior riding her beloved horse. The warrior’s offer of help and unsolicited advice on how to be manlier sparks an intimate desire to reveal her more feminine side.

Rejected by the love of his life, Sean O’Cisoghe wants simply to return home and heal his broken heart. When a young “lad” steals the horse out from under him, he discerns the spirited woman may be in way over her head against her ruthless father. Finding her brother while keeping her would-be betrothed at bay, Sean must confront the fact that Thomasina has stolen his heart. Will Norman soldiers out for his blood and shifting clan alliances cut short their growing passion?


They ate in silence. The rain kept up with occasional fat drops that worked their way through the thick canopy to plop on them. It wasn’t long before she was being bitten by a variety of irritating bugs.

“Oh, damn.” Thomasina slapped the bug on her arm. Blood oozed across her soaked sleeve.

Sean sat leaning against a fallen log, oblivious, staring into the flames. His long, powerfully built legs stretched out in front of him. He’d retrieved a skin from his sack which he drank from at steady intervals without offering to share. They’d already found a nearby brook with water for drinking so she assumed it must be something stronger.

“Devil spawn.” She slapped another bug dead.

Sean turned his bright eyes on her, his brows low as if thinking through a problem. His long hair hung behind him, pulled back at the crown. Not really blond. More the color of wheat but it looked soft to the touch. He seemed to see right through her.

“Shite!” She slapped at her leg. She must be one tasty morsel according to all these bugs and he sat there totally unbothered.

At least in the cave there had been no flying things to feast on her, just a few bats that kept to their own area. It had also seemed much safer than this place, less exposed. She glanced into the darkness. She couldn’t make out anything beyond the light from the fire.

“Whoreson!” She slapped at her neck and her hand came back bloody. “What to hell!”

Sean raised his eyebrows now clearly contemplating her. As if she spoke a language he didn’t understand. As if he were just noticing her at all.

“Ye have quite a mouth on ye.” He sounded as if he were making an observation. No expression. “Let me ken when ye run out of expletives. I’ll be happy to supply yer youthful brain with words nae child should ken.”

“I’m not a child.”

Sean swept his gaze over her body and she felt the sudden urge to shield herself from his view. When he looked her in the face, he smiled. A knowing smile. A smile that said “I know yer secret”.

“I would not say ye’re a man yet. Would ye, Tommy?”

Thomasina seethed inside at her own prideful outburst.


Of course she was a child. Just a boy. Not a lass of ten and eight only pretending to be a boy.

Sean kept his eyes on her face. He watched but said nothing. The shadows cast from the fire played across the strong planes of his face. She shivered.

“Are ye cold, Tommy?” His voice pitched lower this time. He took a long drink, his eyes never leaving her.

She wrapped her arms across her chest, hugging herself. “Nae.”

He licked his lips as if whatever he drank were delicious.

A fluttering inside demanded… action. She held out her hand to him. “May I have some?”

“’Tis best not to indulge at such a young age.” His tone remained even but that light in his eyes intensified as if he were holding back laughter.

She kept her hand out. “Please,” she coughed again. “Please.”

Satisfied that her voice sounded more appropriate, she tipped her nose into the air. She tried for that I-will-not-back-down expression that boys get.

His white teeth gleamed and he took another swallow. “Are ye certain?”

Her hand did not waver and it suddenly seemed of the utmost importance that she taste whatever he was drinking. She was not much of a drinker. Her father imbibed too often and too much. She preferred not to be like him. This seemed different somehow. The need to win this stranger’s acquiescence pushed her.


His eyes pierced hers. She felt the jolt down to her toes and she couldn’t explain it. As he moved forward to pass her the skin, his eyes never wavered. They held hers as if in a trance. His warm fingers brushed her palm. Lightning shot up her arm.

“Thank ye.” Her voice sounded breathy.

She glanced at the glistening, pink lips just visible through his heavy beard. His eyes remained on hers. She took a sip. Bitter liquid burned down her throat and she jumped to her feet. Grimacing, she spit it onto the ground.

“Now that is a waste,” he said.

“What to hell is this?”

Sean’s hearty laugh surprised her. He remained sitting but his whole body shuddered with his deep, gut-splitting laughter. She paused to watch him. His eyes were closed. His broad shoulders shook with the sound. The tension in her gut eased a bit turning everything inside pliant.

He opened his eyes, starting as if surprised to see her watching him. He cocked a brow and gave her a sly look. “I did warn ye.”

Thomasina wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and smiled. A heartfelt smile. “Ye did.”

“Ye should have listened to me.”

“Yea.” She raised her eyebrows in expectation. “Have ye had enough fun with me now?”

Too late she realized she’d not disguised her voice. She swallowed hard. She waited.


Buy Link:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Warrior-Norman-Conquest-Novella-ebook/dp/B01593SYQO/


Connect with Ashley online:

Website: http://ashleyyorkauthor.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashley1066york 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashleyyork1066 




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Spotlight Author Interview and New Release: Asylum Harbor by Isla Grey


Please make welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Isla Grey! We’re celebrating her new release, Asylum Harbor. So thrilled to have Isla joining me today, and I’m looking forward to reading her new book.

But as you all know by now, I like to chit-chat before we take a peek at the book. Get comfy, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s visit with Isla…

MM: Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?

IG: I’m usually up early—about 4 a.m.—during the week.  Since my brain doesn’t start to function until caffeine and daylight, my writing mornings are spent either typing what I’ve written the day before or doing edits.  The afternoon and evenings are when I get most of my new writing done.  I write my first draft by hand so a pen and paper usually accompany me everywhere.  That includes the car pool lane at my daughter’s school where I wrote most of Asylum Harbor.  I’ve also been known to cut a light on after going to bed to jot down an idea.

MM: I love the early mornings, too. Also, each of my books always started in a journal, so I totally understand. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

IG: It’s the next book in the Salty Dog series.  The funny thing is the title was the last thing I came up with for Asylum Harbor.  I had called it three or four different things while I was working on it.  But the one I’m working on now is called “Adrift” and I’m still causing trouble for the people of Shell Island.  Yes, the ones who make it out of the first book will be back again.

MM: I love the name, Salty Dog! So happy to hear what you’re working on next. What inspires you when you’re writing?

IG: I think it depends on what’s happening around me.  I’ve lived in Central Virginia all my life and there are still new things to discover.  The scenery shows up in certain places in a story.  A conversation could end up being a line a character says.  Sometimes a character on TV or in a movie or a song could trigger that “aha” or “what if” moment.  In Asylum Harbor, the description of the Salty Dog is actually a combination of two local restaurants—sans stripper pole!

MM: Oh my goodness! I knew there was a reason I liked the name so much! What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

IG: My desk is so cluttered at the moment that I can’t see the top of it!  It’s used to store my growing collection of pens, post-its and paper clips.  Even my cat, Daryl, uses the chair for his afternoon nap.  But I have to say, my favorite thing is on the wall above the desk.  It’s a picture of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that my little girl drew when she was going through her turtle phase.  She’s moved on to Avengers now but I still have that picture up.

MM: What a treasured picture, Isla. The Turtles were a favorite of my son when he was five–now he’s thirty-one! Your story brought back fond memories. Now for some fun questions. Do you prefer…

Champagne or Beer? Sorry, neither.  I have a bad sweet iced tea addiction.

Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Now that’s a hard one.  There’s something sexy to be found in both.  At this very moment, I’d have to say Scottish burr.

Kilt or Leather pants? I’d have to pick a nice fitting pair of leather pants.

Print book or e-reader? I’m old school—print book.  I still haunt the local bookstores.

MM: Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Isla! I’m wishing you all the best with your new release!

Asylum Harbor by Isla Grey ~ 


Trouble is the last thing Devon Brown needs when she leaves the painful memories of her past behind and heads to Shell Island.  As the Salty Dog’s new bartender, she finds herself drawn to Kerr, the Shell Island harbormaster.  But finding her happily-ever-after is difficult when dealing with an obnoxious bootlegger who supplies the bar with illegal liquor and a jealous coworker.

A standoffish loner with damaged emotions, Kerr avoids relationships like the plague.  Things change when Devon catches his eye.  As a simple flirtation grows serious, the coworker and bootlegger quickly become obstacles to any future Kerr and Devon may have together.  As the situation worsens, Devon realizes that even the still waters of Asylum Harbor are no refuge during a storm.


“You already got dibs on this one Kerr?”

Porter shot an evil glare at the opposite end of the bar and looked back toward her.  “I’ll see you tonight.”  He flicked his tongue.  “After work.”  He raised his glass in a mock toast and chugged it in one gulp.

The lights dimmed for Victoria’s dance of the night.  Devon watched Kerr, who was usually headed for the exit by now, and breathed a sigh of relief when he remained glued to his seat with his back to the stage.  He wasn’t staying for Victoria’s peep show.  There must have been something about this Porter character that got under his skin in a bad way.

Devon was eager for the quick break.  She hustled to the back as the chords to “Simply Irresistible” began to pelt over the speakers and ran some cold water over her forearm.  A red welt was beginning to show where Porter had held onto it.  She hoped he would be gone by the time she got back.

Making it out before mid-song, Devon rounded the bar when someone snagged her wrist and thrust her hard against the bar, knocking the wind out of her.  She could smell Porter’s alcohol-laced breath as his weight pinned her under him.  One of his grubby hands shot under her shirt while the other wrestled with the button on her pants.  “Let’s give them a real show.”

She struggled to reach the Equalizer, but it remained hidden, out of her grasp.  Devon hoisted her knee toward his crotch, but Porter lost his balance and fell backward before she could make contact.

Kerr towered over him.  “Get your hands off her.”


Buy Links: 

The Wild Rose Press:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6370



Amazon UK:


All Romance Ebooks:


Barnes & Noble:







Author Bio: 

Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and still lives in the same small town she grew up in. She developed a love of writing at an early age and over the years has tried her hand at penning poetry (some good, some not so good), screenwriting, newspaper articles and historical stories. She’s “old school” when it comes to writing and is a hoarder of more pens, post-it notes and writing journals than she’ll ever need. Isla likes to write different types of stories from romance to mystery and anything in between and loves a “happy for now but there could be some bad things coming” feel. When Isla’s not writing, she spends her time being called “Mom, Mama, Mommy” (well, you get the picture) by her daughter who is forever active, even in her sleep. She considers herself an unofficial “cat whisperer” and is a pet human to a plethora of cats that have taken up residence at her home over the years. Isla also enjoys reading a good biography or ghost story, traveling even though “there’s no place like home”, good music played loud and walking.

Isla loves movies and is the movie mistakes editor at Bellaonline.com where she talks about…well…movies.  Her novella, “A Voice in the Dark”, is available now and her book, “Asylum Harbor”, will be released September 16th, 2015 through Wild Rose Press.

You can connect with Isla at:

Website:  http://www.islagrey.com/

Blog:  http://www.islagrey.com/islas-inklings

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/IslaGrey1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/islagrey

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00MMTEYEK

Asylum Harbor Book Trailor ~ 

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Medieval Monday ~ First Kiss in Dragon Knight’s Axe


Nothing is more romantic than a first kiss between a couple. It can be tender, soft, and sometimes unsure.

Yet, in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Alastair “Beast” MacKay was fighting a losing battle with Fiona O’Quinlan as he constantly fought both the man and the beast within him.

Let’s take a peek into their fiery first kiss of passion…


Excerpt from Dragon Knight’s Axe ~

“By the hounds! Can ye not watch where ye are walking?” he snapped, his own words sounding more harsh than intended.

Her eyes blazed with fury at him. “Excuse me? I was not the one walking backwards. I only wanted to get more water.”

He grabbed his tunic and stepped away from her. “Next time make yourself known. I could have plunged a dirk in ye.”

As he walked away, he could hear her muttering. Again, she called him an ass with no manners. He froze at the last mention of her words. Turning around, he stormed back.

“If I did not have manners, I would have taken ye many times, Fiona O’Quinlan. So it would be best to remember that I have treated ye fairly and with respect.”

She tossed the water skin down on the ground and glared up at him. “I’m tired of this dance, this duel between you and your alter ego. One moment hot, the next, cold. Fire and ice. Compassionate and tender. Harsh and bitter.” Her words gushed forth, and she waved her hands about. “I never know how to approach you. Are you always—”

Grasping her forearms, Alastair drew her to him, her feet barely touching the ground. Her eyes went wide as he bent his head and moved his mouth over her lips, devouring their softness. It was meant to silence her words—to frighten her.

Yet, the moment he touched her silken mouth, his body exploded in an array of sensations.

He meant it to be a chaste kiss. That was his sole purpose. However, she took him by surprise when her tongue slipped through, grazing along his bottom lip in a sensual play until she stroked his tongue. He sucked in a breath, taking her groan of pleasure into his body. His head swam as she tasted, nipped, and deepened the kiss.

Her kiss sang through his blood.

Sweeping her up into his arms, he broke free from her mouth. Eyes that glittered like jewels with desire peered into his. It was not his beast that craved her touch—her body. It was the man, and he trembled with the revelation.


Don’t forget to check out these authors on Medieval Monday, too!

Ashley York   Barbara Bettis   Jenna Jaxon

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Quote for the Week of September 27, 2015

Forest path

“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” 

–Henry Miller 

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Friday Feast ~ Sausage Roll


Welcome to Friday Feast! I really should re-name this recipe I’m sharing today, since it came from my sister, Vici. I first tasted this delicious meal when I lived up in Washington. So good! Serve it with a salad, or make several for game day, if you have a crowd.

It’s not as difficult as you may think–the prep is easy, but it will take a few hours.

My sister’s looked far better than this one, but it’s been a few years. Blame it on the football game I was watching for the reason of my odd shaped overlapping pieces of dough.


½ pound spicy Italian Pork Sausage, or Turkey Sausage

1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot

¼ cup chopped onion

1 8oz. tub of cream cheese with chives and onions

½- 10oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans

1-16oz. loaf frozen whole wheat or white bread dough, thawed. (I pull mine from the freezer and place in the fridge the night before)

2 teaspoons melted butter

German style mustard

Filling: In a large skillet, cook Italian sausage, carrot, and onions until sausage is brown and onions are tender. Remove from heat and drain any fat. Blend in cream cheese. Stir in spinach and pecans.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet. Spread the filling lengthwise down the center, leaving 2 ½-3 inches from the edge. Cut 3-inch wide strips on top and bottom, but not on the end. Moisten strips with butter and overlap. Cover with cloth and let rise until double—approx. 45 minutes.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve with a German style mustard.


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Friday Feast, Recipes

Spotlight Interview-New Release: Dancing in the Sand by Maria Imbalzano


Please make welcome the wonderful and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Maria Imbalzano to my blog today. We’re celebrating her new release, Dancing in the Sand! Love this cover–makes me yearn for the beach.

Get comfy, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s meet Maria…

MM: Congratulations, Maria on your new release! So happy you could join us today. Describe a typical writing day.

MI: I wish I had a typical writing day. If I did, I’d write every morning as soon as I woke up. I’d get a cup of coffee, head to my computer and let the creative process begin. But I’m a divorce lawyer, and instead of heading to my home computer in the morning, I head to the office or to court on weekdays. On those days, I try to write when I get home from work at night, after dinner, if I don’t have a board meeting or other work-related commitment. Weekends are great because I have much more time to dedicate to writing now that our daughters are grown.  Whatever time I have, whether it’s a half hour or several hours, I try to use that time wisely. It comes down to writing whenever I can squeeze it in.

MM: You have a powerful day job, Maria. It seems you’re a very busy woman. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

MI: I am working on a series called “Weekend Diaries.” The series is about four high school girlfriends who are now in their early thirties, with each of them going through a life changing event. The first book, “Changing Tides” is just about done. The second book, tentatively called “Nicki’s Story” because I haven’t come up with a better title yet, is done in first draft but needs a lot of work.  As soon as I sync the timelines in the two books and make sure I’m not going to change anything else that would affect the first book, I will send it to my publisher for consideration. My goal is to make this a four book series.

MM: Love the sound of this series, Maria. What inspires you when you’re writing?

MI: It depends.  The premise of “Dancing in the Sand” came to me in a dream. Young, passionate, love exploded over the course of a weekend – the kind of forbidden, but oh so exciting love. Horseback riding was involved along with an accident. The dream was so vivid, so romantic, and a little disturbing, that I wrote it down the second I woke up. The heroine of that book is a dancer. I love dance and took lessons for years including ballet, tap and modern jazz. I suppose Ava is my alter-ego. I also love to watch “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” so reality TV has some influence on my characters. My work-in-progress (Weekend Diaries Series) was inspired by my high school girlfriends, who are still my friends today. Their personalities have helped immensely in the creation of those characters.

MM: Dreams are one of the most powerful tools for inspiration. I keep a journal, post-its, and a pen near my bed to capture any dreams thoughts. What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

MI: A photo of my family and me at Disney World which was taken about fifteen years ago. It was taken at night while waiting for a bus to our hotel after we had gone to the see the Country Bear Jamboree. There’s nothing special about it and if my daughters’ saw it, they’d probably ask that I find a better photo of them to replace it. But whenever I look up, there we are, smiling back at me.

MM: Precious! A treasured memory, Maria. Now for some fun questions. Do you prefer…

Champagne or Beer? Champagne

Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Scottish burr **UPDATE** I’ve just been informed that Maria prefers a British accent over a Southern or Scottish one. Good one, Maria! I might have to expand my choices. :)

Kilt or Leather pants? Leather pants

Print book or e-reader? E-reader


Here’s a peek into Dancing in the Sand ~


An accomplished dance major in New York City, Ava Harrington is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional in a national dance company.  But a celebratory weekend in Newport, where she meets the man of her fantasies, has devastating consequences that change her life forever.

Brian Stanhope, a Harvard graduate, poised to join his father’s company, suffers a brain injury in a horseback riding accident, which affects his memory. He has no recollection of his graduation party weekend or the beautiful dancer who turned his head and stole his heart.

When they reunite eight years later, the magic of their powerful attraction binds them together, but the past holds a secret that even love may not be able to overcome.


“Black spandex is not generally appropriate for tennis, but I’m sure the guys won’t mind.” Brian smirked as he took in his sister’s get-up and that of her friend, as the three met in the downstairs hall of their vacation home in Newport.

He raised a brow in appreciation as his eyes grazed over the lithe creature standing next to Carrie, dressed in black tights, black leotard, and black ballet slippers. He knew the uniform of the dancer. At his parents’ insistence, he’d gone to dozens of recitals over the years, ever since his little sister became addicted to dance when she was five.

“Hello to you, too, big brother.” Carrie attempted a scowl, but her grin broke through. No matter how hard she tried, she could never be annoyed with him for long.

Brian grabbed her into a bear hug and avoided his usual ribbing, given the presence of a guest. And a beautiful one at that.

“Glad you could make it for the weekend.” He released Carrie and turned his attention to her friend. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?” He zeroed in on royal blue eyes, an intense color he had never seen before.

“This is my roommate, Ava.”

“Nice to meet you, Ava.” He held out his hand and shook hers, noticing a gorgeous smile to go along with her gorgeous eyes “Have you ever been to our Newport house before?”

“No. This is the first time.” Ava’s voice was quiet, shy. “Carrie invited me to your graduation party weekend. I hope you don’t mind.”

An unfamiliar vulnerability surfaced on her expressive face. Not like Carrie at all, who was outgoing, charismatic, and the opposite of vulnerable.

“Since you two apparently aren’t joining us, what are your plans?”

“We’re working on our project for a summer choreography course we’re taking. We’ll be performing it for the showcase.” The glint in Carrie’s eyes told him she hardly considered it work. “We’ll catch up with you later. Have fun.”

Carrie pulled Ava down the hall to her very own hardwood floor dance studio, a gift from their parents on her thirteenth birthday. Now she had a friend to share it with. They may never emerge. Unacceptable. He would have to pull out all the stops to assure their presence—at least Ava’s—at the different events over the weekend.

With his sights now set on her, there was no way he was going to let her slip through his fingers.

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The Wild Rose Press


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