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.
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