Monday, March 2, 2015

The Lady and the Minstrel now has an epilogue!

At the request of multiple readers, I have written an EPILOGUE to The Lady and the Minstrel. The epilogue debuts today! If you purchased a copy before February 28, you may receive a FREE copy of the epilogue in your choice of mobi/Kindle, epub/B&N/iBooks, or PDF formats. Just email me at jdipastena@yahoo.com and I'll send you a copy directly. 

If you own a print version of The Lady and the Minstrel and would like a physical copy of the epilogue, I will print you out a copy on decorative paper that you can fold and insert into the back of your print copy. Again, email at jdipastena@yahoo.com if you would like me to mail you a print copy of the epilogue!

You won't want to miss this sweet ending to Rob and Marguerite's story!


(Both e- and print books will have the epilogue automatically included as of today.)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winner!: Autographed copy of The Lady and the Minstrel/See's Candy certificate

Congratulations to Heather B, winner of an autographed copy of The Lady and the Minstrel and a $20 See's Candy gift card!

Thank you to all who celebrated the release of The Lady and the Minstrel by entering my giveaway!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Release day! Help me celebrate The Lady and the Minstrel!

Today is release day for my medieval romantic historical, The Lady and the Minstrel. I'm celebrating, and you know what that means, don't you? I want you to celebrate with me!



C'mon, you all know me well enough by now to know exactly how I'm celebrating--with a box of my favorite See's chocolates. That means I'm also giving away a $20 See's gift card to one of YOU, along with an autographed print copy of The Lady and the Minstrel!


This giveaway is open to USA entries and International entries on the following conditions: **If you live outside of the United States but have a favorite candy shop that would allow me to send you an online gift card (check your shop's website), I will swap out a See's card for your candy shop's equivalent gift card up to $20 USD.** International winner will also receive an e-copy instead of a print copy of The Lady and the Minstrel in their choice of mobi, epub, or PDF format.

The giveaway runs through February 4, 2015. Winner will be drawn on February 5 and have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

The first entry is FREE. Bonus entries can be earned in the following ways:

Tweet about the release of The Lady and the Minstrel 
Facebook about the release of The Lady and the Minstrel
Invite people to my The Lady and the Minstrel launch party on Facebook on February 4. 
Come to my Facebook Launch Party for The Lady and the Minstrel and earn 5 extra entries! 

But remember, everyone gets one FREE, no strings attached entry. :-)

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. (If the form doesn't show, click on Rafflecopter link)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


OFFICIAL RULES: NO PURCHASE NECESSSARY. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Deadline to enter is February 4, 2015. Winners will be selected on February 5, 2015 and have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win.OPEN TO US AND INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES ON THE CONDITIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Questions? Contact me at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Excerpt from The Lady and the Minstrel

Remember this picture? I've shared it here, on Pinterest, and elsewhere as one of my inspirations for The Lady and the Minstrel. Now that The Lady and the Minstrel is available for pre-order, I thought I would share with you the scene from the book that I always think of when I see this painting of The Kiss, by Francesco Hayez:


It had not entered her mind to fear him. Why did she not back away, shout for help? ’Twas no insubstantial romantic dream that stood before her, but a very solid man who had scaled a tree with such swiftness that he could surely overpower her in an instant if he wished to. Was it wise to trust from a single chance meeting that he would take no advantage of her now?

Especially when nothing in his voice betrayed a memory of her. The shadows of the chamber closed in around them, shading the features she had committed to heart, but a flicker from the sputtering fire flashed against his scarlet tunic and dully lit the rough, threadbare cloak that he had tossed over it.

“Ah,” he murmured, “I thought you lovely in the village, and dazzling in the hall all dressed in gold, but to see you thus, clad in white like some angel ... ”

His hand jerked up, stretching half-way across the space between them before she saw his fist clench and drop quickly back to his side. He had almost touched her. She could not have stopped him. His restraint encouraged her. She realized that she had allowed the blanket to grow slack, revealing more of her white nightgown than was proper. Proper! An ironic little laugh rose up in her throat. There was nothing proper about being alone with a minstrel in her bedchamber! She should command him to leave and scream if he refused. Had it been anyone, anyone else— But it was him, and instead of screaming, she found herself fighting a temptation to inch closer and comforting herself that at least he remembered gazing at her across a dusty village road.

The ironic laughter quenched on a lump of frustration. It was not enough. She did not care that she had only been a child, that it was unreasonable to expect him to see in a seventeen-year-old woman the ten-year-old girl who had helped him all those years ago.

She tugged the blanket back into its modest place and masked her hurt by demanding coldly, “What, pray tell, is your name, sir?”

“’Tis Robert Marcel. I brought my lute should you crave a song.”

She refused to let his playful tone disarm her resentment. “I have heard that verse you sang tonight dozens of times.”

“And yet it made you smile such a smile as to send a man’s head spinning. Still, if you like it not, I know many another tune.”

In truth, she could not have recited a single word of the verse, for his own flashing grin had sent everything out of her mind except him. She shifted her position to force him to turn so that the firelight fell across his fiercely handsome face, a face worthy of a man reckless enough to climb an oak tree to invade a lady’s chamber. The same jolt of attraction that had pounded through her in the village and again a few hours ago in the hall, blazed through her again. She tried to distract herself with the instrument slung over his shoulder, shrouded in the same supple cloth covering that would never have protected it from the warping surge of a river. Almost she felt its weight in her hands again. And the other. What had become of the other bundle she had carried?

Her heart tripped afresh when he launched softly into verse.

“How merry the summer while it lasts,
With bird song and the mirthful stream,
And lover’s heart that’s true.
The memory warms in winter’s age,
When song is gone and streams are still,
And love has passed away.”

This little poem she well knew, too. She had heard it sung merry, melancholy, sardonic, even bitter, but never in such fluid tones as his, or to a melody so plaintive that it hung shivering in the air, a poignant reminiscence for moments after his voice had ceased.

“Does that please you better, my lady?”

Did he banter again? She could not tell what he thought from his impassive expression or the low spoken words.

“Why are you here? What do you want?” She wished to chill him again with her dignity, but the questions instead came out barely more than a whisper.

“To see you. To talk with you. To—” His voice snagged as the truth swept the impassive mask from his face. “Oh, heaven forgive me, to kiss you!”

His hand reached out again, then hesitated, hovering just below her chin. Instead of rebuffing him, she felt herself sway towards him ever so slightly. His fingertips, calloused from his lute’s strings, brushed against her cheekbone. Then her cheek cradled gently in his palm and the midnight eyes, no longer veiled, gazed into hers with a longing that took away her breath.

“I have thought of nothing but you since you gazed at me in the village today.” His voice shook slightly as the words spilled out in a rush. “Then when you smiled at me in the hall, I knew I was lost. I cannot hope to court you. I am only a poor minstrel, and you are betrothed to the Earl of Saxton. But one kiss—just one!—I would cherish to the end of my days. Just one, if you will grant it—and then I will be gone.”

Gone? Let him go now, when she had only just found him? Heaven could not be so cruel as to ask her to send him away so soon! If it took a kiss to bind him—

He must have taken her silence as assent, for he pulled her against his chest. He held her firmly, yet so gently that the embrace brought no pain to her back. Marguerite had never been in a man’s arms before. Her heart raced so hard a pleasurable little buzz of dizziness hummed through her mind and body. He did not look like a man who often hesitated to take what he wanted and yet when he bent his head towards hers, he checked himself just short of her lips. It was that instant of uncertainty in him, briefer than a heartbeat, that nudged her leap of faith in his honor and lifted her willing mouth and drifted shut her eyes.

And then she felt his mouth on hers, gentle, warm, strong, yet somehow cautious, as if weighing something in her, as if waiting ...  for what? Outrage on her part? Resistance? Oh, heavens! If Marguerite had felt dizzy before, her senses now swam in earnest, and she wound her arms around his neck and let her body melt against him and kissed him back as if all her future hung on this one moment.



Pre-order your copy of The Lady and the Minstrel now for only $1.99. (The price rises to $3.99 after the book releases on January 29.)



Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Lady and the Minstrel is now available for pre-order!

My medieval romantic historical, The Lady and the Minstrel, is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

In 13th century England, Robert Marcel chafes against the law that holds him bound as a villein on his lord’s manor. He tries to make a daring escape and is nearly caught by his cruel master, but a young girl helps him slip away. 

Years pass and Robert takes up trade as a minstrel.  Invited to play at a banquet for the notorious Earl of Saxton, he is stunned to come face to face with the girl he’s never forgotten—now Lady Marguerite of Winbourne, betrothed to the earl. Her status as a noblewoman puts her completely out of Robert’s reach, but he knows they are meant to be together. He vows to make her his wife no matter what the cost.
Lady Marguerite has often thought of the young man she helped escape.  Her tender feelings for him quickly turn into much more when they are brought back into each other’s lives.  She longs to be free to marry Robert, the man she loves, but that will require her to sacrifice all she holds dear. 

They are tested at every turn by those bent on driving them apart and destroying what they have found together.  Can their love truly conquer all?

Pre-order price is only $1.99. Once published, the price will rise to $3.99, so order your copy now and save $2.00. Amazon will deliver a Kindle copy directly to your Kindle or Kindle app on January 29.

Pre-order your copy now on Amazon! (Additional buy links coming soon.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cover reveal for The Lady and the Minstrel

I have a lovely early Christmas present from An Author's Art . . . a beautiful cover for my upcoming romantic historical novel, The Lady and the Minstrel!



In 13th century England, Robert Marcel chafes against the law that holds him bound as a villein on his lord’s manor. He tries to make a daring escape and is nearly caught by his cruel master, but a young girl helps him slip away. 

Years pass and Robert takes up trade as a minstrel.  Invited to play at a banquet for the notorious Earl of Saxton, he is stunned to come face to face with the girl he’s never forgotten—now Lady Marguerite of Winbourne, betrothed to the earl. Her status as a noblewoman puts her completely out of Robert's reach, but he knows they are meant to be together. He vows to make her his wife no matter what the cost.
Lady Marguerite has often thought of the young man she helped escape.  Her tender feelings for him quickly turn into much more when they are brought back into each other’s lives.  She longs to be free to marry Robert, the man she loves, but that will require her to sacrifice all she holds dear. 
They are tested at every turn by those bent on driving them apart and destroying what they have found together.  Can their love truly conquer all?

Watch for The Lady and the Minstrel, coming in January 2015!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Who's reading Loving Lucianna?

Have you read about my free keyring giveaway? Here are four readers who have sent me a picture  of them and my sweet medieval romance, Loving Lucianna! That means four of my ten keyrings are gone. Only 6 remain. They're waiting for more readers to send me their pictures!

Click here or on the keychain in the left column to find out more about how you can get a Loving Lucianna keychain!


Karen H from Arizona


Tasha F from Wisconsin


Laura M from Michigan
(See? You can enter even if you're shy. :-) )


DeAnn S from Arizona

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your beautiful pictures with me! 




Friday, November 28, 2014

Discounts! Black Friday/Cyber Monday and beyond!

Looking for some quick and easy stocking stuffers for Christmas? You can never go wrong with a book and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home for these deals! I'm offering 20% discounts on THREE of my medieval romance titles. The sales start on Black Friday and run through Cyber Monday and beyond! In fact, this sale is available through December 13th.

The discounts are for PRINT copies of Loyalty's Web, Illuminations of the Heart, and Loving Lucianna. Purchases must be made through CreateSpace to use the discount codes. You can use the same discount code for any or all these titles. If you buy multiple books the discount will be applied to your entire order. Just use discount code: PDZJKR7D


20% off Loyalty's Web
Regularly priced: $15.95
Discount price: $12.76
20% Discount code: PDZJKR7D


20% off Illuminations of the Heart
Regularly priced: $16.95
Discount price: $13.56
20% Discount code: PDZJKR7D


20% off Loving Lucianna
Regularly priced: $10.95
Discount price: $8.76
20% Discount code: PDZJKR7D


And don't forget my always bargain priced Christmas novella, 
A Candlelight Courting: A Short Christmas Romance
Always only $5.50



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wishing you a Happy Musical Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving in the USA, and one thing that I'm grateful for this year (and actually year round) is music! My sister is visiting for the holiday, so I took her to visit the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. They permitted non-flash photography, so here are some of the photos I snapped with my iPod.

We started out in the Mechanical Music Gallery, where we saw some beautiful old time music boxes, some mechanical figurines, an old player piano, and some pipe organs that included mechanical instruments in their "performance." (I didn't get pictures of the music boxes or piano--I didn't start taking pictures early enough--but here are a few I did get.)


Pipe organ - those instruments you see on top (accordions, drums, saxophones, etc) played music along with the organ!


Another pipe organ


Musical mechanical doll. This one was accompanied by a video that showed it in motion, and it was even freakier than this stationary version!

After lunch in the museum cafe, we visited the gallery of musical instruments for Europe. I wanted to start with Europe because I was hoping to see some medieval instruments that I have used, am using, or might yet use in some of my stories! But I was also lured by a few instruments from other time periods, too. Naturally, in retrospect, I wish I'd taken dozens of additional pictures, but somehow I only came away with these. 


This is called a rebec. It was a stringed instrument used in the Middle Ages and in later time periods, as well.


This is a lute. My hero, Robert, plays one of these in The Lady and the Minstrel.


This is called a crumhorn. It was used in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Stick around and I'll share a cool crumhorn video with you at the end of this post!


This one's called a serpent. (Can you guess why? :-) ) It originated during the Renaissance.


This is called a lur. It was a Scandinavian bronze horn used in the 7th century. That's even earlier than any of my books take place!


This is a bass horn with a serpent's head. I don't know what time period it's from, but I thought it looked cool!


And here's a slide trombone with a serpent's head. It obviously goes with the bass horn above, don't you think? Again, I don't know the time period, but wouldn't it be fun to march in a parade playing one of these?


This is a harpsichord, a replica of the oldest extant keyboard instrument, c 1480. (And yes, that's the same lute I showed you above in the background.)


This is the harpsichord as most of us are familiar with it today. This one was made in Florence, Italy in 1890.

Okay, now for the promised crumhorn concert video! I found this on YouTube and fell in love with it. The players are dressed in Renaissance costume. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



CRUMHORN CONSORT - Al Milanese Castell´Arquato Manuscript - XVI Century Italian Renaissance Music

My sister and I are hoping to go back at Christmas and visit some of the musical galleries from other areas of the world.

Wherever you live, I wish you a very happy day of reflecting on what you are grateful for!