Monday, May 14, 2018

With a Kiss: A Sweet Romance Anthology

Recently I shared with you a preview chapter of my new medieval romance novella, "Just This Moment", which is part of the new With A Kiss sweet romance anthology. I thought you might enjoy a peek at the other novellas included in this anthology, which is available for PRE-ORDER NOW on Amazon.




Remember, 100% of the proceeds from this anthology will go towards the medical expenses of author Robison Wells, a longtime supporter of the LDS writing community and founder of the Whitney Awards.

Some of the authors in this collection have generously included a peek at their first chapters, too. I've included a link for each of them below.

Enjoy! And don't forget to pre-order your copy now. The ebook will be delivered to your Kindle device or Kindle app on May 22, 2018.

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A collection of 10 brand new sweet romance novellas by USA Today bestselling & award winning authors. 

**On sale for a limited time only!**

Romances in this collection:
DANCING TO FREEDOM by Traci Hunter Abramson: A Russian ballerina. An American hockey player. A forbidden romance. Can Katrina follow her heart when freedom is the one thing she lacks? Or will the Cold War cost her the only man she has ever loved? 

RYLEE’S MIX-UP by Rachel Branton: Rylee Williams didn’t want to be a bridesmaid at her estranged sister’s wedding, the sister who’d grown up with the family she was supposed to have. So why does she find herself in a dress two sizes too big and no date for the wedding? Maybe it’s time to give up on her family once and for all. But a greased pig contest and handsome cowboy Beck Seeger might just change her mind—both about sticking it out and taking a chance at love. Read the first chapter here

THE REFUGEE’S BILLIONAIRE by Rachelle J. Christensen: Shawn Halstrom has an assignment: travel to Atlanta, Georgia to investigate The Heart of Atlanta refugee center so that Burke Enterprises can make a donation. The job should take two weeks tops, but he wasn’t planning on falling for a Cuban refugee named Carolina Diaz. She’s a single mother who isn’t interested in dating, even if the guy might be a billionaire. Read the first chapter here

JUST THIS MOMENT by Joyce DiPastena: Alys’s late husband thought her useful only for spinning thread. Now a mysterious monk has come to take her to a nunnery. Can a sightless woman like Alys exert her independence to forge a future of her own choice? And will the monk, who stirs forbidden longings in her, help or hinder her? Read the first chapter here

ORIGAMI GIRL by Danyelle Ferguson: Josephine loved teaching crafts at the children's hospital until she was assigned to help Dr. Blake learn how to relate with his patients. As she helps the young doctor soften his sharp edges, relax his rigid folds, and open up to the people around him, she finds she can't help but love the man he's becoming.  

SABRINA’S HERO by Donna Hatch: For weeks, Sabrina daydreams about a mysterious gentleman who frequents the lending library. Is he perchance an agent for the crown? A returning war hero? A highwayman? A fateful public assembly introduces her to the mystery man as well as an intriguing newcomer. Now she’s torn between a charming rake promising the adventure she craves, and a handsome barrister offers security. Only one will stand by her when it matters most. Read the first chapter here

FALLING FOR LUCY by Heather B. Moore: Lucy Morley’s older sister is perfect, yet Lucy can’t even hold down a job, let alone stick with something like college. After another disastrous firing, she lands her dream job at a bookstore—and it doesn’t hurt that her new boss, Adam Parks, is pretty much her dream man. But if Lucy is good at one thing, it’s guarding herself from heartbreak. Adam has other plans in mind that include finding a way into Lucy’s heart. Read the first chapter here


MY DEAREST EMMA by Luisa Perkins: Since her husband died at 25, Johanna has worked at a busy hotel in the new railroad town of Danube, Minnesota, soothing her loneliness by writing home to her sister in Germany. When she meets August, a shy widower, her letters reveal a budding friendship. But Johanna soon begins to question whether their romance can survive a demanding employer, August’s jealous daughter, and the misgivings of two recently broken hearts. 

COVERTLY YOURS by Janette Rallison: Paisley Spencer never needed a knight in shining armor—until she finds herself surrounded by three gangsters in a bad part of Phoenix. A handsome stranger intervenes, rescuing her from certain disaster. The only catch? Now she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next hour. She finds it’s a job she doesn't want to end. 

Novella by Heather Tullis: description coming soon


Pre-order your copy of With a Kiss from Amazon.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mother's Day Kindle Fire Giveaway



2018 Mother’s Day Kindle Fire Giveaway ($250 Value)

Mother’s Day is just 3 weeks away! Do you have a great gift for your mom yet? Or how about a gift for yourself? Here’s your chance to win $250 to get a gift for mom, a gift for yourself or to just score some cash for a much-needed purchase.

The price of a Kindle Fire has come way down in the past few years but this giveaway is still valued at $250. That’s plenty of cash to buy a Kindle Fire HD10 AND load it full of books.



The winner will have their choice of a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card or $250 in Paypal Cash!

Thanks to this awesome group of authors, bloggers, and publishers for making this giveaway possible.

SPONSOR LIST

I Am A Reader
Aubrey Wynne: Timeless Love
My Life. One Story at a Time.
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Caroline Clemmons
Jo Noelle
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Lori's Reading Corner
Helen Smith
Author Joyce DiPastena
A. Gardner - Author
Heather Boyd Romance Author
Perfectly Tolerable
Simple Wyrdings
Dawn Malone, Author
Glistering: B's Blog
S.A. Larsen
Koops Konclusions
Our Book Confessions
P. Creeden, Author
Author Kim Cresswell
Julie Coulter Bellon
JeanBookNerd
The Eco Lifestyle
Tia Souders, author
Bound 4 Escape
Alina Snow Romance Author



Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card

Ends 5/12/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers, and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Sneak peek at Just This Moment

I'm honored to have been invited to participate in an anthology of clean romances called With a Kiss. All the proceeds from this anthology will be donated towards the medical needs of a fellow author, named Robison Wells. If you're not familiar with his work, you can visit his website here.

I'll be able to share the cover art with you soon, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the first chapter of my novella, Just This Moment, included in the anthology. For those of you who have read my medieval romances, Just This Moment tells the story of Therri and Violette's daughter, Alys. (Therri and Violette were secondary characters in my medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, but their romance was as important to the story there as the romance of the main characters, Mathilde and Etienne.)

I hope you enjoy this preview! (Oh, yeah, I added some pictures, just to liven up the chapter. They won't appear in the novella version.)

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Just This Moment

a Poitevin Hearts Romance novella
by Joyce DiPastena

Chapter 1
Blezon Castle, Poitou
1213

Alys had agreed to her daughter’s absurd request just so she could squeeze out a few more days with her. Alys would have retired to the nunnery days ago had her daughter not wept so and begged her mother for this boon before she left. Soon she would trade spinning for her late husband’s household to spinning for the nuns. Prayers would greet her morning and night instead of her daughter’s embraces. Alys knew it was best for them to part. Lissa would fare better as wife to Lord de la Roche’s son than continuing in her mother’s inadequate care. But that did not lessen the approaching pain.

A cold draught danced around her, stirring the back of her veil before the tapestry swished into place over the solar’s entrance, blocking the chill that leaked in from the outer passageway.

“Lady Alys?” A brisk, masculine voice spoke from somewhere near the tapestry.

She ventured a step closer to the heat from the hearth and extended her hands toward the radiating warmth. “Yes. Are you the monk sent to me by Father Jaques?”

“Yes, my lady. I am Brother Walter.”


“Welcome, Brother Walter. Come in and take a seat.”



His footsteps on the floorboards reverberated strong and sure, yet bore a litheness her lumbering husband’s tread had lacked.

“Have you brought pen and parchment?” she asked. “I will summon Lady Beatris to fetch some if you’ve forgotten.” Alys should not have moved from her previous position. What if Brother Walter saw her fumbling to find the bell on the table beside her stool? Might Lady Beatris, the castellan’s wife, be curious enough about the monk to have lingered within the call of Alys’s voice? If so, she would not need the bell. She strained to catch one of Lady Beatris’s betraying sniffs but discerned only silence. Perhaps Brother Walter’s arrival had obscured the irritated signal.

The monk’s footsteps stopped. “Nay, my lady, I have both with me. Shall I sit at the table or draw up a chair by the fire? I have a writing board, if you prefer the latter.”

“The table is fine, Brother Walter.” She had had the castellan bring one up to the solar and set it near the window with a pair of chairs especially for this task.

The legs of one of the chairs scraped, then the sound cut off abruptly. Alys had been so immersed in the warmth of the fire—a luxury she knew she would not enjoy once she joined the nunnery—that she’d forgotten she was standing. A monk with chivalrous inclinations? She could scarce remember the last time a man waited to sit until she did. She moved back a step, then stretched her hand down to the velvet cushion on the nearby stool before she sat, still facing the fire. The chair at the desk shifted a little less roughly this time, then there was a creak of wood as Brother Walter lowered himself onto the seat.

“I regret to trouble you,” she said. “I do not think I will intrude long upon your time. My story is very dull. It should not take you long to write it.” She picked up the distaff she had left leaning against the table and tucked it beneath her left arm. “I hope you do not think I presume to believe myself anything extraordinary, but my daughter seems to think otherwise.” She reached for her spindle beside the bell. “You know how children are, imagining their parents’ lives must have been something entirely remarkable.” As soon as she said it, Alys realized her tactlessness. “Forgive me, that was insensitive of me.” He was a clerk in holy orders. Of course he would have no children.

A tapping sound, as if of a bored toe against the floor, rapped faintly behind her. Had her hearing not been so keen, she suspected she would not even have heard it.

“No matter, my lady. Just allow me to sharpen my pen, and we can begin.”

She rested the spindle in her lap and listened for a moment to a whispery scratching. “How do you do that?” she asked.

The scratching ceased. “Do what?”

“Sharpen a pen. How do you fashion one, for that matter?”

“A pen?”

“Yes.” The few times she had held one, her husband had promptly taken it away, saying she had no use for such objects. Go back to your spinning, my dear. You make the finest thread in Poitou. He spoke the compliment to placate her when she grew weary of working the spindle from morning till evening and ventured to murmur a complaint.

“Well,” Brother Walter said, “one begins with a feather. Then—”

“What sort of feather?”

“What sort? Any sort. Or no, some sorts are better than others. Goose feathers, or one that falls from a hawk or an owl. Then—”

“Which feather are you holding now?”

“This one is from a crow.”



She wondered if he extended the feather for her to see, but she tilted her face deeper into the warmth emanating from the hearth. The soft cloth of her veil floated along her cheek.

“Then one uses a small sharp knife to trim away a portion of the plume,” he continued, “and shave off the barbs so they do not irritate the hand while one writes. One then cuts off the tip of the quill at an angle and carefully digs out the quick. Once that is removed, the tip is shaped to a point with a slit cut in the center to allow the ink to flow. The tip can then be further refined to form thin lines or thick, according to a scribe’s or patron’s pleasure. Do you have a preference for your narration, my lady?”

“The size of the lines?” She smothered a laugh. “Nay, whatever you think will be most easy for a child to read.”

“She will be reading it herself?”

“I would ask you not to tell her father, but his displeasure is no longer an issue.”

“Did you teach her?”

She could not tell whether Brother Walter sounded surprised or disapproving. Perhaps both? His question confirmed that he did not know her. It was just as she’d hoped. “No, I cannot read myself. My husband thought me too witless to do more than spin thread all day, but I knew a man of his wealth could purchase all the thread this household might need without any help from me. So I had Mabila, who was then my servant, sell my thread in the marketplace. Then I begged my husband to engage a personal chaplain for me. He thought I asked out of concern for my soul, but I used the money from my spinning to pay the chaplain to secretly teach my daughter to read.”

“I see.”

Now she was certain he disapproved.

“If you have a lettered chaplain, why do you need my services?”

No doubt Brother Walter longed to be doing a dozen other things than sitting here on a dull commission with a woman who freely confessed to having deceived her husband. She heard the bored tapping of his toe again.

“Because I no longer have a lettered chaplain,” she said. “Our castellan dismissed him the day Lord de la Roche’s letter arrived informing me of my husband’s death and stating that I was ill-suited to live out my days on my dower lands and would be more comfortable in the nunnery of Sainte-Trinité. The baron is sending me there on Thursday, so we have but four days to fulfill my daughter’s request.”

“The recording of your life’s story.”

Now she could not interpret his inflection. Tedium? Censure at her pride? Perhaps simple indifference.

It no longer mattered what any man thought of her. Lord de la Roche had given his permission to indulge her daughter’s whim. Alys half-suspected the baron might burn it once she was gone, but his acquiescence had helped to quiet her daughter’s tears after his letter arrived saying that Alys must go to the nunnery and Lissa must be betrothed to his son.


The heat from the hearth had begun to prickle Alys’s skin.



She had always had trouble judging the perfect distance from the crackling of the flames to stave off the cold on the one hand and overheat her on the other. After she had come so near to plunging her hand into the flames as a child, her parents had given her a metal rod and warned her never to draw closer than its length to the hearth. But her husband had taken the rod away, saying, as he did with all things, that he knew what was best for her, including how close her stool should be placed near the fire. He always misjudged it, of course, leaving her either too cold or too hot.

She returned both the distaff and spindle, unused, to their places and stood. “Where do you think I should begin, Brother Walter? With my birth? That hardly seems significant enough to note. I suppose we should start with my marriage.” That most important day in a woman’s life, when she ceased to be an incidental object in her father’s house and became a useful one to a husband in need of an heir.

“We can start wherever you wish, my lady.”

She needed more of an answer from him than that. “Where would you start if it were you? What was the most significant day of your life?”

“I suppose I should have to differ with you and cite the day I was born. For everything else we do and think and become must follow upon that, would you not agree?”

She turned from the heat and moved toward the sound of his voice.

“Without birth there is no life,” he continued.

One, two, three . . . 

“Without life there is no existence, and without existence—well, I do not consider myself a philosopher, but it seems quite simple.”

. . . four, five, six . . .

“We would not be talking together at this moment if neither of us had been born and you would have no story to tell your, er, daughter.”

. . . seven, eight. She paused when his voice trailed off, then took two more steps and reached out her hand. She had told Lissa to leave the smaller chair at the desk right here, but her fingers moved through empty space.


“You make a very good point,” she said, hoping to distract him from her confusion. “We will start with my birth. Please write, ‘Alys de Laurant was born at Pennault Castle, third of five children and second daughter of Therri, Baron de Laurant, son of Aumary, Baron de Laurant and Gwenllian, daughter of Berwyn ap Gwilym of Wales. My mother was Violette de Grantamur, widow of Hamon, Baron de Maloisel, daughter of Roulf de Caen and Melisant Bretel. Such a heritage made even a second daughter of sufficient interest by dowry and maternal and paternal influence to merit the interest of a man like Sir Reimund de Sentlir.’”



While Brother Walter inscribed her words, she shifted another inch or two, keeping her hand extended as casually as she could in search of the back of her chair. A hint of spicy sweetness tickled her nose. She hoped Cook was preparing something delectable for dinner.


The brief distraction of her hunger diverted her realization that she moved against silence rather than the scratching of the monk’s pen. Before she stopped her tentative advance, her fingers landed, not against wood, but along a strong, clean-shaven cheekbone. Alys gasped. Her fingers jerked back as though they had touched a lit brand. She had just accosted a monk! Now she must either let him think her the worst kind of wanton or tell him the truth her pride had wanted, just for once in her life, to hide.



I hope you enjoyed this preview of my Poitevin Hearts novella, Just This Moment. I'll share the cover and release date with you soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hug a Medievalist Day 2018: Winners!

Congratulations to our Hug a Medievalist Day winners! Debbie G (who wanted to hug Robin Hood) won the Love and Chivalry puzzle and Judith M (who wanted to hug Broderick MacConnaway from the book, Heart of a Highlander) won the Love and Chivalry water bottle.


Other popular votes for hugs on Hug a Medievalist Day included King Arthur, Guinevere, and Merlin. 

These names also received some much appreciated hugs: Joan de Beaufort, Abelard, Albucasis, the Lairds of Leckie, Robert the Bruce, Jeanne Hachette, Lancelot, King Edward Longshanks, William Marshal, Robert Gisgard, Thomas á Becket, Johann Gutenberg, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Bluetooth the Dane, Leonardo da Vinci, William Tell, Sir John of Canterbury,  Marco Polo, and Ivan the Bonelss. Literary choices included Geoffrey Chaucer, Umberto Eco, Romeo, and two kind people who nominated characters from my novels, Gerolt de Warenne (from Courting Cassandry) and Triston de Brielle (from Illuminations of the Heart). :-)

Thank you, everyone! I loved reading through this list! We'll do it again next year!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Hug a Medievalist Day Giveaway 2018!

It's almost here! That day I know you, like I, await breathlessly to roll around each year . . . Hug a Medievalist Day (March 31st)! And I'm celebrating with another giveaway!

This year I'm giving away not one, but two prizes, which means there will be TWO winners! This year's theme is Love and Chivalry, inspired by the artwork of the Codex Manesse, a collection of High German Medieval poetry collected between the years 1304-1340 (approximately) that included 137 miniature paintings representing each of the poets in the collection. The poet in the pictures on these prizes was named Bernger von Horheim. You can read more about Bernger here and more about the Codex Manesse here.

1st place winner will win this 100 piece "Love and Chivalry" puzzle.


2nd place winner will win this 18 oz "Love and Chivalry" water bottle.



Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. NOTE: The first entry is REQUIRED. You must answer the question: Name a medievalist you'd like to hug. It can be someone real (like King Richard the Lionheart), someone fictional (Robin Hood, King Arthur, a character from a favorite novel), or even someone alive today who likes to dress up in medieval garb and attend medieval faires (a husband, a son or daughter, etc). Just have fun with the answers. If you'd like to share your answer in a comment on this blog post as well as on the entry form, please do!

All the other entry options are completely optional. (Don't see a Rafflecopter form? Just click on the link to go to the Rafflecopter page.)

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Official rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Deadline to enter is 11:59 am PST April 3, 2018. Winner will be selected on April 4, 2018 and have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win. OPEN TO USA ONLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Questions? Contact me at jdipastena@yahoo.com



Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas in medieval art

Just for fun, I thought I'd celebrate Christmas medieval-style this year! Here are only a handful of beautiful medieval paintings I found celebrating the Christmas story. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Luke 1:30: "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God." (I love the colors in this picture!)



Luke 1:31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in they womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.



Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Note how the artist painted Mary and the Angel inside the letter R.) 


Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb.


Luke 2:4-5   And Joseph also went up from Galilee…unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.


Luke 2:6-7   And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered…[but] there was no room for them in the inn.


Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. (I can’t help but like this one for the expression on Mary’s face. Hard to believe she might not have felt this way, at least just a little.)


(Here’s another version of yesterday’s verse. Joseph doesn’t look too comfortable scrunched into the letter O.)


Luke 2:8-9 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. (I love the sheep in this one!) 

   

Luke 2:10-11 And the angel said unto [the shepherds], Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings or great joy, which shallbe to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Luke 2:16 And [the shepherds] came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 


Matthew 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.


Matthew 2:9 & 11 …and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. (I have to admit, this little drawing in the margin of a book is one of my favorites!)
 

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 


Matthew 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.


Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.