Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrating fathers in real life and fiction

Sunday is Father's Day and I couldn't let the day pass without expressing my love for fathers.

Here's a picture of my dad as a little boy at his Catholic confirmation.

His parents were immigrants from Italy, but my dad refused to learn Italian because he wanted to be "all American." Here's a picture of him as an even smaller boy with his parents and older sister.

Here's my dad (left) grown up with his father.

And here's my dad being a dad, with my brother and sister. (I wasn't born yet.)

Here's a picture of my dad feeding the ducks, just because I remember how he liked to take us to feed the ducks when we were kids, so this picture makes me happy. :-)

My dad wasn't perfect. He had his share of faults, as we all do. But I love him for choosing to be my father and for sticking it out through both good and hard times. He passed away in 2002 and, like my mom, I miss him.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Celebrating Fathers in Fiction

I wanted to do something special for Father's Day this year, so I gathered some author friends together and we've put together a Fathers in Fiction giveaway! This is a multi-genre giveaway, so every title may not be in your favorite genre, but there should be something for everyone. Each one of these FREE titles includes a father or father-figure as a major or minor character.  In addition, the authors are giving away 8 $10 gift cards ($80 value) to winners' choice to Amazon, B&N, or iTunes.

We're holding our giveaway on My Book Cave where every book is rated. This way you'll know exactly what content is included in the books and there won't be any unexpected surprises. (This is why I love My Book Cave!)

The Fathers in Fiction giveaway runs through June 25. Click here to check it out and please invite your friends!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

Here's another excerpt from Giacinta's new Chapter 1. I've had a terrible struggle trying to picture medieval Italian architecture for this story. It's all so different from the castles I'm used to describing in England and France. It's taken a very long time for the architectural design that was apparently common to nearly all Venetian houses to begin to click in my brain, but little by little I think I'm getting the idea. 

(Speaking of pictures, I actually drew a very rough one imagining what the the portego--1st floor--of Giacinta's house might have looked like.  I thought about sharing it with you, but it's soooo rough I haven't had the courage. Maybe I can neaten it up at some point and share it with you here. We'll see.)

I don't think I've described the portego very well in my story so far, but hopefully it'll get better in revisions. Just do your best to imagine the portego for now in this little excerpt.


Torchlight beckoned her from the T-shaped end of the long hall of the portego. It was left burning all night to allow the illusion that the household of Saverio de Luzio never slept. They did, of course, behind the doors to the chambers that framed both sides of the portego, but her father’s fabrication stood a symbol of her ancestors’ industry that had raised them from simple salt farmers to one of the wealthiest merchant families of Venice. Giacinta passed her father’s chamber and Amadio’s and the others to go gaze through the bank of tall, arching windows that overlooked the canal. Even from the height of this second floor, the torchlight cast small yellow pools against the dark rippling water.
Where would you take me if I let you carry me to the mysteries that lie beyond our city where my father goes, those tantalizing points on the maps that Amadio is such a laggard to learn?
She sighed, turned away, and walked back to Amadio’s chamber, two doors down from her own.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

It's nearly inevitable with a writer like me. I tried outlining a book in advance once, but it proved to be a dismal failure. My characters ran off and told an entirely different story and turned all my outlining into a tremendous waste of time. Ever since then, I've just jotted down a few ideas of character and plot to get me started, then started writing and let my characters take me where they wanted to go.

The downside of this writing method is that sometimes my characters don't tell me things in the first draft until I'm several chapters into the story, then they force me to go back and rewrite the beginning before I can push on through the rest of the story. That's what happened with Nick & Gia's story last week. I thought I was happily writing away on Chapter 12 when Giacinta suddenly revealed some new information to me, and now I'm back writing a brand new Chapter 1 just to please her!

Here's an excerpt from Giacinta's new chapter.


 “Donato is only a baker, but he says he loves me madly and will knead his fingers to the bone to keep me richly gowned and our table laden with all of the delicacies he imagines must grace the kitchen of a man as rich as Saverio de Luzio, the silk merchant.”
In truth, they dined simply more days than not, especially when her father was on one of his trading ventures. But when he was home and had guests he wished to impress, he loaded his table with foods strewn with exotic spices, and dressed his daughter and son in lavish attire. Giacinta was glad he was gone more months than he was home.

 “I do not think Papa cares for love, though. I mean, not for me,” Giacinta added hurriedly, so as not to offend her mother. “You know how Papa is. I do not mind. I do not care for love either, not since Francesco died.” She shifted her gaze away from the bright star called Venere, scanning the shimmer of lights in the blue-black canopy of the heavens. Curious she had never found a star to remind her of Francesco. She supposed she still carried his memory too deeply in her heart to let him free.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome to the May FREE For All & Giveaway Event

May 8-12, 2017!

Click to download these romance reads.

Thank you for being loyal readers! To show their appreciation, your favorite authors have come together to offer a book for FREE. Download one or all. Maybe you'll find your next favorite author.

Please note: all sales are limited time offers.
Don't have a Kindle? Don't worry. Read with the FREE Kindle App.

**Please note: these books may not be free on other Amazon sites and many of these books are free for a limited time only.**

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

I fell off the Tuesday Teaser wagon for a bit...I do that sometimes. Sorry! Let's give it another go-round. Here's a new teaser from Nick & Gia's story. (Yes, I'm still working on it. Slow and steady will hopefully win this race...eventually!)

Did I mention that the hero of Courting Cassandry, Gerolt de Warrenne, plays a part in this story when he was a young man? Here are a few paragraphs of him getting into mischief with his friend, Samson, in medieval Venice.


Caution dissipated as Gerolt found the first handholds and pulled himself up. He expected the path to be easier, given Samson’s dexterity, but the bricks were not always where Gerolt thought they should be. Perhaps because his limbs were so much longer than Samson’s, he kept misjudging their placement. Di Luzio had not been much above Samson’s height, so the distance between the bricks had undoubtedly been chosen for the natural length of his body.

Gerolt tried to think “shorter”, but soon he felt a wild giddiness rushing through his brain. It’s the wine, he thought, hitting me at last. He glanced down, startled for a moment to see how far below him lay the shadows of the garden. He had stood on the soaring parapets of his father’s castle and looked out over land and people grown curiously small, but he had never hung in the air like this, so exposed, so helpless should his grip slip. Would he plummet into a bramble bush or would he hit the hard earth at the bottom of those shadows? Would the fall bruise, or had he climbed high enough to break a few bones? Or my back? Or my neck?

He bit off a euphoric laugh. It is the wine. It has made a fool out of you. Yet as he scrambled for the next brick and the next, he thought he had never felt so blazingly alive as he did scaling this gloriously precarious wall.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Get Lost in Time with Historical Fiction

Some author friends and I have banded together to create the Lost in Time with Historical Fiction Giveaway, running now through April 19th. We're giving away FOUR $10 gift cards ($40 value) to Amazon, B&N, or iTunes (winner's choice). And while you're entering for the gift cards, you can browse 12 historical fiction ebook titles (all PG-13 or lower rated) and download any or all of them for FREE in exchange for signing up for the authors newsletters. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time, but maybe you'll want to stick around and learn more about them.

My romantic historical novel, The Lady and the Minstrel, is one of the selections, so if you've been wanting to grab a copy, here's your chance to get it FREE. 

This giveaway only runs through April 19th. To check out the Lost in Time with Historical Fiction Giveaway and enter for a chance at one of FOUR $10 gift cards, click here.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hug a Medievalist Day ~ Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my Hug a Medievalist Day giveaway!

Melissa K won the illustrated copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and map.

Julie P won the autographed copy of my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart.

Thank you to everyone who entered and helped me celebrate Hug a Medievalist Day 2017. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hug a Medievalist Day giveaways!

March 31 is International Hug a Medievalist Day and I want to share it with you with not one, but TWO giveaways, and a book sale! (Click here to read an interview with the creator of Hug a Medievalist Day.)

(Have you hugged a medievalist today?)

Prize 1 is a two-pack prize: an illustrated copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales plus a replica of a hand-drawn map of the pilgrims' route to Canterbury, which I picked up at this year's Arizona Renaissance Festival.

This giveaway is available to USA residents only. If you're international, check out my next giveaway below. (If the Rafflecopter form doesn't show up, just click on the link that says "a Rafflecopter giveaway")


a Rafflecopter giveaway

OFFICIAL RULES: NO PURCHASE NECESSSARY. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Deadline to enter is April 5, 2017. Winners will be selected on April 6, 2017 and have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win. OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Questions? Contact me at

Prize 2: An autographed PRINT copy of my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. (This is marked Book 2 in my Poitevin Hearts romance series, but can be read as a standalone novel. If you've downloaded a copy of Loyalty's Web in one of my recent giveaways though, you might want to read that one first, but it isn't necessary to enjoy Illuminations of the Heart.)

(Click on the book cover to read a summary of the book)

Autographed copies will be sent to USA residents only, but if you're international you can still win! I'll send you a print copy via Amazon Global -- it just won't be autographed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OFFICIAL RULES: NO PURCHASE NECESSSARY. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Deadline to enter is April 5, 2017. Winners will be selected on April 6, 2017 and have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win. OPEN TO USA AND INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES ONLY ON THE CONDITIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Questions? Contact me at

Finally, I'm also holding a $0.99 sale of my medieval romance, Courting Cassandry, March 29 - April 4, so if you've been wanting to grab a copy on sale, this is your chance.

(Click on the book cover to read a summary)

Click here to be directed by Books2Read to the bookseller of your choice for a $0.99 copy of Courting Cassandry.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

Here's a new Tuesday Teaser from Nick & Gia's story for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!


“Sir,” she said quickly, “I assure you that we are but—”

“Brother and sister, cousins” —the man cut her off, a thread of laughter in his voice— “he is clearly too young to be your uncle.” He waved a hand that looked gloved in the air. “It is no concern of mine, signorina. I will leave you and your . . . ‘brother’ to resume your amusements, then. Buona notte!”

He strolled past them, his cloak rustling on the breeze as he whistled a light tune into the enveloping darkness.

Amadio muttered, “I warned you in the tavern that men would mistake you for a—”

She whirled on him. “Do not say that word with my name. If you had stayed home as I ordered you, I would not be so humiliated.”

“It was reckless of you to follow me, and unnecessary, as well. What, did you think Il Cavaliere Scarlatto had abducted me? I would like to see him try!”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Looking for Historical Fiction?

Remember that Historical Fiction Giveaway I told you about? Well, it's up and running now on BookSweeps! Over 45 historical novels are part of a prize pack being offered through February 27th. I can't vouch for the content of all the titles, but I'm familiar with authors L.C. Lewis, Rachael Anderson, and Rachelle J. Christensen. Each of them offer good, clean historical fiction with great plots that keep you turning the pages. Some of the other titles look interesting too. I may check them out myself! And yes, that's my romantic historical, The Lady and the Minstrel, there on the second row. If you haven't read it yet, go ahead and enter. You might win a copy!

Oh, and did I mention that they're giving away a Kindle Fire as a Grand Prize?

Here's a picture of all the prizes up for grabs.

That looks like 50 novels to me! Here's the link to enter: Book Sweeps Historical Fiction Giveaway.

Check it out and good luck! I'd love it if some of my followers won! (If you do, be sure you come back and let me know in a comment.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday Teaser

Today's Tuesday Teaser introduces my heroine, Giacinta, as my hero, Nick Ryder, first sees her as she enters a tavern in Venice. (Keep in mind that this is 1st draft material, so there may be some clunky sentences. They should get smoothed out in revisions. This is just to give you a taste of the story I'm working on.)

A woman stood in the open doorway. Not the sort of overly-primped wench with stained cheeks and lips that the harlots of Venice attempted to seduce men with. A natural elegance radiated from the crimped coils of her bronze-colored hair, to the delicate blush on the glow of her faintly golden skin, to the modest embellishments on the gown that draped a shapely bosom, and the slender, beringed fingers that somewhat tremblingly clutched the doorjamb. Nick’s gaze followed the flow of her skirts over the graceful curve of her hips to the tips of the red slippers peeking out from beneath their folds, before returning to her face. He judged her to be near her twentieth year.

Her brown eyes, warm and luxuriant as honey, stared into the tavern, round with dismay, as though she gazed upon some scene from purgatory. Her blush deepened, perhaps from all the stares of the men fixed upon her, more than a few of which had gone broadly lecherous. Her hand left the doorjamb to briefly touch her hair, as if belatedly aware that she had failed to don a covering veil. Dread flashed in her eyes, so stark Nick thought she might turn about and flee. To his surprise, a shout half-rose in his throat to stay her, for he sensed her departure would leave a blast of cold in his chest.

Then her gaze darted to some point behind Nick and he saw her spine stiffen. Her expression altered. He had seen just such a look in men’s eyes on the battlefield: an unflinching resolve to face the enemy blazing in defiance of the weakness of fear. Her sweetly rounded chin lifted with all the fortitude of an unflinching warrior.