Monday, July 30, 2012

The Deseret News reviews "Dangerous Favor"!

It's not every day one of my books gets reviewed in a real, live newspaper, even the online version, so you'll understand my excitement when I discovered that the Utah based Deseret News published a review of Dangerous Favor on Saturday! Margot Hovley called Dangerous Favor "an exciting new medieval romantic mystery."

Click here to read the entire review.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summary Sunday

I'm coming down the home stretch with Isabel's story. Here are a few new sentences from this week:

Monday: Lucian had found himself a more docile love to fit his temper.

Tuesday: A man who cared more for his hose than his lady should be easy enough to govern in marriage. 

Wednesday: (busy vacation day, didn't get any writing in)

Thursday:  It took a deal of bouncing, swiveling and swishing of her skirts to arrange herself into a sitting position of some modesty.

Friday: "Don’t make me come up there and get you.”

Saturday: “I don’t need you, Lucian,” she repeated, though something cracked in her heart as she said it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summary Sunday

I'm out of town visiting my sister this week so my writing time is limited, but I have squeezed a little writing in nonetheless. Here are a few new sentences from Isabel's story:

Monday: (a traveling day)

Tuesday: "I knew you would remember I wear a topaz signet ring and hence know that this…” he rubbed his thumb across the yellow stone… “came from me."

Wednesday: “This is not what I had in mind when I agreed to a moonlight tryst.”

Thursday: One man is very like another, she had said to Agnes, but dancing with Lucian had exposed those words for the lie they were.

Friday: (traveling most of the day)

Saturday: “It troubles me only that I might displease you,” he said with a promptness that should have gratified her, had she not been hoping for another answer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The best postcard I ever received

A dear friend recently sent me this postcard from England. The pictures are taken from the King's Chamber in the Great Tower of Dover Castle. According to the description on the back, this room has been restored by historians "to re-present the rooms in a late 12th century style."

My friend chose this postcard for me because this tower was built by order of King Henry II of England, and she knew how much I love Henry II. What she didn't know was that by sending this particular postcard to me, she was providing me the answer to a research mystery that I had so far been unable to resolve through several late night internet research sessions. My research question seemed simple enough: Did they or didn't they sleep on pillows in the Middle Ages? Not surprisingly, my first assumption was, "Well, of course they did!" But I discovered several contradictory opinions on the internet, many sources insisting that pillows came into use much later, and that most people used bolsters. I have a scene in one of the short Christmas stories I'm working on (Meg's story) that involves a pillow. I had been wracking my brains for a way to rewrite it when I received this postcard, and lo and behold, what did I find on this postcard of a restoration of a "late 12th century style" bedroom?

Those look mighty like pillows to me! (A little blurry. They didn't blow up well from the postcard scan, but still, they're clearly pillows!)

By the way, that round thing the pillows are leaning against is a bolster.

So I think I'll keep my pillow scene in Meg's story, and if anyone questions me on the matter, I'll just hold up my postcard and say, "You don't believe me? Ask the historians at Dover Castle!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop: Winner!

Congratulations to Jordan Erika Smith, who won a copy of my sweet medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, in the Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop!

Thank you to all of you who entered!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summary Sunday

My new sentences are all from Isabel's story this week:

Monday: Neither blandishments nor threats had ever convinced Marjory to leave raisins out of Isabel’s apple tart.

Tuesday: Sir Yves gave a visible start and apparently thinking she wished him to move her direction, lurched so suddenly to his right that he crashed into Isabel’s shoulder and sent her stumbling against Lucian.

Wednesday: Isabel had studied carefully the way the serfs danced on the green and had made up her own steps for this tune, which she would have whispered into Sir Yves’ ear for him to repeat to the others had Lucian’s unexpected appearance at her side not so disrupted her thoughts that she had forgotten her plan. 

Thursday: Lucian bowed with so buoyant a grin that Isabel found herself trilling a mirroring laugh as she sank into a curtsy.

Friday: It had not seemed so ill a trade before she had danced the caroles.

Saturday: Hope turned to a sour puddle in her stomach.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Tifferz Book Review. For this giveaway, each participating blog is giving away either a YA or "clean" adult romance.

Here at JDP NEWS I'm giving away winner's choice of a Kindle or Nook edition of my clean medieval romance, Dangerous Favor. Here's a summary:

Mathilde needs a champion.

Her father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that has reduced her family to poverty. She has one chance to find and marry a man who can help her prove her father's innocence. Lord Therri, heir to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies all her romantic dreams.

Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced family, has neither wealth nor connections, but is smitten with Mathilde at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only out to seduce her. While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention, Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction of events. Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and prove himself the true hero of her dreams?

Deadline for entries is midnight EST, July 17th. US entries only.

Once you've entered via the Rafflecopter form below, go to the next link to find some more great clean romantic giveaways!

OFFICIAL RULES: NO PURCHASE NECESSSARY. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Winners will be selected on July 18th and have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win. Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be reawarded. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Questions? Contact me at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summary Sunday

As I mentioned in my last post, I finished my first draft of Meg's story this week, and started a second story about a woman named of course, for now, I'm calling it Isabel's story. :-) Here are a few new lines from each for this week:

Monday: The reliquary hit the floor with a great clatter of metal and wood, tottered, and fell on its side, jarring the lid loose and tumbling out its contents. (Meg's story)

Tuesday: Like the sideboards set up for her father’s men and the meddlesome neighbors he had invited, the high table was still strewn with the remains of an extravagant Christmas feast, including the picked off head of a wild boar that must have come from Burthred’s hunting chase and the browning core of the apple which she knew had been stuck in the poor beast’s mouth. (Meg's story)

Wednesday: She wondered if this was the expression he had worn when he had defeated three knights at once. (Meg's story)

Thursday: “It frightened me, Isabel, to see you weep so.” (Isabel's story)

Friday: “I would not flitter so if you would give me something more amusing to do than embroider more shirts for Father.” (Isabel's story)

Saturday: It had appalled her, however, to discover Ronwen so insecure in the knight’s budding devotion as to feel the only way to secure him safely and permanently was to see Isabel married to another man. (Isabel's story)

What Am I Writing Now?

I finished my first draft of Meg's story (official title still to be determined) this week, and found a whole new cast of characters already clamoring to have their turn on the page. Since my life is a little topsy-turvy at the moment, making it difficult for me to concentrate on writing long forms (like, oh, say, another novel), I've decided to focus on a few short medieval stories over the next few months. My first two will be Christmas stories...well, more or less. Meg's a little less. My new story, which I'm currently calling Isabel's story, is a little more Christmassy. Or I hope it will be when I finish it, anyway.

I wanted to find some pictures of my two new heroines to share with you, but apparently these women only exist in my head because none of the pictures I found quite match my imagination. But here's a little tidbit for you. Meg's story revolves around a reliquary box. What is a reliquary? It's a container for holy relics, usually objects associated with the Catholic saints. Many reliquaries were quite elaborate, such as this one, currently housed in the Louvre.

Meg's reliquary is somewhat simpler, made of carved wood instead of gilded over in gold. Hers does have a cross carved on the top and some other scrolling around the sides, but instead of the figures decorating the four corners, Meg's reliquary has a jewel in each corner in this order:

Top left: jasper

Top right: a sardonyx stone

Bottom left: an emerald

Bottom right: an amethyst

My hero, Burthred, guessed the meaning of the first three, though not the fourth. Can you guess what each stone represents, too?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop: Winner!

Congratulations to Sweeping the USA! Sweeping has won a copy of Killing Lincoln, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard here on JDP NEWS. I don't know if Sweeping shared with us her favorite summer fruit, but if not, maybe she will leave a comment on this post and let us know. I think watermelon came out ahead (must admit, that's my favorite too), though if one combines the berries category in general, it was a pretty tight race.

Happy summer reading and summer fruit eating to you all!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summary Sunday

The end of Meg's story is in sight! Well, at least the first draft. Here are a few new sentences from this week:

Monday: “I like Meg. Heaven did not strike me down for kissing her, so perhaps it would not object if I married her.”

Tuesday: “I do not know what is so funny,” she gasped, even as she failed to curb her perplexing mirth.

Wednesday: "I vow, I will be quite proud of my pretty, plump wife.”

Thursday: (Another day out of town)

Friday: “Perhaps Christina could be content with a holy pilgrimage,” he said, apparently sensing his offer of a hair shirt had not been enough to persuade her.

Saturday: “If I were…different,” he murmured, his palms still over his eyes, “and could have my choice of all the women in the world, having spent this one night with Christina, I would choose her alone for my wife.”