Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Medieval Christmas Dance

We don’t, of course, have balls in the Middle Ages, but we love to dance quite as much as our Regency descendants will.

We are celebrating the Holy Day of Christmas at Lyonstoke Castle, where I live with my guardian, Lord Gerolt de Warrenne. We have just finished a sumptuous feast, for Gerolt is very rich. The centerpiece of the final course (we had five altogether) was a great roast boar, surrounded on a huge platter with greenery and apples, one of the latter stuffed in the great beast’s mouth. The feast has lasted from midday until now it is early evening. 

Candles and torches have been lit, while a massive Yule log flames away in the hearth, flooding the castle’s great hall with light and warmth. Throughout the meal we were entertained by tumblers, jesters, and minstrels, but now that we are all merry with food and wine (although Gerolt insisted I water mine), we seek other entertainment.

Servants whisk away the leftover food and dishes and push the tables back against the walls, though carefully so as not to harm the beautiful tapestries that hang there. Gerolt’s castle musicians alter the soft accompaniments they played while we dined and begin a lively carole dance. We hold hands in a circle and skip sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, singing as we do so.

“The holly and the ivy,
“When they are both full grown . . .

Antony de Reymes holds my left hand in his right. Gerolt has given us leave to marry in a year when Antony turns twenty-one and becomes a knight. Loving Antony makes my heart sing even more than the music we skip to, but he is a great tease. Sometimes he tugs me too hard, trying to hurry the circle, throwing us out of rhythm, or alters the circle’s direction before its time, not because he has no sense of music but because he thinks it great fun to throw the circle into confusion. The more frowns he earns from the other dancers, the more widely he grins. I adore Antony and he adores me, but sometimes his antics grow a tiny bit wearisome, especially because I love dancing best when we dance the steps exactly right.

When the carole is ended, Gerolt takes his turn with me. The company breaks into smaller circles and the drums and pipes begin again. This dance begins with the ladies being turned beneath the gentlemen’s arms and moves quickly into more intricate steps and formations than the simple carole dance. Gerolt is the best dancer I know. He always guides me so lightly through the steps that I feel as though I dance on air. My joyful heart beats as one with the music. The slender gray shell Gerolt tied about my neck when I was twelve bounces merrily against the bodice of my embroidered green gown as I skip and whirl. 

Antony frowns when I wear the shell, as though jealous of the gift. He is sometimes so absurd! Though Gerolt is my guardian, he and I are as close as brother and sister. I cherish the gift even more than the jewels my parents left me for the bond that it signals between me and Gerolt, one that no one, even Antony, can ever break. Even the shell’s color matches the cloud-gray shade of Gerolt’s kind eyes. I remember how oddly they warmed with an emotion I did not quite understand the day he tied the shell around my neck. 

He is twenty-five now and I fifteen. For a moment as we dance with hands raised and palms pressed together, I think I glimpse that light in his eyes again, but the smile he gives me is the smile I have known and loved since I was nine-years-old, the one that makes me feel safe and treasured. I wish I knew a gift to give him in return for these six years we have shared but I can think of nothing he does not already have. I will miss him more than I can say when Antony and I are married.

Gerolt kneels and kisses my hand as the music ends, and Antony whisks me into yet another circle. But I glance over my shoulder as we go and pray that Gerolt can see the love and gratitude in my smile.


Though the medieval dance in this video is not set in a castle hall, it will give you an idea of some of the steps Gerolt and I enjoyed together this Christmas night.

See how my story with Antony and Gerolt turns out in Courting Cassandry.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Merry Christmas Deals!

Christmas is coming up quickly! Do you have family and friends who still prefer reading PRINT books to ebooks? If so, 6 of my sweet medieval romance titles are 20% off through December if you order your copies directly through CreateSpace! All you have to do is enter the discount code VZ7B2WGL when you check out.

The 20% discount is available for the following titles at the following links:

Also, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a FREE download of my medieval Christmas short story, A Candlelight Courting, as a thank you gift.

You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Thank you all so much for your friendship and loyalty throughout the years. I hope you each have a sweet and beautiful Christmas!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Giveaway: Timeless Romance Anthology

Christmas is just around the corner. Do you have family or friends who still prefer old fashioned print books to ebooks? Then here is an opportunity and giveaway for you!

Four of the Timeless Romance Anthology series are now available in paperback in Seagull Books (Utah only) and Deseret Book stores (everywhere)! You can win a FREE BOOK by helping the authors to celebrate! (In full disclosure, my short medieval Christmas story, Caroles on the Green, is included in the Winter Anthology edition.)

Details for how you can win a free book as well as be entered for a chance at a $50 Amazon gift certificate are below. Don't know where your closest Desert Book or Seagull stores are located? Click here for the Deseret Book location finder for multiple states and here for the Seagull Books location finder for Utah stores.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

#ILoveHistoricalRomance Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my #ILoveHistoricalRomance giveaway!

1st Prize: Haley H. ($50 PayPal cash)

2nd Prize: Michelle L. (Loyalty's Web/Illuminations of the Heart/Dangerous Favor)

3rd Prize: Amy C. (Loving Lucianna/Courting Cassandry)

4th Prize: Julie M. (The Lady and the Minstrel)

Thank you to everyone who played and shared my books online!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#ILoveHistoricalRomance giveaway

I think it’s time for a giveaway! I did something very similar to this when my third medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, came out. Three books and a couple of novellas later, I think it’d be fun to do it again.

Here are the rules: Post a photo of yourself holding any of my books to Facebook, Twitter, or your blog (if you have one) along with the hashtag #ILoveHistoricalRomance. (Photos may be combined into a single blog post then submitted separately for each title.) Then enter the link to your post in the Rafflecopter form below for a chance at one of these prizes:

1st place – a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate ($50 PayPal cash for international entries)
2nd place – an autographed print set of my first three medieval romances, Loyalty’s Web, Illuminations of the Heart, and Dangerous Favor (See below for international entries)
3rd place – an autographed print set of my Hearts in Autumn Romances, Loving Lucianna and Courting Cassandry (See below for international entries)
4th place – an autographed print copy of my medieval romantic historical, The Lady and the Minstrel (See below for international entries)

That’s right, there will be up to 4 winners!

Each book cover that you post yourself holding will count as a separate entry, giving you multiple chances to win. And you can post the same photos multiple days in a row for the course of the giveaway. Don't forget the hashtag! (#ILoveHistoricalRomance)

Do you have to buy a copy of one of my books to enter? No! Borrow a copy from a friend or checkout a copy from your local library. (Your library doesn’t have my books? Request they add them!) Then snap a picture of yourself with the book (print, e-book, the format doesn’t matter—and yes, if you have a copy of my first 3 books with their original covers, those count, also), start posting, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.


1st Prize - $50 PayPal cash

2nd Prize – unsigned print copies of Loyalty’s Web/Illuminations of the Heart/Dangerous Favor sent using Amazon Global if your country is included. Otherwise, PayPal cash equal to the American sum of the print cover prize.  ($40 USD)
3rd Prize - unsigned print copies of Loving Lucianna/Courting Cassandry sent using Amazon Global if your country is included. Otherwise, PayPal cash equal to the American sum of the print cover prize. ($25 UDS)
4th Prize – unsigned print copies of The Lady and the Minstrel sent using Amazon Global if your country is included. Otherwise, PayPal cash equal to the American sum of the print cover prize. ($16 USD)

DEADLINE: midnight EST September 30, 2016

**I will not republish any of your photos unless you give me permission. If you’d like to give me permission to share your photo (with or without your name—your choice), select that entry on the Rafflecopter form and follow the instructions listed there. This option is worth 5 points.

If the Rafflecopter form does not appear, click on the link

TERMS OF THE GIVEAWAY: Open only to those who can legally enter, receive Amazon/B&N gift certificates, or use money sent via Paypal. No purchase necessary. The winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. You must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter on October 1, 2016 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. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


To find the permalink to your Facebook post, click on the time/date of the post, then copy and paste the link into the Rafflecopter form.

To find the permalink on Twitter, click on the time/date of the tweet, then copy and paste the link into the Rafflecopter form

To find the permalink to blog post, click on the title of your post, then copy and paste the link into the Rafflecopter form.

Questions? Contact me at


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cover reveal ~ Heart Strings, by Donna Hatch

I'm so excited to get to participate in Regency author Donna Hatch's newest cover reveal, hosted by Loving the Book!

For those who haven't yet met Donna, let's get to know her:

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Connect with the Author:




And now, let's check out her fantastic new book!


Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets.

Kit's attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.


And now ... are you ready to see the wonderful new cover??








Isn't it gorgeous? The cover art was done by The Write Designer.

Share Donna's fun news and enter the giveaway below!