Blazing #BlogTour: The Ashes And The Sparks by Mary Victoria Johnson

Blog Tour


ashessparksfinThe Ashes and the Sparks
by Mary Victoria Johnson
Genre: YA Alt-History Fantasy
Release date: October 18th 2016
Fire and Ice Young Adult Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Welcome to the age of airships. It is a world powered by steam and innovation, ruled by an elusive empress at its heart.

Seventeen year-old Jorun is not part of this world. Hers is one of hidden tunnel networks and lights that dance across night skies, on that has remained separate from the rest of society for over a thousand years. This all changes when a boy appears from nowhere, raving about invaders from a faraway land. Purely by chance, Jorun soon finds herself in the middle of a struggle unlike anything she could have ever dreamed of, and must come to the realization that only she can stop an impending war.

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The Ashes and the Sparks Guest Post

Alternate History (about the “rules” and “limits” when writing Alt Hist)

As with most genres, althistory begins with one question: what if? What if Rome never fell? What if the Nazis won World War II? What if the Dark Ages turned into a period of great scientific advancement, or what if dragons really did exist in Ancient China? The possibilities are infinite, which is part of what makes the alternate history such a fascinating topic to explore. My novel takes place in the 1880’s, a period that many would recognize as Victorian. There’s just one key difference: Queen Victoria is dead. Gone. Assassinated. And when you remove such key players, society obviously develops far differently from what happened in our timeline. Really, that’s the core of what althistory is: creating a new, ‘alternate’ timelines.

Few writers enjoy the idea of rules and limits, and as far as genre boundaries go, alternate history offers lots of flexibility. You want the fairies of Irish folktales to be real? Sure. You want massive, gilded airships to be Europe’s primary mode of transportation? Go for it. You want Da Vinci and Michelangelo to be rival vampire-hunting vigilantes? Why not! Time travel, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic dystopias are all totally reasonable subgenres to delve into, but you’ve got to remember to keep the ‘history’ part too. You’ve got to remember that Earth –real Earth- has got to be the basic setting. Even if the magical land of Altoria mimics 3rd century Peru, if there are no connections to reality, then you’re writing straight-up fantasy. There has to be a connection to the real historical timeline. Of course, liberties can be taken; The Ashes and the Sparks involves a completely fictional society based on a mishmash of real Nordic cultures, set on a completely fictional archipelago of islands. But since it’s still set in this universe, with connections to other, real countries, it’s a go.

Another point to remember, is that usually, you only want to shift one major event. It gets way too confusing if the Spanish Armada successfully conquers Britain, leading to a chain of events that make them win the American Revolutionary War, but then a plague wipes out the entire country, so the moon landing never happens, so….lost? Exactly. Keep it simple; it’s amazing how a single event can create a massive ripple effect. Also, don’t leave plot holes. Since you are dealing with real history, your timeline shift has to be somewhat feasible. Nothing irritates readers more than logic jumps.

So go ahead: assemble all your outbreaks and assassinations, and give the past a twist! Set your chain of events in motion.

Book Trailer:

About the Author

mary-victoria-johnsonHi! I’m Mary Victoria Johnson, author of fantastical Young Adult fiction. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, and I haven’t stopped since! Now eighteen, my bibliography includes BOUNDARY, the first part of the Other Horizons Trilogy (Lodestone Books, 2015) and THE ASHES AND THE SPARKS (Fire and Ice YA, 2016). I was born in Cambridgeshire in the UK, and I now live on Vancouver Island where I study Creative Writing at the University of Victoria.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

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Clever #CoverReveal: Lady Be Good by Heather Hiestand

Cover Reveal
by Heather Hiestand
Genre: Historical Romance

 Pub Date: 9/5/2017

When exiled royalty and espionage
combine, expect a romance as bold as the 1920s . . .
Olga Novikov is a princess without a
throne. Her fiancé and her family slain in the revolution, she flees
Russia and finds herself working as the head of housekeeping at
London’s luxurious Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from the
glamour of her former life, but she’s grateful for the job—until
a guest forces her to question where her loyalty lies. The charming
nobleman challenges her at every turn—and arouses dreams of romance
she thought she’d abandoned forever . . .
Douglas “Glass” Childers is living
a double life. On the surface, he’s the indolent Viscount Walling,
but in truth he’s an intelligence agent searching for a Bolshevik
weapons master. The coolly beautiful and headstrong housekeeper is a
distraction he doesn’t need—unless she’s the key piece in the
puzzle he must solve. Trusting her could be dangerous—but loving
her is an undeniable temptation . . .
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois
but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then
she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in
California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to
major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first
published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has
been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first
published romance short story was set in the Victorian period and she
continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the
nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas and short
stories, she makes her home in a small town with her husband and son
and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes
in her easy chair in the living room.
Author Links:

You can find her on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.


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Ravenous #Review: The Breedling and the City in the Garden by Kimberlee Ann Bastian


The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys, #1)Title: The Breedling and the City in the Garden

Series: The Element Odysseys

Series Number: #1

Author: Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Kimberlee Bastian

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Format: Ebook

Pages: 233

Rating: 5

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work and chose to write a review.

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Blurb From Goodreads:

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.

These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.

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My Review:

Very interesting story. I enjoyed the history of it, and the characters were great. So many different personalities that fit so well within the story and era. Great writing that made it seem so real, at times I wondered if I was reading a non-fiction book. Very descriptive yet not overly so. And with so many surprises it made for a fun read. I look forward to reading the next book just to see where it goes, what adventure it will take me on. There’s just enough magic/fantasy that it’s obvious that this is fiction but so much history that at times it’s makes you wonder “is this real?”. The story is about Bartholomew but is focused mostly on Charlie, so we know Charlie has a big part to play in this. I can’t wait to read the next book!

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Author Bio:

Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. When she is not in her writer’s room or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of her Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture. The Breedling and the City in the Garden is her debut novel.

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Bombastic #BookBlitz: Celtic Fire by Liz Gavin

Book Blitz

Celtic Fire
Liz Gavin
(Highland Celts Series, #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Paranormal Romance

This is a standalone, historical/paranormal romance. Its mature themes – violence, religious war, and pagan rituals – might not be appropriate for audiences under 18.

When ancient gods ruled and Druids kept Faith alive, the Celts thrived as a democratic, matriarchal society. Then savage Roman soldiers swept across Europe, killing and enslaving. The Celts did not succumb without a fight. Their Old Ways survived centuries of ruthless domain until another menace loomed: a tortured god worshiped in cold stone buildings. The sacred shores of Avalon began to drift away, the mists threatened to hide the island from mortal eyes forever.

Against the bleak backdrop of war, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands stood tall, sheltering its inhabitants from greedy invaders. Yet the reach of the eagle banners was long and the highlanders turned to the Goddess for protection. However, the sacred groves felt silent and grim as Avalon faded away. Once sad, pealing bells began to sound strangely comforting while the high walls of monasteries offered an alluring barrier from violence. Caught in the middle of this centuries-old war, a young High Priestess might be Avalon’s last chance.

Wise beyond her years and powerful like no other Priestess in her lifetime, Rowen had served the Goddess faithfully, forsaking her family and the company of her soulmate. When the Lady of the Lake asks for another sacrifice, it might be one too many for her scarred heart. How could she obey the Goddess without betraying Caddaric? Could she trust Eochaid, who embodied everything she despised and hated? Would she be able to fulfill her duties without losing her soul?

Caddaric had been Rowen’s companion in countless lives; but, now, they existed in different realms. Beautiful Rowen lived in the mortal world while sweet Caddaric remained in the sacred isle of Avalon, watching over her. Could he step aside to allow another man – a flesh and blood man – to become her protector?

Eochaid had sworn to protect the Old Ways. The rude warrior never quite understood his faith yet his loyal heart belonged to the Goddess. A gorgeous, fiery High Priestess was not in his plans. He would risk his life to protect Rowen; but, would the Goddess safeguard his heart? Could he defend the bewitching maiden from himself?

When stakes were so high that a simple mistake could cost their very world, a priestess, a Druid, and a warrior must learn to trust each other and the mysterious ways of the Goddess. Their success would save Avalon. Their failure would tear the island from the human realm forever, condemning it to oblivion.

Failure was not an option.

Goodreads / Amazon

Becoming an Indie author

by Liz Gavin

First, thanks to the awesome team at Xpresso Tours for putting this blitz together. Secondly, thanks to the host for having Celtic Fire on your blog today. You’re much appreciated.

A lot of people have asked me why I decided to become an Indie author and I came to realize there’s no easy answer. If on the one hand, there were many stories inside my head fighting to get out and onto the paper – or the computer screen actually – on the other hand, there was also a sense of challenge. I’d never written anything before August 2013, when I decided to try my hand at it. I didn’t know if I’d be any good at writing. Granted, I’ve been an avid reader ever since I learned how to read but that didn’t mean I could write.

I still remember fondly the first time I sat down in front of my computer to write my novel. I also remember how I’d create whole scenes and clever dialogs in my head, while driving to my day job. I’d sit through boring meetings, while my characters played out scenes in my head. Then, I’d get home and spend hours translating those awesome ideas into words and sentences. I was living the dream. After a week of hard work, I’d written the staggering total of twenty pages.

WHAT?! Only twenty pages!?

Yep! That’s how Celtic Fire was born, but that’s also when I realized writing was a much harder job then I’d imagined. Most people don’t know that. Writers do!

After moping around and feeling frustrated all through that first weekend, I decided to start small. Literally. I put Celtic Fire aside and started working on short-stories. I learned to create cool book covers and I upload them to eBook stores. Then as the saying goes I waited for the readers to come. And they did! I was surprised at the positive reviews I got. Readers who enjoyed my stories and wrote the most amazing things about them. I was touched and they convinced me I was doing something right. I kept writing and learning and improving my craft.

Thanks for stopping by today and supporting Celtic Fire. Remember to check out the other stops for more chances at winning the giveaway!!

Author Bio:

International best-selling author Liz Gavin, has accomplished much in her short career. Her books have made to #1 and Top Five best-selling ranks in her home country Brazil and others as diverse as Japan, the UK and the US; both in English and Portuguese, collecting 5 and 4-star reviews. Nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award in 2016, and again in 2017, this RWA member constantly seeks new opportunities to improve her craft.

This thirst for knowledge propelled Liz to leave the comforts of family and friends in Brazil and move to California to pursue a Master’s degree in late 2015. She lives in sunny SoCal, where she’s researching the writing process, for her thesis, in hopes to figure out why she creates in English instead of her native Portuguese.

Liz Gavin writes in contemporary, paranormal, and historical genres. In her sexy stories, one finds smart, independent women, who don’t need rescuing by knights in shining armor, but indulge in steamy action with swoony Alpha males with big hearts. She also writes about women discovering their sexuality and finding happiness in unconventional setups.

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Rapturous #Release #Blitz: Lords of Love and Legends Anthology

Release blitz

From USA Today Bestselling and National Award-winning Authors
Allie Mackay, Brenda Jernigan and Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Four magical tales of timeless desire



Allie Mackay, Brenda Jernigan, Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish Romance, Regency Romance
Series: Legends Series, Book 2
Publisher: Scott Publishing
Publication Date: January 9, 2017

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Lords of Love and Legends introduces you to lords and ladies who live and love in a world of magic and enchantment. The long ago days we dream about is their reality. In this collection, our heroes and heroines will take you there. Along the way, you’ll see them meet and fall in love, and you’ll share their happy-ever-after ending.

We’d like to thank you for joining them. We’ll leave the page here so they can whisk you away.

USA Today Bestselling and National Award-winning Authors Sue-Ellen Welfonder (aka Allie Mackay) and Brenda Jernigan sweep you into a long ago world of breathtaking passion and adventure where myth and legend was real, danger abounded, and lords and ladies risked everything for love!

Winter Fire by Sue-Ellen Welfonder… When a Highland lass meets a dashing stranger in an enchanted place, she gladly gives her heart – and her passion – to the lover she only knows as the Lord of Winter.

The Duke’s Lady by Brenda Jernigan… If you yearn for classic romance with noblemen, ladies, and intrigue, complete with a magnificent Cornish setting, this is your tale…

Some Like It Kilted by Allie Mackay… A legendary Highland chieftain and a modern American woman aren’t prepared for the passion that flares between them, or the ancient secrets that would tear them apart.

The Wicked Lady by Brenda Jernigan… If you like humor and a fun-filled read…this one is for you… When Trevor Claremont is blind-sided by a pickpocket, he isn’t prepared for the feisty redhead who he finds is one wicked lady.

Treat yourself to hours of reading enjoyment with this beautiful collection of unforgettable romance!

Purchase Links:

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About the Authors

Allie Mackay

“Mackay is a master at penning magical tales of love across the ages.”
~ Fresh Fiction

Allie Mackay is the pseudonym for USA Today bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder who won Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award for her debut title, Devil in a Kilt. Many of her books have been RT Award nominees, and most have received RT Top Picks and K.I.S.S. Hero Awards. She is thrilled to be an Amazon All-Star Author, and a winner of InD’Tale’s RONE Award. Her favorite reader compliment is that her stories transport them to medieval Scotland, the setting of most of her books. She has three grand passions: Scotland, the paranormal, and animals. All can be found in her fun and sexy, light-hearted paranormal romances.

Brenda Jernigan

“Brenda Jernigan writes Romance, Adventure and Magic.”
~ Publisher’s Weekly

Brenda Jernigan is a Bestselling Author. Her books have been nominated for many awards – Book Seller’s Best Award, The Maggie Award, and The Holt Medallion Award. 
She grew up living the life of a tomboy – climbing trees, playing ball, and excluding starry-eyed romance from her daily repertoire.
Brenda discovered the love for books while taking her son to Story Hour at the local library – she was hooked. 
She figured having the same birthday as Ernest Hemingway couldn’t hurt.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder

“Sue-Ellen Welfonder brings legends and love to life.”
~ Fresh Fiction

USA Today bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder won Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award for her debut title, Devil in a Kilt.  Many of her books have been RT Award nominees, and have received RT Top Picks and K.I.S.S. Hero Awards. She is thrilled to be an Amazon All-Star Author, and a winner of InD’Tale’s RONE Award. Her favorite reader compliment is that her stories transport them to medieval Scotland, the setting of most of her books.  She is also known for her strong heroines, Alpha heroes, and weaving Highland magic and humor into her tales.

Sue-Ellen also writes as Allie Mackay, penning contemporary paranormals, mostly set in the Scottish Highlands

Visit the author’s official websites
Allie Mackay:
Brenda Jernigan:
Sue-Ellen Welfonder:

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Brenda Jernigan:  Facebook | Twitter | Amazon| Goodreads
Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Save the Date! Tour starts January 20, 2017.

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Blazing #BlogTour: Capturing the Captain by C.K Brooke

Blog Tour


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00066]Capturing the Captain (America Pirate Romance #1)
by C.K. Brooke
Genre: Adult Historical Adventure Romance
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Limitless Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1720, it’s a pirate’s life for Abigail Clear, daughter of a notorious colonial pirate captain…

But when a rival crew invades Abigail’s ship, she is taken prisoner. Now aboard the enemy vessel, she must contend with its formidable captain. But who is the real captive?

Locked away in the belly of The Indomitable is no place for a woman…

Captain James Morrow is more than displeased to discover his sole captive to be none other than an untamable young lass who will earn him no bounty. Yet if he can soften the little rogue, she just might switch her loyalties to him, and reveal the whereabouts of the infamous thief who sired her—and his stolen treasure. But two can play that game, as Abi is equally inclined to charm the dogged sailor off her father’s tail.

Might she and Captain Morrow run the risk of falling for their own charades?

They dance about their disguises as genuine developing emotions clash against deeper motives, and suspicion runs high. When the captain finally steals a first kiss, Abi decides it’s high time to make her escape—fleeing not only his vessel, but her fondness for the man who intends to see her father hang.

The high seas heat up as Captain Morrow’s quest to recapture Abi is halted by her pirate father, Captain Clear. Will James succeed in pursuit of his captive love, or will his desires conspire to make him a captive himself?

*Advisory: Contains some sensual/sexual content

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Morrow leaned in, not breaking their gaze. His stare was flinty. “You will clean my deck,” he rumbled, “or else I will clean you.”

A current like lightning shot up her legs.

“Believe me, I’ve no qualms with lifting you over me shoulder this moment,” he warned, “stripping that unsightly bloke’s garb straight from yer flesh, and setting you in my personal washtub, where I’ll proceed to give you a thorough—and I mean thorough—wash-down, Miss Clear.”

Abi stood, stunned, as the gawking crew’s sniggers met her ears. The flash of desire in his eyes and the heated delivery of his words made it seem as though he savored the images he invoked, the very thought of performing such a task. Abi suddenly feared she would melt in the kiln of her own forbidden yearning.

But reality caught her in its stronghold again. Mortified, she fired back, “It’s your mouth that needs scrubbing, Captain.” She bent over, grabbing a sopping sponge from the nearest bucket. “Aren’t you supposed to be a fancy privateer? Your mind is fouler than any pirate I’ve met.”

She gasped as the captain seized a handful of her hip, just above her backside. Her body blazed at the touch. “Your words to me last night were just as brazen,” Morrow murmured, and she could hear a smile in his voice. He dared to smile?

Abi swiveled around in indignation, knocking his hand from her hip. “I was only reading what you told me to!”

He cackled, his tall shadow overtaking her. “I may have told you to read from the Song,” he smirked, “but I never told you to pin me with that fawning gaze, flames alight in those sea-green eyes.”

They were causing a spectacle as the crew’s grinning faces jerked back and forth between them. Abi raised the dripping sponge threateningly, heat creeping up her neck. “If you care for that fine, woven waistcoat of yours, Captain,” she said through gritted teeth, “and do not wish to have it soaked, then I suggest you leave me to my chore.”

Morrow granted the crew a pleasant flourish of his hand, as though having won his battle at last. “Men,” he chirped. “Carry on.” As he retreated to the helm, the sailors burst into hoots and guffaws behind him. Abi was certain the captain laughed too.

Someone whistled at her, and she shot the fellow a rude gesture. Shellig and a man called Hilaire chortled at her side, joining her as she knelt and began the tedious work of scrubbing the deck. “I daresay it, Miss Clear, but you’re the only one what’s had the gumption t’ speak to him that way.” Hilaire elbowed her.

This satisfied her somewhat, and she looked over at Hilaire. She couldn’t help but notice, as his angular arms were prominently exposed, that he sported a tattoo, similar to Mr. DuPont’s.

Covertly, Abi glanced around. Kneeling among the others, whose sleeves remained upturned, she saw that most of them had stamped their skin with some marking or another, and a few even wore gold earrings. That was a practice she’d seen only amongst pirates, who wore gold at their

About the Author

ck-brookeC.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers’ Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books – reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them. When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. There’s tons to check out at the new, so come and see what she’s up to! Check out her V.I.P. Readers Club (Subscribers get a free eBook!)

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon Page


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Blog Tour Schedule –

January 9th

Betwixt the Pages   Review

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium   Promo Post

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The Novel Lady      Review

Triquetra Reviews   Promo Post

January 10th

Zili in the Sky     Promo Post

I Read Indie   Promo Post

Katie’s Stories    Promo Post

Kariny’s teen boox frenzy    Review

January 11th

Read It Write  Review

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog   Review

The Avid Reader   Promo Post

My Crazy Corner   Promo Post

January 12th

Loves Great Reads    Promo Post

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From Kay to Z    Review

January 13th

Just Us Book Blog    Promo Post

Laura’s Interests    Review

Don’t Judge, Read      Review

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Bombastic #BookBlitz: Edge of Yesterday by Sue-Ellen Welfonder & Tarah Scott

Book Blitz

From USA Today & Internationally Bestselling Authors
Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Tarah Scott

In a place beyond rules,
daring is power,
and love is the greatest threat of all…



Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Tarah Scott

Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel
Series: Edge Series, Book 1
Publisher: Broken Arm Publishing
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
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Two of Scottish romance’s most loved authors have joined pens to write a thrilling new time travel series filled with passion, danger, and intrigue. These never-before-published novels will sweep you to Scotland’s Highland Heatheredge, where magic is real, time is relevant, and there is no escape from desire…

Men are disappearing in the Highland crofting village of Heatheredge. The authorities suspect foul play, but without signs of violence—or bodies—they can’t prove a thing.

World champion swordsman Cailean Ross is living the fantasy of a lifetime as the victor of Heatheredge’s medieval reenactment Gathering. But when the fantasy turns into reality, swordplay becomes a fight to the death and he finds himself among the ‘missing’ statistics.

Julianna Mackay flees a man she fears is an evil wizard and literally runs into handsome Cailean Ross. Cailean defends Lady Julianna from her attackers. Together, they set out in search of the key to a six-hundred-year-old curse that can only be broken in medieval Scotland.

When the veil of time is lifted, Cailean and Julianna find that love may not be enough to save them or those they hold dear.

Purchase Links:

Grab your copy today. Edge of Yesterday is available at:




7 Amazing Prizes up for grabs:

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Five (5) Edge of Yesterday eBooks
One (1) Edge of Yesterday signed paperback

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About the Authors

USA Today and Internationally bestselling authors Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Tarah Scott have more in common than friendship. For many years, they’ve both enjoyed spending their working hours in a world of romance and adventure, bringing handsome Highlanders and their ladies to life. Now they’ve joined pens, deciding that when it comes to happily-ever-afters, two writers can stir up even more danger and desire for the characters they love. The EDGE series, Scottish time travel romances, is their first co-authored project, and launches Dec. 27th with EDGE OF YESTERDAY.

Visit the author’s official websites
Sue-Ellen Welfonder:
Tarah Scott:

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Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Facebook | Twitter
Tarah Scott: Facebook | Twitter

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Blazing #BlogTour: Roger’s Bride by Sarah Hegger

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rogersbride3-3Roger’s Bride

Sarah Hegger

Genre: Historical Fiction




A battle of wills . . .

As the oldest son and heir to Anglesea, it is Roger’s duty to stand tall and strong. But his tough exterior belies the heart of a true romantic, a devoted son who yearns for the deep love he has witnessed between his parents and his sisters and their husbands. However, with the Anglesea family jockeying for a more advantageous position, Roger must marry judiciously.

A fight for the heart . . .

Having spent her childhood watching her mother suffer, Kathryn of Mandeville is determined never to marry. To be as a Viking shield maiden of old is her heart’s only desire. But when her sister Matty runs away to escape Roger’s sensible proposal, Kathryn is forced to help Roger find a more suitable bride. Bound by duty, Roger and Kathryn soon discover they are facing a much tougher fight—the one that is within their hearts . . .

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Chapter 3

Kathryn skipped to Matty’s chamber with an extra spring in her step. Her nethers ached from Sir Roger’s instruction the evening before, but nothing could dim her happiness. They had stayed in the yards until Anglesea’s Nurse called them in to get ready for dinner. Nurse had not seen anything amiss with her mannish pursuits either, merely reminded her to get the smell of horse off her before she sat at table.

Roger had excused himself to bathe in the barracks. A hard taskmaster, but Roger rode like a dream, and he handled a sword as if it formed part of his arm.

Matty would marry the perfect man for her and finally be safe. She couldn’t ask for better. With Matty safely tucked away in Anglesea, Kathryn need only concern herself with Mother. Still no apparent solution, short of burying the old cur ten feet under, had presented itself, but one step at a time. Matty’s marriage represented a massive stride toward Kathryn’s goal.

Perhaps Roger would allow Kathryn to spend time here at Anglesea with Matty. He had seemed to like her well enough yesterday, and she could make herself useful. She hunted well, tracked better than most men, and most assuredly did not ride like a girl. Indeed, she only need stay until he taught her how to handle a sword as he did. The world beckoned. Adventure. Freedom.

A serving maid smiled at her in passing. “Good morrow, Lady Kate.”

“Kathryn.” She softened the correction with a smile. “I prefer to be called Kathryn, and it is indeed a good morrow.” Holding the girl’s hands, she gave her a quick spin. “It is the very best of mornings.”

Giggling, the girl danced away down the hall.

“Get up, Matty.” She threw open the door to her sister’s chamber. What a marvel Anglesea was, with its separate sleeping chambers. The views of the sea on three sides robbed her of breath every time she strode near a casement. Aye indeed, she would do her best to endear herself to the Anglesea folk. Perhaps she and Mother could spend the winter months here. Did the sea freeze like the lake beside Mandeville? “Matty?”

Matty must have risen already, and had left her linens in disarray. Matty despised mornings, but the prospect of her wonderful groom must have gotten her up and about early this morn.

They’d spoken long after dinner last night. Matty had proven surprisingly stubborn, but Kathryn had worn her down, made her see sense. She could not stay at Mandeville.

Kathryn picked up a discarded wimple. Matty should make an effort to keep her room tidier. Lady Mary had seen Matty and her housed in lovely chambers. Though small, the bright, cheery fabrics and gleam of fine wood furnishings made them feel like visiting princesses. Bright embroidered florals ran across Matty’s bed hangings in a glorious tangle of green and yellow. At the foot of the bed stood Matty’s clothes chest. Open and empty.

Thieves! Matty had been robbed, and right in the midst of one of the strongest keeps in the kingdom. A well-guarded stronghold that shut its gates at night and had men who walked the halls whilst the residents slept.

Kathryn paused before she opened the door and cried foul.

Matty’s wedding bliaut hung from the clothes tree beside the casement. Morning sunlight glinted off the gems sewn across the bodice. Mother had labored for months, each gem stitched with care.

The bliaut stood ready, lonely for the absent bride to don it.

Warning prickled Kathryn’s nape as she strode to the chest. What sort of thief took only the most common day raiment and left the gem- encrusted wedding bliaut?

The fabric alone could have kept a family fed for the year. The cost of the gems? Kathryn shuddered to consider. Father kept a tight fist about his coins, but even he would not send his daughter to one of the richest families in the land looking like a pauper.

Beside Matty’s wedding gown, where her heavy traveling cloak should have hung, the clothes tree stretched an empty wooden arm into the room. Kathryn’s knees weakened, and she perched on the edge of Matty’s bed. Matty was gone.

The door opened. Ella crept into the room and slammed it shut behind her. Matty’s maid braced her slim back against the door and released a shuddering breath. “Lady Kathryn. I did hope it would be you.”

“Where is Matty?”

Ella’s pallor frightened Kathryn. She looked a breath away from crumpling into a heap on the floor.

“You must tell Sir Royce. Lady Matty said you would.” Tears trickled down Ella’s soft cheeks. Her hands twisted in her apron. “I cannot tell him, Lady Kathryn. I am afeared.”


With a cry, Ella tossed her apron over her head.

Kathryn wanted to shake the girl, but more than that, she wanted answers. “What has happened, Ella?”

“She is gone.” Her apron muffled her voice.

“What do you mean, gone. Has someone taken her?”

Ella shook her head. She buried her covered head in her hands and wailed. “I cannot tell Sir Royce. You must not make me tell him, or I shall die.”

“Never mind Sir Royce.” Kathryn ripped the apron from her head, and gripped Ella by the shoulders. She towered over the smaller, frailer woman. “Tell me where my sister is.”

“I do not know.” Ella collapsed in a heap.

Dear God, grant her patience not to slap the girl into next year. “But you must know something.”

“She begged me to help her.” Ella hugged her knees to her chest. “I did not want to do it, but she cried so and I feared she would make herself ill. ‘Save me, Ella. You are the only one who can help me,’ she said.”

“Help her? Why?” Kathryn needed to think, understand what the bedamned, blighted hell had happened. “Ella, if you do not stop crying, I will give you something to cry about.”

Ella whimpered and scuttled to her feet. She edged toward the door.

Kathryn blocked her way.

“Dear God, help me!” Ella raised her hands to the sky. “God save me.”

“Stop that! And do not move from there.” Kathryn wrestled her temper down. She stood before Ella, and kept her tone gentle. “Ella, I need to know what happened.”

“You will whip me.”

“Nay, Ella, I will not whip you. I merely need to know where my sister is.”

“You said you would make me cry.” Ella sniffled.

Kathryn dug her nails into her palms. “I spoke in anger. Nobody is going to raise a hand to you.”

“Your father will.”

True enough. Father would beat the hell out of everybody if they did not find Matty and find her soon. “I will protect you from my father.”

With a big sniff, Ella scrubbed her apron over her cheeks and peered at her. “She left, Lady Kathryn. Lady Mathilda said she could not marry that great oaf of a man and she took her bits and left.”

“Left?” Her worst fear. Kathryn plopped onto her ass on the hard stone. “Why? Where did she go?”

“That is all I know.” Ella stood and straightened her skirts. “She did not tell me more. You can try to beat it out of me, but I know nothing more.”

“Oh, Matty.” Kathryn dropped her head into her hands. “What have you done?”

Author Bio:

Sarah HeggerBorn British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

Sarah is the recipient of the 2015 EPIC Award for Historical Romance.

She is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates.


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