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Archive for March, 2014

Mistress of Merrivale in Photos and Words

My historical romance, Mistress of Merrivale comes out on Tuesday from Samhain Publishing. I’m very excited about this book, and this week I’m going out on tour with Bewitching Book Tours.

Today I have a spotlight at Clutter Your Kindle and a review at Nicky Peacock Author.

Mistress of Merrivale is set in the 18th century and the action starts in London. While this house isn’t like Jocelyn’s town house, it is from the period. Don’t you love the windows and door?

bigstock-Entrance-to-Georgian-house-27533723

“My mother is having a bad turn. She insists someone is watching the house and spying on us.” It was a relief to share the latest drama with Melburn.

“Have you investigated to allay her concerns?”

Jocelyn resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “We have been more vigilant than usual. I haven’t noticed anyone suspicious and neither has Woodley or Tilly, but Mother is steadfast in her charges.”

Her butler and her mother’s nurse were equally adamant no one lurked in the alley outside their Cork Street house. While it wasn’t the best location in London, a night watchman patrolled the surrounding streets, and lamps chased away most of the gloomy shadows once evening fell.

Purchase at: Samhain Publishing| Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Kobo

13 Things About the Mystery Genre

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Today, in honor of the contest below, my TT is all about mysteries and mystery writing.

Thirteen Things About The Mystery Genre

1. Mysteries as we know them, weren’t available to the reading public until Edgar Allen Poe introduced his fictional detective, Auguste C. Dupin in 1841.

2. His book, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, is an example of a locked room mystery. This is where the murder victim is discovered inside a sealed enclosure of some description.

3. Katherine Anne Green became the first woman to write and publish a detective mystery in 1878. Her book featured a detective who investigated a murder that occurred within a small group of people.

4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes and his friend Doctor Watson in 1887.

5. The golden age of mystery fiction arrived in the 1920s.

6. Agatha Christie is probably the most famous mystery writer with 50 plus books to her name.

7. Police procedurals entered the market in the 1940s.

8. Some of the most popular mysteries have been written for children such as the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Hardy Boys, Famous Five and Secret Seven.

9. The mystery genre is a popular one, and there are many subgenres including cozy mysteries, hard-boiled detective, police procedural, whodunits, capers and some mysteries drift toward thrillers.

10. It’s said that the lack of mystery fiction before the 1800s occurred because there was no organized police force.

11. Fictional detectives usually fall into four categories: amateur, private investigator, police detective and forensic specialists.

12. Sherlock Holmes is very popular at present with two television series featuring modern retellings. There is Sherlock and Elementary. Other detectives such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple have also made our screen.

13. My favorite on screen mystery show is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries featuring Phryne Fisher. It’s set in the late 1920s and is based on Australian Kerry Greenwood’s books.

Are you a mystery reader, and if so, which type do you prefer? Do you have a favorite series?

Sources: http://kids.mysterynet.com

CONTEST: Whether you’re a mystery reader or not, I hope you’ll enter the Not Your Usual Suspects mystery contest below. Complete the rafflecopter below to enter the draw to win a mystery.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gaudi’s Great Masterpiece

Of all Gaudi’s designs, I think the Sagrada Familia is probably one of the most ambitious and interesting buildings. It certainly dominates the skyline.

View of Barcelona

This is the Sagrada Familia as seen from a hilltop.

Exterior Queue

And here is a view of the Sagrada Familia from the other side of the road. All the people standing in front are in a queue to enter the building. The Familia is still under construction and tourist revenue is providing the funds to complete the building. As an aside, a New Zealander is responsible for completing Gaudi’s design and making any necessary adjustments during the building process.

We stood in line for an hour before we gained admittance. Hubby muttered a bit about the wait, but I stood firm. Everyone we’d met said how amazing the building was inside and I wanted to see with my own eyes.

Work in Progress

Exterior Figure

The exterior of the building is covered with carvings of people, animals and decoration.

Exterior near entrance

Here is some of the carving near the entrance to the interior.

Interior

The interior is full of marble columns. Some are pink and others are white. When I walked inside, I didn’t know where to look first. There are stained glass windows, dozens of columns and so much more.

If you’re ever in Barcelona, you have to put this on your travel itinerary. It’s well worth the wait to gain admittance.

Summoned: Trapped By A Paranormal Bond!

Summoned By Rainy Kaye

 

I’d like to welcome Rainy Kaye today with Summoned, which sounds like a very interesting book and perfect for those paranormal fans out there. Here’s the BLURB:

SummonedTwenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker. Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets. Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

 

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

 

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com

Blog http://www.rainyofthedark.com/

Newsletter http://bookandblogservices.hosted.phplist.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=6

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/rainyofthedark

Wattpad http://www.wattpad.com/rainyofthedark

YouTube Link for Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCkf92MVvh4

 

CONTEST: Rainy Kaye is giving away an Amazon $10 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the Summoned Tour. Complete the rafflecopter below to enter the draw.

To get a better chance of winning, follow the rest of the Summoned tour here.

RAFFLECOPTER CODE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love and Weddings

Hubby and I attended a wedding over the weekend. We had such a great time. The weather was beautiful, the company great, and it was a gorgeous setting looking out over Karioitahi Beach.

 

Once in awhile,

Right in the middle of an ordinary life,

Loves gives us a fairy tale.

~ Anonymous

        Shelley Dressed For Wedding  Flowergirl

        View Karioitahi Beach  Cutting The Cake

Cute Wedding Guest and Rose Petals

How was your weekend?

13 Facts About the Tower of London

Thursday Thirteen

If you’re a tourist in London chances are you’ll spend some time at the Tower of London. I’ve wandered through the tower, gawked at the crown jewels and checked out the ravens and beefeaters. It’s a place that breathes and sighs history.

Thirteen Facts About the Tower of London

1. The Tower was originally build by William the Conqueror and used as a palace and fortress.

2. It was never supposed to be a prison, but the inhabitants discovered that the fortress kept people in as well as keeping people out.

3. During World War II the tower was used to house prisoners of war.

4. Ravens have always been kept at the tower. At least six ravens are kept and they’re replaced if they die. It’s said if the ravens leave the tower bad luck will arrive.

Tower of London Ravens

5. The Tower of London is home to the crown jewels and has been for centuries.

6. Every night at 9:53 pm the ceremony of the keys takes place where the Queen’s Guards and the Chief Yeoman Warder lock all the gates.

7. On 6th November 2012 the keys were stolen. *gasp*

8. Only 22 executions have taken place inside the Tower of London. Most took place at nearby Tower Hill.

9. The last execution was of Lord Lovet, a Jacobite, on 9th April 1747.

10. The Tower housed the royal menagerie, which included lions, an elephant and a polar bear. The polar bear was allowed to hunt for fish in the Thames while on a leash.

11. The Duke of Wellington closed the menagerie in 1853. The animals became the first in the London zoo, which is in Regent’s Park.

12. Several ghosts haunt the tower, including Anne Boleyn, Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, the Princes in the tower and a grizzly bear. I didn’t see any of these during my visit.

13. The Tower has been a tourist destination since Elizabethan times.

Source: www.royalcentral.co.uk

Have you visited the Tower? If not, what would you like to see?

The Forensic Dentist

I’m visiting Not Your Usual Suspects today where I’m talking about teeth and the forensic dentist. I hope to see you there.

Gaudi’s Casa Mila

Before hubby and I visited Barcelona, I’d never heard of Gaudi, but I challenge anyone to visit this vibrant city and leave without learning about this famous architect.

Gaudi was born on 25 June 1852 and died on 7 June 1926 after being struck by a tram during his daily walk. He’s best known for his design of the cathedral in Barcelona – Sagrada Familia. I’ll post photos of the cathedral another time, but today my photos are of Casa Mila, a building designed between the years 1906 – 1912.

This was a controversial design, as was most of Gaudi’s work, and it reminded me of the buildings in the cartoon, The Flintstones. In 1984 the building was declared a World Heritage site. It was built for a married couple, but the husband died in 1940 and the wife sold the building in 1946. The building was restored after being left to deteriorate and is now open to the public.

Casa Mila, Barcelona

Casa Mila, Barcelona

The chimneys at the top of the building are often photographed, and you’ll see them on many Barcelona brochures and postcards.

Chimneys

What do you think of Gaudi’s style?

Arc de Triomf – Entry to the World Expo

Arc De Triomf Barcelona

This magnificent arch is the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona. It was designed by Josep Vilaseca to celebrate the 1888 World Expo. The arch was the entrance to the exposition, and it’s built of red bricks.

I liked all the detailed carvings, and this one below is my favorite. I couldn’t find anything in my guidebook, but I call him Batman.

Barcelona Bat

A lot of travelers enjoy visiting museums, and I’ve seen a fair share since my first childhood visit to the Auckland War Memorial museum. I confess to a low boredom threshold when it comes to museums, and I pick my visits carefully. An hour is usually enough for me, and luckily my husband and I mesh when it comes to sightseeing in museums.

Are you a fan of museums? Do you have any favorites, and what types of exhibits do you favor?

A Conversation About A Marriage of Convenience

Sneak Peek Sunday Banner

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday!

The rules are simple.
1. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work.
2. Open to both un-published and published authors.
3. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along.
4. HAVE FUN!!

My Sneak Peek today comes from Mistress of Merrivale, my upcoming release from Samhain Publishing.

“Why are you entertaining marriage with me, given my history?” Jocelyn almost winced at her forthrightness. She caught the flash of surprise in him, the slight narrowing of his eyes then his slow smile. Her heart beat a little faster at his approval. It seemed devastating smiles were one trait borne by both cousins. She found it difficult to focus with his full attention directed at her, almost impossible not to gasp at her physical reaction to his potent masculinity.

“I have a young daughter and require help with her.”

“Forgive me, but surely there is no shortage of women willing to accept you as husband.” More candor. This was not the impression she wanted to present, yet she required answers. To her relief, he didn’t take umbrage and merely scrutinized her closely in return.

“My first marriage wasn’t an enjoyable experience. This time I seek a marriage where both parties know their duty from the beginning and are under no illusion as to how the liaison will proceed—the way I want.”

Well, he was blunt too. Jocelyn wrenched her gaze from his face and concentrated on her lightly clasped hands. The romantic part of her faded under reality. This wasn’t a love match. She had to remember that, yet the situation was strange. He hadn’t told her everything. There was more. She lifted her head. “Did you beat your wife?”

His dark brows shot upward. “I’m not a brute.” He half stood as if he intended to leave, and her hand shot out to grasp his forearm. Muscles flexed beneath her fingers, leading her thoughts directly to the marriage bed. Like a hot coal, his heat burned her palm, and she released her hold.

MistressOfMerrivale72webA marriage of convenience…full of inconvenient secrets.

Jocelyn Townsend’s life as a courtesan bears no resemblance to the life she envisioned in girlish dreams. But it allows her and her eccentric mother to live in relative security—until her protector marries and no longer requires her services.

Desperate to find a new benefactor, one kind enough to accept her mother’s increasingly mad flights of fancy, Jocelyn is nearly overwhelmed with uncertainty when a lifeline comes from an unexpected source.

Leo Sherbourne’s requirements for a wife are few. She must mother his young daughter, run his household, and warm his bed. All in a calm, dignified manner with a full measure of common sense. After his late wife’s histrionics and infidelity, he craves a simpler, quieter life.

As they embark on their arrangement, Leo and Jocelyn discover an attraction that heats their bedroom and a mutual admiration that warms their days. But it isn’t long before gossip regarding the fate of Leo’s first wife, and his frequent, unexplained absences, make Jocelyn wonder if the secrets of Merrivale Manor are rooted in murder…

Warning: Contains mysterious incidents, a mad mother who screeches without provocation, scheming relatives, and a captivating husband who blows scorching hot and suspiciously cold. All is not as it seems…and isn’t that delicious?

Pre-order from Samhain Publishing or Amazon

Follow this link to read other Sneak Peeks