Monday, October 28, 2019

Night of the Owl (The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Four) By Judith Sterling

It's my pleasure to welcome Judith Sterling to the blog today. I can't wait to read her new release. I hope you'll feel the same. Be sure to read this post to the end to see how Judith's own love plays a part.

PhD student Ardyth Nightshade has renounced men and pursues her twentieth-century career with single-minded focus. When fate whisks her to medieval England, she meets her match in a man whose passions mirror her own. Can she sacrifice ambition for a love she never sought?
Hugh, Lord Seacrest confounds all who know him. He refuses to marry without a meeting of minds and hearts, and no lady has even approached his ideal…until Ardyth. But she's an odd one, with unique skills, shocking habits, and total conviction she needs no man. She also harbors secrets, and in the midst of rumors, plots, and murder, trust is fragile.
A woman outside of her time. A man ahead of his. They must take a leap of faith to forge a bond that will shape history.

            Ardyth looked from one tunnel entrance to the next, and then the next.  The ledge in front of them was substantial.  It ran along the rock wall to the right, all the way to the mouth of the cave, winding around it to continue along the outer cliff.
            Again, she pointed.  “Where does that lead?”
            “Shouldn’t you be doffing your clothes?”
            Her eyes narrowed.  “In other words, you don’t intend to answer my question.”
            He grinned.  “Clever, aren’t you?”
            She returned his smile.  “I like to think so.”
            “If you’re stalling because you cannot swim—”
            “Oh, I can swim.”  She could hardly wait to feel the cool water on her skin.
            He folded his arms, and his intense, gray eyes held a dare.  “Then show me.”
            “Hold this.”  She handed him the folded smock.  Get ready to eat crow, buddy!  Quickly, she removed her boots, hose, and tunics.  When only her thin, white chemise remained, she stole a peek at her skeptical host.  He stared at her bare feet.
            She sighed.  “I know.  My feet are hardly attractive.  In fact, I’ve always thought my toes resemble…”
            He raised his eyebrows.  “What?”
            Astronauts.  But I can’t tell you that.  “Nothing.”
            His eyebrows settled again, but the orbs beneath them seemed to glow with a new light.  “I beg to differ with your opinion.  Your feet are quite…lovely.”
            She almost laughed, until heat flooded her cheeks.  I’m blushing?  “Thank you,” she muttered.  With an inward groan, she started toward the water.  For crying out loud!  He only complimented your feet.  Your pale, crazy, NASA-evoking feet.  Get a grip!
            The ocean breeze caught the hem of her smock as she stepped into the surf.  Foamy water—colder than she would’ve liked—enveloped her feet.  Thank God for the heat of the sun!  But this was the closest she’d come to a bath in days, and she was determined to prove her skills to the man who underestimated her at every turn.  She waded forward, and the brisk, undulating water swallowed her calves, knees, thighs, and hips.
            “Lady Ardyth!”
            She turned.  Her dry smock in his hands, Hugh stood with feet well apart on the wet sand.
            “You needn’t prove your courage further!” he called above the lapping, swishing voice of the sea.  “Come back before—”
            “Courage isn’t the point!  Swimming is!”  The level of the surrounding water lowered to her thighs, signaling a coming wave.
            She turned just as it crested and dove headfirst into it.  Completely submerged in the chill, rushing water, she headed left and allowed herself to rise to the surface.  She swam freestyle for several strokes, then flipped onto her back and floated with abandon.  After a minute or two, she flipped over, and swam in the opposite direction.  Then she stood with the water at her ribs, waited for the next wave, and indulged in bodysurfing, which carried her with a whoosh back toward shore.
            Satisfied, she straightened, knee-deep in the water.  Her wet chemise clung to her frame, and she knew Lord Seacrest was getting a lordly eyeful.  Her nipples were rock-hard from the cold.
            She rolled her eyes toward the bright, blue sky.  My kingdom for a bra!  And throw in a pair of underwear, too!  But both articles of clothing were back at Nihtscua and not likely to appear anytime soon.  For the first time since plunging into the surf, she regarded Hugh.
            Eyes wide, her dry smock clutched in his hands, he stood as if frozen.  Only his gaze moved, traveling from her breasts to the apex of her thighs.
            She pulled the smock away from her flesh as best she could and advanced toward him, stopping an arm’s length away.  “I told you I could swim.”
            He blinked.  Then his full, sensual lips curled into a smile.  “Indeed, you did.”
            “And what?”
            “You’ve doubted me twice already.  Perhaps you owe me an apology.”
            His eyes widened, then relaxed.  “Perhaps I do.  Pray…forgive me.”
            The words couldn’t have come easily, and the fact he’d said them made her grin.  “I forgive you.  This time.  But I ask respectfully that you not underestimate me again.”
            For two seconds, he hesitated.  “╩╝Tis a reasonable request, and I shall endeavor to honor it.”  He gave her a quizzical look.  Then he shook his head and chuckled.  “Is there anything you cannot do?”
            She thought for a moment.  “I’ve never ridden aside.  If I’m going to ride something, I spread my legs.”  The instant the words left her mouth, she cringed inside.  Good God.  That came out all wrong!
            Humor curved his lips, but his eyes smoldered.  Did his thoughts mirror hers?  He took a step closer, and his masculine aura invaded her personal space.  “Tell me more.”

Buy Links

Author Bio
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media Links

A little extra…
The hero and heroine’s mutual love of history reflects my husband’s and mine.  You might say history brought us together because right around the same time, each of us decided independently to move from different parts of the country to Virginia, specifically to seek work at Colonial Williamsburg.  Nowadays, we work (respectively) at The House of the Seven Gables and The Witch House in Salem, MA.  There’s a lot of both of us in Night of the Owl.  That’s why the release date (Oct. 21, 2019) is perfect; it’s our 19th wedding anniversary.  As if that isn't enough, I wore my hair almost exactly like the cover model's on the big day.  Neither my publisher nor the cover artist knew about either coincidence.  Pretty cool, right?!

That is incredibly cool! Leave any comments or questions below while I look up the other Ravenwood books. I think I may have a new obsession.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Conspiracy of Ravens (Raven Crawford, Book 1) By J.C. McKenzie

My spotlight is on J. C. McKinzie's new release, Conspiracy of Ravens. This is the first book in a new series, Raven Crawford - or perhaps I should say a new world. Once again J.C. takes us to a world of different realms, mystical creatures, and danger. As you can see, the cover shows all that.

 Raven will do anything to protect her twin, even agree to a dark fae deal

Book Specs:

Title: Conspiracy of Ravens
Series Name: Raven Crawford, Book 1
Publisher: JCM Publications                    
Editor: Lara Parker
Proofreader: Tammy Payne
Cover Artist: Eerilyfair Design
Theme(s): realms, good versus evil, mystery, hero’s journey, love, danger, family, sacrifice
SubGenre(s): Urban Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, fantasy, romance
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Keywords: post-apocalyptic, dystopian, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, action, adventure, humor, romance, dark horror, portal, gate, realms, magic, brooding, alpha male, brute, warrior, sassy, snarky, heroine, swords, battles, legends, myths, mythology, Celtic, Norse, Underworld, dark fae, lords
Page Count: 320
Word Count: 80 523
Digital Price: $2.99 USD
Print Price: $14.99
Digital ISBN: 978-1-9992394-1-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-9992394-0-4
COPYRIGHT © 2018 by J. C. McKenzie

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.


The imposing man loomed in the entrance of her brother’s building. He stood with confidence instead of cowering like the lock-picking menace he really was. What type of ever-loving Underworld trouble had Bear joined now?
Luke’s dark gaze, edgy with Otherness, scanned the foyer. She watched from the shadows, cocooned in Cole’s heat, heady scent and strong arms. The Lord of Shadows behind her remained relaxed. A thin veil of darkness shielded her vision, almost as though Cole had thrown some sort of invisibility cloak over them. Tension knotted Raven’s shoulders.
The smooth veneer of Luke’s polished business image slipped away, and his piercing gaze roamed the entrance. She flinched when it reached her. Instead of tensing or letting out some sort of dark fae war cry, Luke’s menacing gaze passed over her and Cole without hesitation.
Luke glided across the floor. No other word described his progress. Technically, he moved one foot after the other and his boots hit the old tiles of the foyer, but he walked with a fluidity only an Other could pull off. He flowed across the room without effort, like one of those dancers on TV, just without the fancy footwork.
He paused at the elevator. He tilted his head and stared at the closed metallic doors for a minute. Raven held her breath. Instead of pushing the button for the elevator, Luke pivoted and took the stairs.
The fluorescent lights in the lobby buzzed. One flickered. When the second-floor door creaked to announce he’d arrived on her brother’s floor, Raven let out a long breath. The tension eased from her body, and she slumped against Cole.
Against the Patron Fae of Assassins.
Instantly, the tension returned. She bolted forward.
The strong arms anchoring her in place released her. She stumbled a few steps and flung out her arms. Her hand slapped the wall, and she stopped her forward-propelling body before completely face-planting.
She spun around.
The shadows withdrew, revealing Cole in all his drool-worthy glory. Amusement danced in his dark, intense gaze, only a foot away.
“You smell of the rain,” he whispered.

Buy Links:

About the Author:
J. C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She's the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Contact Information:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Karen Hulene Bartell ~ THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE

Today I'm hosting Karen Hulene Bartell for the first time with her new release, THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE. Being a Floridian myself I have great respect and concern for our native turtles and their welfare. I asked Karen to give us some insight on what she learned in her research. I think you'll find this interesting.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

My husband and I visited the Keys and Key West in February 2017. Though turtles and tortoises have always been dear to me, when we visited Marathon’s Turtle Hospital and Key West’s Aquarium, I became aware of the sea turtles’ plight. As I wrote in THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLES, “Turtles have swum in our oceans for over 100 million years. They survived whatever wiped out the dinosaurs, but now their numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate.”
These turtles are endangered because of human actions and lifestyles. Seeing the vulnerability of these magnificent creatures firsthand prompted me to bring their needs to the greater public’s attention.

Fisheries According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, “the global fishing fleet is currently 2.5 times larger than what oceans can sustainably support.” When longlines, gill nets, and trawls entangle or hook sea turtles underwater, they drown, are strangled, or require fin amputations. The Turtle Hospital states, “Monofilament fishing line takes up to 600 years to biodegrade.”
The solutions? Make responsible consumer choices. Know where and how your seafood was caught. Purchase seafood only from shrimp and other trawl net fisheries that use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) with large escape openings. Websites such as offer free guides for sustainable seafood. Discard used fishing line in monofilament recycling bins.

Pollution The Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire contends that “Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement.” A study concluded that each square mile of our oceans is littered with 47,000 pieces of plastic. To sea turtles, plastic bags, bottles, etc. look like food and cause death. Runoff and chemical pollution also weaken the sea turtles’ immune systems.
The solutions? Reduce plastic use to keep our beaches and ocean clean. Drink from reusable water bottles, use paper—not plastic bags—and recycle. Participate in coastal clean-ups.

Direct Take Throughout the world, people eat sea turtles and their eggs, as well as kill them for their oil, leather, or shells.
The solutions? Don’t purchase turtle products. Don’t disturb nesting turtles, nests, or hatchlings.

Coastal Development I wrote about how coastal development degrades and destroys sea turtle habitat, particularly nesting beaches. As THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLES states, “It’s estimated [sea turtles will] lose over forty percent to urbanization and tourism. Beachfront lights disorient them. Seawalls interfere with the hatchlings’ dash from the sand to the sea.”
The solutions? Keep nesting beaches dark and barrier-free for sea turtles. Turn off or redirect beach lights. Remove beach chairs, umbrellas, and other obstructions to nesting sea turtles and emerging hatchlings. Fill in holes in the sand and knockdown sandcastles. Contribute to turtle conservation organizations and rehabilitation centers. Encourage legislators to pass and enforce laws to end unregulated coastal development and non-sustainable agricultural practices.

Through minor changes to our actions and lifestyles, I know we can save the sea turtles from extinction!

So Interesting. I hope we've all learned something. Now, let's hear about this beautiful book. Isn't the cover gorgeous? 


Hours after arriving in The Florida Keys to help her cousin Keya create a turtle preserve, Ruth discovers a washed-up body and not one, but two apparitions—Maita, the angry victim's spirit, and Bart, a swashbuckling ghost. Ruth's curious ability to connect with the ghosts may help them move on, but how?
Keya is in a probate battle over her turtle-nesting beach. Land-hungry relatives want it bulldozed and developed. Like Ruth, she has a special gift—she can talk to animals. Between Ruth's help and Keya's unique ability, they work to save the property, but is it too late?
Can Keya save her beloved turtles? Can Ruth find Maita's murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? There's more than meets the eye to Keya's land. Add in a dashing sailor who believes in her, and Keya may have more than she bargained for…


Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”

Ruth nodded and gazed at Keya as if for the first time. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”

“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya laughed inwardly as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Her words broke off as Keya stared as if in a trance.

Ruth looked at her. “What’s wrong?”

Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.

Racing behind the sandbanks to help, Ruth skidded to a halt, her heels digging into the sand. A woman’s bloated body lay staring at the sun, her eyes opaque and unseeing. “Do you recognize her?”

“No.” Keya shook her head as the cat gingerly approached, sniffing and meowing. But Earnestine said she smells familiar.”

“Knock, knock,” called a man’s voice.

Ruth flinched at the sound. “Who’s there?”

Buy Links:

Amazon eBook:  
Amazon Paperback:   
Barnes & Noble NOOK Book:  
Barnes & Noble Paperback:
The Wild Rose Press:

It's wonderful to share this information with our guests, but it's also wonderful to meet a great author. Here's more about Karen~

Author of the Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Connect with Karen:

Thank you so much for joining us today, Karen. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Linda Nightingale and her writing life

 Linda Nightingale is a first time guest on my blog. I'll be turning everything over to her. Be sure to read through to the end for the link to my review of Sinners' Opera.

From The Wild Rose Press
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Editor: Callie Lynn Wolfe
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2019
Digital Price: $5.99
Rating: Spicy

Sandra asked me what it meant to me to be a writer. It’s something that just comes naturally. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to, and, believe me sometimes I want to quit. My stories do, and always have, played like movies across my mind. I hear my characters speaking and acting out the ‘play’ on the movie stage. Sometimes, like with the story I’m working on, the film must break. I’m now having a hard time getting back to The Piano Man, which is a companion story to Sinners’ Opera. Morgan is usually very talkative.

Being an author hasn’t changed me when it comes to setting a work schedule. I’m a panster though I do write best before dawn when the rest of the world is asleep. Then, my computer, my characters and I have the solitude I need for writing. It has changed my lifestyle in that I spend more time alone at the keyboard, as all writers must. I don’t mind. I’m an introvert/extravert hybrid (if that exists). My attitude has changed very little except when my fans write and love my books, I feel validated and tickled pink. Or a great review helps to make it seem like the time at the computer is well-spent. Having books in print is a sense of achievement and of reaching a goal, but, on the other hand, a bad review can spoil my outlook for several days and bring on writers’ block. So, my ‘author’ outlook swings from top of the moon to the bottom rung of the barrel. I recover and am writing again within days I admit, but I don’t like being so sensitive. I am a sensitive person, so… Talking with other authors, I find that they experience the same outlook swings.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the excerpt from Sinners’ Opera and the Book Video. Sinners’ is the first book I wrote and is the book of my heart.


Vampire Morgan D’Arcy has everything except what he most desires…a woman he has loved since the day she was born…Isabeau.

Morgan D'Arcy is an English lord, a classical pianist, and a vampire. He has everything except what he desires most—Isabeau. As the Angel Gabriel he’s steered her life and career choice, preparing her to become Lady D'Arcy. Many forces oppose Morgan's daring plan—not the least of which is Vampyre law.

Isabeau Gervase is a brilliant geneticist Though she no longer believes in angels, she sees a ticket to a Nobel Prize in Gabriel's secrets—secrets that have led her to a startling conclusion. Gabriel isn't human, and she fully intends to identify the species she named the Angel Genome. Morgan is ready to come back into Isabeau's life, but this time as a man not an angel. Will he outsmart his enemies, protect his beloved and escape death himself? For the first time in eternity, the clock is ticking.

Isabeau halted inches from Morgan, and a wonderful sense of release flooded her. Against a backdrop of stone and fragrant flower, he stood alone. People moved but they were outside the sphere of power he radiated.

“Isabeau.”  His voice still enchanted, but his expression twisted her heart.
A band tightened around her chest.  Why was he frowning?

Morgan didn’t touch her with his hands.  His gaze touched her like a physical caress.  “You needn’t go home with him.”

She shook her head.  “I can’t just leave him.”

His voice dropped an octave, eyes dark, stormy.  “Will you sleep with him?”

The question was too personal for strangers.  Yet she wasn’t offended.  He took her hands, and he took her breath away.  She longed to counter with, “Will you sleep with the brunette tonight?” but, gazing into his eyes, she couldn’t speak.

“You hesitate.  Is it such a difficult question?  Are you going to bed with him?”  He trapped his lower lip between sharp-looking incisors.

She glanced at his hands—cool, strong, elegant—and his grip tightened.  “No, not tonight.  Nor ever again I think.”

How could total strangers speak vows, ignore polite banter to dive to the heart?  But they weren’t strangers, were they?  She didn’t know when, but her belief that Morgan was Gabriel had solidified.  Too many similarities teased her; coincidence not a word in her vocabulary.

The anger faded from his eyes, again luminescent blue.  “Good.”

People scattered to a staccato of rain.  A hand at her waist, he guided her into the shadow of an eave, shielding her from the storm.  Sheet lightning flashed across the sky.  Thunder crashed as the storm gathered momentum.  Even in darkness, she could see his eyes.  He seemed to have stopped breathing, seemed on the verge of a confession.  She waited, trembling inside.

“I don’t quite know what to say.”  His gaze drifted to her deep-cut bodice.  His eyebrows flickered mischievously.  “I like your dress.”

The boyish compliment surprised a laugh from her.  “Thanks. You look pretty good in a tux.”

His expression sobered.  He stared at her lips.  “I want to kiss you.”

Isabeau’s limbs felt heavy.  She yearned to lie down.  In his arms. Her hand found his smooth cheek.  “Not a very good idea.  People are gawking at us already.”

“Let’s give them something to talk about.”

About Linda:

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston.  She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, one in England, one in Houston. She retired from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a legal assistant. She loves horses, sports cars, piano, theater and the symphony. She enjoys dressing up and hosting formal dinner parties.

Web Site: – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: - Lots of interesting guests & prizes

Wonderful post, beautiful cover, and so much more. Follow this link to read my five-star review: