Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Guest blog: Karen Michelle Nutt - Behind the scenes of 'The Devil's Wolf'


Between the 13th and 17th century, Border Reivers were raiders who lived along the Anglo-Scottish border. These reivers stole from their neighboring clansmen. These clans were both Scottish and English families that raided the entire border country. They were ruthless and did not care who their victims were. Nationalities did not matter.

The Maxwells and the Johnstones

The Maxwells were the strongest family in the Scottish West March until the Johnstones reduced their power in the sixteenth century. The feud between the Johnstones and the Maxwells was the longest and the bloodiest in history. I thought it appropriate to weave a tale around these two clans and perhaps finally bring them peace.


The Devil's Beef Tub is located north of the Scottish town of Moffat with a deep dramatic hollow formed by four hills: The Great Hill, Peat Knowe, Annanhead Hill and Ericstane Hill. The Border Reivers, who hid their stolen cattle there, gave the place its name.

Reivers and Their Names

Many of the reivers had colorful names such as Archie Fire-the-Braes, Out-With-the-Sword, and Cleave-the-Crune. The Devil's Wolf seemed appropriate for the hero of my tale.


Catrione Johnstone and Waylon Maxwell are both fictional characters, but their strongholds were true homes to these clans. Lochwood Tower, the seat of the Johnstone Clan is located in upper Annandale. Unfortunately this historical pele tower is in an advanced state of ruin. Caerlaverock is one of the most beautiful and interesting castle in Scotland. The remains of the castle date back to the rebuilding that took place through 1400s. They offer tours daily. 

Caerlaverock in 1900

Excerpt for THE DEVIL’S WOLF

He spotted the old priest, frail and hunched over, already looking defeated despite his attempt at bravery. Waylon’s gaze shifted to the skinny lad standing beside the priest. The youth wore a helmet that nearly covered is face, leaving only his smooth hairless chin as witness to his age. Waylon had to give the lad credit. He stood tall and held his sword like a fearless warrior. Waylon would loathe having to kill him, but if the lad forced his hand there could be no other way.
“Come now lad, the fight’s over,” he coaxed.
The priest's hunched shoulders sagged further and he dropped the dagger he gripped in his hand, but the lad refused to be intimidated.
“It’ll never be over until every last one of you is dead.” He waved his sword in the air as he spewed his threat.
Waylon’s brows lifted. The lad’s voice hadn’t even changed, but it still rumbled like a distant thunder.
“Brave words, I do say, but all within the keep has laid down their weapons.”
The lad hesitated, but then straightened his back. “You lie.”
“Now why would I?” He moved forward with careful steps. He didn’t believe the priest would interfere, but he sensed the lad was unpredictable. “Come now, put down yer sword so we may talk freely.”
“Talk? Do you think I do not know who you are?”
“Who is it ye think I am?”
“The Devil’s Wolf.” He spat on the ground. “You slay all in your path and eat the young for breakfast.”
If the situation wasn’t so grim, he may have laughed. He had heard the rumors, but had ignored them. It was better the enemy feared what they thought he could do than know the truth. “Now, now, is that any way to greet yer new laird?”
“I will never swear fealty to you.”
“Nay? We will have to see aboot that.” He lunged forward, but the lad anticipated his move and blocked it with one of his own. Waylon was impressed. He had underestimated the lad. He thought to disarm him and be done with this charade. “So ye insist on playing, do ye?” Waylon would participate in the lad’s game for a while, but in the end he would win. They paced, each sizing up the other. Out of curiosity to see what the youth had in him, Waylon would allow the lad to make the next move.
He didn’t make Waylon wait for long. He leaped forward swinging viciously, his sword slicing the air with a vengeance. Waylon was forced to retreat as he defended himself from each blow. The look in the lad’s eyes told Waylon his intent. The lad wished to kill him. Waylon swung his sword sending the insolent child back.
The lad jumped onto the wood bench giving him height and an advantage as their swords clanged together. The lad was light on his feet and agile as a cat. Waylon would have to work to put an end to this.
“Come now, ye tire,” Waylon spoke to distract.
“It is you who tires, Devil’s Wolf.” The boy swung his sword again with ferocious intent.
Waylon barely deflected the blow. His eyes narrowed. “Enough! Ye will end this now or I will.”
“Hah! We’ll see who ends what.” And he came after him again.
Waylon backed up, blocking every swing feeling the jolt up his arm. Whoever taught this lad to fight was good. If the lad lived long enough, he’d make a fine warrior. The lad swung again, the tip of the sword slicing through Waylon’s leather jacket hitting flesh.
The lad gasped in shock and stepped back.
Waylon glanced at blood oozing from the cut, a flesh wound only. His pride stung more for allowing the youth to take him unawares. “Now ye’ve done it.” Waylon leveled his gaze on the lad. “We are done here.” He charged the lad, lashing out mercilessly. The lad was wearing down, but he refused to surrender. With swirl of Waylon’s sword he swung up, flipping the weapon from the lad’s grip and pushing him down. Waylon was upon him, his sword at the lad’s throat.
“Stop!” the priest shouted, running forward. “Please, I beg of you do not kill her.”
“Waylon’s gaze riveted to the priest. “What say ye? Her?”
“Do not listen to the old man. He is senile,” the lad claimed. “Do what you must and be done with it. Slit my throat. I am ready to die an honorable death.”
“No, I say,” the priest begged. “Forgive me, my lady.” His gaze turned toward the lad. “I cannot stand by and see you slain.”
“Mi’lady!” Waylon took hold of the helmet that hid the lad’s face and yanked it off his head.
Waves of dark tresses came tumbling out and wide sea-green eyes met his with alarm.
Waylon’s mouth dropped open. He had been about to slash the throat of a mere lass. “By all that is holy, are ye mad?” He yanked her to her feet. His gaze took in the length of her and he reprimanded himself for being so blind. Every curve stood out now that he knew the truth. He pursed his lips together. “The lady Catrione, I presume?”

To buy links:

About the Author:

Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

When she’s not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”. You can also check out her published cover art designs at Western Trail Blazer and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:

Gillian’s Book Covers "Judge Your Book By Its Cover"

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Release Day! 'A Summer Bewitchment' now out!

My medieval historical romance 'A Summer Bewitchment' is now available from Bookstrand.  

This novel is a sequel to 'The Snow Bride' and features Elfrida and Magnus again as my heroine and hero.

Offered at a 10% discount until June 25th!


Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter:

England, summer, 1132

“I am the troll king of this land and you owe me a forfeit.”

Elfrida glanced behind the shadowed figure who barred her way. He was alone, but then so was she.

Do I turn and run along the track? Should I flee into the woods or back to the river? He is close, less than the distance of the cast of a spear. Can I make it hard for him to catch me? Yes.

But catch her he would.

Play for time.

“Indeed?” she asked, using one of her husband’s favorite expressions, then sharpened her tone. “Why must I pay anything?”

“You have trespassed in these woods. In my woods.”

The nagging ache in her shoulders and hands vanished in a tingling rush of anticipation. Elfrida dropped her basket of washed, dried clothes onto the dusty pathway, the better to fight. “King Henry is lord of England.”

“I am king here.”

A point to him. “I kept to the path, and then the river.”

“That may be so, but I claim a kiss.”

He had not moved yet, nor shown his face. The summer evening made his shadow huge, bloody. Her heart beating harder as she anticipated their final, delicious encounter, Elfrida asked, “Are you so bold? My husband is a mighty warrior, the greatest in all Christendom.”

“That is a large claim.” He sounded amused. “All Christendom? He must be a splendid fellow. The harpers should sing of him.”

Elfrida raised her chin, determined to have her say. “I am proud of my lord. He is a crusader. He has seen Jerusalem and he has learning. He can whistle any tune. He defends all those weaker than himself.” Should I say what I next want to say? Tease him as he has teased me? Why not? Are we are not playing? “Go back to your woods, troll king.”

She heard the crack of a pine cone as he shifted. In a haze of motion the troll king was out of the tree shade and into the bright sunset, dominating the path in front of her. Taller than a spear, broad as a door, he had a face as stark as granite, of weathered, broken stone. Heavily scarred—many would say grooved—he had the terrible beauty of a victor, a winner wounded but unbowed.

A ribbon of heat, like hot breath, flickered across her breasts. He was so magnificent , so handsome. She both loved and hated defying him, even in jest. Striving for calm, she said, “You will come no closer.”

“Or what, little laundress?”

That tease irked her. “The clothes and bedding do not wash themselves. Not even for you, troll king.”

He smiled, a daunting unfurling of that scarred, sword-cut face. The churning heat in her belly swept up into her cheeks and down to her loins.

“I am a witch, besides,” she added, though not as coolly as she would have liked. She saw the gleam in his large brown eyes pool into molten bronze.

“You would put a spell on me, elfling?” he challenged.

“Perhaps I already have.” Her tone and mouth were as dry as the summer. How much farther can we stretch this sweet foolishness?

He raised thick black eyebrows, while a breeze flicked and flirted with his shoulder-length curls. “Is that Christian?”

She wanted to cross her arms before herself, to shield her body from his bold stare. At the same time she longed to strip herself naked for him, unlace his tunic and caress him. Unsure how he might react, she armed herself with words instead. “I am a good witch, Magnus.”

“Indeed.” Again he looked her up and down, glanced at her buckets, basket, and clothes. “Should you not have an escort, wife?”

Do I tell him I sent Piers off to help? Are we still playing now or is he truly angry?

Looming over her, he was close enough for her to touch him. To caress his strong body will be like stroking sun-warmed stone. Distracted, she shook her head. “There is the sheep shearing…”

“Done.” He tossed a stack of rolled, lanolin-scented fleeces at her feet. “I did my share and more and, as I have said already, I claim a reward.”

He winked at her and she found herself smiling in return. “Forfeit and reward, too, sire? Is that not greedy?”

“Are we in Lent, that I should fast?” He raised his hand, cupping her face with supple fingers. “But you are too dainty to linger alone, witch or no.”

He traced the curve of her lips with his thumb and, as she trembled, he gathered her firmly into his arms. “Any man will try to spirit you away.”

“Hush!” She made a sign against the evil eye and wood elves, but he shook his head at her caution.

“I have faith in your magic craft, Elfrida. But a passing knave or outlaw? He is quite another matter. He would see you as a tempting piece, my wife, my lovely.”

“I am not helpless,” she protested, but her heart soared at his loving words. His mouth, as crooked and scarred as the rest of his face, stole a kiss from hers.

He smelled of lanolin, salt, and summer green-stuff, and tasted of apples and himself. Elfrida closed her eyes under his tender onslaught, her thighs trembling.

“Troll King?” she murmured, when they broke apart slightly. “Is that how you wish me to address you in the future, husband?”

“‘Sire’ will do, or ‘greatest knight in Christendom.’ Those will do very well.” He kissed her again.

“You rob me, sire,” she murmured, a breathless space later.

“Of kisses?” He sounded delighted at the idea, the beast, and grinned when she pinched him.

“Even one-handed I can do that better than you.”

He demonstrated, squeezing and lightly slapping her bottom, chuckling as she thrust her hips back against his fondling fingers. A shred of modesty remained as her wits dissolved into a sweet blaze of need. “Magnus, what if someone comes?”

Lindsay Townsend

Monday, 10 June 2013


A Mutual Interest in Numbers, Book 2 in my Love and the Library series is now available!

Love and the Library--A celebration of the beginnings of love wherein four Regency gentlemen meet their matches over a copy of Pride and Prejudice at the library.

A Mutual Interest in Numbers
Love and the Library Book 2: Ellen and Laurence

Lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Does it?

Regency gentleman Mr. Laurence Coffey doesn’t care for libraries and novels. His interests run to steam engines and mathematics. But his friend found the lady of his dreams at the library over a copy of Pride and Prejudice. Laurence yearns for a lady of his own, one of wit and cleverness as well as beauty. And while he doesn’t expect his friend’s luck, visiting the library can’t hurt.

Miss Ellen Palmer enjoys mathematics, but, unfortunately, many men frown on bluestockings. She loves the library and its mathematics books as well as its novels, especially her favorite, Pride and Prejudice. How she would like to find her own Mr. Darcy. Perhaps someday, somewhere, she can discover a man who wants an intelligent woman.

At the library, they both reach for a copy of Pride and Prejudice at the same time. Can their mutual interest in numbers--and this particular novel--make their dreams come true?

A sweet, traditional Regency romance. With a duck. Quack.

Laurence pushed aside a copy of Byron’s The Corsair and then curled his lip at a volume of sermons. Gads, sermons on Sunday were enough for anyone.

He set the sermons aside to reveal the book beneath. Pride and Prejudice. The novel that had brought his friend his lady.

Could this book somehow help a man find his love? He extended his hand toward the tome...

A gloved feminine hand, also reaching for the novel, bumped into his. “Oh, I beg your pardon.” The voice was soft and musical.

He jerked upright. “No, I beg your pardon.” The same extraordinary blue eyes that had almost knocked him flat a moment ago threatened to do so again. And he wouldn’t even care.

As if he were under the effect of Mr. Mesmer’s animal magnetism, he waved in the general direction of the book. “Please, be my guest.” Take the book. Take me.

A Mutual Interest in Numbers at Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble

And if you want to start with A Similar Taste in Books, Part 1 of Love and the Library, the blurb, excerpt and buy links are here.

Thank you all,
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

My sexy, fun elves!

All my books, over 30 so far, are set in England. Dangerous takes place in London and the countryside around Dover, where my family of elves have residences. They are all handsome and sexy, and their pointed ears are mostly hidden by long hair, even as I follow the family through generations into the 1950's. Much fun to write about. In the book I just finished (the 1950's) the hero has to keep defending his choice of having hair to his shoulders. But that's a small part of the book. Here's an excerpt I hope you like.
”Nicki looked at the handsome face slowly descending to hers and knew she should run. Once she let him kiss her, she sensed she’d never escape. Not until he wanted her to go. Ordinarily that thought would have had her scooting out of his reach, trying to protect herself from the heartbreak that would come from loving Vale. Every woman who saw him wanted him. Why should he stay constant to one?

But his eyes were heavy with desire, and she’d never seen anything like their narrow-minded intent. Such beautiful eyes. He was about to kiss her with the passion she’d always longed for, and never expected to find.

She’d fought off groping hands as many nurses had, and she never let herself be alone with Pringly. He’d tried to take her to dinner in spite of the stricture against hospital staff dating. He’d tried to corner her in the hall, in the clean-up room after an operation, even in some of the patient’s private rooms. Always the ones who were too sick to be believed if they reported such an unlikely thing as a doctor raping a nurse. Finally, fearing for her virginity, she’d left the hospital. Although she liked nursing, she didn’t think she’d go back to it as a profession. Genealogy was fascinating, and a much safer occupation for a young woman.

Now she’d found the one man for her, even though her mind told her it was temporary. Vale would be hers only for a brief time, but perhaps she should taste love while she had the chance. Surely she’d never match the intensity of her feelings for Vale with any other man.

Her lips felt hot, her body throbbed in a manner that surely was indecent, but she couldn’t possibly turn her face away from his. Her lower body in particular pulsated as she felt his lower body pressing against hers.  More than anything else she wanted his kiss. His kiss that she knew would open a new world for her. And she craved whatever else he chose to show her. Anything he wanted she wanted. He’d leave her eventually, she realized that, although she strove to smother the thought. Perhaps she could somehow learn to be such a passionate lover he would stay with her for a glorious while.

She never thought she’d allowed herself to be so passive. But he’d become irresistible. His fantastic and alluring looks, his eyes that bored into her very soul and made her feel she was the most desirable woman in the world. Even the way he moved. Like some jungle creature sure of his power and narrowing in on his prey. But his manner did not seem that of an overbearing and arrogant male animal. She thought him above resorting to domination. Never ruthless. He seemed as anxious to please her as she was to please him.

She was completely confused but she no longer cared.”

Many of my books are at Amazon UK. Do write me at jswriter@earthlink.net. I love new friends. Or Facebook. Or Twitter!!!!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

It's my birthday! by Lily Harlem

Happy Birthday to me!

To celebrate I'm going a little topsy turvy and instead of receiving gifts (though I wouldn't mind those three hotties turning up at my doorstep!) I'm giving away my latest release, for this weekend only!

Breathe You In, set in Northampton England, is available only on Amazon. If you do pick up this sexy romance that is high on the emotion then please LIKE the purchase page and then tell the world on FB and Twitter if you enjoy Ruben and Katie's steamy brand of loving - spreading the word would be a really cool pressie for me!