Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview with Author ANGELA JOHNSON

Today I’m interviewing Angela Johnson, her book, VOW OF DECEPTION, is a historical romance and was released on November 2, 2010.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
VOW OF DECEPTION is a stand-alone sequel to my first book, VOW OF SEDUCTION. Sir Rand Montague is a loyal, dedicated knight who is not afraid of war, but afraid to love. Rosalyn Harcourt, lady of Ayleston is a widowed mother with a secret to hide. Ordered by the king to escort Rose to court to marry another knight, Rand is appalled—for he'd previously spent one unforgettable night of passion with Rose. Yet he dutifully obeys. But when Rose is attacked by her betrothed, Rand concocts a scheme of prior betrothal and marries Rose instead. Just as these two wounded souls discover that happiness is within their grasp, a diabolical enemy threatens to reveal the hidden truths that could destroy them both. VOW OF DECEPTION is rated "Hot" and received a Four Star review from RT Book Reviews.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
I have only published in the Historical Romance genre so far, and I'm currently writing a third medieval for this series. After that, I have a Regency trilogy planned about three female friends who each must marry when caught in scandalous situations.

When did you start writing toward publication?
After surviving a near-fatal car accident, and becoming physically handicapped, I returned to college and received a BA degree in History. Upon graduation I wasn't sure which way to go next until my husband said: “You love history and romance, why not combine the two, and write your own historical romance?” At first I thought he was crazy, but soon story ideas began to flow, and I started writing VOW OF SEDUCTION. I spent the next few years, writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing VOW OF SEDUCTION all over again. All the while I was continuously trying to learn all I could about writing and publishing.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
No, I did not write several manuscripts before I sold. Actually, I kind of went about getting published from the opposite angle. I chose to keep working on my original manuscript of VOW OF SEDUCTION until it was the quality of material that publishers wanted—and the best I could make it. One way I did that was by continuously getting feedback from other writers on my work. I used critique partners to get some one-on-one feedback, and I entered numerous writing contests to hear judges opinions about my work. I was only interested in improving my manuscript so I worked without an ego, listened closely, kept an open mind, showcased my strengths, improved my weaknesses, and made changes when it made sense. Because I eventually won several of the writing contests, I had editors requesting full submissions for VOW OF SEDUCTION, and that's how I got published by Kensington.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped
Yes, I am a member of several writing organizations. The organizations I belong to are: Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, my local writers group--- KS Writers Inc., and RWA Online.

I strongly suggest any aspiring writer join a local writers’ group if they can locate one. Or if not, join an online writers’ organization. Writers’ groups are a great resource for authors and aspiring writers. They offer support, networking, and education. I have found critique partners and made many lifelong friends from within our local group as well. They have helped me achieve my dream of becoming a published author. I could not have accomplished it without them.

I also recommend aspiring writers join a national writers’ organization. They offer some of the same benefits as local and online groups, but also keep you well informed about the world and business of publishing.

Your first allegiance is to your heart…

As a knight, Sir Rand Montague’s allegiance is to King Edward I. But when the king orders Rand to escort Rosalyn Harcourt to court in order to wed her off to Sir Golan—a crass knight Rand abhors—he’s torn between duty and desire. For Rand has never forgotten the woman he spent one unforgettable night of passion with…

After suffering abuse at the hands of her deceased husband, Rose wishes to never wed again. But when Rand rescues her after Sir Golan attempts to compromise her, she agrees to marry Rand in name only. However, sharing such close quarters with Rand brings back memories of their torrid rendezvous—and tempts Rose to give in to an all-consuming desire…

A little bit about the author
Angela Johnson fell in love with romance novels in high school. In college, she earned a degree in history. Today, she combines her two favorite passions—history and romance—into a writing career. Loving to research and spin sensual tales, Angela lives in Kansas, with Joe, her very own hero of twenty-three years. Angela loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at http://angelajohnsonauthor.com/.

How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.kensingtonbooks.com
Check out my book trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFYbLpN58-M.

You can find more information about Angela Johnson and my book, VOW OF DECEPTION by visiting my website, http://angelajohnsonauthor.com/. or my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angela-Johnson-Author/107353814770.


Chapter Two

Ayleston Castle, Chester County
In the year of our Lord 1274, January 3
Second year in the reign of Edward I

Rosalyn, the lady of Ayleston, froze in stunned horror at the landing of the Keep’s stairs. Right before her eyes, Lord Ayleston whirled his arms like a windmill, teetering backward, one foot on the top stair. Her husband’s handsome features—honed as if by the hand of God Himself—suddenly contorted in stark fear.

Rose clutched her infant son to her chest protectively, though he was asleep and cradled securely in the makeshift sling around her neck. Feeling sluggish as though swimming in deep waters, Rose at last reached out her free hand to Bertram. His fingers brushed her sleeve before he hurtled backward down the steps, an open O of terror on his lips. Thump, thump, thump, the sickening sound of his body hitting the rough stone stairs drummed inside her ears.
Legs moving without volition, Rose raced down the wide spiral stairs after him. When his golden head hit the last step, a loud crack echoed up the stairwell. Bertram landed in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

Rose stared wide-eyed at her husband, her temples pounding in rhythm with her agitated heart. Her cheek burned from Bertram’s recent violent slap, while a scream of horror reverberated inside her head. It echoed like a pack of hellhounds in Purgatory.

Light from a single torch illuminated Lord Ayleston. His body was facedown, but with his neck twisted at an awkward angle, his vacant eyes stared up at the heavens. With gory fascination, Rose watched a dark red pool of blood begin to form on the step beneath his head. It slowly spread, until a drop of blood dripped over the edge and plopped on the stone floor of the Great Hall.

A noise in the hall shattered her stunned observations. Beads of sweat popped out at her temples and her heart thundered as though it were going to explode. If she was found with Bertram’s body, she might be blamed for his death, whether she was responsible or not. A hue and cry would be raised, and if accused of having killed her husband, she would be taken to gaol, away from her young son, a prospect she could not bear. Even more frightening, if she was indicted and convicted of killing her husband, hence her lord, her punishment would be harsh: burning at the stake.

Rose clutched her tunics in one hand, spun around, and made quickly for her chamber at the end of the corridor. After easing the door closed behind her, she rushed into her son’s adjoining chamber. Jason’s usually vigilant nurse remained sound asleep on a pallet beside the boy’s cradle. Rose had slipped a sleeping draught into her drink earlier. When Rose’s disappearance was discovered in the morning, she wanted Edith to be able to truthfully say she knew naught of Rose’s intentions.

But everything had gone awry when Bertram had stumbled out of his chamber just as she had reached the stair landing.

Now, she slipped the cloth sling over her head, laid Jason in his cradle, and removed the swath of wool from beneath his warm body. The boy made not a sound as she pulled the colorful quilt up to his chin. Ever since his birth, Jason had been a quiet, happy baby. And Rose was thankful for it in this moment as she listened for any signs of a commotion below stairs.

She thought she had measured with exacting care the belladonna she put in Bertram’s favorite evening wine, in order that she did not overdose him. But apparently she had been too careful. Rose tiptoed back to her bedchamber, hung up her garments on the pegs beside the door, and slid into her bed to wait the raising of the hue and cry.

Her heart continued to pump sporadically. She stared wide-eyed up at the canopy, her lips moving in silent prayer. Not for her deceased husband, may God forgive her, but that no one would ever discover her involvement in this night’s deeds. It was a confession she would take to her grave; she lived for her son alone now.
Rose jerked awake. Panic beat like the wings of a bird inside her chest. Her mouth was open, a scream deep in the back of her throat. But no sound escaped. It wasn’t that she could not scream, but she knew better than to voice her discontent.

Rose blinked, but the solid blanket of darkness surrounding her did not lessen. She crawled across the soft mattress, gripped the velvet bed curtain, and yanked it aside. A glimmer of moonlight from her open shutters illuminated the disheveled sheets and coverlet of her canopy bed. Her medical books were on her table too.

A sigh of relief escaped her.

It was only a nightmare. She was safe in her own bed. Alone. Taking deep breaths, she willed her fear to recede. With her husband dead nigh onto three years, her degradation and humiliation at his hands was a thing of the past. But deep inside, she knew she would never be the innocent, naïve, happy young woman she was when she married Bertram. Her heart was a hard cold lump—she was a frigid woman who despised a man’s touch.

She reached for her Trotula medical book—a gift from her father—and caressed its beloved well-worn Cordoba leather covering. When Bertram was alive she’d hidden her books because he forbade her to practice her healing arts. She put the text back and chose another book. It was a special collection of healing recipes, prayers, and charms collected and passed down through the generations by the women in her family. Upon Rose’s marriage, her mother had gathered them together, then commissioned a local monk to transcribe and bind them into a beautifully illuminated manuscript.

Flipping open the leather cover, she allowed the vellum pages to flutter open, and closing her eyes, she stuck her finger on a random spot in the book. It was a ritual she performed as a way to ease her dark mood. Many times offering her insight and guidance and wisdom.

She opened her eyes and read the Latin script. She stopped mid entry; scoffing, she snapped the book shut. She’d touched on a charm for making a man fall in love with a woman. What superstitious nonsense. Her mother had taught her to use her intellect and observation to deduce whether a cure was effective or not. No spell or charm could make a man love a woman. She knew. Had she not tried a similar love spell when she’d discovered Bertram had a mistress—on the night they wed?

Rose plunked the book back on the table and determinedly locked the memories away. She’d dwelled much too often of late upon the misbegotten cur.

Rose slid off the tall bed, and her nightshift dropped down to cover her bare feet. The cooler air of the room dried the film of perspiration that covered her completely. Her linen shift clinging to her skin in damp patches, she shivered. A chill seeped into the soles of her feet as she padded across the floor to her washstand, which stood against the west wall opposite a cushioned window seat. Double arched windows above the seat looked down on the ornamental garden next to the Great Hall.

Grabbing the open neck of her shift, she tugged it over her head and tossed it onto the bed. She plucked her chamber robe off the peg beside the washstand and slid into its enveloping warmth. Then Rose poured water from the chipped painted pitcher into the basin, splashed cool water over her face and chest, and finished her bath by drying off with a linen towel.
An instinctual sensation tugged at her soul, drawing her into the adjoining chamber. A small bed, a chest, and a stool were the only furniture in the room. No one could enter her son’s chamber unless first coming through her bedchamber. Next to the small bed in the corner, Jason’s nurse and fierce protector lay curled up on a pallet snoring loudly. Rose quietly approached the foot of the bed and stared down at her sweet, innocent son. He lay on his side facing her, with his thumb stuck in his pursed lips and his other dimpled hand clutching a curly lock of light blond hair.

Her heart seized with love, and she could not keep a huge smile from forming on her lips. It was a side of herself she revealed to only a few people. Though she adored her son, she took care never to indulge in sentimental excess. She controlled her inappropriate passions behind a stoic manner befitting a widow.

Jason’s cherub lips drew down, and he kicked off his quilt. Rose pulled it back up under his chin, kissed his warm temple. She trembled with a sudden urge to grab her son and escape into the night. But her maternal instinct was stronger. Jason would be the one to suffer—loss of his inheritance, his title, and all the privileges it accompanied.

Did she have the right to steal it from him because of her fears, her insecurities, her cowardice?

Rose started at a loud bang that echoed from her chamber. She left Jason and went in the other room. The door rattled on its hinges. The sound of a deep voice, a soft giggle drew her curiosity. Rose opened the chamber door and peeked out.

Near a lit torch, Rand trapped Lisbeth up against the wall, his face pillowed between her indecently exposed plump breasts. The maid’s hose-clad thigh curled around Rand’s hip like a coiled serpent, pulling him flush against her, seeking to devour him inside her.

Rose inhaled sharply in surprise. A quiver of repulsion raced through her. The man was an incorrigible lecher. As far as she knew, Lady Elena was his current mistress, or was when Rose was at court a couple of months ago. Apparently not content with Elena, Rand had to debauch Rose’s castle servants too.

Rand glanced up just then, and stared, gaze glittering. He winked at her, a wolfish grin on his face. Flashing him a look of contempt, Rose pulled back and slammed the door shut.
Her gaze blurred as she stared at the oaken door. She regretted ever . . . Rose shook her head. The past was unalterable, she could only learn from her mistakes and never repeat them. Not that she had any desire to repeat them. Rubbing her arms, she turned and stared at her rumpled bed.

She should get some more rest before the long trip on the morrow. But she could not bear the separation from Jason, so she went to his chamber, crawled into bed beside him, and wrapped her arms around his sweet-smelling form. ***

Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Andrew's Day is November 30th.

Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland. Scots around the world celebrate St. Andrew's Day on Nov. 30th. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew. It is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.

Not much is known about the Patron Saint. It is believed that he and his brother, Simon Peter or Saint Peter, were fisherman in Galilee, which is now a part of Israel. They both became apostles of Jesus Christ.

Word has it that St. Andrew may have been responsible for the spreading on tenets of the Christian religion through Asia Minor and Greece. Through tradition we learn that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras in southern Greece by being pinned to a cross. The diagonal shape of the cross is reflected on the Scottish flag.

There have been two stories which depict how St. Andrew became affiliated to Scotland. The first begins that St. Andrew was entombed after his death. 300 years later, his bones were moved by Emperor Constantine to his new capitol in Constantinople. (This is now Istambul in Turkey.) Then a Greek Monk called St. Rule or St. Regulus, was warned in a dream by an angel that St. Andrew's remains were to be moved to the ends of the earth for safe keeping. St. Rule removed a tooth, an arm bone, a knee cap, and some fingers from his tomb. Scotland was where St. Rule had become shipwrecked and it was believed to be as far away as one could get. St. Rule then came ashore near a Pictish settlement on the east coast of Scotland. This town became known as St. Andrew.

The other story is that Acca, bishop of Hexham, who was a collector of relics, brought the relics of St. Andrew to the town of St. Andrew in 733. There was a religious centre in the town at the time. It was either founded by St. Rule in the 6th century or by a Pictish King, Ungus, who reigned from 731-761.

Either of these stories could be true, but the fact remains that the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. The chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160. St. Andrews then became the religious capitol of Scotland and a great centre for the Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics.

There is little evidence of truth to the St. Rule story, though the name exists still today in Scotland. There is St. Rule Tower which remains amongst the ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take a moment and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I appreciate all of your support.

I hope you have safe travels and are surrounded by love today!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

December Workshop

12/06 thru 12/19

MS Word Workshop for Writers
Instructor: Catherine Chant

This online workshop focuses on teaching you the aspects of the Word program that are most useful for fiction writers, and the subjects presented will help you streamline your on-screen tasks so you can think more about your story and less about what the computer is doing (or not doing). Included in this workshop will be lectures on proper manuscript formatting, creating headers/footers, working with page numbers, creating a pre-formatted manuscript template that can be used on all your new book projects, customizing the toolbars, understanding and customizing the Auto-Correct feature, using the Work menu, formatting the query letter, creating a template for the query, printing envelopes, printing labels for SASEs, and backing up your computer. This workshop is designed for both Macintosh and Windows/PC users, and has been written for versions of Word from '97 to the latest 2007/2008.

Catherine Chant is an award-winning writer from New England. She is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and webmaster for her RWA chapter, From the Heart Romance Writers (fthrw.com). A graduate of Boston College, she worked for fifteen years at her alma mater as a computing & communications consultant and now provides freelance web editing and design services to other writers and clients such as BC's Lynch School of Education. Her short fiction and non-fiction work has appeared in RWA newsletters, CharacterS, SchoolArts, MetroKids, Twilight Times, Apollos Lyre, and on websites controlled by SEO content provider DemandStudios.com. Her young adult time travel romance WISHING YOU WERE HERE was a finalist in the 2008 Golden Heart® awards. She is currently working a new young adult novel.

For more information, you may contact Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Education Coordinator, KERRI NELSON, at celtickerri@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good reads!

Today is Wednesday, hump day, and if you are finding yourself wanting something new to read, then I would like to make a suggestion. I just finished reading Cynthia Owens' book, "In Sunshine or in Shadow."

Siobhàn Desmond will do anything to keep the tattered remains of her family alive, even if it means working for the new landlord-a darkly handsome stranger with secrets in his eyes and pain in his smile. As she watches her village return to life and begin to thrive under Rory's care, she comes to understand his true nature and soon finds herself falling under his dangerously sensual spell. As danger ignites all around them, Rory and Siobhàn fight to right the wrongs of the past-and protect their newfound love.

This book is set in Ireland with an action packed story that provokes great emotion!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indian Summer

If you live anywhere in the USA, then this is a term you have most likely heard of. An 'Indian Summer' is marked by a week or two of unseasonably warm, dry, and calm weather after the first frost.
The event happens all around the world. The technical term is called 'weather singularity.' Or in other words, a climatic event that recurs the same time around the world. The length and depth of the event depends on the geography in which it is occurring. I am from Indiana and this has been one of the prettiest weeks we have had. Perfect! I turned the heat off and opened the windows. Nothing but bright sun and 70 to 75 degrees in temperature. It is most frequently associated with the central and eastern parts of the United States because of favorable climate. That means a wide variety or wide speed and temperature from summer to winter.
So why is it called 'Indian Summer'? Here are a couple reasons I have found in my research.
1) It was a period when the Native Americans first harvested their crops.
2) It was more commonly found in the North American Indian territories.
In the beginning, this term was only found in America. The English had their own names for this time of year. 'St. Luke's Summer' and 'St. Martin's Summer" are a couple. Those terms have all but disappeared and the term 'Indian Summer' has been used in the UK for at least a decade. When I tried to verify this by asking a friend who is from the UK, he could not say for sure. I think regardless of what we call it, those of us who are having this occurrence in the autumn, are thankful to have one last blast of summer before winter begins.
The first mention of the term was found in an essay "A Snow Storm as it effects the American Farmer", written in the 1770's by a Frenchman turned American farmer. His name was J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur:
"Why the respite from the impending advance of winter was called Indian Summer is anyone's guess--and everyone has guessed. Some of the explanations offered early in the nineteenth century after the term was well established were that it got it's name because the Indian's predicted it, or explained it, to the European settlers; that it was a time of year when the Indians moved to winter hunting grounds; even that the Indians caused it by setting smoky fires to drive game out of hiding."
I think today, as the sun shines and the temperature reaches 75, I am going to put clothes on the line one last time and rake leaves. I hope that you are enjoying your 'Indian Summer'! I know I am!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My post at The Celtic Rose

Today I blogged at The Celtic Rose about The Book of Kells. I hope you will go to http://www.thecelticroseblog.blogspot.com/. and read about The Book of Kells and the Four Gospels.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My romance story

15 years ago, on a chilly November day, I stood outside the church waiting to be escorted in to the man of my dreams. Light snow started to fall on my bare shoulders and I shivered. Winter is my favorite season, so I smiled to myself thinking how fitting it was that the first snow of the season would fall on one of the happiest days of my life.

Today is our anniversary and I can't express to you how much I have enjoyed these years or how lucky I feel to be married to my husband. We met at a country bar and I truly believe in love at first sight. Boy, could he dance and I just loved that about him. I told my cousin one night, "That's the man I want to marry." Low and behold, it came true.
Through the years we have had our ups and downs, three beautiful children, and lived in two towns. But through it all, we have had each other and that is the most important thing. The hardest part, as I look back now, is the time he spent as an over the road trucker. The kids were small and having him gone all the time was rough. But I would do it all again.
So I want to honor my husband, my knight in shining armour that makes everyone else look like boys in tin foil, by having a contest. There is a poem that Andy recites to me. Here it is:
If the ocean were made of ink and the sky were made of paper, I could not begin to write how much I love you!
I would like for you to tell me where the poem came from. Where have you heard and seen it before? (CLUE, not in a book that I know of!) If you can correctly tell me where he got the poem, then you could win a $20 gift card to Blockbuster. That way you can rent a movie, have a little popcorn and snuggle with the man you love. Just a romantic night for two!
Good luck!
Happy Anniversary Andy! I love you!

Monday, November 1, 2010


The title looks funny doesn't it? I sat there too, the first time I saw it, and tried to pronounce it. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. November 1st is the offical start date and many a writers are gearing towards a fun filled month of writing. The goal is to write a 175- page, (50,000 word) novel by midnight Nov. 30.

Since everyone who is participating has a limited time to write, it's all about quantity, not quality. No worries about grammar, spelling, orwhether or not he is wearing a the same blur shirt from the second paragraph to the fourth. It's a fly by the seat of your pants approach. Leave the editing for later.

The nice things is that there are writers all over the world doing the same thing. You can buddy other writers and form a support group.

In 2009, NaNoWriMo had over 165,000 writers, with over 30,000 of them reaching the goal and crossing the finish line entering into the Nationals of NaNoWriMo. Every writer will log in each day and write. At midnight on Nov 30, a writer will submit their work and a team of web-based robotic word counters will begin their job.

I want to wish "GOOD LUCK" to all of those who are participating. I have chosen not to this year. I need to finish book 2 in my Macpherson Saga and my novella. It's only fair that they come first.
If you would like to participate, then go to www.nanowrimo.org and sign up.

Good luck!