Celebrate the 5oth Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with a Sale on the Fantasy Romance ‘Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Wow! July 20th, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Where did the time go?

The Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon’s surface at 4:17 p.m. EDT with, if I can believe what I read, less than thirty seconds of fuel remaining. The moon walk took place six hours later.

…one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.

-Neil Armstrong

I was at girl scout camp in Pennsylvania at the time. We hiked up the hill from the tent sites to the activity center where the counselors had set up a television and we watched the events unfold. ‘Twas exciting. When I returned home from camp, I learned my dad had named our new beagle puppy ‘Moon Shot Duke’. The thought still makes me smile.

I’ve held a special place in my heart for the ‘moon’ ever since.

What are your memories from when Apollo 11 landed on the moon’s surface?

Continue reading for an excerpt from Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. And then, please share in the comments your memories from the Apollo 11 moon landing. If you were too young or not born at the time, share your thoughts on what you know of the event.

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

Full moon and cloudy sky
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Finn inhaled deeply. His lungs filled with fresh mountain air. For the first time in months, he was free of fawning women. Free of the awkward position they put him in.

Patrick’s sword sliced past his face, drawing him from his thoughts. Rain streamed over his bare chest, mixing with sweat. He needed to pay attention. If he weren’t more careful, he’d do a face-plant in the mud.

“You fight like a lass, MacIntyre,” Patrick taunted.

“Hilt is slippery.” Finn cursed under his breath and sought a better grip.

“You must learn to fight under every circumstance. That includes rain. Could save your miserable life someday.”

Grunting, Finn barely ducked the next assault.

Patrick pulled back. “Enough!” He dropped the point of his claymore to the ground and scowled. “’Tis obvious you are not paying attention.”

Trying to catch his breath, Finn gulped air. He glared at his cousin-in-law. “This is supposed to be just for fun.”

“Ach, then. You must try harder to have fun, lad.” Humor lit Patrick’s blue eyes, and he unloosed the leather strip holding back his long chestnut hair. Patrick MacLachlan was a primitive man; to him a workout with the large two-handed sword was child’s play. “At times I forget we live in a modern world.”

Finn shook his head. “You are my fiercest opponent.”

Patrick laughed and placed a hand on Finn’s wet shoulder. “Come. The bairns are at the inn for Rory’s Thursday morning story time. Let us go and warm ourselves by the fire and listen to the old Highlander tell his tales.”

Finn yanked on a soaked t-shirt and followed Patrick across the wet lawn.

About twenty-five eagerly waiting children sat on the plush carpet in the parlor of the Whispering Pines Inn while gossiping moms relaxed on overstuffed floral sofas. A few dads stood nearby, appearing disinterested. Finn knew better. Everyone loved hearing Rory’s stories.

The crackling fire brought much-needed warmth to the dreary mountain morning. Finn joined Patrick at the hearth, hoping his clothes would dry.

Conversation ended when Rory MacNaughton entered from the rear door, his carved walking stick at his side. The elderly gentleman wore dress slacks, a brown tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows, and a tam covering his white hair. He greeted individuals as he crossed the room and eased onto the tall stool at the center of the parlor. With an age-spotted hand, he motioned for his audience to move closer.

Alert eyes sparkling, Rory glanced at Finn and grinned. One of the men standing nearby snickered. Finn groaned, sure he knew the yarn the storyteller would regale them with.

Taking a deep breath, Rory began…

“The Sithichean, the faeries of the ancient Highlands, had a special affinity for moonstones. Enamored by the pale, lustrous, blue color resembling that of moonlight, they found the best of these unique stones on the shores of their sensuous faerie paradise Tir-nan-Óg—land o’ heart’s desire—having washed ashore on the tides when the sun god and moon maiden were in a particular heavenly harmony.”

Rory leaned forward. “Ye ken this miraculous occurrence happens only once in three, seven-year cycles of the moon…”

He held up an index finger. “Just once in a verra blue moon,” he whispered.

A hush fell across the parlor.

“Handfuls of these precious stones belonged to a beautiful flame-haired faerie with eyes the color and brightness of the most costly emeralds.”

“Caitrina?” a precocious little girl, with red curls and freckles sprinkled across her nose, whispered. Her blond-haired friend giggled, and Rory smiled at the pair.

“She bestowed upon the moonstones magical powers, gifting them to deserving mortals. Some of these charmed stones had the ability to reunite lost lovers. Others gave the bearer the gift of second sight. One especially large gemstone she forged into the hilt of a magnificent Highland claymore, and with a kiss enchanted it with extraordinary power.”

His eyes wide, a boy in front pointed at Finn.

Finn glanced down. He must be a sight, his soaked shirt clinging to his chest and his wet kilt slung low on his hips. He’d grown his hair long and now the knotty, wet strands hung around his shoulders in disarray. Beside him, his sheathed sword leaned against the stone of the fireplace, the large moonstone in its cross-section plain to see.

Rory chuckled, locking gazes with him. With tight lips, Finn shook his head  no. He didn’t want the kids to think his sword was the one of which Rory spoke.

“Over the ages, the sword brought many a worthy warrior fame and fortune. That was until the day an evil, dark power used it.” Rory’s voice rose and his pace quickened. “This could not be borne. With green eyes shooting flames of fire, the one who fashioned the splendid weapon cast it far away to vanish in the Sands of Time.”

The storyteller lowered his voice an octave and slowed his speech. “There are those who believe the lost sword of the fae has been found.”

Finn refused to listen to more of the man’s fantasy. He signaled to Patrick he was leaving.

Patrick followed him into the foyer. “Why the rush, lad?”

“My claymore doesn’t have supernatural powers. It’s just an antique sword.”

“Ach, well. Dinnae take offense. Rory means nae insult. He merely wishes for the bairns to believe in a wee bit of magic. Nae harm in that.”

 

Hope you have a magical day!

~Dawn Marie

A Visit to Annapolis and an Excerpt from ‘Sea Panther’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

House and Garden

street jogger

 

 

Today is the last day of summer and tomorrow the first day of autumn. I love this time of year with its cooler temperatures. Recently, I spent a few days in Annapolis, MD. I enjoy hanging out in the historic section of town and taking in the sights. Kimberly and Robert from my paranormal romance, Sea Panther, visited Annapolis during their December cruise along the coast headed for Florida and Robert’s Florida panther refuge in the Everglades.

 

 

 

boats

They traveled on a 90-foot sailing yacht named Sea Panther (also Robert’s nickname) and harbored in Annapolis while Robert was to meet with a boat builder to discuss the renovation of the yacht. Much, much more happened.

street scape

 

 

 

While there, Kimberly shopped along the cobblestone streets and visited a shop with mostly wool merchandise based on an actual store on West street.

 

 

 

 

An Excerpt from Sea Panther:

After dinner, the boys headed farther into town to hit the bars. Not inclined to join them in the carousing, Kimberly strolled the main drag where stores were open late for holiday shopping.

Glitzy seasonal decorations sparkled everywhere. The sight of animated Santa’s elves plying their trade on high tech electronic toys behind the plate-glass storefront of a hardware shop made her chuckle.

Kimberly suppressed the urge to enter a brightly lit jewelry store. She couldn’t afford to feed her fetish. But on approaching one of the trendy boutiques, the wintry window display drew her in. It was love-at-first-sight with the wool merchandise. While admiring a red cashmere sweater dress, her cell phone rang. Darn. She’d lost track of time.

Sarah’s number lit the screen. Her sister’s phone batteries must be good for a change.

“Hey,” she whispered into the phone not wanting to disturb the other shoppers.

“Are you okay? I went to pick up your car. One of my guy friends went with me. Thank God. ’Cause someone broke into the car. And the cops—”

“Slow down. What happened?” Kimberly’s pulse raced.

“I’m trying to tell you. Someone shot out the light on the lamppost over your car at the marina and smashed the passenger side window.”

“You’re kidding. Right?”

“I wouldn’t kid about a thing like this.”

Shit. Shit. Shit. Why would someone break into her car? She’d only left clothes in it.

“Kim? What where they looking for?”

“No idea. Tell me the whole story.”

“The police searched the car. Lifted some prints. They’re checking to see if any match the ones found in your room at the B&B. I told them about the hit man. They questioned Mr. Romano. Of course, he denies involvement.”

“Oh, Sarah, you didn’t. He’ll never forgive me.”

“What does it matter? He’s not your client anymore.”

Kimberly looked heavenward. Her sister didn’t get it. Sarah didn’t understand the importance of maintaining professional contacts.

“What else did the cops say?”

“They’ll let me know if they learn anything from the prints.”

“Was my car damaged?” The darn thing would probably cost a fortune to fix.

“Only the window and I had it repaired. And hey, all my friends think I look really cool driving around in a shiny black Beemer.”

“Be careful. That car is the only valuable possession I have left.”

“Yeah, it’s a good thing you paid it off before Jerky Jason came into your life.”

“I don’t want to go there,” Kimberly murmured, tired of Sarah’s constant reminders of how rotten her ex had been.

“Gotta hang up. Boss is calling for me. Be careful. Love you.”

“Love you too.” Kimberly pressed the End button and returned the cell phone to her purse. She glanced through the large plate-glass window into the street at the holiday shoppers strolling by. Unease tightened the muscles across her chest.

Just how much danger was she in? Was someone trying to scare her or was someone out to hurt her?

Needing a distraction from the mounting fear, she wandered to the next clothing rack and fingered the soft weave of a mohair cape. The tactile sensation soothed. Suddenly the hairs on her arms rose. Someone stood behind her. Heart pounding too fast, she spun to meet the captain’s intense gaze.

“Ach, lass, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He stepped closer.

Kimberly released the breath she held and willed her pulse to slow to a normal pace. “It’s okay. I’m not usually the nervous type. You must have caught me during a rare moment.” She didn’t want him to think she jumped every time a man came near.

The captain fondled the forest green cape she’d been admiring, and a delicious chill shivered along her spine. For a man with large hands, he had a gentle touch. What would those long fingers feel like caressing her skin? The thought of him massaging her breasts the way he did the wool caused a shot of lust to rush through her system.

Chills and fever. What a potent mix.

“This garment would look beautiful on you,” he said.

“Thank you.” She lowered her head to hide a flushed face. “I’m afraid I can’t afford it.”

“Will you tell me why a woman with a quick mind like yours is out of work and homeless?”

His question was blunt and to the point—a splash of cold water to raging hormones. How she’d landed in the current situation was the last thing she wanted to explain. She raised a wary gaze to meet his. “Captain MacLachlan, I—”

“Never mind.” He waved an arm as if to erase his words. “I did not mean to put such deep sadness into your eyes.”

“Excuse me. We’re closing,” one of the shop’s employees interrupted. Her gaze lingered on Robert as if to say, you’re welcome to stay.

“We are leaving,” he said to the woman then smiled at Kimberly. “Come. Walk with me.”

She followed him out onto the sidewalk. Cars slowly drove by on the one-way street. If a hit man was after her, in truth, he could be anywhere. She tamped down on her nerves, feeling foolish, refusing to believe someone wanted to harm her. It didn’t make sense. Her ex-clients were respectable businessmen. The burglaries had to be a bizarre coincidence. After all, she’d left the car in a nearly deserted marina. No wonder someone broke into it.

“I’m on my way to a jazz club. Care to join me?”

The invitation surprised Kimberly and she nodded.

* * *

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Sea Panther.

Sea Panther
E-book:
Amazon,  Amazon UK,
B&N, Apple, and Kobo.
Trade paperback:
Amazon, BAM,
and Barnes&Noble.

~Dawn Marie