Yes, spring has sprung and snow covers the ground and rooftops in Southern Maryland. The temperatures will rise today, the snow will melt, and the daffodils will raise their faces to the sun. Life is good!
I’m looking forward to getting my fingers dirty in the soil soon. I’ve the longest list of plants I want to add to the gardens this year. Gotta love spring optimism.
Do you have special plans for springtime?
What else is new? e-Book Sale!
Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first tale in the Highland Gardens series is on sale for for a limited time–$0.99. Grab your copy today…
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Happy Valentine’s Week! Tuesday may have been theday, but many romantics celebrate the entire week, some the whole month. One of the ways I’m celebrating is with a book sale. The e-book version of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first novel in the Highland Gardens series, is on sale at Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo for a mere 99 pennies for a limited time. If you haven’t read the series yet, now would be a great time to start.
I will be presenting and signing at the St. Mary’s County Library’s Author Fair in Lexington Park MD on April 1st from 10:00 to 2:00. There will be presentations from other local authors, a writing workshop, and an information session on self-publishing. If you are in the Southern Maryland area, stop by and say hello.
On most Wednesdays, I share excerpts from my books at my author blog, Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes. Hop over there on occasion for a short read.
I’m excited and honored to share that Just Wait For Me, the third novel in the Highland Gardens series, is a finalist in the 2017 Scéal Award Contest at Books & Benches for Otherworldly Romance (paranormal, fantasy, and time travel). Winners will be announced in late March. Wish me luck!
Since June is synonymous with weddings, I thought it would be fun to share an excerpt from Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first book in the Highland Gardens time travel romance series, where a wedding goes horribly wrong thanks to a meddling clan brownie.
* * *
The gilded chapel glowed with candlelight. Laurie’s gaze circled the small interior, filled with her new friends.
With a twinge of regret, she thought of her family. She would never take the long walk down the aisle at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Uncle David’s arm. Nor would she see the expected smirk on her Cousin Finn’s face as she passed him on her way to meet her intended at the altar. She wholeheartedly wished they both could be here with her now, to share her happiness.
Lost in thought, she startled when the chapel quieted.
Laurie raised her gaze to Patrick, forgetting all else. Only him, the man of her dreams. The man she desired for her own, the man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life.
Even if it meant staying in the past.
Her heart swelled and she smiled at him with love.
Patrick strode past those gathered, eyes only for her. His heated gaze scorched her. Her nipples puckered in response. Oh, how she wanted this man.
He came to stand before her. Their eyes locked in communion. Time and space no longer existed, they were alone, two souls united.
The old priest cleared his throat, breaking the spell. Directing them to stand together in front of him, he joined their hands and bade them kneel. He motioned for Elspeth and Archibald to step forward, for they were to witness this union before God and their clansmen.
Patrick squeezed Laurie’s fingers. The mass and ceremony buzzed by in a blur. She hardly remembered saying her vows.
Laurie accepted Patrick’s assistance to stand. With his hands on her shoulders, he twisted her to face him. He placed his fingers on her cheeks and lowered his head. His eyes smoldered.
His lips were warm and persistent. The kiss shot to her toes.
Everyone cheered, and her cheeks burned.
Patrick stepped back. “Wife.”
She stifled a giggle. “Husband.”
They left the chapel and crossed the passageway to the council chamber where they would celebrate their union with a wedding feast. Patrick’s warriors, some with their wives, and some with their sons and daughters filled the chamber when they arrived.
The cheer echoed from the rafters.
Laurie toyed with the large sapphire ring on her finger, the beautiful token of Patrick’s love. This was the happiest day of her life. Yet it was as if she walked within a dream.
Could this be real?
She sighted Patrick across the chamber, standing with some of his men. Jamie slapped his back with some jest and they laughed. Catching her eye, Patrick raised his cup to her, and she smiled.
The crowd moved in waves and she lost sight of him.
Her stomach clenched when Munn, the clan brownie, approached. He made odd sounds as if he couldn’t form words and handed her a beautiful bejeweled goblet.
Elspeth joined them. “He presents you with an offering of peace.”
The little man made a choking sound, but vigorously nodded.
“Thank you.” Laurie accepted his token and sipped the sweet wine. The ruby drink tasted delicious, fruity flavor burst on her tongue. More wonderful than any wine she’d ever tasted before.
Strolling around the hall, she accepted the best wishes from Patrick’s clansmen. She sipped from her goblet. The cup never emptied. Each taste was more luscious than the last.
She danced with Patrick, ate from the savory assortment of foods, and drank from the goblet given to her by Munn.
Later, she whirled around the floor with Stephen. When they danced past the trestle table where her goblet sat, she stopped to take more of the sweet wine. Delicious.
Laurie enjoyed the minstrels and more dancing. She moved to the side of the hall to rest her aching toes and sipped from the goblet. Whew. She blew out a puff of air. A feverish heat flushed her chest and neck, making her desperate for Patrick’s embrace. She wanted to consummate her marriage. She’d been waiting forever and didn’t want to wait any longer.
Taking another sip of wine, she spied him at the edge of the hall. She rushed across the oak flooring toward him. Everyone else faded away. She giggled as she stumbled into him. He caught her by the arms. He was so sexy, and tonight, finally, all of that glorious man would be hers. She wrapped her arms around him and breathed in his earthy scent.
He smelled different. Felt different. His eyes were different.
It gave her pause, but only for a moment. They were married now.
Everything was different.
She leaned into him. When she hit his hard chest with her sensitized breasts, she pressed even tighter to him. She kissed his neck, slid her tongue along his jaw.
“Lass, what are you about?” He chuckled, the sound rough against her throat.
Why was he trying to push her away?
Laurie wouldn’t allow it. She wrapped one leg around his hip, laced her fingers in his hair and shimmied up his body. Without losing her stride, she sucked his bottom lip into her mouth.
He let out a tormented groan.
* * *
When Patrick caught sight of Laurie on the other side of the hall, an intense, hot fury boiled within him. Her arms draped his brother’s neck and she smiled adoringly at Archibald as if he were her one true love. Couldn’t she tell them apart?
Did she prefer Archibald?
A red haze clouded Patrick’s eyes and angry words choked his throat. He strode across the chamber, his steps long and sure. Somehow, he managed to gain some control, forcing himself to swallow his rage before he made a public display of his disgust.
Archibald wrestled with her. She was an unruly vine, clinging to him.
“Archie, take my lady-wife to our bedchamber. I will follow,” Patrick ordered through clenched teeth.
His brother had the audacity to chuckle. He practically manhandled Laurie to move her. He lifted her through the doorway and up the stairs before anyone noticed. She attached herself to Archibald, wrapping her legs and arms around his body, kissing him with sloppy, wet kisses. He struggled with her. Finally, managing to get her to the bedchamber and off him, he dropped her onto the big bed.
“I am not Patrick. He is over there.” Archibald pointed to where Patrick watched the scene from the threshold, fury smoldering inside his chest.
“You’re mine.” She jumped up, reaching for Archibald once more.
Moving quickly, Patrick lunged across the chamber and grabbed her around the waist, pulled her away from his brother and dumped her back on the bed.
She laughed and swayed as she tried once again to rise. “Wow. Everything is spinning. Hey, there are two of you.” She giggled and fell back against the mattress like a heavy boulder.
“I never thought the day would come when you would covet my bride.” Patrick glowered at his twin.
Archibald raised his hands, palms forward. “I stand before you, falsely accused. Your lady-wife is in her cups. She is not herself.”
“How did she get that way? I saw her take but one goblet of wine. Nary enough to confuse us. She is a trifler, playing with us.” Patrick continued to glare at his twin, his disappointment and anger consuming him. “’Tis too late. I have wed the wench. I will have to teach her I am her only master.”
“You make too much of this. She is but drunk.”
“Leave. Before I forget you are my brother.”
Archibald pivoted on his heel and left the chamber without uttering another word. Patrick stared at his new wife in disgust. She sprawled across the bed, insensible, as intoxicated as a drunken warrior. Since he first found the lass, she’d been naught but trouble. Not in his thirty summers had he ever been this angry.
He reached for her and as if he held a rag doll, shook her. She didn’t stir. Cursing harshly, he dropped her onto the feather mattress.
If she loved him, she should be able to tell them apart.
* * *
Now would be a great time to read Just Beyond the Garden Gate and the other books in the Highland Gardens time travel romance series with the next book, Just Wait For Me scheduled for release on August 10th.
Coming August 10, 2016
The third match in the Fae Queen’s challenge is in play. Will fae magic change Stephen and Jillian’s destiny?
In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a vow to a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises to find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that an oath he’ll want to keep after finding love in Jillian O’Donnell’s arms? And after saving Stephen’s life, will Jillian want to go?
No matter what the lover’s decide, Stephen’s wife—a woman who acquired the title through deceit—and an old enemy attempt to destroy the couple’s chance for happiness. Only with the help of Fae allies can Stephen and Jillian overcome and earn their reward—everlasting love.
Multi-author collections from indie romance authors are popular right now. I was honored this past spring to join authors April Holthaus, Victoria Zak, and Kathryn Lynn Davis for just such a project—the Scottish historical fantasy set, Highland Charm: First Fantasies. My contribution is ‘Just Beyond the Garden Gate’, the first novel in the Highland Gardens series. ‘Highland Charm’ was released for the summer and has been so popular we may extend its availability for another three months, allowing it to run through December 21st.
What makes multi-author collections popular? Certainly price. Many of the collections are priced at much less than the expense of purchasing each book separately. ‘Highland Charm’ is 99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited and contains four full-length novels. Readers have said they like the opportunity to read new-to-them authors without spending a lot of money. I have gained new fans for the Highland Gardens series by participating in the collection and hope to participate in another collection featuring never before published fantasy novellas. More news on that soon.
Do you like to read multi-author collections? If yes, what draws you to them?
October is such a fabulous month. The weather is great. And we get to decorate for Halloween. Last year, we played scary music and I dressed as a witch for when the kids came to visit. This year, I’m feeling a wee fanciful.
Does this picture inspire all kinds of fanciful thoughts? I can visualize these fae creatures serenading their queen as she dances about the faerie hill (Sithichean Sluaigh in Scottish Gaelic) in her silvery raiment waiting for the king. Oonagh, Queen of the Fae, plays a vital, secondary role in the Highland Gardens Scottish time travel series. She has challenged a banished faerie princess to make three nearly impossible love matches that transcend time. Just Beyond the Garden Gate and Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon are the first two books in the series.
Just in Time for a Highland Christmas (A Highland Gardens Novella) will release in late November. The cover will be revealed for the first time on Friday, October 17th during the Book Addicts’s Facebook party. Join the party. The reveal will happen sometime between 3:00 – 4:00 CST. The party runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Lots of participating authors with a ton of giveaways. I’ll post the cover here on Saturday, October 18th for Supernatural Superlatives followers. 🙂 Can’t wait to share it with you.
I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of time travel, as has countless authors and scriptwriters. Whether to the past, to the future, or both, movies and literature fuel the imagination. The devices enabling our movement through time varying with the different psyches of their creators. Many are sci-fi. Many pure fantasy. All stretch the borders of reality.
From H.G. Wells’ time machine to the 3D fax machine in Timeline.
From the TARDIS (appearing as a blue British police box) of Doctor Who to the time traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future.
Some of my personal favorites are the standing stones in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the use of self-hypnosis and a pocket watch in Somewhere in Time, and ‘the gate’ in in the movie Millennium.
I’ve been so fascinated by the idea of time travel, especially to the past, I’ve included the element in all of my romance novels. In the Highland Gardens time travel romance series a faerie-enchanted garden gate propels the characters to the past of the early 16th century.
* * *
Excerpt from Just Beyond the Garden Gate…
Unease skittered along Laurie’s spine as she walked with Caitrina to the back gate. She frowned when she smelled the now familiar exotic fragrance on her friend. “What the hell?”
A tinkling sound confirmed her fear.
The gate swung open.
He stood just beyond the garden gate. Her pulse jackrabbited. Pulling away from Caitrina, she stepped back in panic.
Caitrina pressed a hand against Laurie’s back and shoved her forward. Terror forced the air from Laurie’s lungs as she tripped through the gate opening.
Nothing held her back, no barrier. She fell forward…over a precipice into a swirling fog, down…down…down through a dark tunnel. The walls spun. She plunged faster and faster. In the distance, she couldn’t tell how far, a blinding, bright light—just a white glow in a tunnel of blackness—showed. What was there? Death?
Oh God, what was happ—
All at once, she was sucked into the white brilliance. She choked on the scream in her throat, cringing against the intense whining assaulting her ears.
She spun, or everything around her was spinning, she wasn’t sure which. Her sensitized skin tingled as if zapped by an electric charge. Laurie squeezed her eyes shut against the brightness. With her eyes closed, she felt lost, more frightened. She opened them just as the light exploded into a million fragments of brilliant color, a dazzling kaleidoscope. Then she was falling again.
Down…down…down, faster and faster. Water flowed below her, a stream. She plummeted toward it. Bracing herself, she thought she’d crash into the rushing water, only to propel across it. She hit the ground hard and saw nothing more.
In the Crimson Storm paranormal romance series a wormhole created by the energy of the Bermuda Triangle propels the hero and heroine to Jamaica 1715 where they must stop a Voodoo priestess from performing a curse.
* * *
Excerpt from Sea Panther…
“The compass is going haywire. Spinning wildly.” His tone of voice revealed growing excitement.
Kimberly chewed on the edge of her lip, taut with anticipation. They’d been waiting for something to happen, though she hadn’t really believed the stories. The contents of her stomach shimmied. Was she ready to confront the unknown?
A cool mist advanced, quickly developing into dense fog, which expanded into an enormous semicircle not five hundred yards off deck.
“The RPM’s are dropping,” Robert reported.
The boat slowed to a near idle. Kimberly’s stomach lurched. She glanced at her watch. The second hand had stopped moving. She tapped on the crystal. Nothing.
She reached for Robert’s hand. “It’ll be okay,” she said, lacking true confidence.
Robert squeezed her fingers. “That’s my brave lass.”
The eerie fog swirled, encircling the sailboat yet kept a distance of about three hundred yards. Kimberly glimpsed the clear sky in the center—bright blue with no clouds. It was as if they were caught in the eye of a mellow storm.
Without warning, a large mass burst through the edge of the milky fog to hover about thirty feet above the surface of the water off their port side, throwing a huge shadow. The air smelled different. Like after a thunderstorm.
“What the hell is that?” Kimberly whispered.
What are some of your favorite time travel devices from films and books? What would be your preferred mode of time travel? Would you rather travel to the past or to the future or to another dimension? We’d love for you to share your thoughts with us.
How did my imagination get me here? I suppose that’s a good question for my first post at Supernatural Superlatives. But first, a big thank you to Caryn for creating this super, new blog. Isn’t the background pretty?
Hello. Thanks for visiting. I’m Dawn Marie and I write Scottish inspired fantasy and paranormal romance.
As a small child, before an age to attend school, I had an imaginary playmate. His name was Michael. Yeah, a guy, go figure.
Michael was everything to me. All I talked about. After much nagging, mom set a place for him each night at the dinner table. No one dared sit in his chair. Since I didn’t have a play phone, and wasn’t allowed to use the real phone, I called him on the pull chains of the fireplace screen. A bulb ornament hung on the end of each chain. I held one to my mouth and the other to my ear and chatted with Michael for hours. When we went on car trips, I’d point out his house(s). When a private plane flew overhead, it was Michael’s plane.
Worried, my parents spoke to the pediatrician. His response: Dawn Marie has a vivid imagination.
One of these days, I’ll write a story with Michael as the hero.
During grade school, I had three passions. 1. Reading. 2. Telling stories. Okay, maybe some people might have called them fibs—lie was not a word allowed in our house, so my siblings got in trouble if they called me a liar. 3. Being a ballerina.
I planned to grow up and be a ballerina who read tons of books and told fantastical stories.
During high school, I wrote several short stories. My English teacher suggested majoring in English in college. My aptitude scores were higher in math. I buckled under parental pressure and majored in computer science instead. Blah.
I hated it. I quit, got a job, and guess what? Because of all the computer classes I’d taken, the job I landed was as a sales statistician working with…you guessed it. Computers. I went back to school at night and earned a degree in Business Administration. I worked in finance then became a computer programmer, and then a systems analyst. Are you seeing a non-imaginative pattern? I became a computer trainer. Then a corporate trainer.
With the corporate career, I traveled all over the United States, to Asia, and to Europe. While waiting for delayed flights, I made up stories about other passengers. Especially about couples who seemed oddly suited. During an assignment in Brussels, while traversing the city in a taxi, I saw a large billboard advertising whisky. The brawny Highlander with bare chest, kilt and claymore reminded me of the Scottish historical romance novels I read on all the boring, long flights.
I wanted to write about sexy Scottish men in kilts. I wanted to write about faeries. I wanted to write about vampires and shape shifters. I wanted to write about romance and happily ever afters. Years passed. I fell in love. Got married. Left my career. Started writing.
The first two books in the Highland Gardens Scottish Historical Time Travel series rife with meddling faeries released last year—Just Beyond the Garden Gate and Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. If all goes well, Just Wait for Me, the third novel, will release late fall. Fingers crossed.
After seeing the movie Pirates of the Caribbean and reading the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, my imagination produced a story idea with a hero who was a Scottish Jacobite turned vampire by a Voodoo curse. Then while in South Florida on vacation, a panther-crossing sign on the side of the road inspired the hero to morph into a vampire shifter. Sea Panther, the first book in the Crimson Storm paranormal romance series, was a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and released in March. And I’m pleased to report it is a Night Owl Reviews top pick.
I’m currently working on the second book, Raven’s Revenge.
Grasp the fantasy. Embrace the romance. Dare to dream!