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

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Happy Summer Solstice 2019

I love this time of year–more hours of sunlight means more time spent in the garden. Time to notice the little things. Like this tiny praying mantis on a daylily bloom.

Peach Daylily with Mantis

Time to spend sitting in the garden reading. Perhaps something from the Highland Gardens series…

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon
Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon — Highland Gardens Book 2

* * *

Lively fiddle tunes greeted Finn as he parked his truck in the gravel lot near Laurie’s home and garden center. A portion of her garden and the crowd were visible through the iron gate. He was tempted to leave. He didn’t feel like making nice-nice with her business associates, but she’d never forgive him if he didn’t make an appearance.

The anniversary of opening her garden center meant a lot to her. He couldn’t hurt her feelings. And she just didn’t seem herself lately.

They had a falling-out several years ago when she handed him her resignation and moved to Anderson Creek. At the time, the thought of her in the country seemed ludicrous. But since she survived her adventure—at least physically—and married Patrick, damn if she hadn’t proved him wrong. Her garden center and gift shop, Foxgloves, had grown into a successful local enterprise.

He’d been a real jerk back then. So, yeah, he’d stay tonight. Laurie needed to know she could depend on him.

Finn got out of the pickup and entered the garden through the front gate. Geez. He hoped he could dodge Laurie’s two business partners, Jillian and Caitrina, for the rest of the evening.

His luck, Jillian was the first guest he saw. She leaned against the side of the tool shed, watching the musicians. Whenever they were thrown together, she tripped over herself to get his attention. Although it would make his cousin happy, he’d no desire to pursue a relationship with the mousy woman.

She had a kind heart and nice eyes yet the chemistry wasn’t there. No way could he picture her as the mother of his sons.

“Finn.” She waved her arms and lunged forward, knocking over a planted urn. The ceramic pot shattered on the stone patio, scattering shards and soil. She stared at him then bent to clean up the mess.

Shit, he should offer assistance. He struggled with his conscience. Good manners won, but before he moved, a couple of other guests jumped to her aid. Finn grasped the opportunity and strolled in the opposite direction.

He stumbled upon Caitrina almost hidden within the lush foliage near the rear gate. Their gazes met. An impish smile played on her lips.

The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He wasn’t sure what it was about her. Beautiful, tall and willowy, she had intense green eyes. Her long auburn hair would set any man’s heart racing. In fact, his buddy Douglas was in love with her. Nevertheless, there was something unusual about her. Something out of the ordinary he couldn’t quite identify, which made him damn uncomfortable.

Caitrina always watched him, staring with her piercing emerald eyes, as if she knew something he didn’t.

She probably did. But still—

Annoyed he allowed her to unnerve him he tore his gaze away.

Before long, Jillian bore down on him.

He sidestepped a server with a tray of champagne flutes and strode to the sanctuary of the house, to the refrigerator for a cold beer, hoping she wouldn’t follow.

* * *

Caitrina stood amongst the rose-colored foxgloves, alone in the shadows near the garden’s rear gate. She smiled when Finn evaded Jillian’s clumsy attempt to attract his attention. As he disappeared into the house, Caitrina turned away to gaze at the silvery haze surrounding the full moon. The time neared, and she’d work to do.

She would set the match into action before the High Queen of the Fae learned the game had begun. Caitrina could almost taste victory. This round and one more—she’d earn her freedom and be returned to the royal realm.

She inhaled a deep breath and uncurled her fists.

From her peripheral vision, she glimpsed Douglas MacKinnon watching her. Didn’t he understand he no longer aroused her curiosity?

She pressed her palm against her chest. She must have ingested a stimulant with an unusual property capable of causing a faerie heart to beat too fast.

Douglas raised a dark eyebrow in question.

What a meddlesome man. Caitrina glanced heavenward, wishing he’d go away.

When she looked in his direction again, he gave her one of his devastating smiles, saluted, and walked off.

Oh, how she wanted to turn him into a horny toad. But she couldn’t waste time thinking about the beguiling man. She’d a challenge to win.

Taking note of the other guests, she made sure no one noticed as she shimmered, faded, dissolved into a fragrant fae mist.

Available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Apple.

 

What are your plans for the Summer Solstice?

Enjoy!

~Dawn Marie

Supernatural Birds from Dawn Marie Hamilton

After singing its heart out, a wren joins the cardinals, titmice, and chickadees at the feeders. Juncos (also known as snowbirds) swoop in from the mountains and mingle with sparrows and doves foraging within the garden beds. Herons wade in the creek.

Birds–symbols of power and freedom–have often been featured in the mythology and folklore of many countries. From prominent figures in creation stories to messengers of the deities to mediators between humans and the supernatural world, birds represent, strength, love, and wisdom.

Perhaps that is why so many of us enjoy watching birds. Birds have uncanny smarts. If you’re lucky, you can observe supernatural bird behaviors in your backyard.

Many birds build elaborate nests without ever getting lessons. They just know how to do it through instinct.

hummer

Some birds are born knowing how to navigate by instinct. Hummingbirds hatch during the summer in North America then fly solo a thousand miles or more to their wintering habitat in the tropics, without the guidance of a parent or a flock. In the spring, a hummingbird may return to the place where it began its journey, using its amazing memory. Perhaps you might see one in your backyard hovering around the spot where your sugar feeder previously hung, even though you haven’t put the feeder out as of yet. I’ve seen this occur in my backyard. When I do, I rush to get the cleaned feeder hung. I want to keep the hummers coming to my backyard.

raven2

 

 

Members of the crow family–jays, ravens, magpies, etc.–have incredible memories. They excel at hiding things and then finding them.

 

 

green heron

 

 

Green herons dine on small fish. They’ve been seen dropping pieces of bread or other bait to lure fish to the surface. Amazing. Right?

 

 

 

I enjoy writing birds into my romance stories…

From Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, Book 2 in the Highland Gardens series:

She marched across the ridge, her hair blowing in the wind. A loud, rapid kek kek kek kek kek sounded before the whish of wings and the large bird landed on her outstretched arm.

“Trystan, you’ve returned to our mountain. I’m glad to see you, my friend.”

The peregrine falcon murmured close to Caitrina’s ear.

“Ah, you want to feel the sun on your face again. Aye, I imagine the northern tundra was verra cold.”

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

 

~Dawn Marie

16 Days Until Halloween – Fae Creatures

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.

Fae Creatures

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 Gaelicin 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.

~Dawn Marie

Journey through Time… with Dawn Marie Hamilton

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.

Just Beyond the Garden GateI’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?Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

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 SSea Pantherea 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.

~Dawn Marie

Me and My Imagination by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Sea Panther e-cover 200 by 300How 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.

Just Beyond the Garden GateWith 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!

So, what has your imagination inspired?

~Dawn Marie