Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Welcome Susan B. James, author of Maybe This Time

Carly's View welcomes Susan B. James. She is the author of MAYBE THIS TIME, a time-travel romance that is the companion book to TIME AND FOREVER.

Susan writes second chance romances with a touch of magic as Susan B. James and children’s books as Susan J. Berger. She writes older heroines because she is chronologically gifted and enjoys creating characters who remember that change is only on the outside. Inside our older shells is a much younger psyche. In her debut romance, Time and Forever, two women in their sixties inadvertently travel back to London in 1969. Time and Forever was a 2015 Golden Quill finalist for Best First Book and a 2015 RONE finalist for Best Time Travel Book. Maybe This Time, the companion book, came out July 12, 2017.

Susan’s other career is acting. Last year, among other things, she killed Kathy Bates on American Horror Story. This she, among other things, she got stabbed by a pen on Future Man and played the victim on Major Crimes. Karma? Who knows what’s next. The joy is in the journey.


Their Happy Ever After is over before it begins unless they can change time. London 2001 Popular stage actress Jennifer Knight just turned forty-nine and she’s fine with her life, thank you very much. Or she was until her beloved niece accidentally time travels them both to 1988 bringing her face to face with her first husband. 

Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance. Jen’s traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues. When Lance follows Jen into the future, time tangles. According to the computer they both died.

Their hope of a future together is over unless her genius brother can help them change time.


Jen ran to the living room to retrieve the papers Mrs. Flannery was talking about. No way was she going to hang around waiting for He Who Must Not Be Named. The last person she ever wanted to see again was . . .
“Hello, Guinevere.”
Jen froze at the sound of that well-loved, well-hated, husky voice. “It’s Jen. And don’t you forget it.” The words sounded far away in her head. “You didn’t knock.”
“I have a key. I’m helping Jeremy with a project he’s working on. He left me some papers. You’re supposed to be swanning it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New York. I wouldn’t have stopped by otherwise.”
Jen swayed. Her brain was on overload. Strong hands caught her and turned her around.
“What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
Jen looked into the face of the man she’d adored since she was nine, and actively avoided for the last twenty years. Lance looked almost the same as the day they’d parted. A few more lines framed his hazel eyes, now sea-dark with concern. His brown hair showed no trace of gray. It was still too long, with the same stupid lock falling over his forehead. She automatically reached to brush it back. Stopped herself. Her throat was so dry. Where was a cough drop when you needed one? “You’ve aged well.” Jen’s knees buckled.
Lance kicked out a chair and sat, pulling her into his lap. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it.”
His warm, strong hands sent shock waves shivering through her body. She shook her head mutely.
Lance’s voice sharpened. “Is it Jeremy? Kathryn? Has something happened to them?”
“Uncle Lance!” Kathryn stopped in the living room archway, eyes child-solemn. “Why are you hugging Aunty Jen?”
Jen slipped out of Lance’s arms and landed on the floor. Could this get any worse?
“Aunty Jen says you are a stupid head with a big brain and no feelings.”
Jen rose with all the dignity she could muster. “You shouldn’t repeat things grownups say, Kitty-Kat. It’s not polite.” She reached for the packet Mrs. Flannery left behind, willing her hands not to tremble. “Here are the papers, you came for. Nice to see you. Goodbye.”
Lance glanced from Kathryn to Jen. “Where’s Jeremy? I know he and Kitty-Kat went to Sussex. Why is she back without him, and what are you doing here?”
“We couldn’t get home, Uncle Lance. So we came here.” Kathryn scuffed her foot, now shod in a plastic Jelly shoe, against the wood floor. “I thought Jen would like the machine, but I don’t like being young again. My brain is too small. I want to go home.”
Lance’s hand tightened on the papers he held. “Kathryn,” he said carefully. “How old are you?”
“I’m nineteen and I want to go home.”
Lance catapulted out of the chair. “It worked. By all that’s good and beautiful, it worked. I didn’t think he could do it.”
“You knew? You knew what he was working on?”
Lance’s grin changed to the expressionless mask she used to hate so much. “Of course, I knew. I divorced you. Not your brother. I was helping him with the theory. He probably would have told you about it, had you been interested in anyone but yourself and your career.”
Jen resisted the urge to punch him. One of them reverting to childhood was enough. Too bad. Her boxing trainer said she had a fantastic right hook. She kept her tone smooth and even. “I
don’t know when we are, but I turned forty-nine yesterday, Lancelot, and you don’t know half as much about me as you think you do. I am very interested in my niece, and she’s standing there listening to every word we say.”
Lance turned to Kathryn. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Your aunty and I won’t fight anymore.” He crooked his little finger at Jen the way they used to do when they were children. “Pax?”
Resisting the temptation to break it, Jen hooked her little finger in his. “Pax,”
Kathryn curved her little finger around theirs. “Pax. Now can we get ice cream?”
Lance drove them to Holby’s 1950’s Diner. Kitty-Kat had declared it her favorite place after Jeremy had taken her to see Back to the Future. They ordered Kathryn a hot fudge sundae and sent her off to play Holby’s vast selection of Arcade games.
Lance wrapped his hands around the mug of coffee he’d ordered. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Jen wished she didn’t know Lance so well. He was obviously torn between despising her and the attraction which sparked between them every time they were together. Until the last time.
“Kat said she had a birthday present for me and she took me to Jeremy’s lab, which, by the way, Jeremy never invited me to even though I asked what he was working on. I was quite prepared to show an intelligent interest.”
Lance’s expression said it all.
“Look, I know I’m not a genius, but I’m not stupid. I would have tried if either of you could have ever gotten past your incredibly superior attitudes.”
Lance ignored her perfectly justifiable complaint. “Tell me what happened.”
Deep breaths. That was the key. No use losing her temper. She reached for her inner Zen and held onto it during her factual recounting, right up to the moment she and Kat stepped through the door.
“The street was full of people dressed as though they were going to a costume party. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Men wearing mullets. Possibly the worst haircut ever invented. I turned to make a joke about it to Kat, and child Kathryn was standing next to me.” Jen fought to keep her voice from shaking. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know what year it is right now, and I have absolutely no idea how to fix this.”
“Calm down.” Lance put his hand over hers and for once he didn’t sound superior. “It’s going to be okay.”
“I don’t see how.” Jen sniffled.
He handed her a handkerchief. “Tell me about the cards. What happened to them?”
“Kathryn’s body shrank, but her clothes didn’t. She pulled up her jeans to look through the pockets, and the card blew into the street under a bus. I tried to get it, but it must have stuck to the bus’s tire.”
Lance’s voice sharpened. “You said there were two cards? What happened to the second one?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she left it in the door when we came through.”
“Here you go, love.” The server wearing a soda jerk’s paper cap set Kathryn’s sundae in front of Jen. Jen automatically dipped her spoon into the fudge sauce.
Lance’s lips curved into a wry smile. “Some things are immutable. I see you love chocolate as much as ever, Guinevere.” He turned to the server. “Bring us another sundae, please.”
“Stop calling me that.” Jen could feel her face growing warm. He shouldn’t have smiled at her. It did funny things to her insides. “Did we really travel back to the 1980s?”
“1988. Thursday, the thirty-first of March, to be precise.”
“By all means. Let us be precise.” Stop looking at him. Concentrate on the chocolate. “April Fool’s Day would have been more appropriate. I wish this were a joke.”
“This year April first is also Good Friday. That’s why Jeremy and Kathryn are in Sussex with your parents. You are in New York.”
Jen shuddered. “This is worse than those horror films you used to drag me to. 1988 of all times. Why would she bring me here?”
“I have no idea. The better question is why would you come?”
“I didn’t know what she was doing!”
People at the next table turned to look at them.
Jen modulated her voice. “She took me into a closet. I thought I was humoring her.”
Kathryn rejoined them when the waiter brought the second sundae. “You were yelling. I could hear you.”
“Your aunt was telling me about your adventure. Can you tell me what you remember?”
“No. My brain feels wrong. Fuzzy.” Kathryn spooned up ice cream with one hand, tapped her head rhythmically with the other.
“Sweetheart,” Lance said. “Do you remember programming where you wanted to go?”
“Yes. Dad showed me how it worked. He took me five years into the future. It was wicked fun being older. I met someone. That’s where I wanted to take Jen. To meet Daniel.” Kathryn hiccoughed back a sob. “The time machine never went backward before. I don’t know what I did wrong.”
“Tell me about the cards.”
“You program where you want to go and the machine gives you cards.”
“What did you do with the second card?”
Kathryn sat up straight. “There were two cards. I remember.” Her forehead wrinkled. “Maybe I dropped one in the little room.”
Jen set her spoon down. “Why don’t we call your father? He can fix it.”
Kathryn’s eyes lit up. “Yes. I want to see my dad.”
Lance took out his wallet and handed Kathryn two one-pound coins. “Go back to the game room and see if you can beat my score at Double Dragon.”
“That means you want to talk without me hearing.” Kathryn spooned up the last of her sundae and slid out of the booth. “Don’t fight. Please.”
Lance watched her go. He took a deep breath, exhaled, and turned back to Jen.
Jen recoiled. “You’ve got that ‘I am a calm space in a moment of disaster’ look in your eyes.”
“Jen, Jeremy will invent the machine, but as of today, it hasn’t been invented. I will . . . we will call Jeremy, but I’m not sure what he can do.”
Jen took a deep breath of her own and held it for a count of ten. She really, really wanted to punch something. “You’re one of the big brain computer men. Can’t you fix it?”
She could feel Lance’s tension. He was waiting for the explosion.
“Do you want a drink?” he asked warily.
“Yes. I would also like a pack of cigarettes and possibly, some weed. But I don’t do those anymore.”
Lance stared at her.
She shrugged. “I wouldn’t say no to a Xanax.”
“How long?”
“Have I been sober? Since the twentieth of May, 1980.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Why? He’d divorced her because he’d assumed she’d deliberately aborted their child. She’d never forgiven him for believing that. She didn’t owe him the truth. “The twelve steps say to make amends where possible.” The old familiar wound sliced her open. “I couldn’t bring the baby back, so what was the point?”
He winced.
She saw the reflection of her pain in his eyes.
“I never ask Jeremy about you. I didn’t know. I see your name in the papers when you’re doing a play.” His smile cracked. “So how is sober life?”
“Hard, at first. But worth it. You, of course, never succumbed to any temptation.”
“Yes. Yes, I did. I married you.”

Author: Susan B, James
Category: Contemporary Time Travel
ISBN: ISBN 978-1-68291-407-6
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073DJ2RK4


Writing: www.susanbjames.blogspot.com (for adult books and authors and giveaways) www.thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com (children’s books) 
Twitter: @susanjberger
Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/SusanJames/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bergersusanjames/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7791397.Susan_B_James https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3027649.Susan_J_Berger
Acting www.SusanBergerActor.com

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Stress, Laughter, and a Touch of Weird

I didn't have anybody scheduled for the blog for August 5th and my plan was to feature myself. As you can see, I'm a few days late 😉.  I've spent that time trying to figure out what I wanted to say. I wrestled with making a top 10 list, imparting writing wisdom, sharing a special memory...I even considered sharing my sugar free apple pie recipe.

Things have been hectic in my life. I have a teenage daughter...I know...enough said. School starts back next week so we are preparing for that. I am in the process of moving to a different department at work, I'm writing three books at the same time, I have responsibilities at Church, I have social engagements, and I'm training for my first 5K. Now individually, that may not seem too bad of a schedule, but when you put them all together, and you factor in the everyday chores of cleaning, laundry, and groceries, it makes your head want to explode. When I get to this point, it's best for everyone if I go off by myself somewhere for awhile. I mentioned earlier that I am training for my first 5K. Most people walk/run at a school track, a park, or around their neighborhood. Not me, I go to the cemetery. A lot of you just cringed at the thought. Admit it. The cemetery in my town is peaceful. It has paved streets. The grass is cut on a regular basis. The fire house is right in front of it. I feel safe there. Probably 85% of the people buried there are family members or family friends. The firemen are within yelling distance if an emergency arises. I enjoy having the time to myself. I have my IPod with me and just relax to some of my favorite songs. As I start to calm down, my mind will often drift. Sometimes, I come up with great story lines. Other times, I'll think of my dad who is buried there. There are times, though when I just end up either laughing like a lunatic or picking up the pace because there are some really strange things that happen in the cemetery and trust me, if anything weird can happen, it will happen to me.

That brings me to the list. The top ten strange, crazy, scary, weird things that have happened while training in the cemetery.

1.     The Crows. There are three crows that are there most of the time when I am. I'm telling you, these little buggers are following me. As I go around the paths, they fly from tombstone to tombstone. They squawk at each other, probably plotting my demise. Sometimes they are sitting at the gates when I drive through and then the fun begins.

2.     The Bird that Never Moves. On one of the paths, there was this brown bird that was perched on a shepherds hook. From the distance, it looked real. I couldn't figure out why that crazy bird never moved so I ventured off the path to investigate. It was metal and a part of the the shepherds hook. Guess that explains a few things.

3.     The Voices from Beyond. There is a grave of a family friend that I pass before going down a slight hill to circle around the back part of the cemetery. The other night a storm was brewing. There was lightning in the distance and thunder. It hadn't started raining yet and I was determined to get in at least a mile. Well, every time I got close to the grave, I would hear muffled voices. I was looking around, but nobody was there. After a couple of times around, I figured out the voices were of the firemen on their patio at the firehouse. I couldn't see them, but it sits on the other side of the hill.

4.     Singing. Now this isn't unusual. I sing along with my IPod all the time while there, but this was singing that wasn't me. As I got closer, there was a family in lawnchairs sitting around a tombstone. There were balloons, cake, and the singing of the Happy Birthday song. They were having a birthday party I suppose for the dearly departed.

5.     The Face on the Tombstone. There is one grave, well several actually, that have faces of the deceased carved on them. This one in particular is about twenty years old. The face is fading in places and when the sun hits it just right, it becomes a little bit creepy looking. It's sad as I knew the person when they lived, but sometimes I walk a little faster past that particular tombstone.

6.     My Dad and my Uncle.  As I said, I am related or friends to a good portion of the people buried in the cemetery. My dad and my uncle are both there. There is nothing creepy or funny about this. Instead it's peace and comfort. When I stop to take a break, it's usually in the section where they are buried. I think back of my uncle teaching me to make a proper fist for punching. (Never tuck your thumb inside your fist or you will break it.) I also think of my dad. He was a loving, caring, cantankerous, funny, man. I think back on our life together and smile. The memories make me happy.

7.     The Small Buildings. You know those small buildings? Crypts? Am I the only person who imagines somebody just opening the door and walking out? As a result, I am rarely there after the sun sets.

8.     Was that a Vampire? As most of you know, I write some paranormal romance. I get some great story ideas, but let a twig snap when you're by yourself and you're immediately looking around for the cause and thinking one of your characters is coming to life.

9.     The Lone Harley. One day, I came up on a Harley sitting on the path. There was nobody around, at least that I could see. I was almost upon the guy when I realized he was lying down next to a grave and talking to the tombstone.

10.    Who's There?  There have been a couple of times now, where I have gotten tired or discouraged while training. I start thinking why bother? You'll never do this, etc... It was bloody hot on one day in particular. Temps in the 90's that felt like the 100's. I was ready to quit before I had even started. It was a weekend and one of my long days where I try for distance, not time. As I'm going down the path with the sun in my eyes and baking me to a crisp, I suddenly got goose flesh, my hair stood up on my neck, and I was freezing from a blast of wind. I know that sounds like a cliche', but Dude, I assure you it happened. Talk about freaking out completely. It's the middle of a sunny afternoon! That particular day was my friends birthday. He died two years ago and had encouraged me to try for the 5K. I had been thinking of him all day. I don't know what that blast of cold was, but it encouraged me to go on. I ended up with the best distance and time for that week as a result.

Until the next time, have a great week!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Author Interview with L.S. Young

Today Carly's View welcomes writer L.S. Young, author of A WOMAN SO BOLD from Soul Mate Publishing. L.S. has been obsessed with love stories and all things historical since she first read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables at age eight. Her debut novel, A Woman so Bold, was released by Soulmate Publishing. Her novel Montana Burning placed second in the historical romance category of the Chesapeake Romance Writers 2016 Rudy Contest. Her books feature realistic characters, complex female relationships, against-all-odds love stories, and witches.

Young grew up in the rural countryside of North Florida, and now lives in Central Florida with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys gardening, spying on Sandhill cranes, wandering through antique shops, and adding to her ever-increasing mug and book collection. 

She graduated from Southeastern University cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society.

           ·    What made you decide to become a writer? 
I can remember being interested in writing as early as 3rd grade. I wrote some terrible and mostly plagiarized stories back then. I think reading Little Women and loving Jo March encouraged me in that direction too. I didn’t start writing steadily until around 10th grade, and I churned out a ton of inspirational historical romance for my friends to read back then! I wish my brain still worked that quickly. So it has been a dream of mine for a long time. 

·         Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I love Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery. I don’t think that even needs an explanation. In fantasy, you can’t beat Naomi Novik or Catherynne Valente for creativity and beautiful writing. I love Rosamunde Pilcher’s cozy British romances. And on a totally different note, I love Stephen King. He’s terrifying but his characters are fascinating. I am still working on reading all of his books.

·         If you could be any character in any book, who would it be and why?
I always wanted to be Jane Eyre. Not the terrible childhood, but living at Thornfield appeals to me. Or Daenerys Targaryen. Who doesn’t want beautiful clothes and dragons?

·         Do you have any hobbies you would like to share?
Lately I’ve been into macramé and yarn on plastic canvas. I also love to bake. So far this year I’ve experimented with pies, scones, and homemade bread.

·         Tell me about your first kiss? Was it magical or not so magical?
It was so far from magical that I considered inventing a better one. I guess I’ll go with the truth. It happened in a Walmart parking lot at midnight in the freezing cold. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Fiction is much more romantic.

·         Do you have another career besides writing? If so, what is it?
Not really. I worked in childcare and then taught English for a few years and now I’m a stay at home mom.

·         What’s an item on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet?
I love the ocean and I’ve always wanted to get a scuba diving certification, but the thought of all that deep water (and sharks!) scares me off a bit, and lately I’ve been considering taking up stand-up paddle boarding instead. At least paddle boards float!

·         Tell us the best vacation you have ever been on.
My family used to spend two weeks in North Carolina every summer and it was always great, but there is one year that stands out in my mind. There was no particular reason, except that it was a very poignant time in my life. I was still in college, I had a new camera, I read a lot and went for a lot of walks at twilight with fireflies all around, and there were horses pastured near the house where we were staying. Everything had such a beautiful quality to it. I feel like it was the last summer before I really grew up.
·         Where do you find the inspiration for your books?
From other historical fiction and romance, history, and everyday life. My first novel was inspired by my love of North Florida where I grew up, my second novel (a western romance) was inspired by watching When Calls the Heart and a dream I had. My current work in progress was inspired by my love of fantasy and Nordic folklore, and the sight of an old stone birdbath filled with water in the moonlight. In the beginning of the story, the heroine and her sister are scrying in an old stone basin.

·         Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?
I’m currently at work on a possible sequel to my second novel Montana Burning, and I am researching for a NA historical fantasy romance set in 17th century Iceland. 

Want to know more about A WOMAN SO BOLD? Read on for a short blurb and excerpt:

Love. Betrayal. Redemption. Landra Andrews once dreamt of a life far from sweltering, sandy Florida, where she works on her father’s farm and cares for her stepmother’s many children. She thinks she has found love and freedom at last in the gentle and forgiving William Cavendish, a man who seems her peer in every way, but when a dark secret and a past lover intertwine to threaten their relationship, will their love, and her life, be ruined forever?

The next two dances were waltzes. I sat the first out, fanning myself and drinking a glass of punch Ida had abandoned in order to dance with Arnold, the Baptist minister’s handsome son. She hung on his arm, gazing at him, as he walked her back to the bench we’d been sharing. 
A moment later, Mr. Cavendish was at my elbow. “I believe I’ve engaged you for the next waltz,” he said.
I gasped, inspecting my dance card. “Oh, dear! It seems you have. I always seem to forget these things.”
He smiled, holding out his hand. “No matter. Shall we?”
I felt Ida pushing me. “Go! It’s beginning!” she hissed.
A moment later, I was dancing with him again. The waltz was far more intimate than the quadrille. A woman was face to face with her partner, looking into his eyes, clasped in his arms. For the first time in some years, I felt the exhilaration of mutual attraction blended with physical contact. It was a heady sensation, and I basked in it.
Then I fainted.
One moment, I was whirling around in blissful oblivion, and the next I was hot all over, watching the room fade into darkness. I came to on the balcony. Someone was slapping my wrists and cheeks, and Mr. Cavendish was fanning me. I tried to sit up.
“Stay put!” admonished Letty Hamilton in her nasal tones. She was the one slapping me. “I fainted an hour ago, and believe me, you’ll feel better if you lie still in the cool air.”
I closed my eyes and obeyed her. It was rather nice to lie there in the dark with the breeze blowing my hair away from my sweaty neck, if I didn’t dwell on the fact that I’d fainted in front of a man I found appealing. Eventually, Mr. Cavendish brought me a glass of water, and Letty found the decency to give me some air and move to the other side of the balcony with the gentleman she’d been speaking to when I was brought out.
“I’m afraid I’ve humiliated myself,” I said.
“Nonsense. You’re not the first woman to faint tonight. Nor the first to faint in my arms.”
“How debonair.”
He smiled. “I’m afraid my charm has nothing to do with it. Women compress their lungs with whalebone and prance around a crowded room all night in heavy silks, then wonder why they drop like flies.”
“However did I get out here?”
“I carried you, of course.”

Buy Link for A WOMAN SO BOLD:

·         Amazon

Follow L.S. Young on Social Media:

·         Website: http://lsauthor.wixsite.com/lsyoung
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lsyoungauthor/
·         Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lsyoungauthor/
·         Twitter: @LSYoungAuthor
·         Instagram: @l.s.young_writes

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Book Feature of HIGHLAND FAITH by: Madelyn Hill

Carly's View welcomes writer Madelyn Hill to the blog today. Madelyn is a multi-published author who writes Highlander historical fiction. I will be reviewing Madelyn's latest release, HIGHLAND FAITH in the near future, but for today, I will give you a glimpse in the book.

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier! 

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children, a puppy named Cannoli and keep busy cooking, watching their children's sporting events, and of course reading!


Lady Faith wished for adventure. Be careful what you wish for . . .

Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.


’Twas her sister’s fault.
Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.
She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.
Hunting was the only option.
The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.
And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.
A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.
She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.
Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.
She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.
Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?” a man said.

 Sounds rather interesting doesn't it? You can learn more about Madelyn and her books by following her on social media!