Spotlight on Nancy Jardine & Men in Uniform

I have a special guest today, my friend Nancy Jardine. She’s just released a new book and she’s here to tell us all about it. Nancy?

Hello. I’m delighted to visit today just after the launch of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks (25th March 2014), the 3rd book in my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures. I’ve been blogging about lots of different topics on my mini blog warrior wikilaunch tour but haven’t yet talked about something that seems to inspire a lot of interest and that’s ‘Men in Uniform’. Romance readers know the uniform can cover up a lot of sins but can also be a huge enhancement to an already hunky guy.

In my historical romantic adventures, set in Britannia of AD 71 -84, I have two main sorts of men. I’m writing about the strapping Celtic warriors and their opponents on the field – the Roman legionary and auxiliary soldiers.

What would my Celtic warrior uniform look like? Oh, now that’s very easy to describe since they didn’t have one! The Roman and Greek historians who left us some written evidence about the warriors of Celtic tribes – especially in mainland Europe – claim that going naked into battle was the preferred style. If you count the tattooing that was said to be common, some might just say the warriors were unclothed but well adorned. Ahem…

My Celtic warriors in the series live in what would be called modern day northern England and Scotland. I’m Scottish myself and know what our weather is like, so I truly can’t quite imagine the warriors presenting themselves for battle as naked as the day they were born- that image draws forth far too many cold bits and …goose bumps! What I imagine as being more common for the northern reaches of Britannia back in AD 71-84 would be partial dress. The normal clothing for Celtic males was a pair of loose trousers, braccae, which were simply held up at the waist with a rope belt and tied in tight at the calves with leather thongs which would have prevented ‘flapping’ of the cloth. The loose tunics they usually wore above- a simply joined rectangle of material- would maybe have been left off in battle. Trousers – yes; tunic– no; long sword- definitely and shield too!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:0885_Der_keltische_Krieger_mit_T%C3%A4towierungen_im_3.Jh._v._Chr.1.JPG

tribune croppedMy Roman tribune, on the other hand, would have worn uniform every day. The ceremonial aspects to the tribune’s uniform would perhaps have only been worn at specific times but it is a recorded fact that legionary and auxiliary soldiers always wore their uniform and had to be responsible for the upkeep of it. Loss of any parts, or damage to anything clothing, meant replacement by the individual soldier. If a Roman soldier had to buy a new piece of uniform or kit then it was deducted from their annual salary. It’s easy to see how daunting and hugely impressive a legion of soldiers (4000+) marching towards you must have been. Their shiny breastplates might have dazzled or deafened, and the rest of their gear would have looked awesome.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tribuno.jpg

Book 3 continues the tales of: Celtic warrior Brennus, who turns spy to gain information about Roman infiltration of the northern lands; and Ineda, a young Celtic woman who is taken as a slave by Gaius Livanus Valerius, a Roman tribune of the

XX Legion. Whether Ineda likes or hates, Gaius she is impressed by his appearance when he is in uniform. When she is forced to spend a long time at the garrison fortresses of Viroconium Cornoviorum and Deva, she learns very quickly to interpret the rank of the Roman soldiers by the uniform. It’s probably no surprise that she’d much rather be surrounded by half- naked Celts!

For CCNancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in an area that’s steeped in ancient standing stones, tombs, ruined castles and fantastic Scots Baronial architecture. A lover of all things Scottish, her homeland creeps into her writing as does her fascination with history- Celtic/ Roman Britain in particular- though keeping herself updated is a constant battle, since history is being rewritten almost every week as new archaeological discoveries are made. Writing time is shared with regular grandchild minding duties, tending her large garden, ancestry research and leisure reading. She is currently writing a family saga based mainly in Scotland, and Book 4 of her Celtic Fervour series. Topaz Eyes (Crooked Cat Publishing) an ancestral-based mystery, is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE Fiction 2014. After Whorl: Bran Reborn – Book 2 of her Celtic Fervour Series (Crooked Cat Publishing) has been accepted for THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2014

Blurb

Pursued by Rome.

AD73 Northern Britannia

AWDDC x1000 (1)After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.

Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.

Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?

Excerpt

Gaius was furious, the urge to lash out with his fists immense. A fight with Agricola would go a long way to improve his temper as he barged into his tented quarters.

“We are breaking off from the main legion.”

Ineda gaped at him, curiosity rising in her gaze as he stripped off his breastplate and let it slip with a noisy clank to the ground, not his usual practice since he was extremely careful of his armour. Shrugging and writhing his shoulders to free them from the weight of the metal he strutted around the small space inside the tent as he yanked off his tunic, the smell of his own sweat strong at his nostrils. The day had been long and difficult, his tension at odds the whole time. He balled the garment in his hands. Dropping it would be too easy, so instead he sent it sailing onto the leather door flap where it made contact with a resounding smack before slithering to the ground. He wanted to rant but knew that a poor choice since it would awaken Dubv whose small cot was behind a low partition at the side of the tent.

Ineda went to the small bed and tucked the blanket around Dubv. She did not even attempt to lift his discarded uniform and only looked a tiny bit wary as he strutted around the restricted interior. She knew well how to avoid confrontation with him; though he guessed she was probably itching to know what was angering him so much. She always wanted to know everything. Her eventual words were soft into the heavy silence, treading as warily as her eyes.

“Breaking off?”

“New orders.”

It was rare that Gaius felt so angry he could not speak. Agricola had often made changes to plans which had disappointed and annoyed him but they had never made him livid like those he had just received.

“You are returning to Eboracum?”

“No, Ineda. Not Eboracum. Agricola has decided that I need to remain at the old fortress near Easg when the column arrives there on the morrow.”

You can read about Nancy’s  first century Celts and Romans in her Celtic Fervour Series.

I know I’m intrigued. I can only imagine the research involved. Thanks for sharing your new book and your men in uniform with us, Nancy!

Nancy Jardine’s novels can be found in paperback and ebook formats from: Amazon UK author page Amazon US author page Crooked Cat Bookstore; Waterstones; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords; W. H. Smith; and other book retailers.

Nancy can be found at the following places: Blog, Website, Facebook, Goodreads, About Me, LinkedIn, Twitter @nansjar, & Google+ So get out there and check it out!

Fool For Love Contest

 

Amendment:

I’m uping the stakes! Leave a comment on this post and you will receive a copy of your choice of

Love Potion Me, Baby

Can’t Buy Me Love

All You Need Is Love

or Brodie’s Bride!

All you have to do is leave me your preference and tell me your favorite kind of hero.

Happy Reading!

FFR2014Promo

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of my romantic comedy Brodie’s Bride. Check out more about Brodie’s Bride click BRODIE.

Not sure what to comment? Finish this sentence: “My favorite type of romance hero is a …”

Be sure to check the main contest page for more chances to win.

http://crystalrainlove.blogspot.com/p/2014-fool-for-romance-contest.html

My Writing Process

I’m so glad my friend Joanne Stewart w/a JM Stewart suggest that I talk today about my writing process. Mainly because I haven’t blogged in for-ev-er. (Check out Joanne at http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com/ )

Being two people is not the easiest thing and it becomes difficult when I want to work on one project and have a different one due.  I have to balance my time between my two author names and all the people rattling around in my head.

So what am I working on right now? Amie Louellen is working diligently to get Southern Hospitality ready for publication. With any luck that should be ready to read sometime early fall. I’m also working on a full length title about second chances at love (working title: Welcome Home, Bethie McGee) and a hot story about cowboys (tentative title: Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy). If you’ve been to my Pinterest boards lately this will not be a surprise to you. Love me some cowboys!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Hmmmm…I like to think that I bring a certain amount of humor into a heartfelt story. These three projects are a little more…serious than my previous books. But not so  much so that you will feel I’ve switched genres. All the laughter is still there along with quirky characters and handsome, hunky alpha heroes.

Why do I write what I do? When asked why he writes horror, Stephen King says that he writes what he’s given. The same can be said for my contemporary stories. I write what Shirley tells me to. (If you haven’t met Shirley, she has her own tab on this site). She’s my muse, the whisper in my ear, the drive that takes a ‘what if’ to a complete story.
How does your writing process work? Well, if you can’t tell by now, I work on several projects at a time. (another thing I have in common with Mr. King.) And I write in layers. I may do two or three passes through a story before it’s ready to submit. I love the details and work hard to get every one of them in just the right place.
I hope you enjoyed this look into my writing day. Be sure to check out the other writers on the tour.
And my good friend Sarah Grimm: http://www.sarahgrimm.com/blog

Cover Reveal: Blame It On Texas

I got this lovely just before Christmas but with all of the holiday rush and shuffle I decided to wait until after the new year to post it. Yes, I’ve had to sit on my hands to keep from hitting ‘share’ but here it is…the cover to my novella scheduled to release from Samhain publishing June 10, 2014. More about the story to come later. For now, it’s all about the cover!

BlameItOnTexas-ART(1)So what do you think? I LOVE it! Ritt and Shelby are some of the youngest lovers I’ve ever written (though they are too old for New Adult). The cover is fresh and lively. Just like the book! But I’ve said too much already. More on that later…

Name That Hero

It’s time, it’s time, it’s time!!! It’s time to Name That Hero. Here at the top 3 entries.

Did I say 3 names…nah, surely that wasn’t what I said. I meant 5. And here they are…the 5 final names in my Name That Hero Giveaway: Ross, Cam, Ian, Tristan, and Dylan.

Can’t decide? Here’s the picture again to help inspire your decision. :)

A young caucasian man gives a serious look

Here’s a big thank you to everyone who submitted names for the contest. There were some awesome entries. (And some I will be setting aside for future projects).

And thanks for your vote. If you didn’t have a chance to enter a name and get registered for the drawing, you can still be part of the giveaway. Simply vote, then leave me a comment so I can get your name in the hat. :) I’m giving away a $25 gift card as well as some chocolate and fabulous swag. You don’t want to miss this!

Name Game–Update

Just wanted to keep everyone up to date concerning the new hero’s name contest Some of these came from Facebook and as great as the names themselves are, they don’t exactly go with McFarland. I may end up having to run a contest for  new last name next. LOL

Here’s the list so far:

Dillion/Dylan–not a bad name, but concerned about it with McFarland

A young caucasian man gives a serious lookJason/Jase–nixed, this is my  nephew’s name

Brandon

Brett–I already have a hero Brett

Liam–fabulous name but too Irish  for my Scottish surname

Colt–IMHO a little too cowboy for my multi-millionaire

Jackson–I already have a Jackson

Aiden

Adam

Zane–have a Zane already

Dimitri–not feeling it, but it’s a great name

Grayson–with Mcfarland? (makes face)

Paxton–See previous comment and facial expression

Alexander–not bad, but very vanilla these days.

Chad–uhum…no. Sorry, Mom!

Tyler–hmmmm

Trent –ex from college. that’s out

Tucker–I’ve used this in another book

Cam–LOVE it! (*not* short for Cameron)

Ross–another favorite

There have to be a couple of more great hero names out there…still searching…

Name That Hero

It’s time! Time to name the hero in All You Need Is Love. And to help you along with your entry, here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure.

A young caucasian man gives a serious lookHere are a few things to keep in mind: The hero’s last name is McFarland so the name will have to go with that. And of course it needs to be a strong name…he is a romance hero after all!

Now the contest goes like this: Submit your entry between now and July 1 by leaving a comment on this post. After the 1st, I’ll pick my favorite three and put those back out for everyone to vote on. Voting will end August 1 and the name with the most votes will be the winner.

Now everyone who participates will be put into a drawing for a reader’s survival pack including a $25 pre-paid Visa card, fabulous swag, and (of course) some chocolate!

So get your best hero name together and leave me a comment. Ross? Brandon? Gunner? Help me Name That Hero!

Toby Blackfox

Have you met Toby? He’s Luc Blackfox’s dog, an injured in the line of duty, retired K-9 canine.  He’s loving, loyal and a menace to houseplants, wallpaper and handcuff keys.  Here’s a glimpse at Toby.

German shepherd dog looking through hole in fence guarding house

After Kaylee’s apartment is broken into she refuses anyone’s help, including Luc’s. In a not-so-well thought out plan, he handcuffs them together to force her to the safety of his house. Once there, Luc will uncuff them and that will be that. Except he forgot to let Toby in on his plans.

Toby whined and laid down, propping his chin on the backs of his front paws. Kaylee had to admit—even though she was still a little afraid of him—that Toby seemed like a good dog inside. Way down deep inside. He just didn’t have the outlets that police wives had. He couldn’t knit odd looking sweaters or take useless dance classes. He could only stay at home and miss his master and friend.

With one last look at the forlorn canine, Kaylee allowed Luc to tug her along. Two steps into the room, she realized it was Luc’s bedroom. And the bed was the one he slept in. This was where he got dressed in the morning and undressed at night and—

“Dammit, Toby. Where are my jeans?”

“Do you have a date or something?” Kaylee asked. A pitiful attempt at flippancy.

Luc glared.

She couldn’t stand in Luc’s private domain, handcuffed to him and look him in the face. Instead she centered her gaze on the vee of bronze skin at the opening of his collar. The mere sight of flesh disturbed her as well.

“I left the key in my jeans pocket,” Luc explained. “And I left my jeans on that chair.” He pointed to a wooden rocker in the corner of the room. A handmade quilt lay folded neatly over the back, but no jeans remained.

From the doorway Kaylee could hear the thump of the dog’s tail on the carpeted floor. Then a bark. She tried not to flinch at the sound. At least it wasn’t a growl.

“Find them,” Luc instructed. “Right now. Or I’m never repapering the bathroom.”

Toby barked again. Silently Kaylee wished the dog the speed of Mercury. It was enough being with Luc in his bedroom, but it was too much to be there handcuffed to him, a breath away from him, her nostrils filled with his very essence.

The dog returned a few moments later dragging a worn and ripped pair of jeans behind him.

“Good boy.” Luc patted the dog on the head, then smiled. His lips froze as he turned the jeans over. They looked like they had been run through a meat grinder backwards. The pockets had been rendered non-existent. “The key must have fallen out,” Luc said, but it sounded as if he was trying to convince himself. “It’s got to be around here somewhere.”

After a thorough, twenty minute search of the upstairs, the key was no where to be found.

Luc turned to Kaylee, his expression sheepish. “I think my dog ate it.”

Kaylee took a deep breath, in a futile attempt to calm her temper. “Luc, this is not the third grade, and unlike your teacher I’m not going to accept that excuse.”

He smiled wryly. “She never did either.”

“Tell me you have a spare.” Kaylee prayed he did. She could not spend any longer handcuffed to Luc. Her resistance toward him was wearing thin.

“Kaylee, I have a spare.”

She let out a sigh of relief.

“But it’s at the station.”

“Let’s go get it.” She started toward the door, but he tugged on their bound wrists and pulled her back.“Would you stop doing that!”

He held up their hands for her to see. “Do you want to explain this to whoever is on duty?”

Kaylee sobered. She hadn’t thought about that. If they went into the police station handcuffed together, everyone on the police force—including her brother—would know about it before the next roll call.

Check out all of Toby (and Luc and Kaylee’s) mis-adventures in Ten Reason’s Not To Date A Cop!

Available now from Samhain Publishing

Blog of the Year Award

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg I was excited today to receive the Blog of the Year Award from my great friend Sarah Grimm. My friendship with Sarah is one of those great serendipitous moments in life–out of all the people who are online, out of all those who have published with The Wild Rose Press, she and I hit it off. We write two totally different  styles of romance. I told her once that she was The Godfather and I was The Whole Nine Yards. If you haven’t read any of Sarah’s work, stop whatever it is you’re doing and go get one of her books. I’ll wait.

And if you’ve never been to her blog, you should do that soon. Here…I’ll even help you out. Here’s her blog address: http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com/

This award is unlike other awards that you can only add to your blog once. This award can be updated with additional stars. For every time your blog is nominated, you get to add an additional star.

There are a total of “6” stars to collect. Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs—and even if they have already been given the award by someone else—you can still make your opinion count and pass it on to them again and help them (or me) reach the maximum of “6” stars.

The rules of the award are simple:

1. Select the blogs you think deserve the 2012 Blog of the Year Award.

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen—there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required and present them with this award.

3. Please include a link back to this page: Blog of the Year Award.http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-rewards/blog-of-the-year-award/and include these rules in your post. (Please don’t alter the rules or the badge!)

4. Let the blogs(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the rules with them.

5. You can now join our Facebook page – click the link here. ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award (http://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear/) and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

Here are the blogs I’ve chosen to receive this award:

I must give this award back to Sarah Grimm for all the aforementioned reasons. :)

Another writer I want to receive this award is Arial Burnz.  But “writer” is such a vapid term. Artist, author, editor and all around talented lady, Arial is one busy girl. Be sure to check out her blog. http://www.arialburnz.com/

AJ Nuest also deserves a nod. She is the  most supportive friend I have ever known. She is constantly encouraging others and helping them strive for more. Oh, and did I mention she writes a great book? Be sure to check her out here: http://ajbooks.blogspot.com/

And no blog list would be complete without adding the incomparable Vonnie Davis to the list. She’s funny, intelligent and has a fabulous author husband. What more could a woman want? Check out Vonnie at http://vintagevonnie.blogspot.com/

Lots of <3–Amie