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

Spotlight On: Braedric’s Bane by AJ Nuest

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13th MARKS THE RELEASE OF

Braedric’s Bane, Book IV in The Golden Key Chronicles!

Find out more about the final installment in this epic fantasy romance!
 
Advance praise for Braedric’s Bane:
 
5 STARS from Comet Babes Books! Amazing 4th book. What more can you ask from a fantasy series–time travelling, costumes and even a fight. Add the sexy hero and it has everything you could want in a book!
 
5 STARS from <a href="http://followtheyellowbookrd.blogspot.com/2014/02/braedrics-bane.html%22%3EFollow the Yellow Book Road! An epic fantasy, adventure and romance with a dash of comedy rolled into one fabulous book. I literally read it in one sitting.
 
To escape the clutches of the evil Wizard Gaelleod, Rowena and Caedmon flee to the future. With her memories in tact and the help of her dear friends, Rowena is confident they can uncover the clues behind her connection to the key.

Yet Violet’s dire prophecy does more than detail their history. Caedmon’s worst fears are confirmed. Though they must return to his realm, everything he loves stands to be ripped from his grasp.

Join Caedmon and Rowena as they embark on an epic battle to protect the Austiere Kingdom and fight to safeguard their love in Braedric’s Bane, Book IV of The Golden Key Chronicles.  

 
Available February 13th on AMAZON and AMAZONUK!

 

Praise for The Golden Key Chronicles:

57 FIVE STAR REVIEWS on Goodreads
42 FIVE STAR REVIEWS on Amazon US/UK
 
 
Like the best fairy tales, Rowena’s Key captures the imagination and the heart with a bonus undercurrent of spicy romance. 5 Stars on Amazon
 
AJ, why do you have to write the most wonderful heroes? Aaaahhhh!!! Now I’m hooked and begrudgingly wait for Book 2. I can’t believe this is happening! 5 Stars on Amazon
 
Crazy good! A total fan of the first book, the second did not disappoint at all. I swear I could smell leather while reading this book I was sooooo into it. 5 Stars on Amazon
 
I liked Rowena in Rowena’s Key. Candra’s Freedom just made me fall in love with her! Fierce and headstrong, she is everything a heroine should be. 5 Stars on Goodreads
 
I absolutely adored the first two in this series, with Rowena’s Key being one of my favorite romance reads of 2013, so I had high hopes (read: desperate cravings) for Caedmon’s Curse – it did not disappoint! 5 Stars on Goodreads
 
Honestly, if there were more than 5 stars, I would give them to Caedmon’s Curse and the whole Golden Key Chronicles. So well written, the story flows seamlessly from one danger to the next. The romance between Caedmon and Rowena is sexy, honest, and fresh. 5 Stars on Goodreads
 
AJ is a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a
cornfield in NW Indiana. Her loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy
of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day
and laundry service, tolerate her lunacy. While she spend most days happily
ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup
has been percolating. The dogs just informed her the cat is secretly vying for
dictatorship.
 
 
 

Spotlight On: JM Stewart & Her Knight in Black Leather

Today I’m turning my blog over to my good friend and fellow author JM Stewart. Her heartfelt contemporary romance, Her Knight in Black Leather is  today’s Kindle Daily Deal. What does that mean…?

Her Knight in Black Leather is today’s Kindle Daily Deal! That means for TODAY ONLY it’s only 99 cents on Amazon!

 ~*~*~*~ Blurb ~*~*~*~

Cover_Her Knight_489x750Cat Edwards has spent her life playing the wallflower in an effort to escape the repressive weight of her mother’s tarnished name. Dragged to a bar by her best friend in an effort to forget a broken heart, the shy bookworm is determined to be someone else for the night, but quickly gets in over her head. She discovers chivalry isn’t dead after all when a mysterious stranger comes to her rescue. He’s wearing black leather and a mischievous smile that promises to be exactly what she needs.

When his terminally ill father suffers a setback, Michael Brant returns to the town he swore ten years ago he’d never return to. He’s come back this time determined to make peace with the past, but being home brings up memories he doesn’t want to remember anymore. His first night in town, he’s captured by a damsel in distress. Cat’s beauty is made all the more alluring when he realizes she has no idea who he is. He can’t resist spending a single night in her arms. With her, he’s only a man, disconnected from his family’s name and the past that haunts him here.

As the town erupts with the news of his return, Michael’s dark past comes back to haunt him, putting Cat in danger. Someone is threatening her life and the life of her family. Desperate to keep history from repeating itself, Michael offers her his family’s name in order to keep her safe. When the lie spirals beyond their control, can they stop their hearts from becoming entangled as well?

Check out a bit more. Warning….this is sexy–in a good way :) 

“What did you need from me last night, Cat?” His hot breath teased her neck, the sensitive skin below her earlobe, and images invaded her mind. Of his mouth latching on there, leaving his mark. The possessive look in his eyes when he plunged inside her body, claimed her as his. How simultaneously wrong and right it felt to be claimed that way. They were strangers, yet deep down, she couldn’t deny she gave him a piece of herself last night.

“I wanted the fantasy. You were a little wild, a little dangerous. A Harley-riding bad boy in black leather with a wicked gleam in your eye who challenged anyone to try to judge you.”

A faint chuckle sounded behind her, so infectious one corner of her mouth curled in response.

“You were everything I wanted to be and exactly the type of man I never go for.”

“Is that why you took that ride with me? Spent the night with me? Because I’m different?”

She hesitated, her heart stalling in her chest, then shook her head. She spent the night with him because the façade intrigued her. The unexplainable pull between them and the uninhibited desire in his eyes sucked her in. The tenderness of his touch overwhelmed her. He overwhelmed her.

“No. I did it because I felt safe with you.” Safe to fulfill a fantasy without fear of it getting out of control, without fear she’d find out he really was every bit as dangerous as he appeared. And though she couldn’t explain how she knew, she’d bet every last cent she had that the only thing truly dangerous about Michael Brant were his discerning eyes.

“That’s exactly what I needed from you. The anonymity. You were the only person in this town who didn’t seem to know who I was, who hadn’t already formed an opinion of me. Over the years, I’ve convinced myself I didn’t care what people thought, but I came back expecting judgment. There are people here who aren’t fond of me. And with you, for one night, I was just a man. I had no name, no obligations, no expectations.”

He shifted closer, his body brushing her back, his heat seeping into her skin. I needed you.” His breath against her sensitive skin made her shiver. “I was just … me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know if you’d ever heard of me, what you thought of Michael Brant.”

His hands slid onto her arms, his touch light and hesitant, as if he couldn’t resist but wanted to give her room to object. When she didn’t — couldn’t — those hands skimmed along her forearms, over the backs of her wrists, awakening every nerve ending along the way and setting the tiny hairs to standing on end.

~*~*~*~ About the Author ~*~*~*~

 Me1JM writes sweet and heartwarming contemporary romance with a touch of passion. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the Great Rainy Northwest with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. She’s a hopeless romantic who believe everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.

99 cent buy link on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00AWWZVBE

Here are the other buy links, but keep in mind the 99 cent deal is only available on amazon.

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

All Romance ebooks

Crimson Romance

 

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…

Spotlight On: AJ Nuest and The Golden Key Chronicles

I’M THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE JANUARY 9TH
MARKS THE RELEASE OF BOOK III
IN THE GOLDEN KEY CHRONICLES…

 

CAEDMON’S CURSE

 


The two years Prince Caedmon suffered in the dungeons of Seviere’s keep left him with more than just lash marks lacing his back. He now retains the secret behind the key, and is the only one who understands it’s grim connection to his beloved Rowena. Torn between telling her the truth and risking their future, he agrees to join her perilous quest. But their enemies to the north are not the only menace determined to see them fail and, to prove his love, he must conquer the demons of his past.

Join Caedmon and Rowena as they rediscover a love bound by fate, and struggle to unravel the significance behind Caedmon’s Curse, Book III in The Golden Key Chronicles.  

The Golden Key Chronicles Release Schedule:
Rowena’s Key, November 7, 2013
Candra’s Freedom, December 12, 2013
Caedmon’s Curse, January 9, 2014
Braedric’s Bane, February 13, 2014

Find your copy at: Amazon / AmazonUK

 


~ * ~
Rowena sprang to her feet.
Someone was coming. And based upon the thundering hoof beats and thrashing
branches tearing through the forest behind her, whoever it was cared little for
masking their approach.
Dammit. All night and late into the next evening she’d ridden as if the devil himself had pursued her. She’d purposely stayed off the roads, traveling the old tracks instead, and even stopped several times to set false trails. Not until Helios approached the western horizon and she’d discovered this small clearing inside a copse of thick evergreens had she happily made camp. Her body ached with exhaustion, but her fatigue was a small price in return for the confidence that she’d finally put enough distance between her and the realm of Austiere. Surrounded on all sides by dense trees, the hidden location ensured the smoke from her fire would remain concealed. No one would be able to get close without providing plenty of warning.
The dull pummel of incoming hooves increased and she gritted her teeth, kicked some dirt over her small well-made fire and rushed for the nearest fir. A flick of her hand and Dart took wing, disappearing into the forest just above where she’d used a small wire wicket to tether Belial. Whoever was coming had better have their affairs in order. They were about to be on a first-name basis with the nine.
The bark prickled and dug into
her palms as she swung hands to feet up the branches, ascending to mid-tree
height before she crouched on a sturdy branch on the balls of her feet.
Exhibiting all the grace of an enraged bull, a hooded rider crashed into her camp. The horse’s dancing halt disrupted her bedroll, flinging dirt all over her plated dinner. Jerk. The intruder had to be male, what with this presumed sense of entitlement, thinking nothing of ruining her perfectly arranged camp, soiling her property. She eased two silver blades from the sides of her leather pants and fisted the slender handles in her grip.
Hello, stranger.
Care to dance?
In a fluid movement which contradicted his initial appearance, the rider leapt off his horse and knelt before her sputtering fire. The sides of his cloak billowed past his shoulders. Thick muscle pulled his leather pants taut around his thighs. And those arms…the black vambraces…the leather cords encircling his biceps.
She slumped. Well, for the sweet
love of Helios. Exactly how far did she have to travel to get away from the
man?
Prince Caedmon pinched a bit of
ash between his thumb and first two fingers, rubbed them together and lifted
them to his nose. Rowena squinted past the branches as he rounded the fire and approached
her saddlebags. He squatted to rifle the contents, his back facing her, his
hood hiding his profile from view. She scowled. Most likely, his intent was to
drag her kicking and screaming back to the castle. But she wasn’t about to sit
idly by while he got his grubby mitts all over her supplies.
She sheathed her blades and swung silently to the ground. Motions steady and even, carefully shifting her weight, she reclaimed her knives as she side-stepped twigs and piles of dusty leaves. For all her caution, her concerns were unwarranted. The bog ox was so preoccupied with searching her belongings, she could’ve easily stomped all over the place without distracting him.
A soundless bounce on the tips of
her boots and she pounced, knees straddling his wide back, crossed blades
pressed along the thin skin under his jaw. “I’m officially pissed off,” she
hissed in his ear. “And if you plan to see tomorrow, you’ll do exactly as I
say.”
The next instant she was flying
backward through the air. Her teeth clattered on impact and her blades
scattered as she landed on her rump in the dirt. She shook her head to regain
her bearings.
How in the hell had he dislodged
her so quickly? And which hurt worse? Her bruised ass or her pride? She quickly
scrambled to her feet.
Tendons flexed and every muscle in his arms bulged as Prince Caedmon tore the cloak off his shoulders and chucked the garment aside. A silver chime hummed through the air as he unsheathed his sword the fro the scabbard at his back and fisted the hilt in his hand. Anger smoldered in the depths of his chocolate-brown eyes, but if that fierce glare was meant to make her shriek and scamper into the woods, the man and his stubborn male pride had another think coming. 
She notched up her chin and met him scowl for scowl. Not for one second would she let him intimidate her. No constructs governed the ways of the forest. Out here, survival was the only decree, and if risking injury was the price for her freedom, she was happy to end this test of will come what may.  
“It’s time you learned a thing or
two, my love.”
Ha! Could he be any more condescending? On a
click and whirr, her wrist blades snapped home and she hugged her chest, widening
her legs into her warrior’s stance. “Too bad Denmar’s not here to save your
ass. It’s high time we settle our differences once and for all.”
~ * ~

 




AJ is a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a
cornfield in NW Indiana. Her loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy
of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day
and laundry service, tolerate her lunacy. While she spends most days happily
ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup
has been percolating. The dogs just informed her the cat is secretly vying for
dictatorship.

 


Website:  http://ajnuest.com

Email: 
Facebook Page:

Twitter:  @AJNuest