Maybe it’s because I grew up in a peaceful seaside suburb of Los Angeles, leading a fairly routine life. I was a moderately typical kid (if you count wearing only purple during the 5th grade and bringing my stuffed unicorn to school), with parents that weren’t spies or movie stars. I did a lot of daydreaming. I watched a lot of cable television and music videos on the new MTV. Perhaps it was a result of my own life being so ordinary, but the films I loved the most were adventure stories.
They usually involved a far-away location, a world-weary hero, a sassy (often clueless) heroine, a quest, lots of action, a touch of the paranormal and a whole lot of fun. Sure, Joan Wilder (the heroine of Romancing the Stone) was muddy, scared and uncomfortable through the first half of the film, but by the second half of the movie, she was having a great time. And why shouldn’t she? Her life as a writer in New York had been quiet, uneventful. Now she’s running through the Colombian jungle with sexy Jack T. Colton at her side, outwitting the villains and rescuing her sister.
I’m not a person who takes a lot of unnecessary risks. I don’t seek out danger. Never been bungee jumping, never tried my hand at paragliding. Heck, I don’t even own a bicycle because biking in Los Angeles traffic scares the bejeesus out of me. But that’s exactly why adventure stories are so compelling to me. In the safe confines of adventure stories, I can be daring, brave and even a little bit crazy.
My Blades of the Rose series is non-stop adventure romance, pure wish fulfillment. The locations are exotic: Mongolia, Greece, the Canadian Rockies. The heroes are sexy and tough. The heroines are, I think, an improvement over many of the heroines in classic adventure stories. They don’t shriek, faint or whine. In fact, my heroines are just as capable as the heroes. There’s action, danger, a sprinkling of magic, truly villainous villains, and some extremely hot love scenes (which were oddly missing in many of those great adventure films).
The series kicks off this month with Warrior, and continues every month through December. That’s right—in the tradition of classic serial adventures, there’s a new Blades of the Rose novel each month, featuring different couples having their own breathless, romantic adventure. Scoundrel comes out October 5, Rebel is released November 2, and the whole series wraps up on December 7 with Stranger.
I can’t wait to share the adventure with you!
What are some of your favorite adventure stories? Leave a comment, and I’ll randomly pick a winner to win an autographed copy of Warrior.
Richard Fitz-Eustace's return from Palestine is far from joyous. Damned by leprosy, he must bid his family a final and sorrowful farewell and leave his estates at Halton Castle forever. Condemned to shun the company of others, he must now find a place of solitude where he can seek forgiveness for sins committed in the Holy Land for which he is certain he has earned God’s curse. Resolved to live out his life as a hermit, he journeys north into the newly named county of Lancashire. But this is no arbitrary journey; there is one last obligation to be undertaken for his grandmother—he must seek out her kinsman, Sir Robert de Lacy, at Cliderhou Castle and there press his consideration of her claim to his estate. While at Halton, Richard’s headstrong 14-year-old sister Johanna is distraught. Her other brother, ruthless and ambitious Roger, has returned to take his place as head of the family. He and Johanna’s mother have contrived a marriage for her to a wealthy old landowner, and without Richard’s protection there seems little she can do about it—unless of course she can escape and find him.
(Terra's Thoughts) This is such a precious story that it will touch your soul. With a very strong God influence showing devotion and what prayer and strong faith can do to give you great hope.
Richard FitzEustace was in the Holy Land fighting with his King for a just cause. A little indiscretion with a woman whom should be considered in all respects as a party of the enemy leaves Richard a leper and the King sends him home to suffer with his affliction.
Richard for all cause is considered dead by the church and is to be shunned by all. Only God will be his companion now and a strong sense of faith, devotion, and consistent prayer can absolve his sins before he is called to his maker.
Richard's grandmother asks a boon of her grandson for she is not afraid of what he has and he sets off to the de Lacy lands in search of a one last wish that he will be able to try and fulfill before his end. He finds upon the de Lacy lands people of more courage and kindness that he could ever hope for. A place to live and devote himself to the Glory of God allows him to do what he can to fulfill his grandmother's wish bringing along a string of events that will hopefully lead to his absolution of sins and God's forgiveness.
This was a tender story but strong of faith, devotion and love. A sense of what is right and what could be consider evil plays strongly. A story that is set in a time when loyalty and honor is key to living the ultimate life would make you hope that forgiveness would be granted in the end.
This is a story for most ages as it is clean of sex and descriptions of the harsh realities of war. Even the description of leprosy is not described in length. The main emphasis is on family, honor, devotion and a strong belief in the good of God in all His brilliance.
The Morlands' rise to power, as tenuous as it was unexpected, now faces its greatest threat. Elizabeth I is on the throne and Protestantism is sweeping the land, threatening the position of the Catholic Morlands and forcing them to seek new spheres of influence. John, the heir, rides north to the untamed Borderlands to wed the daughter of a Northumberland cattle lord. But he finds he must first prove himself and win her heart through blood and battle. John's gentle sister Lettice is given in marriage to a ruthless Scottish baron, and in the treacherous court of Mary, Queen of Scots, she learns the fierce lessons of survival. Through birth and death, love and hatred, triumph and heartbreak, the Morlands fight to hold on to their place among England's aristocracy.
(Terra's Thoughts) The Princeling by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is as good as it's predecessor "Dark Rose" and takes off right from a few years down the line. I found this one to be a bit more rushed in the telling of the story of the different generations of Morland's but it is just as emotional and will grab you in it's vice like talons and not let go for even the most delectable of treats.
The storyline still center's around Aunt Nan, young Paul Morland and his wife Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary of Scotland along with so many others. This time we don't just get to see court life but life in the country as well as life on the Borderlands that are rift with dangers coming from all sides. Life is so complicated no matter what your station.
If any of you are like me, envisioning the difference between the older generation and the younger ones along with the abrupt changes both political and religious will most certainly pull at your heart strings. Evolution can do a number on the best of us and not always for the positive.
The Morland family went through so much change in the Dark Rose and will go through even more struggles here in the Princeling. I love the pace the author has set and her portrayal of sights, sounds, textures and emotions will leave you very much satisfied with the outcome of the book. We all know that nothing lasts forever and that change is a daily visitor that we might not welcome, but we are forever prevented from interfering in the fabric of life as God sees it. I'm sure Queen Mary of Scotland could attest to this fact with the utmost of reliability.
I can tell you that you will love the history of the story and you will giggle like a child, blush like a young maiden and weep without control until your tears are spent. This is a brilliant storyteller and I look forward to more of her work.
In her second novel, Ware ( Island of the Swans ) again proves she can intertwine fact and fiction to create an entertaining and harmonious whole. Sophie McGann wants to earn her fortune as a playwright, but London's theater world in the mid-18th century is not a propitious place for women writers. First among those thwarting Sophie's ambitions is Peter Lindsay-Hoyt, a duplicitous and dissolute gentleman who hopes, by becoming her husband, to steal the credit and profits her writing brings. Further, she must either accommodate or evade Edward Capell, the eccentric censor of plays, who tends to dislike those by women. Sophie acquires a mentor in David Garrick, actor and manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, but her career is as tumultuous as her personal life: although married to Peter, Sophie loves actor Hunter Robertson, a romantic hero whose shortcomings are as realistically and winningly drawn as his charms. Ware tantalizingly tosses obstacles in the path of true love until the very end, while also offering a fascinating portrayal of London's theatrical milieu, with characters such as Capell, Garrick and Frances Sheridan--mother of Richard Brinsley and a playwright herself--convincingly drawn from history.
(Terra's Thoughts) Wicked Company by Ciji Ware is one of those books you're either going to like or not like. The writing is wonderfully done with consistent action thoughout the book but I just found the storyline to be a little too depressing for me.
Sophie McGann is a young beauty working under her father as his apprentice in their bookshop. Lovely auburn locks and small stature make her look much younger than what she is and it's difficult for some to take her seriously because of this. On top of this Sophie is much to trusting and has a fiery Scots temper that would most certainly put mine to shame. Her temper gets her into predicaments that could very well cost her her life but lucky for her she has a Guardian Angel that seems to show up at just the right time to save her cute little behind. Unfortunately, most of us know that reality and religious and political censure can creep up on you and bite you in the ass when least expected.
Hunter Robertson is a startlingly vision of a man let alone a Highlander. Raised through poverty has taught Hunter to use his wits and all his God given talents to try and help his family survive. With Sophie's help Hunter is able to progress to the theater and shows much promise to take him into a realm that will make him comfortable for the rest of his days. Even though he is a rake of the highest stature, it doesn't make him any less susceptible to a certain little auburn haired Scot that will take his heart, break his heart and give him a run for the money in between.
The author does a wonderful job at keeping a nice pace to the story and gives us a realistic look at what Great Britain might have been during the 1100's. Instead of giving us a look at the aristocrat riches and wonderful life, she has taken us to the back streets and alleys of harshness, desperation, betrayal, injustice, love, talent and a sadness for the deaths that consume our characters throughout.
Thanks so much to the lovely Terra for having me back to celebrate the launch of my very first Nocturne, Renegade Angel! I wouldn’t want to kick off this new chapter in my writing career anywhere but here. I don’t think anyone can talk with more authority about my tale of a dark-winged ex-demon on the lam falling for the half-demon he’s supposed to exterminate better than the hero and heroine themselves. So without further adieu, here’s Raum, Destroyer of Dignities and Robber of Kings, and the lovely Ember Riddick.
Raum:Why are you giggling, woman? This is serious. She wrote a book about us. The least we can do is get through an interview.
Ember:Oh, I know…it’s just that title of yours.
Raum:*frowns* What of it? I earned it. And actually, I was thinking I need to add to it.
Ember:Like what? Ravisher of Unsuspecting, Vulnerable, and Incredibly Gorgeous Redheads?
Raum:*wicked grin* You forgot “willing.” I was thinking of something more along the lines of Vanquisher of Worthless Demons Who Take Up Valuable Space, but I think I like your idea better. Though it may take more effort to earn it quite as completely as I want to.
Ember:*fanning self and blushing* Um. We can…certainly…yeah, moving on before I grow fangs and start gnawing furniture. You’re starting to sound like Gadreel, you know.
Kendra:Ember, since you brought him up, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Raum and his friends. Like Gadreel. He features pretty prominently in the book.
Raum:Gadreel is not a friend. He’s more like a chronic disease for which there is no cure. I’ve learned to live with him. Against my better judgment.
Ember:*sighing* Gadreel’s not so bad once you get to know him. Well, I mean, he is in a way, but he manages to make his out of control libido almost endearing.
Raum:Speak for yourself.
Ember:Anyway, The deal is that Raum and five other immortal fallen angels were marked for death by Hell’s Infernal Council. Levi…that’s Leviathan, who’s sort of strange and quiet and ridiculously good looking when he’s not being an enormous deadly sea serpent…yeah, I know, don’t ask…took the information he gleaned as one of Lucifer’s favorite beasts and used it to recruit these marked Fallen before the Council could get to them. He’d found them some amazing freelance work on earth. Good pay, no being thrown to their deaths in a burning river. Good stuff. Except the catch was that they’d have to report to their old bosses from way back, the white wings, aka angels. You know, I still don’t get why Levi saved all of you…
Raum:The serpent has secrets. He doesn’t tell them to me. Only the angels know his motivations, and I’m not asking. *grumbling* Damned nosy, control-freak white wings…
Ember:But anyway, that’s how Raum and I met. His job was to exterminate all the extra human/demon halfbreeds, which are usually psychotic, and who were giving the angels such trouble trying to keep the Balance of dark and light in the world. He got more than he bargained for when he walked into Lotions and Potions that day. That’s my custom scent shop. Though…I had sort of an unexpected reaction to him too.
Raum:Yeah, you might want to mention that. I was minding my own business…
Ember:Uh, you were looking for me. Because you figured you were going to need to exterminate me!
Raum:Not right that second. Anyway, what Ember’s trying to say is that once Gadreel and I walked into her shop, I knew Ember was different than all the other half-demons I’d dealt with. For one thing, she didn’t know what she was. And for another, she was just…different.
Ember:*grinning* You thought I was hot.
Raum:It was pretty clear the feeling was mutual.
Ember:Well. Yes. And that’s about as much as we can tell everyone without giving away all the juicy stuff. I’ll just say I saw places and creatures I never dreamed I’d see. And finding out about myself…why I am different than the others…
Raum:You’re going to give it away. Come on, I want to work on my new title.
And, um, there they go, I guess. Really, really quickly. This is what I get for creating really attractive, really libidinous charactersJ Anyway, hope you all enjoyed meeting Raum and Ember! To read the cover blurb and an excerpt, click here (http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=22195 ) to head over to eHarlequin.com. And now for the fun stuff…I have a signed copy of Renegade Angel to give away to one lucky commenter! I’ll choose one commenter at random, so be sure to say hi!Terra will announce the winner tomorrow afternoon.
Thanks so much to Terra, and to everyone else for stopping by! You can visit me on the web at www.kendraleighcastle.com, where I’ll keep you updated on my next Nocturne (a werewolf tale, woohoo!) and my upcoming vampire series from Grand Central, beginning next summer. I hope that everyone who decides to pick up Renegade Angel enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Big bad boys with big black wings…what could be better? Happy reading!