Thursday, March 28, 2013


I am open for guest posts again.
My first guest will be Marva Dasef on May 11th.
Check my guest calendar page for your date and to see who is appearing and when.
If you want a date, please touch base with me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The winners from the post on The Witches of Galdorheim Trilogy have been selected and notified. The lucky few are:

Meradeth - GRAND PRIZE: Paperback Witches
Tabitha Shay - Ebook of her choice
Julie Lynn Hayes - Ebook of her choice

Congratulations and my thanks to you beautiful ladies for leaving comments on the release of the omnibus, humongous, huge, many-paged Witches of Galdorheim combined edition.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Three Books for the Price of Two

I've revised the prices for The Witches of Galdorheim trilogy now available in a single volume on Amazon.

Katrina the teen witch with her half-vampire brother, Rune, brave crossing the arctic sea, being attacked by  a polar bear, fighting giants, dodging magic attacks by an evil shaman, and that's just in book 1 of this trilogy. Complete in a single volume, follow Kat's adventures from the arctic circle to the Otherworld in Scotland.

446 pages of Kat Witch Goodness for ONLY $16.95 at Amazon.

Bad Spelling, Midnight Oil, and Scotch Broom are $7.00 each at Amazon. Bought individually, the three books cost $21.00

Let's do the math:
Three Books = $21.00
Single Volume = $14.00
SAVINGS         $7.00! That's one whole book free!

Leave a Suitably Congratulatory Comment to Win All Three Ebooks in PDF format. 
I might even give away a print copy to one brilliant commenter (gifted via Amazon).

Savings on the UK and European Amazon sites are as close as I can get in £ and € currency.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

VERNA CLAY, an amazing western writer

 Please Welcome Verna Clay today. 
I met Verna through a western site and was surprised to find she is a prolific writer of old west stories and romance with many books to her credit. 
I've asked her to appear on my blog today and she kindly agreed.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised, also. Please read on.
My interview with Verna

Lorrie, thank you for inviting me to your blog site; I love connecting with readers!

 When and why did you begin writing?

 I have always had an interest in writing, but other than creating stories for my high school English class, I didn't become serious about it until my late twenties. At that time, I tried my hand at song lyrics, poetry, and children's stories. I even won an honorable mention in a song lyric competition.

 However, because my children were small and I worked full time, as well as attended night school, I didn't have the energy or time to continue writing. It wasn't until I had an empty nest that I gave it another try.

 For a long time, I had toyed with an idea for a sci-fi fantasy before finally putting words to paper. I was diligent about writing every day…for about a week. After that, it was a struggle. Then, I made a pact with myself to write something daily, even if it was just one sentence. After a few months, lo and behold, I had a novella. I submitted the story to several publishers, got rejects, but one day opened an email with an acceptance. Needless to say, I was stoked. It took about a year before the ebook was published, but in the interim, I completed another story that was accepted by the same publisher, and two more accepted by another publisher.

 After those books were published, I began researching self-publishing and decided it was something I wanted to try. Now, twelve books later, I'm so happy I did.

 Do you have specific writing habits? What genre(s) do you write, and why?

 Most definitely. I write a minimum of a thousand words a day (four pages), seven days a week. If I'm aiming for a 60,000 words, I spend about two months writing and another month editing and refining. Of course, for my novellas, the timeframe is less. I can sometimes complete a novella in two months.

 My first stories were in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. After that, I tried contemporary westerns, which I loved, and created a series called Romance on the Ranch. Next, I dived into historic westerns, and loved that equally as well. After completing the Unconventional Series, I decided to start another historical western series (Finding Home), but with the added aspect of in-depth research. The first book, Cry of the West: Hallie, incorporated research on the Oregon Trail and also research on steam ships. And I must say it was challenging, but great fun. I am currently writing the second book which I have entitled Rescue on the Rio: Lilah. The Rio Grande River and surrounding area is now my research project.

 How do you decide the titles for your book(s)?

 Titles usually just pop into my head and I build a story around the title.

 Are there messages in your novel(s) that you want readers to grasp?

 I try to add a life lesson in all my stories. For example, Candy Kisses, the fourth book in the Romance on the Ranch Series, deals with bullies, and also the old adage: Don't judge a book by its cover. Other books have dealt with grief and loss, forgiveness, judgment, etc. Of course, the main component of all my stories is romance.

 Are experiences in your books based on people you know, or events in your own life?

 My characters are a blending of observations of many people. The same goes for events. I'm always observing and fusing what I see into my stories. However, the names of some of my characters often reflect the names of family or friends. It amuses my family and friends to unexpectedly find their names used in a story.

 If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

 I think Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a brilliant writer. She has mastered the romance genre and captivates you with her stories.

 What book(s) are you reading now?

 I have been reading a series called Vampire for Hire by self-published author J.R. Rain. The books are not my typical reading, but the synopsis was so intriguing I had to try them. Totally entertaining! I have also just downloaded Bev Pettersen's latest novel, Horses and Heroin. She writes great mystery/romance.

What are your current projects?

 Currently, I am writing the second book in the Finding Home Series which is Lilah: Rescue on the Rio.

 Quirky Questions:

 Favorite coffee or tea frou-frou drink.

 I love coffee drinks. Doesn't matter what they are--hot, cold, blended. Of course, along with the drink, I enjoy the atmosphere of kicking back at the coffee shop.

 Have you ever seen a UFO? Explain.

 Yes! Years ago, my husband and I were traveling through Arizona and saw some illuminated objects shaped like pencils descending through the clouds. Objects with mass would have sped downward rapidly because of gravity, but these things moved super slow. Finally, we couldn't see them anymore because of the cloud cover. It was really cool.
Ha, ha, ha, that was fun, Verna. I have to say you really put your nose to the grindstone writing all these books. What discipline you have. Can you lend me some?
Let's see the cover on the book you'd like to tell us about today.

In CRY OF THE WEST, recently widowed Hallie Wells is facing a difficult situation. The sudden demise of her husband after selling their farm and just about everything they owned to travel west on the Oregon Trail, has left her stranded with an eight year old son. Dare she ask Cooper Jerome, recently returned from the War of the States, if he would put his life on hold for, say, five months to drive her wagon; and that doesn't include his return trip. At this point, she's out of options.


"Mr. Jerome, would you be interested in driving my wagon to Oregon? I would pay you well."

Cooper blinked, forcing himself to look away from the pleading in her eyes. "Uh, well, ma'am..." He glanced back. She looked like she was about to cry. "Uh, ma'am, now that would take me away from my place through planting season and harvest, and longer." He dreaded her expression if he flat out refused.

"I would pay you whatever you would make during harvest and more." She blinked and brushed at a tear that kept welling up in one eye. "Mr. Jerome, I'm desperate. I have no home. I have no husband. I have no family to turn to. I have a young son to care for. And I have very little time to prepare before departure. The wagon train leaves the end of April. Believe me, if I were capable of driving the oxen myself, I would do so. But, as you can see, I am neither large, nor strong. I fear I would kill myself and my child. Besides, I doubt the train master would even allow me near the team after he saw me crack a whip." She gave a pathetic smile at her attempt at a joke.

Cooper forced his eyes away from hers and glanced down the street at the big SALOON sign. He wanted that drink. Stalling for time, he removed his Stetson, slapped it against his thigh, replaced it, scratched his neck, and finally met her gaze again. "Give me some time to think about it."
Oh my, this looks like a goody. Give us a buy site for this one.
Wherecan we find more of your books, Verna?


Verna's website

Readers, I peeked at Verna's Amazon page. She has many out that I'm sure you will enjoy. Take a gander at these.
Verna’s amazon page.
I don't impress easily, Verna, but I am impressed with all the books you have out.

And thank you again for being on my blog today. I wish you much success with your books. Keep them coming.

Readers, we love comments. Please leave yours for Verna, my brand new friend who I hope will come back soon for another visit.





Thursday, March 21, 2013


Hi, Melissa. Welcome to the Flower and Thorns blog today.

It's so great to have you here.

You want to write about our "guilty pleasures." Girl, I'm right with you with the guilty pleasures, and I bet many of the readers and authors enjoy the same ones.

Romance novels seem to be most people’s guilty pleasure. I used to disdain them until I got hooked on them. Then I started writing them. Granted, a romance novel would probably never be construed as the great American novel, but they definitely have their place. They can be sweeping, stirring, historical, fantasy-fulfilling and fun.

I do not like to write the same story twice. No sequels or series for me. With some authors, you know pretty much exactly what you’re going to get when you pick up their new book. Not true for me (at least, I hope not!). I don’t consciously work to vary my style with each book, but it just seems to work out that each book, each set of characters, demands a slightly different style, and I celebrate that. For that reason, my five romance novels are all very different from each other.

My first romance (and my first book) is The Rare Breed, a historical (western) romance. It was published as Love’s Savage Destiny by Dorchester Publishing in New York in 1984 and underwent several subsequent printings. When they had had their runs with it and allowed the rights to revert back to me, I hunted around for a way to publish it myself just to keep it in print and found iUniverse. These days there are more direct ways of self-publishing, but at the time, this was one of the few options. I did some minor revisions and used my original title, having never been very fond of the “Love’s Savage Whatever” titles.


I like to think of my books as a thinking person’s romances. Although I have varying degrees of titillation in my books, the most important aspect of the story is the growth and evolution of the protagonist. In The Rare Breed, Catherine Lance is a beautiful young half-breed, raised in the white world, who leaves wealthy civilization behind to search the Kansas plains for her Cheyenne father.  In this time of Western expansion and Indian wars, being a half-breed is dangerous; she is susceptible to denigration at the least, physical harm or even death at the worst. In order to carry out her quest, Catherine must be secretive and hide her true identity, all the while searching Leavenworth, Kansas, for information about her Cheyenne band. What jeopardizes that search is the amorous attention of two men, one a rough trapper, the other an educated lawyer. While trying to stay single-minded in her quest, Catherine finds herself getting sidetracked by the emotions evoked by the two men, at least until a sudden breakthrough gives her the access to her Cheyenne band that she had been seeking.

It’s here that the book switches gears as Catherine, known as Gray Feather, attempts to sink back into the Cheyenne home and tradition from which she was torn at an early age. Complicating this process is the presence of the man to whom she was once betrothednow marriedyet eager to welcome her into his lodge as his second wife. Catherine struggles not only with her place in the unusual relationship but with her place in the culture as a whole. Her early years as an Indian made her assimilation into the white word impossible; now her years in the white world make it difficult for her to fit into her original home, as well. Like all strong women, it’s only with some deep soul-searching that she finally discovers the path her life must take, and the one man who can share that path with her.


My second western romance, Superstition Gold, is decidedly different. Similar in process to the first, this book was originally published by Dorchester in 1987 under the title Love’s Savage Embrace. As before, once their interest waned, I republished the book with my original title. There the similarities end.


Superstition Gold is written with a lighter hand and, while serious, has more humorous overtones to it. The protagonist, Leigh Banning, is a young widow who travels to the wilds of Arizona to find the deceased father she never knew, a prospector who lived among the Apache Indians. To that end, she is thrown into the disturbing and fascinating company of an Army major and his Indian scout. As the trio penetrates deep into the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, Leigh finds herself out of her depth, both physically and emotionally, in the harsh land and with the two rugged men. Her snobbish overconfidence leaves her completely unprepared for the primitive way of life and it is only after several gaffes and confrontations with her protectors that she finally begins to understand the alien culture and the strong, western men.

 Just as she begins to sort out her battered emotions, false murder charges linked to the storied gold of the Lost Dutchman Mine put her on the run. While Major Ryan attempts to clear her name, she and the Indian scout Walking Bear are captured by Apache raiders led by Leigh’s rival for the major’s affections. It is only by working with the Apaches to safeguard the mine and fully understanding her own true nature that Leigh comes to honor her father and the new love she bears.

 About this time, I switched gears completely. My next romance was the antithesis of the earlier books, a screaming satire of all romance novels. The Pits of Passion by Amber Flame skewers every clichĂ© every written and takes all the most familiar elements of historical romance to the nth degree. It is bawdy, brazen, x-rated and completely over the top. If you’ve ever been embarrassed down to your toenails by Playboy or Penthouse magazine, do not buy this book! If you’ve ever been shocked by x-rated movies, do not buy this book! If you love Harlequin romance novels and their sacred, unchanging formulas, do not buy this book! But if you’re up for a slapstick, laugh-out-loud romp through the pirate and bodice-ripping world of romance, this might be for you. I actually never thought anyone would publish this, since it lampoons every aspect of a beloved genre, but New Concepts Publishing put it out as an e-book several years ago. Since then I have self-published it as a paperback. It’s a great change of pace, and like nothing else you’ve ever read. I promise you that. You can see a video book trailer for it here:

My next book, Remember Me, is again a completely different animal. This is a contemporary romance, more a deep character study than a sweeping action tale. When Elly Cole wakes up in a hospital with amnesia, she has no memory of how she was injured or of the huge, hateful man to whom she is married. During the painful process of stitching her life back together, she must battle not only terrifying nightmares, her husband’s certainty that she is a lying cheat and conflicting visions of her past, but her own doubts about her unborn child’s paternity and the future of her marriage. This is a subtle, delicate story of very human nature, of conflict and fear, doubt and conviction, strength of spirit and the power of love. It was published in 2004 by Draumr Publishing.


My most recent romance, Lightning Strikes, is different yet again. This is another contemporary story yet almost diametrically opposed to Remember Me. In this slim volume, Jessie Evans is a freelance journalist doing a story on the Hopi Indians of Northern Arizona. When she encounters the half-Hopi architect Lucas Shay, sparks fly immediately, and not the good kind. Taking an instant dislike to each other, they can still not escape the fact that they are intensely attracted to each other, and soon their conflicted emotions start a fire neither can control. While their sexual attraction is too powerful and honest to be denied, their emotional coupling is fraught with doubts, misconceptions and suspicion. Both have to find their way through the labyrinth of their pride and fear to realize and grab hold of their complete and committed love. I self-published this book in 2009.

 I suppose the point of all this is that romance, as a genre, is not a set or narrow field. It can be pretty much whatever the reader and writer want it to be. It can be hopeful, painful, inspiring, maddening, funny, heartbreaking, satiric and moving. The overarching commonality is simply the basic human need to connect and create relationships, to give and receive love in its most honest and satisfying form. And how following that thread to real love very often leads us to our own best, true selves.

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic writer who turns her hand to any kind of story that moves her: contemporary, western, fantasy, romance, action/adventure, spiritual. She thrives in the Sonoran desert of Southern Arizona with her husband and an Airedale terrier. She is also a certified hypnotherapist. For more information about these books and Melissa Bowersock, go to or see her blog at

Wow, that's quite a collection, Melissa. Everyone of them look like great reads for our "guilty pleasures."  I'm sure going to indulge in mine with these books.

We love comments. Won't you please leave yours for Melissa?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How do I choose a book to read

 Meet Darla Boyle, a friend, a soon to be novelist, and an avid reader.

Since Darla does a huge amount of reading, and I'm not kidding,

I asked her to tell us how she chooses what books she reads. Here is what she writes. 

How do I pick and choose what books to read when there are millions of them out there?

It’s not easy. Especially with new writers getting published every day. As a reader, I sort of have a system since I’ve bought some books on a whim or were referred to me that I particularly didn’t care for. I love mystery, romance, supernatural, suspense, thrillers, horror…need I say more??? See why my credit card winces every time I log onto Amazon.  And since I’m a book addict, this can get expensive, especially with my Kindle. One click and it’s mine. Easy peasy. That is until I get the bill. *sighs* Some months, it is not a pretty sight.  

So…here’s my system…

1. I look for authors I’ve read before, whether they’re famous or not. If I like their style of writing, then I’m buying and I will refer you to other readers. Now for new authors, I…

2. Look at the cover and title. I read an array of genres so if the cover catches my eye or even the title, I’ll pick it up. Now, I do read some erotica and I bet you can imagine the images on those covers. Yes, I spend many, many hours perusing that isle…if you know what I mean. Lol

3. Next, I read the blurb on the back cover. After all, I intend on reading the book so I’d better find out what it’s about. If the back cover can’t keep my interest, then the book goes back on the shelf.

4. I read the first page, not the last, that’s cheating! I read that first sentence and if that’s a hook, then I’m sold. If not, then I often read the first page. Now with erotica, I tend to flip through pages and read because a lot of erotica out there is just a sex book with no plot. No offense to any author out there. I love reading sex scenes but I need some meat to the story-no pun intended. Haha. If I hit page after page of just sex, then it goes back on the shelf.

5. I also take a notepad with me when I go to my local bookstore, heck, even to the grocery store. I’ll write down anything that strikes my fancy and when I get home, I check Amazon for reviews. Now when I look at reviews, I usually read the 2-4 star comments because those seem to be the most accurate.

So there’s my system for picking out books. Hope you enjoyed reading.

Darla lives near Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband Gary and their two cats that rule the roost. She is working on her first novel and will be submitting it soon.

And take it from me readers, it will be accepted, and Darla will soon be joining our ranks. It's a goodie.

Please say hi to Darla, leave a comment. We adore comments.


Sunday, March 10, 2013



Welcome Vivian Brentanos. It's so nice to have you here today.

How about giving us a little teaser of you book.

Rebecca Harding is intelligent, witty and sometimes downright annoying. She is also damaged. To the outside world, she presents an image of a young woman in control, confident and cynical but no one knows her torment. In her nightmare, she is alone.

But then, Max Jackson enters her life when it is teetering on the brink. Despite a rocky start to their relationship, he becomes her salvation.

Max is the only person who knows the truth. He understands her fears and wants to protect her fragile heart. In Rebecca, he recognizes a kindred spirit. He would give anything to take away her pain but he comes to realize Rebecca has read more into his concern. He would rather die than hurt her but life throws him a curve ball, leaving him no choice but to walk away.
Nice cover. How about an excerpt to whet our appetite.
Rebecca seethed in silence while her mind raced, her imagination revving into top gear as she plotted the demise of Mr. Jackson. She couldn’t believe the intensity of the man. No one talked to her that way; not even her father.

“I don’t think he likes you much,” Emma whispered in her ear.

“You don’t say.” From beneath a strategically arranged curtain of hair, Rebecca studied him. He leaned against his desk, hands resting behind his head, droning on in that horrendous antipodean drawl, oblivious to the effect he seemed to be having on her female classmates. Or was he? Rebecca rubbed at her nose and snorted. She betted not. Weren’t all Aussie men male chauvinist pigs?

Julie the class philanthropist’s ‘Is he fit or what?’ roused her from her silent discourse. She was just about to lash Julie with an acid reality check when Emma’s sigh of concurrence stopped her dead.

“Yer… what a hunk!”

Emma’s disloyalty stunned her. Oh, but revenge was sweet.

“Would you like to contribute to this so far pitiful discussion on the finer points of iambic pentameter Miss…?”

Despite herself, Rebecca was impressed. This guy beamed around the room as fast as a time traveler.

“Emma, sir. Emma Brown.” Emma dissolved into a mound of half-set jelly.

“Get a grip, Em. You are so—”

“Miss Harding, either you have a death wish, or you have the mental capacity of a two-year-old.”

Beneath his freezer glare, Rebecca squirmed.

For the rest of the lesson, she remained silent, wishing the bell would ring and end the torture. Her headache pounded against the front of her skull, as subtle as a heavy metal drum beat. From behind her copy of Shakespeare’s finest, she contemplated how best to punish her new adversary. Why was he her adversary? It didn’t make sense. Mid-life crisis? No. He looked too young for that. Maybe… The shrill trill of the bell interrupted her deliberations. Thank goodness. It had been a crap beginning to the new term, and she just wanted to run home and jump into bed with half a ton of Aspirin.

“Don’t forget,” Mr. Jackson called as the class filed out. “I want that essay completed by tomorrow. Not so fast, Miss Harding. I want to speak to you.”

Rebecca sighed. Was there no end to her torment?

“Lucky bitch. You get to be by yourself with him.” Easing by, Emma pinched her arm.

Alone in the ominously quiet room, Rebecca tugged on the end of her plait. She was not a coward by a long shot, but he made her feel vulnerable. Most men did.

“Close the door.” His tone was low and clipped. Scary.

She obliged, the thought crossing her mind that maybe he was going to strike her. He seemed crazy enough. Facing him again, she braced herself for a verbal blitz, but instead, a stony wall of silence met her head-on. He sat, studying her while tapping on the edge of his desk with a pen. His piercing stare made her very uncomfortable. If this was psychological warfare, she was fast losing the battle. Oh well, time to eat humble pie. She cleared her throat. “Look if it’s about the other day, I really was in a hurry. Wally, you see…my dog…he’s a bugger, and when I said bloody colonials, I didn’t mean you. I mean, how could I? I didn’t even know you were a bloody col—Australian—but Mrs. Baird is, and that’s who—”

“Have you finished? I don’t recall asking you for a commentary.” He continued to flay her with too-clear contempt. “I know your type.”

He spoke so quietly she strained to hear him. More tactics no doubt. “Oh?” She aimed for nonchalance. “I didn’t realize I was a type.”

“Miss Harding. You’re very much mistaken if you think I am going to be intimidated by you because I assure you I’m not.”

“All this because I was a few minutes late?” she burst out. “It’s simply ludicrous.”

“Ah, now there lies the problem, you see. To you, it doesn’t seem important, but to me, it’s extremely important. It’s all about punctuality, discipline, good manners, and you, young lady, are lacking in all three. Isn’t that so?”

“Am I supposed to answer that, Mr. Jackson?’ She walked a dangerously thin line, but she couldn’t help it. He dumbfounded her. How could he know what kind of person she was? He had no right to judge her.

“Why do you do this?” He changed tactics. “Is it a ploy for attention? Do you crave attention?”

She flinched, feeling the angry flush creep from her neck to her cheeks. “I didn’t realize you were a part-time psychologist.”

He didn’t reply, continuing to probe deep with all-too-seeing eyes.

“Can I go now?” She struggled to keep tears at bay. Her eyes stung, hot and gritty from too little sleep.

“Yes, you may go for now, but I want those lines on my desk tomorrow.”

“You cannot be serious. I’ve got your essay to write, not to mention—”

“Not my problem.” He stood and guided her to the door. “Besides, I’m sure a girl of your superior intelligence will breeze through it. Now out. I’ve wasted enough of my time on you as it is.”

She couldn’t wait to oblige.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release: December 14, 2012
Pages 286
Buy sites  Museitup
About the Author:
I was born in Reading UK in 1958. My father is English and my mother is French although there is a strong vein of Spanish on my maternal grandmother’s side. I was educated at various schools before completing Sixth Form College at St Peter's Huntingdon. I somehow managed to collect A levels in English, French and History and I subsequently won a place at Sheffield University where I decided to read Classical Civilization. Once there, however, I decided that I had had enough of the academic life; I found the student mentality rather false and having been brought up in student circles, rather boring. Much to my mother's horror, I gave up my studies and went to London to begin a course as a Canine Beautician. In 1984, my first husband and I parted ways amicably and I decided to visit the Ionian island of Corfu to celebrate my new freedom. It proved to be a life-changing decision. I still remember to this day, sitting in a cafĂ©-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. "I never want to leave here". I absolutely love the life-style here. I would recommend it to anyone. I remarried and have two children.
But I decided that there was more to me than being a mother and wife {although, I hasten to add, it is a worthy assignment.} I decided to finally get my head down and do what I'd always promised myself; I was going to write. I have been writing romance since my early teens, mostly for my own satisfaction and for my friends but now I really want to work at it. Writing has become my passion. I have always been a "Romantic", often accused of not living in the real world but who wants to do that? I like to call my work Romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to. I hope you all enjoy my world.

Authors Other Works

Written in Stone – MuseItHot Publishing
Cold, Cold Heart – MuseItHot Publishing
Fragile Dreams – Red Rose Publishing
Dreamweek – Red Rose Publishing
Past Undone – MuseItUp Publishing {coming 2012}

Vivian is recuperating from and illness and will be back to us soon, so show her a little love and friendship. Leave a comment.  We love comments.



Thursday, March 7, 2013


Welcome, Marie. It's so nice to have you on my blog today.
I read your post and got lost in the landscape you painted for us when Lucas and Harriet traveled to Tamanrasset. The culture of the people they met is fascinating. I imagine there are bits of more of the culture in the book. I can't wait to read it. Please tell us more.

One night under the stars with Lucas Saintclair

Thank you very much Lorrie for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about the release of my second historical romance ‘The Lion’s Embrace’. The story takes place mostly in North Africa, in Algeria to be exact, in 1845. Lucas Saintclair is hired as a guide by Harriet Montague to rescue her father, a British Museum archaeologist, who she believes was captured by a gang of Tuaregs in the far South of the country.

 Writing ‘The Lion’s Embrace’ was a fascinating process, not only because I got to fall in love with my hero (I know, it sounds corny but it’s true!), but also because I discovered the beautiful landscapes Lucas and Harriet travelled through on their way to Tamanrasset, and the culture of the people they encountered. One particular group of people are at the centre of the plot: the Tuaregs, also called ‘The People of the Veil’ or the ‘Blue Men of the Desert’ because of the indigo veil all men wear from around the age of fifteen.


I surrounded myself with photos of the Sahara, of oases and the magnificent Hoggar mountain range. I read Tuareg poems and stories, and listened to music so that I could get a real ‘feel’ for the place and the people since I couldn’t travel there myself.

 One song in particular caught my imagination and I played it over and over again as I wrote ‘The Lion’s Embrace’. It’s a modern song and I have no idea what they are singing about, but I find the melody poignant and haunting, especially the monochord violin, the imzad, which can be heard throughout.

 The imzad is a traditional Tuareg instrument only played by women. It is at the heart of the Tuareg culture and society because of its link to the Achak, the code of honour every Tuareg must live by. Those who stray from the path and who commit dishonourable acts are said to have lost the ability to ‘hear the imzad’ in their heart and are therefore cast out of their family and their tribe.

 Here is the link to the song:

 As they travel across the Sahara desert, Lucas Saintclair and Harriet Montague spend a few days with a Tuareg caravan. Every evening, they sit under the stars and listen to musicians playing the imzad and to stories and poems. The story-teller pulls out round pebbles out of his ‘bag of tales’, which is a skin pouch. Each pebble represents a different story and he tells the stories in the order the pebbles were withdrawn from the bag.


Here is the blurb from ‘The Lion’s Embrace’:

       Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him.
        As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive?

        Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.

         Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?

This is an excerpt from ‘The Lion’s Embrace’ when Lucas and Harriet are at the Tuareg camp. The tale is based on a real Tuareg story.

 The women played their instruments all along, drawing long, monochord sounds that at times sounded almost like laments and perfectly matched the mood of the audience, silent and attentive under the starry sky.

By the end of the evening, Harriet shivered with cold. Lucas wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He rubbed her arm with the palm of his hand to warm her up.

“The brave is reaching the end of his journey,” he translated, his voice low and a little hoarse. “After wandering in the desert for weeks, he finally finds his beloved’s camp, but it is deserted under the stars. There is only the cruel wind to answer his prayers, the cool moonlight to kiss his lips, and the vast, empty spaces full of solitude to chill his heart. So he lies on the sand and waits to die.” He paused. “And that’s love for you. Brings you nothing but pain.”

Despite the slightly mocking tone of his voice, the words made her dreamy.

“It’s beautiful, and so sad.” She found his hand, squeezed a little. “Love isn’t all pain, you know. It can be the most wonderful feeling in the world.”

She should know. 

‘The Lion’s Embrace’ is available from

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Thank you again Lorrie for welcoming me on your blog.
You're so very welcome, Marie. Lovely post.
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