Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Jean Grant - A Hundred Kisses Spotlight and Guest Post
Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.
Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.
Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…
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She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…
Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.
Muffled words yelled at her.
Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.
“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”
His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”
She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.
She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.
When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger.
She spun around. She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.
His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.
When not writing, I am reading…
I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading books over the past few years. That sounds odd coming from a writer, but life got “lifey” during my children’s toddling years and when I did have free time, I had found myself writing (or sleeping!), and not picking up a book after a long day of crushed cheerios, meltdowns, or toys caught in the garbage disposal. However, the old adage goes (and most authors recommend), “read as much as you write.” With a cramped family and work schedule, I found this task daunting and reading became another “to-do” instead of a pleasure. A few years ago, when I was hopelessly taking forever to read The Fiery Cross (5th book in the Outlander series), a good friend shared with me a little secret: audiobooks. What the what? No, these are not movies nor do they cheapen the story. They are real books read to you by professional actors. And they are a diamond in the rough for those with busy schedules.
Picking up a book for me at the library or bookstore, in addition to the Elephant and Piggy or Dr. Seuss books for my children, seemed a foreign concept. So I took the plunge. Libraries are free and most have inter-library-loan programs available. This means you can get virtually any book you want, in any format! They are a treasure trove for book lovers! For those car rides to work, audiobooks have become my BFF. Long road trips? You betcha. I even grabbed the second Harry Potter book for a 9-hour road trip with my children. Score!
Exercising? These days I listen to writing podcasts, but in the past, you guessed it, audiobooks kept me on the treadmill. Admittedly, I was skeptical about audiobooks. I love to feel a book in my hand and enter the characters’ worlds on the pages while reclined on my corner chair. But, you know what? With a few exceptions, audiobooks have been amazing!
So what’s on my car passenger seat right now? Ape House (S. Gruen). Some highlights from the past year, courtesy of audiobooks: Leaving Time (J. Picoult), The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman), Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret (L. Moriarty), World War Z (M. Brooks), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (S. Larrson), At Water’s Edge (Sara Gruen), Wild (C. Strayed), Winter Garden (K. Hannah), and books 5-8 as well as a few novellas in the Outlander Series (D. Gabaldon). I’m an eclectic reader, eager to read books in a range of genres. Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is on route courtesy of interlibrary loan as I write this.
Of course audiobooks are not the only way to read. I still like a book in my hand. I just read The Shack for a book club, Swing Time is waiting to be opened again, and I recently read Stephen King’s 11.22.63. No matter how we read, a book is a great experience, and for authors, it improves our craft as we lose ourselves in the protagonist’s journey…even if it just happens to be a lyrical Scottish narrator who pervades our mind with sweet nothings on our drive to work.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Jean, I'm sure a lot of readers can relate to what you say, especially about reading a book being such a great experience. I too am a Stephen King fan - and I found The Shack a very moving story. Congratulations again on your Release Day, wishing you many sales and much success in the future, can't wait to read 'A Hundred Kisses'!
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