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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Goodreads giveaway contest: BLOOD FEUD

She has only ever known war. Now she must make the ultimate sacrifice for peace. 

Enter for a chance to win one of two paperback copies of BLOOD FEUD (Book #1: The Warrior Brothers of Skye—a Scottish Historical Romance set in Dark Ages Isle of Skye! Just click on the banner below to enter.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blood Feud by Jayne Castel

Blood Feud

by Jayne Castel

Giveaway ends May 28, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

BLOOD FEUD is available on Amazon!

Book #1 of The Warrior Brothers of Skye has been released on Amazon.


Welcome to 4th Century Isle of Skye—a world of feuding tribes and forbiddable warrior men, and women.

What's BLOOD FEUD about?

They come from warring tribes—but can their love overcome generations of hate?

Dark Ages Scotland, the Isle of Skye. Far north of Hadrian's Wall—beyond the shadow of the Roman Empire—the daughter of a Pictish chieftain prepares to wed her enemy. To forge peace, Tea's brother has promised her to the leader of a neighboring tribe that killed their parents.

Dark and brooding--but committed to peace—Tea's new husband isn't what she expects. Unlike her, Galan mac Muin is determined to end decades of bloodshed between two warring tribes, even if it means sacrificing his own happiness.

Tea isn't what Galan expects either. A statuesque, embittered beauty, she hates him and his people. Yet neither of them can deny the powerful attraction between them. Together, Galan and Tea have the chance to forge a new future--one that will ensure lasting peace--if only they can only let go of the past.

BLOOD FEUD is the exciting first book in THE WARRIOR BROTHERS OF SKYE series. Follow the lives and loves of three warrior brothers: Galan, Tarl and Donnel. Fans of Historical Fiction, Scottish Historical Romance and Historical Action & Adventure, and those who enjoy Kathryn Le Veque, and who loved Donna Fletcher's Pict King series, should enjoy this series set in Dark Ages Scotland.

Take a journey into Dark Ages Scotland

Read the Prologue and first three chapters for FREE on Intafreebie.

Or get your copy on Amazon!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Teasers from BLOOD FEUD - new release


BLOOD FEUD is now available for preorder on Amazon—and will be released on May 18 2017.

In the pre-release period for the novel, I'd like to share some of my favorite passages from the novel. Hope you enjoy them!

















































Monday, 1 May 2017

BLOOD FEUD - new release!

I've wanted to write a novel set in Dark Ages Scotland for ages—so here's the first in my new series set amongst the mist-shrouded mountains, wild shores and desolate moors of the Isle of Skye. 

These books delve into the history of the Picts, an enigmatic warrior people who were the predecessors of the Highland warriors.

If you're into bare-chested, tattooed Barbarian heroes, lots of action and adventure, and some steamy romance, BLOOD FEUD (Book #1: The Warrior Brothers of Skye) is for you! The series follows the lives and loves of three Pictish warrior brothers: Galan, Tarl, and Donnel.

Preorder BLOOD FEUD now for the 18 May 2017 release!




Thursday, 13 April 2017

Book review: Silver Hammer, Golden Cross (Book Six of The Circle of Ceridwen Saga) by Octavia Randolph

A sweeping, epic novel that picks up around a decade after Ceridwen and Sidroc's story. This is the tale of Ceric (Ceridwen's son) and Ashild (the daughter of Aelfwyn and Yrling). Like the earlier books in this saga, Octavia Randolph uses real historical events to bring her story to life. The peace forged by King Alfred and Guthrum has ended, and war sweeps across England once more.

The characters are great - well rounded with flaws that make them feel like real people. I particularly loved Ashild. A young woman of independent spirit, she struggles with the role that she must play; to marry to strength alliances and wealth. She and Ceric are childhood friends, and both their families wish them to wed. However, despite her attraction for him she wishes to choose her own fate.

Likewise, Ceric is a young man coming to terms with his own place in the world as he reaches manhood and must fill the gap left by his uncle.

Unlike the earlier books in the series, this one is told in third person narrative (rather than first person). This creates quite a different tone - less intimate, more epic. We move from Four Stones (in what is now Lincolnshire, I guess) down to Kilton on the south coast of England, and then across the water to Gotland in Scandinavia. Ceric and Ashild are the main POV characters, although we also spend some time again with Ceridwen and Sidroc, which I enjoyed.

What I love most about Octavia Randolph's books (apart from the memorable characters) is the way she brings 9th Century Anglo-Saxon England to life. She has done vast amounts of research and it shows, not in an 'info-dump' way but in a rich, detailed tapestry. She really brings you there. I particularly loved the descriptions of the food!

The story also highlights the conflict between the paganism and Christianity at this time, hence the title of this book. Ashild carries the silver hammer of Thor from her father, Yrling, and a golden cross from her mother, Aelfwyn, around her neck.

There are quite a few battle and fight scenes in this book that were really well done. There are some great action scenes toward the end of the book - but I'll say nothing about those as I don't want to spoil the story for readers!

I look forward to reading the next installment in the Ceridwen saga - highly recommended five-star read.

--

Buy a copy of Silver Hammer, Golden Cross on Amazon.com

Thursday, 6 April 2017

My favorite Historical Romances list

I read (almost) as much as I write—and there have been a number of historical romance novels over the years which have inspired and enthused me. I thought I'd share my list of absolute favorites here. Some you'll recognize, others might be new to you—some new books for you to discover! 

Of course, I read far more widely than historical romance. I love historical epics, fantasy and the classics. Although I haven't mentioned them above Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, George R.R Martin's The Song of Fire and Ice, Jean M. Auel 's The Clan of Cave Bear,  Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, Stephen King's The Stand, and Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles/Saxon Chronicles, have had a huge influence on my writing (and life!).

Back to Historical Romance though... 

In no particular order, here are my keepers:












The Conquest
Elizabeth Chadwick

This is one of Elizabeth Chadwick's earlier books - but easily one my favorites. It's actually two love stories, set at the time of the Nortman Conquest. Poignant, and at times very sad, this isn't a traditional romance, but it's well-worth the read. Chadwick brings this time to life so vividly you feel as if you're there with her. It was after reading this novel that I decided I wanted to set my novels in the Anglo-Saxon period!













Daughter of the Forest
Juliet Marillier

This book is actually Historical Fantasy Romance but I had to add it here. A beautifully written story of courage, strength and slow-burning love, Daughter of the Forest is a compelling tale.

Read my review of Daughter of the Forest on this blog.












The Warrior's Game
Denise Domning

Get past the awful cover and discover an exciting story set at the time of King John and the Magna Carta. The characters in this story—a fiesty English widow and a sexy French mercenary—is what made this novel a keeper for me. This well-researched story really brings the 13th century to life. It's the third in a trilogy (although they can all be read as stand-alones), and my favorite of the three.













The Wolfe
Kathryn Le Veque

Kathryn Le Veque has written a huge number of door-stopper epic romance novels set in the Middle Ages. Her earlier works are definitely my favorites; they're page-turning adventures with exciting characters and lots of intrigue. My other favorites by Le Veque are: The Dark One, Spectre of the Sword and The White Lord of Wellesbourne.

Read my review of The Wolfe on Goodreads.












Outlander
Diana Gabaldon

This series needs no introduction. It has everything, romance, adventure, intrigue and real history—with a bit of time travel thrown in. Jamie Fraser is the ultimate romantic hero, who can blame Claire for falling for him!













Circle of Ceridwen Saga
Octavia Randolph

This is a fabulous series of books set in 8th Century England and Scandinavia. Randolph draws you right into the period and brings it to life so vividly you can almost smell the burning peat, the crunch of rushes under your boots and the jingling of chain mail! Not a traditional romance, the love-story is a slow burn through the first four books, with a stand-alone fifth book. I'm now half-way through the sixth book which tells the story of the next generation. A fabulous historical epic that I can't recommend highly enough!

Read my review of the first book in the series on Goodreads.












The King's Man
Elizabeth Kingston

A fabulously gritty historical romance about a brutal English soldier and a wild female Welsh warrior. Kingston is an original voice in this genre. She writes realistic stories about flawed characters. The second book in this (Welsh Blades) series is also excellent.

Read my review on this blog.












A Knight in Shining Armor
Jude Deveraux

Before Outlander there was this book. This is the original historical romance time-travel novel—the story of a frightened and insecure young woman on holiday in England and a young, arrogant Elizabethan lord, whose paths cross across time. A compelling, fun read that's really well researched. A first read this book many years ago but recently re-read an updated version—even better than I remembered!


Sunday, 5 March 2017

New projects on the go!

2016 was a very busy year writing-wise - and it looks as if 2017 is shaping up much the same. Not that I'm complaining. I'm at my happiest when immersed in my stories. 😊

I've currently got three writing projects on the go - two Historical Romances and an Epic Fantasy Romance. I've just begun a new series set in Dark Ages Scotland, and embarked on Book #2 of the Kingdom of Northumbria. My fantasy novel is now being line edited so I'm working on the maps for it. Read on to find out more about each project - and get a sneak peak at the covers - below.

Historical Romance

BLOOD FEUD

THE WARRIOR BROTHERS OF SKYE — BOOK #1
A DARK AGES SCOTTISH ROMANCE

CAN THEIR LOVE OVERCOME GENERATIONS OF HATE?

Autumn, 366 AD—The Isle of Skye

Far north of Hadrian’s Wall—beyond the shadow of the Roman Empire—the daughter of a Pictish chieftain prepares to wed her enemy.

To forge peace, Tea must marry the leader of a neighboring tribe that killed her father.

Dark, brooding and sexy—Galan isn’t what Tea expects. But, unlike her, he’s determined to end decades of bloodshed between two warring tribes—even if it means sacrificing his own happiness.

Tea isn’t what Galan expects either. A statuesque, embittered beauty, she hates him and his people.

Yet, together, Galan and Tea have the chance to forge a new future—one that will ensure lasting peace—if only they can only let go of the past.


Historical Romance

WIND SONG

THE KINGDOM OF NORTHUMBRIA—BOOK #2

HE RULES THE NORTH
BUT SHE RULES HIS HEART

Northumbria, Britain—684 AD

Hea isn’t like other women. The feisty daughter of a seer, she lives alone in the fort of Bebbanburg and survives by tending the sick and selling herbs and potions. However, she has also inherited her mother’s gift—and when King Ecgfrith requests her skills she can’t refuse him.

Ecgfrith, the ruler of Northumbria, is having trouble with the Picts, the warlike people to the north. He needs a seer’s guidance in dealing with them. The Pictish king, Bridei mac Beli, once fostered at Bebbanburg—but now he’s demanding freedom from his Saxon overlord.

Hea and Bridei have history.

They grew up together and he once saved her from being raped. Hea has longed for him ever since. Eight years later they meet again, and sparks fly. Arrogant and ambitious, Bridei is used to getting what he wants—and Hea discovers he’s the only man she can’t refuse.

Yet he’s a Pict and she’s a Saxon. Bridei will do anything to win back his people’s land from Northumbria, and Hea has sworn her loyalty to a king who treats her more like a daughter than a servant. As the shadow of war looms, it seems any chance they have at love is lost … or is it?


Epic Fantasy Romance 

RULED BY SHADOWS

In a land ruled by shadows, the fate of all lies in the hands of a girl who is afraid of the dark.

Lilia is afraid of the shadows, so when her own one starts behaving strangely, she can barely cope—especially when it starts threatening her.

It all starts the day she meets Saul of Anthor. Handsome and darkly mysterious, he leaves a charm-stone in her safekeeping. Only, what appears to be a humble Hag Stone—used by folk to ward off evil spirits—is in reality a powerful talisman. One that a secret brotherhood has spent a thousand years searching for.

Perrin is Lilia’s best friend. He has spent his life avoiding responsibility and hard work—but now he becomes her unlikely ally. When Saul of Anthor reappears, Perrin suspects his motives. Robana, a healer with a mysterious past, also believes Lilia is in danger—although from those far more dangerous than Saul.

The shadows are deepening and an ancient evil risks being unleashed upon the world. Lilia embarks on a journey into danger, discovery and ... love.  But she must face the darkness, and her own fears—or there will be no going home.