Thursday Threads – How to Train Your Knight

This week on Thursday Threads we feature Stella Marie Alden‘s wonderful historical romance, How to Train Your Knight:


Title: How to Train Your Knight
Author: Stella Marie Alden
Genre: Historical Medieval Romance
Heat: Sensual


Year of our Lord, 1276.
In the hours just before dawn, blasphemous curses echo throughout the stone manor. A knife clatters to the floor and a feisty young widow is bound, blindfolded, and led to the marriage alter. The king couldn’t possibly have sanctioned this farce of a marriage, could he? After all, she alone transformed a few mud huts and starving serfs into a flourishing town, never once hesitating to pay generous taxes to his royal kingdom. Abandon her beloved people to be ruled by her new husband, an ignorant Templar knight? Never!


A murderous witch for a wife? The Beast of Thornhill finds himself in the middle of either a cruel jest or an evil conspiracy. After returning from the Holy wars, he accepts endowment of a small parcel of land in return for saving King Edward’s life. But the reward comes with a warning regarding the estate’s mistress. Despite his insatiable attraction to the black-haired beauty, he allows her time to warm to him while observing her strange, forward-thinking ways. But when all is on the line, will he stand by her through the inquisition or will they both hang for her secrets?
Hook: A feisty widow and a Templar knight? What could possibly go wrong?


Book excerpt:

Year of our Lord 1276
“By God, drag her down here! Naked if you must! Bread and water from now to eternity if you can’t!” Sir Marcus Blackwell slammed his fist on the well-worn table and the sound echoed back from every direction. Of all the bad luck. Forced into marriage with a foul-mouthed, murderous widow.

He clenched his teeth when the next bout of high-pitched screams and curses exploded from the floor above. Crashes, clanging, and banging followed. He cringed as the Lady Ann’s strident screaming rang throughout the stone manor and probably into the courtyard.

“He can’t steal my lands this easily. He’ll live just long enough to rue this day. I shall never, ever, turn my people over to a blood-thirsty, gold-grabbing beast. I’d rather be cursed to hell. Nay, verily, I’d rather marry the devil himself than see myself married to him.”

Beast? He’d strangle the minstrel who’d taken his sword’s moniker and baptized him with it instead. He was a holy crusader, deserving of respect, not an animal.

Crossing himself while counting to ten, he paced the dark hall lit by a single weak torch. Shadows danced across dark tapestries, beyond a hearth the size of two horses, and over enough tables to feed a small army. Thatch crunched under his boots, releasing a perfume of lavender and grasses. He stopped for a respite of blessed silence. What in God’s creation have I stepped into?

When the mayhem started up again, it was from his first-in-command, Thomas D’Agostine. “The devil take it, watch out. A knife!” A dagger fell upon stone with a metallic clatter.
“Damnation. The bitch nicked me.” The smack of a hand against skin, a female yelp of pain, then the battle paused momentarily.

“Enough!” The king’s command would be obeyed. Certainly, she’d have to understand that. He stood at the foot of the massive stone staircase and waited for the thundering echoes to cease before continuing at a lesser volume. Envisioning the vile creature, he shuddered. It was far too late to retreat now. He’d wanted the land and bedding the ancient hag was part of the bargain. “I said, do her no harm. Gag, bind, and blindfold the wench if you must. For the love of God, she’s but one woman.”


Stella Marie Alden
Buy links and social network links:
Twitter: @stellamariealde


Romance Weekly – Playing Doctor.

Love Write Chat

Welcome to the romance Writers Weekly blog hop, where every week a great group of romance writers answer questions and accept challenges. Diverse in what we write, we are unified in the quest to bring you, the romance reader, a very happy ever after.

RWW also has a website with its own blog, a newsletter, and can be found on Facebook, and Twitter (@RWWBlog).

Broken Chords

If you’ve wondered in from Carrie Elks’ wonderful blog or are starting your tour with me, welcome to a day filled with fun and games.

Today’ s challenge comes from Fiona Riplee: Flash fiction – Your hero & heroine are playing an “old-school” board game (one with an actual board or pieces old or new – just not a video game). The winner gets a special prize. 1000 words or less.
Stepping up for the challenge today will be Meghan and Jord from Son of Thunder:

Jord’s brow furled. “When you said you wanted to play doctor, I had a very different idea.”

Phoebe chuckled as she set the game board on the table. “Come on. It’ll be fun.”

“Okay, how does this work?”

Meghan crossed her arms and gave him that look. Gods, she was so gorgeous. “Don’t tell me you never played Operation when you were growing up.”

It was Jord’s turn to chuckle. She keeps forgetting. “They didn’t have this game three hundred years ago. I played with swords and axes. Iduna played doctor . . . when we needed her.”

“Which was often, no doubt, knowing your brothers.” Meghan arranged the cards and play money. “Well, this requires fine motor skills, something you probably never worked on.”

She had him there. “So you’re good at this?”

“I used to be, but it’s been years.”

I’ll bet you can beat her. Megingjörð, Jord’s magical belt, rarely had an opinion on their antics. Why was he offering one now?

Jord knew he was probably stepping right in it, but losing to Meghan was usually as fun as winning. “How about a wager?”

Meghan raised an eyebrow. “What do you want?”

“You, the couch, a big bowl of popcorn, and a Star Wars marathon.”

She rolled her eyes. “Not all six.”

You should hold out. For some reason, Megingjörð loved Jar Jar Binks. Jord gave the belt an evil mental chuckle. “Nope, just the original three.”

You bum!

“Done,” Meghan said.

“So what do you want if you win?”

An evil glint passed across her eyes. “The stuff . . . all day tomorrow.”

“This is so a set up.” And Jord knew he’d walked open-eyed right into it. Tomorrow they were scheduled to patrol Midgaard for wondering giants with the Asgaard security team. If she showed up wearing the belt and gloves, and wielding Mjonir . . . they’d all think he was whipped.

Well, you are. Jord shook his head. She’d so worked this out with Megingjörð. Probably this morning while he was in the shower. All you have to do is beat her in a game. Can’t you do that?

Probably not this game. Still, he shrugged. “Done.”

Deep inside, in that part of his mind Megingjörð couldn’t detect, Jord smiled broadly.


BZZT! The big red clown nose lit up on the board as Jord lost another round. Meghan hadn’t expected to beat him quite this badly.

“Come on, you’re not even trying.” It wasn’t like Jord to not give it his best go . . . unless . . .

“Hey,” he smiled. “When you wield a hammer, everything’s a nail. Face it, I have no small motor skills.”

As she went to remove the funny bone, she purposely touched the side, setting off the buzzer, then handed him the tweezers.

This time, she watched his face, not his hand. As the buzzer sounded, she was the lines of his mouth slide upward. I thought so. “You are purposely throwing this game.”

“Am not.” Jord was a terrible liar. His tone and whole manner gave him away.

Meghan shook her head. “The deal is off.”

Passion erupted in his eyes. He stood and walked toward her as he unbuckled Megingjörð. “I don’t think so.”

He whipped the strap around her and pulled her in for a kiss as Megingjörð buckled itself around her.

We won. We won.

Meghan soaked in her man, reveling in the touch of his lips and the feel of his strong lines against her. Still, in the back of her mind, she wondered . . .

She broke the kiss. “Okay, why?”

Jord threw back his head in a throaty laugh. “I never can pull the wool over your eyes for long.”

He reached back and grabbed a comic book from the end table.


“Thor?” That’s what the title said, but the person depicted on the cover with Mjolnir was female.

Jord continued to chuckle. “Dad’s having a fit, but it got me thinking.” He pointed to the picture on the cover. “You are going to be so much sexier.”


Defiant Bride

So, what are Leslie Hachtel’s characters playing? Find out as the Romance Writers Weekly blog continues at:

#LSTRAATR – Lady Willpower

Welcome to another #LSTRAATR (Love Songs That Really Aren’t All That Romantic) where we analyze love songs to see just how much romance is really in there.

Today we’re looking at this classic from Gary Puckett and the Union Gap:

Take it away, Gary…

Romantic images and a good tune, Come on, this has got to be romantic.

Or is it? What’s really going on here? Is Lady Willpower just a cute, pet name, or is there something a little sinister going on?

We start with the chorus, and our first clue is: “It’s now or never.” This sounds more like an ultimatum than a love song.

In the first verse we discover that this girl is afraid of this guy, though he still thinks she wants to see him. He’s a little full of himself, but maybe we can give him a little slack. And he promises to take care of her love…IF…she will let him…wait a minute…are we talking sex here???

The chorus is starting to make a bit more sense now – “give your love to me.” He’s trying to pressure this poor girl into something she doesn’t want. And there’s that underlying threat of now or never. (Lady, take my advice…choose never with this guy.)

A key change. Maybe a change in attitude as well? Let’s see. We’ve got one verse for a little redemption.

Okay, I guess that clears up what this song is really about. And, how nice that he’s offering to teach her all about “the facts of life?” It’s no wonder she’s in hiding from this jerk. We can only hope that he doesn’t “reach her” before she can call 911.

Conclusion: This song is about a guy trying to pressure a woman into having sex with him. Lady Willpower might have to change her name to Lady Restraining Order if she ever wants to come out of hiding.

Amount of romance in this song: Any romance in this song is all on one side—his. And there’s not much there either.

Romance Weekly – Killing Off My Darlings.

Love Write Chat

Welcome to the romance Writers Weekly blog hop, where every week a great group of romance writers answer questions and accept challenges. Diverse in what we write, we are unified in the quest to bring you, the romance reader, a very happy ever after.

RWW also has a website with its own blog, a newsletter, and can be found on Facebook, and Twitter (@RWWBlog).

coverfinalcovercookiecutter copyIf you’ve wondered in from Jo Richardson’s wonderful blog or are starting your tour with me, welcome to a day filled with what we lost in the editing process. And hey, have you read Jo’s wonderful Cookie Cutter. It’s an awesome read.


Broken Chords

Today’ s challenge comes from the author of the incredible Love in London series, Carrie ElksStephen King famously said that it’s necessary to ‘kill your darlings’ when editing your work. Do you have anything you had to remove from a book that you’re still proud of? Or something that embarrasses you so much it will never again see the light of day? If you’re feeling really brave, share some of it with us!


Oh the pain. Hours of hard work gone forever with the push of the <Delete> key. It hurts. But the old saying “What does not kills you, makes you stronger.” certainly did prevail during my editing of Son of Thunder.

Delete button on laptop keyboard

It was my first full novel and I over wrote it. My editor wanted a lean, mean romance. “We can most of these three chapters.”

Three. Freaking. Chapters.

But she was right. It was mostly extra story that didn’t need to be in the book. A huge battle scene on Mount Olympus. Also a discovery deep in the catacombs under the mountain, and a fun character I’d spent hours researching and putting together.



Gone. (Ouch!)

Wait a moment! New document. Paste. Save. (You never know.)

Now, some years later I’ve finally gotten around to the sequel: Daughter of Darkness. As I write I’m thinking about those deleted scenes. Okay, the battle on Mount Olympus moves to North Carolina, and needs some heavy editing and name changing, but for the most part, it’s back and better than ever.

And then, when Tyr and Nott find their way to Olympus, they finally uncover that secret in the catacombs . . . and Hephaestus lives (kind of) and is now an integral part of the main storyline.

Of course my editor hasn’t seen it yet. Will these scenes make the final cut this time?

We’ll see.

Defiant Bride
So, what did Leslie Hachtel edit out of her work? Find out as the Romance Writers Weekly blog continues at:

Cover Reveal – Compass by Jeanne McDonald

Cover Reveal


Author: Jeanne McDonald
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Jada D’Lee Designs
Expected Release Date: November 17, 2015

Jeanne McDonald is an author, a mother, a wife, a student of knowledge and of life, a coffee addict, a philosophy novice, a pop culture connoisseur, inspired by music, encouraged by words, and a believer in true love. When she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found reading, writing, enjoying a great film, chatting with friends or diligently working toward her bachelor’s degree in literature. A proud Texan, Jeanne currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.

As teenagers, time is infinite and love is made of fairy tales and caramel corn. For Alexis York and Ryan Fisher, their friendship was the cornerstone of who they were. In the wake of a family tragedy, that friendship was torn apart by time and distance. Unrequited love was never reciprocated, and two lives that were once intertwined, now moved on different trajectories.

Fifteen years later, these two friends are given a second chance to correct the mistakes of the past. With one flight, a new home, and a little help from a tiny red compass, Alexis and Ryan are reunited, setting them back on the same course. Together, they find themselves on a journey of rediscovery, friendship, hope, and love.

Yet, when the harsh realities of life threaten to tear them apart for good, will Alexis and Ryan lose all hope of a happily ever after? Or will the childhood promises of forever lead these two hearts through impossible odds and back into each other’s arms?

“You’re my compass. My one true north.”

ARayofHope 25684-coversmall The Certainty of Deception by Jeanne McDonald A Hot Mess by Jeanne McDonald IndulgenceCover