Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ghostly Castles and Tales by Madeline Martin

Ghostly Castles and Tales
by Madeline Martin

Europe has no shortage of ancient castles and dwellings, and where there are ancient settings, there are ghosts.

I think one of the things that fascinates me so much about ghost stories is the full on romanticism behind them. Most are driven by and explosion of passion, propelled by love or hate or sheer envy. The stories behind them are rife with drama and intrigue and desire.

In researching ghost stories for this book to decide where to set it, I found a couple of interesting facts to share with people.

First of all, is that Queen Mary of Scots has several ghost stories. She’s reported to haunt Borthwick Castle dressed as a page boy (the way she’d managed her escape in life once before). She’s also reported to haunt Stirling Castle as the pink lady. A hotel in Oundlel in Northhamptonshire, England also claims she haunts their halls where the staircase from Forthinghay Castle had been transported and incorporated into the building. Have you heard of other stories where Queen Mary of Scots has done some haunting?

Secondly, are all the ladies dressed in green. There are seriously a lot of ghostly women in green. And there’s a reason for this. Green is thought to be a color of ill luck in the Celtic legends as it was considered the favorite color of the fae people – and everyone knew they were deviously mischievous. And, of course, ghosts have a tendency to also be deviously mischievous.

I decided to go with Castle of Park for my castle with A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love because the story involved had not one, but two ghosts. The first was a green lady who had apparently been the lover of the laird, however, when she found herself with child, she was terminated from her position there. Unable to take the despair of her circumstances, she threw herself from one of the upper story windows to her death. The second ghost was a monk who had been walled up within the castle.

I loved the idea of the green lady getting her own form of vengeance, but felt the ghost story still needed to be made whole. This was what inspired my twist in A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love. But I can’t tell you what it is, or I’ll ruin all the fun. I hope you enjoy what I’ve done with the story. I truly had so much fun writing a little paranormal spookiness into this novella.

Senara becomes a lady's maid at Castle of Park to help ease the financial burden of her beloved family. She does not expect to have such a wicked mistress any more than she expects to find a handsome laird...or a ghost with a burning need for retribution.

Gavin vowed on his father’s death bed to watch over his aunt, and regrets it every day. Especially when her new maid arrives. The woman is extraordinarily fascinating, which not only stirs his interest, but also his cruel aunt’s ire.

Can he protect Senara from his aunt? Even more important, can he keep himself from giving in to his longing for the country lass?

Theirs is a journey of treacherous pasts, painful loss, hidden longing and vengeance.

Sweet Excerpt: 

He plucked a bit of hay from her hair. The slender stalk shook between his fingers. “We canna see one another anymore.” His voice was deep with desire.

Senara nodded in agreement and her hands gripped the banister of the stairs, as if she were holding on for dear life.

They had the same conversation every day. And yet every day at noon, they both arrived.

If he were a lesser man, he'd have had her long ago. But he couldn't in good conscience, not with knowing he would have to marry another someday.

He would marry another, one befitting his station.

Until then, he dreaded the day she would finally not show at noon.

Spooky Excerpt:

A cry sounded in the distance, a wisp of an anguished scream as if carried on a hearty wind. Though far off, the sound scrabbled over her nerves.

No, not so far away. Below.

Senara looked to where the stairs disappeared into a dark nothing. Anything could be in that nothing.
Her courage flagged for but a moment. Da would not be frightened of a noise. She may have left his sword upstairs, but she was never without his bravery. Or her dirk for that matter.

With the power of being her father's daughter, she crept down the stairs with her dirk locked in her grip. On the first floor, the air was cold enough to nip at her nose and leave the bottoms of her feet chilled through the thick-soled slippers she wore.

The wailing cry came once more, louder though still distant, muffled almost. She followed the sound down the hall to where she'd been before where the cold stone had hummed against her palm.

The candle flame sputtered and set the narrow hallway bouncing wildly around her, but it did not go out.

Her breath fogged in front of her and hovered in a hazy white cloud. She stared at the frozen breath in wonder. While summer was not always warm, it seldom was ever so cool as to cause such a chill - especially indoors.

A grinding sound filled the quiet and mortar sifted down from the strange stone. Senara's breath came faster and filled the air with white puffs.

Something was in there. 

Want to read more? 

Available in ebook and print
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fzpy5Q
Nook: http://bit.ly/2xkTzzl
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/gtflib
Kobo:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflkobo
Google Play:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflgp

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors.

She also loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :)

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/biji1j

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Arrr! Today, September 19th, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Yes, there is such a thing. It’s been a thing for 22 years. Read how it all started HERE.

Read More HERE
So what do you do on International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Talk, dress, and act like a pirate, of course. Sounds like fun, right? Wouldn’t it be awesome to go to work, perch yer booted foot atop yer desk, and order around the scurvy landlubbers in the office, threatenin’ them with the business end of yer cutlass? Or how about plunderin’ the liquor store shelves of grog, rum, and other sundries, and payin’ for it with coins from yer leather pouch?  Or servin’ up vittles for yer crew while singin’ sea shanties? Or hangin’ out the driver’s window of yer vehicle hollerin’ “bring me the horizon,” “it’s a pirate’s life for me,” and “move yer aft end!” Aye, me hearties, there’s tomfoolery to be had.

Need help with yer buccaneer vernacular? Check out this spot-on, cheeky how-to video in proper pirate jargon.

If dressing and talking like a pirate isn’t practical for ye, my pity to ye mate. But ye can still have some pirate merriment.

Ye could:

Read more HERE


...escape  into worlds full of adventure, rum, fearless pirates, spirited wenches, and swoon-worthy, Romancing the Pirate and Pirates of Britannia: Lords of the Seas. Eliza Knight and I will leave you breathless and wanting more swashbuckling mayhem.
Grab your copy of The Laird's Reckoning now and pre-order a copy of Savage of the Sea.

Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day, mates!

About the Author
Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways

Tuesday, September 5, 2017



by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Some of the longest lasting inventions or discoveries in history came about either entirely by accident or were meant for other purposes. Here are a surprising few:


You can thank John Stith Pemberton’s morphine addiction for Coca Cola. A pharmacist from Atlanta, he set about trying to break his terrible addiction by developing a new drug to treat the habit. He tried one combination after another until he came up with a thick syrup made from coca leaves, caffeine, a kola nut extract, vegetable extracts, and plain sugar. Initially sold from his pharmacy, this medicine soon became quite popular. One day a waiter, nearly out of the medicine, but needing to finish his shift, diluted the syrup with a sparkling water as an extender, and voila! Pemberton officially branded Coca-Cola in 1887 under the federal trade registry.


San Francisco native, Frank Epperson, concocted a drink made up of powdered soda and water. One night in 1905, he accidentally left a jar of his favorite drink outside in the coldest night of the year. Popping his head out the door the next morning, he discovered his drink had frozen around the wooden stick he’d used to stir the concoction. In 1924, he patented the “Epsicle Ice Pop.” Several years later his children encouraged their “Pop” to rename his invention the Popsicle.


In 1943, Richard James, an American naval engineer, had the assignment of developing large springs to transport fragile engineering instruments aboard water going vessels. As the springs were being loaded onto a ship, one of the springs fell out of the box. Down the steps it went with James scrambling after it. What a sight! His co-workers thought the whole incident hilarious. James went home, and over dinner, told his family about his day at work. One of his children said he wanted one to play with. It was then that James decided to patent the idea as a toy, and the Slinky was born.


Teflon pans actually came into existence way back in 1938 when Roy Plunkett, a chemist, began experimenting with refrigerants. He ran across a pipe in his laboratory filled with a frozen compound called tetrafluoroethylene. Curious as to why no gas had escaped, he began playing with the tube. When he shook it, he noticed that small white fragments had stuck to the surface. That’s when Teflon was born.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, was invented in 1776 by Joseph Priestly. His invention was used for entertainment at parties, and at the fairgrounds. Dr. Horace Wells, an American dentist, was attending one of Priestly’s wild parties. He figured out that when under the influence of this gas, that people were numb to pain. Doctor Wells returned to America, and in 1844, he began using the gas on his patients as an anesthetic.


Did you know that before the invention of the erasure, people used breadcrumbs to eradicate ink stains? Back in 1770, Edward Naime, an Englishman, accidentally mistook rubber tree resin for breadcrumbs and found it worked better than bread crumbs. Soon, he began selling rubber erasers. It wasn’t until much later that Kaspar Faber, a German pencil maker, figured out a way to attach an erasure directly onto his pencils.


A French doctor, Rene Laennec, discovered a new method of listening to the heartbeats of his weightier patients by watching children playing with a needle stuck into a wooden plank. The sound resonated from one side of the beam to the other. Dr. Laennec had the idea to fix the wooden plank with the needle attached inside a tube, and the first stethoscope was born. The round wooden tube was placed on the patient’s chest, and the doctor placed his ear on the opposite end. Eventually, the round wooden tube was dramatically changed to what it looks like today.


Dom Perignon, a Benedict Monk living in a monastery in Hautvilliers, France, discovered the secret of in-bottle fermentation quite by accident. He was looking for an alternative to wooden corks for wine when he tried pouring beeswax into the neck of the bottle. A few weeks later, pressure built up inside the bottles and they exploded. The contents bubbled out over the top of the bottle and the good old monk tried catching the bubbly with his tongue. This is when he discovered the sparkling wine’s delicious effervescence.

Kathleen Bittner Roth creates evocative stories featuring characters forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. 

You can find Kathleen at:

Website:          www.kathleenbittnerroth.com
Twitter:           @K_BittnerRoth
Pinterest          https://hu.pinterest.com/bittnerroth/