The Knight’s Scarred Maiden by Nicole Locke: Cooking Up A Historical Feast

The Knight’s Scarred Maiden (Lovers and Legends)

A maiden for the mercenary 

Mercenary knight Rhain is living on borrowed time. With a vengeful warlord pursuing him, he has accepted his fate—though first he must get his men to safety.

When he rescues mysterious and deeply scarred Helissent from her attackers, Rhain soon wishes he wasn’t marked for death. He can never be the man she deserves—his scandalous lineage alone dictates that—but Rhain can’t resist the temptation to show this innocent maiden how beautiful she truly is…

Lovers and Legends A clash of Celtic passions

 

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Author Nicole Locke first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly). If she isn’t working on the next book in the Lovers and Legends historical series, she can be reached at:

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Going Back In Time

The Knight’s Scarred Maiden is a story between a dangerous mercenary and a scarred maiden who rescues him. But there’s more to this tale than that.

There’s cooking and baking as well.The heroine’s family died in a tragic fire. Burned severely on the right side of her body, Helissent was healed with honey and herbs. When the innkeepers adopt her, she helps bring in patrons by baking honey cakes and more savoury fare. Her love of baking and cooking weaves its way throughout the story. She compares her struggles to failed bakes, and thinks of people like ingredients. She also talks in baking terminology, which confuses many a discussion.

DSCN2085On the run from a vengeful warlord, the hero Rhainstops at an inn and tastes Helissent’s cakes and food. Her love for it all weaves around him as well. Though it risks his life, he stays.

To truly understand the importance of food for Helissent, or why the cakes would be so good that Rhain would risk his life, I tried some of her recipes.But this story takes place in the 13th Century. These are medieval recipes.

I made sweet desserts like herb fritters, apple fritters, and honey cakes. I made raston and trencher bread. I tried to re-create the banquet scene. There was fish with sorrel sauce, fennel soup, almond chicken with raisin sauce.

Along the way, I made mistakes. But that helped, too. Helissent is a heroine who perseveres no matter the stakes. When a sauce went bad, she simply did it again, and so did I. She wouldn’t have given up making trencher bread, and I didn’t either.I even invited people over to share in the banquet. People’s pleasure of the food explained why a woman so alone in the world would find joy sharing her fare.

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After my fifth attempt at honey cakes, I understood why Rhain would risk his life for something so seemingly insignificant as a cake. Because when they’re baked just right,they’re delicious. And this is a man who doesn’t expect to live very long.

He’s also a man, who finds Helissentremarkable and brave. Baking would require Helissent to be constantly around an open fire. Yet, it was a fire that killed her family and destroyed her home. A fire which scarred her body and made her skin tender to heat and touch. However, for the innkeepers who adopt her and for her own self-worth, she continually risks those flames. Is it any wonder why she would risk her life and face the warlord who intends to kill the man she loves?

So you see, there is somuch more to this story than tragic pasts and vengeful warlords. There is also Medieval food and falling in love…

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The Curse of Lakeham Abbey

Author Sally Quilford is an awesome storyteller with the knack of keeping readers glued to the page long after they should have put down their book and started making the dinner. She’s a favourite author of mine. Reading Sally Quilford is one of my guilty pleasures, like drinking red wine and eating chocolate. Given the choice between an evening of television and an evening reading one of her books, and the book will win every time. Her new release, The Curse of Lakeham Abbey, looks bewitching and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Today, Sally is sharing her thoughts regarding the setting of her new novel. I’m honoured to welcome her to MBB. Take it away, Sally!

 

The Place’s Fault

And setting in The Curse of Lakeham Abbey

 

One of my favourite poems is The Place’s Fault by Philip Hobsbaum. It is about a child, possibly a refugee, who is teased mercilessly by children from the town to which he has moved. By the end of this tense poem, in which the victim even blames himself for looking ‘odd’, he understands that the tormenters are the product of the place in which they live.

The poem has always made me think about setting and how it can affect people. Anyone who has lived in social housing and tried to further their education will tell you that it’s very difficult when others feel threatened by your attempts to better yourself. As a legal advisor, I had a client – a recovering drug addict – who told me that he had stopped going to the drop-in centre because not only did pushers hang around outside, but he could not get away from the people who weren’t trying as hard to recover as he was. Places influence us, whether they’re big towns, medium sized estates or a couple of offices in the town centre that had been given over to drug rehabilitation.

Lakeham Abbey, which has now appeared in three of my novels, is one such place. In its first appearance, in The Dark Marshes, it was a fairly generic Gothic pile, with secret rooms and a ‘ghost’. My heroine, Hetty, had gone there as a young bride and it almost drove her mad. In its second outing in The Secret of Lakeham Abbey, the secret rooms had become Blytonesque, forbidden rooms and priest holes, perfect for a young sleuth, Percy Sullivan and his friend to explore in a ‘Golden Age’ type murder mystery. By the time I wrote The Curse of Lakeham Abbey, I was inspired by the domestic noir of modern day, and saw the Abbey as a prison, or gilded cage, full of affluent people who each wear a cloak of happiness. One by one those cloaks fall off, revealing an undertone of darkness that can only lead to murders. Percy has grown up and the scales have fallen from his eyes, making it harder for him to be the hero he would like to be, or to see the heroic in others.

One of the characters says the Abbey is cursed (hence the title), and I wanted to explore how much this setting affected every character, as it starts to leak secrets that people would rather keep quiet. The Abbey is a prison to them, because their secrets keep them there, for whatever reason. But is it really to blame for the things they do? Can we blame our setting for the mistakes we make or the dreams we fail to follow? I’ll let readers decide that and I hope they enjoy thinking about it as they read the novel.

***

 

The Curse of Lakeham Abbey – Blurb

Everyone knows that Lakeham Abbey is cursed. All the stories say so. Throughout the years, there have been mad women, murders, and a general feeling of misery that drives people away. When another murder takes place there, it only adds to the legends. 

Some seventy years after his first visit to Lakeham Abbey, Percy Sullivan returns. He has lost none of his truculence nor his thirst for justice. The Abbey has been turned into luxury apartments, of which down-on-his-luck Percy is one of the first new residents. 

When Julia Marsh is murdered and her husband, fading rock star, Jake, is imprisoned, Percy is determined to find the killer and free the grandson of his greatest friends. Tensions rise as secrets that threaten to destroy everyone are uncovered. In a place where no one is entirely innocent, how will he ever find the guilty?

***

 

The Curse of Lakeham Abbey is released on 15th August 2017 and is available to buy from Amazon.co.ukhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1973988623 (paperback) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_21?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492456&sr=1-21 (Kindle)

And Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford/dp/1973988623/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492330&sr=1-3&keywords=Sally+Quilford (paperback) https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492421&sr=1-2 (Kindle)

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502867137&sr=8-1&keywords=the+curse+of+lakeham+abbey+by+sally+quilford

DISCOVERING ME by Divyanjali Verma – A Young Indian Author

 

Ddivyanjali

Divyanjali Verma is a young writer from Lucknow in north India. She recently published her novel DISCOVERING ME. She is currently studying clinical psychology in Amity University in NOIDA, north India. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on her book, which by all accounts, is an absorbing read.

 

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Inspiration… I am not too sure whether it could be labelled as such, but I did have motivation to write. This started off as an article for the school magazine, but was deemed to be too long to be published so i shelved it. Then one of my friends requested me to continue and well, i was not doing too good academically that year, so writing was a way to prove to myself that i wasn’t worthless. So in a way, the motivation was to keep myself from slipping into depression.

 

Why do you like writing?

I like to write because it acts as an outlet for thoughts that i cannot express out loud. Also, it is a great way to discover like-minded people. I started reading voraciously at the age of 10, moving on to writing was an easy transition. Devouring the words of L.M.Alcott, J.K.Rowling, Christopher Paolini, Dan Brown, and Agatha Christie, among a lot others, I began to wonder what my own words would turn out to be like on paper. Once I started, there was no end. Writing is an escape, solace, a relief from reality. Since I generally use a penname while posting write-ups on social media, it also helps me to hide as I write in metaphors about all that I feel and want.

 

How long did it take you to write this book? 

It took me a year to complete the book and another to finish editing it to my best ability. Examinations and joining college kept me from working on it as much as I wanted to and so it took me two years to be done with it.

 

What was the hardest part of your writing process?

Hardest part of the writing process for me was to pen down the conversations. I am not one to talk much out loud. I prefer written to vocal, and so coming up with the words that the characters said to each other was difficult. Aside from that, i was bleeding ink and it was quite easy. However, since I am in a better place currently, I’m having difficulty slipping into that mode again so in a way, the hardest part has been to start with the sequel.

 

What was the shortest?

What took the least amount of time were the parts with King Rusoe and Lady Charlise. I had the most fun writing them and had to tone down some of the scenes because my friends felt they would be too mcuh for a young audience (laughs). Considering the society I live in, it is completely okay for there to be violent scenes whereasmy morals might have been questioned if I had added some romantic parts in the manuscript. Therefore I let my imagination fly wherever it wanted when it came to those chapters and one cana very well say that they wrote themselves.

 

Intempus – Discovering Me

 

 

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“Sometimes all it takes to change everything you thought true is a single sentence by a single person.” And sometimes it takes three.
All Danielle Hayes ever wanted was a normal, boring life, full of monotonous repetitions, but three statements destroyed all chances of her wish ever coming true-
1) “Don’t call me ‘Daddy’, I’m not your father.”
2) “I am Daniel Hayes, your brother.”
3) “I’m a Lamia, dear, a witch. Dan’s one too, as are you!”
Read on as the saga commences and Danielle begins the journey to find her roots and discover who she really is while coming to terms with magic, family and above all, the feeling of home in the midst of increased revelations of mysteries which supposedly have no explanations.

 

Get this book here: Amazon India  (ebook/ book)  Amazon US   Amazon UK  Kobo

 


Breach 
by 
Amrita Chowdhury

The Blurb

How secure are your secrets in the virtual world?  Weeks before pharma-giant Acel is ready to file a global patent application for cancer wonder-drug Colare, its offshore data centre in Mumbai is hacked. The charismatic, young leader of its Indian business, Dr Udai Vir Dhingra, finds himself being blamed for negligence and breach of security. Battling market pressures, media scrutiny, livid American bosses and crumbling relationships, Vir must find the perpetrators, or see his career – and his life – spiral downwards. But the deeper he gets dragged into the shadowy world of masked online identities and muddied digital footprints, the more Vir discovers that nothing is easy or obvious, and everything has a price. Set across Mumbai, Washington and Guangzhou, Breach is a compelling and edgy cyber thriller that explores the dark and dangerous underbelly of our increasingly virtual existence

Buy @


Watch It 

Meet the Author


Amrita Verma Chowdhury is the author of Faking It, an art crime thriller about fake modern and contemporary Indian art.
She holds engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, where she was a Jane Lewis Fellow, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon (Tepper Business School). Her work as an engineer in Silicon Valley led to seven US patents for semi-conductor fabrication – something to show for those bad-haired days. She has done Strategy Consulting and Board Effectiveness work in the US and Australia and has spent long nights fitting five-syllable words inside two-by-two squares. She has worked in the rarefied bastions of Ivy League education bringing together ideas and people. She currently works in publishing.
She lives in Mumbai with her husband Sumit, their two children Shoumik and Aishani, and an assortment of pets including a cocker spaniel, a guinea pig and two turtles. She loves travelling, baking cupcakes with her daughter and hearing from her readers.
You can stalk her @

                          

         

This Tour is Hosted by 

Part 7

Luke McCord had lived in this area all his life, just getting by.  People had come and gone in his life but Hellsprings remained.  He wasn’t sure why.  He’d been an only child, his father had disappeared before he was born and he wasn’t a mixer.  Most of the people who had come into his life were transitory.   Girlfriends had come and gone, usually migrant workers from outside who had come to work in the local tourist spots.  That was just the way Luke liked it.  He wasn’t one for getting into commitment.  He stayed well clear of that.

Not that any woman would give him a second glance now.  The years had not been kind to Luke McCord.  He shrugged his well worn shoulders as he reflected on his current, lonely state.  When he’d been a young man and passably  good looking, getting women wasn’t a problem.  It was now, though.  His job didn’t help either, out of the environs of the town, the lone watchman for Hellsprings. Dang it, hardly anyone came here.  Yeah, a trip into town was on the cards.

He was a terrible sleeper so in many ways, the job suited him. Sitting outside his shotgun shack in the early morning, a large cup of coffee in front of him, he blinked his eyes in surprise.  Someone was coming.  Coming to the spring.  No-one usually did that outside the season.  Not this early.  Not even in the days when the town had been a prominent tourist destination in the region.

Luke observed a tall, dark figure emerging out of  the horizon.  What was more, the figure was hooded.  Good grief!  Some weirdo. Probably up to some kind of mischief, he reckoned.  He decided that he’d better check out what was going on.  That was his job, after all.

The tall dark hooded man, wearing what seemed like a heck of a long overcoat, paused in front of the spring, his gaze fixed on it directly.

“Hey, what’s going on?  You got some business here?”

“Yes,” came the reply.  To Luke’s dismay, the voice seemed somewhat other worldly.  Whatever that meant.

“Well, I’m sorry,” replied Luke. “But you don’t need to come back here until……yeah, nine o’clock.  Got that?”

“Please do not worry.  My work will only take a few seconds.  I shall not disturb you.”

“Now, hold on a minute. What exactly do you mean by that?”

“Stand clear.”

“Stand what?  What exactly did you say?”

“I said ‘stand clear’.  That means stand far away from me.  I don’t wish to hurt you or cause you any disturbance.  Now please get back.”  The commanding tone in the voice was unmistakable, but this was Luke McCord’s territory.  An outsider couldn’t just breeze in and take over….

“Wait a minute!  What do you mean by…..”

“Exactly what I said.  I’ve warned you.  The rest is up to you….”

An unexpected blast knocked Luke backwards.   There was a fiery radiation from the stranger’s direction.  Luke was thrown clear of the scene.  He was even unconscious for a couple of minutes.

And when he came around,the ground was scorched where the mysterious stranger had been standing.  The stranger was gone. And Luke had a thundering headache, not to mention an aching back and a pain in the neck.

Just what the heck is going on here?

© 2010-2017 MARIA PERRY MOHAN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Review – True Colours by Vanessa Fox

Reviewed by Maria
From my native Ireland comes this enjoyable piece of  romantic intrigue by Vanessa Fox, which is also her debut novel.    
Creative and hard working,  Alexandra (Alex) Ryan, an Irish expat,  is home from Spain on a dual purpose visit.  Firstly  to spend time with her beloved father, who’s recovering from a serious accident.  Alex has questions about the ‘accident’ which no-one seems able to answer.  What her father is hiding?  Who is he protecting?   And why?  The second purpose for the visit is to drum up business for her Spanish based interior design company.   A prestigious first assignment with the Spanish Cultural Institute together with  word of mouth recommendations land her yet another lucrative commission.   Ushered into the presence of the boss of a prestigious finance company before she’s had time to Google his name, she finds herself face to face with Sebastian Wingfield, the scion of the aristocratic family who own the Anglo-Irish Kilfenora estate where her father had served as gamekeeper until his accident.  Alex remembers how she and Sebastian were passionately involved thirteen years before, until she fled, suddenly and irrevocably, to Spain.  
Surprisingly, Sebastian seems to be really mad at Alex for absconding on their love affair all those years ago.   Alex had assumed that he’d be well over it by now.   She cannot deny that she still responds to Sebastian on a very deep level.  Sebastian is about to be married to high society beauty Caroline Audiguet O’Reilly.  Are the engaged couple really as happy as they pretend to be? And who is stalking Sebastian, raking up dirt in the newspapers and generally lurking on the periphery of his life, ready to cause him harm?
As the saga unfolds, within the affluent environs of Dublin and it’s wealthy suburbs and within the grandeur of Kilfenora estate, all questions will be duly attended to and answered.  This is the high end of Dublin life, the financial realm, the Embassy belt, the world of the glamorous and the wealthy.  With the imposing, crumbling castle of Kilfenora in the background, much like the nonagenarian Lord Kilfenora himself, old money and new money co-exist harmoniously.  But everything can change in a night.  The old order, where a gamekeeper’s daughter wasn’t considered good enough for  the son of the Wingfield family can give way to the new.  The foreign returned businesswoman which Alex has now become is more than a match for her old lover.  
I found this read kept me hooked to the very end.  No doubt, my enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that I’m Irish, a Dubliner by birth, recognizing and enjoying the details of my native place as I read.  Yet the emotions and questions evoked by the novel are universal.  Love, wealth and deception are common throughout the world.  I think that anyone with a taste for romantic fiction, particularly romantic intrigue, or even just a good old mystery story, would find this an absorbing read.
I look forward to more novels in the future from Vanessa Fox.  This book is available on amazon.com