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Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Release -- MY NOBLE KNIGHT by Cynthia Breeding -- Giveaway!

Beautiful Deidre of the Languedoc is on a mission—she must search Scotland for the precious Philosopher’s Stone that has been stolen from her priestess mother—upsetting the natural rhythm of the religion of the Goddess. Separated from her escort and caught up in the spectacle of the fires of Beltane revelry, Deidre is saved from rape by a divinely handsome archangel complete with sword—Gilead MacOengus, the son of a powerful laird.

But once Gilead takes Deidre to the castle for safety, she is in more danger than she’s ever been before. Her would-be rapist, Niall MacDouglas, vows to have Deidre at all costs—and Gilead’s father, Angus, promises her to the cruel MacDouglas in order to prevent war. The strong-willed seeress must find a way to keep the wedding from happening—she’s falling in love with Gilead, and her time to find the secret location of the Philosopher’s Stone is short.

Though Deidre’s romantic heart yearns for the fables of Camelot to have some foundation in reality, she is disappointed again and again—is there not one noble knight in all of Scotland? The truth can only be revealed with the discovery and return of the Philosopher’s Stone to its rightful place. Only then can true love be brought into balance for Deidre and the one she claims as MY NOBLE KNIGHT…



     Gilead had moved closer. Subtly, his face changed as he studied hers. His pupils dilated, turning the irises near purple. Slowly a hand came up to cup her chin and he traced her lips lightly with his thumb.
     “Ye want to be kissed, lass?” It really wasn’t so much a question as a statement.
     Dear God. She shouldn’t. He had made it clear with his strict formality that he didn’t want to have anything to do with her. This would mean nothing to him. She should pull away; she really should. He wasn’t holding her forcefully, but the gentle touch of his fingers might as well have been an iron collar. Deidre shut her eyes and parted her lips.
     She heard his sharp intake of breath and then his lips brushed hers, tantalizing her as he kept the pressure easy and gentle. It was slow torture, and finally she could stand no more. She thrust her tongue deep into his mouth.
     He hesitated but a moment and then brought his arms around her waist, pulling her to him as he responded… 

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First the Fall, Then the Barbarians

Bath, England, once called Aquae Sulis or the Spa of Sul (Minerva)
Hadrian's Wall, Northumbria, England

Good morning. Today I’m beginning a six-part series about the Middle Ages with the goal of giving casual readers of medieval romances a better understanding of the time period. Specifically, we’ll talk about why there were no damsels in distress and why a knight is shining armor isn’t a good sign.

Today's topic: macro trends of the early medieval period and how they set the foundation for the era.

Feudalism, the prevalent social and economic structure throughout much of the period, grew out of necessity during the Migration Period, the frequent and often violent movement of new “peoples” into Europe. Most of these peoples were of Germanic origin, but at the time each wave was considered new, different and barbaric, and led the Romanized natives to band together for protection. From these bands, dozens of small kingdoms emerged, each led by a warlord. Those around him pledged loyalty and service in exchange for the protection and wealth he could offer them.

The Early Middle Ages (~400 to 1100 AD)

The historical record for this time period is very thin. We know what we do mainly through monastic chroniclers, such as Bede, a Northumbrian monk who charted the conversion of various kings and nobles to Christianity (throwing in nice details about who fought whom, who killed whom, and who married whom in the process) and the anonymous authors of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. This period is marked by:
  • Mass migrations
  • Clashes of cultures and religions
  • War and the breakdown of society
  • Power within a community shifting from administrators and bureaucrats to warrior-kings
  • A new social structure, a new economy, and new values emerge
The Migration Period was inevitable. Migration is the story of human history. It's what we do. Out of Africa. Into the Middle East. Across the sea. To Mars. The Roman Empire had stagnated because political power was in the hands of the few, and bureaucracy was the de facto governor.

In England, the legions were withdrawn over 200 years (more or less), but were gone by 407 A.D. Almost immediately, the Picts from Scotland and the Scots from Ireland began harrying the North. Germanic warriors were brought in to help battle them. Within 50 years, the Saxons revolted and the Romanized Britons were on the road to defeat.

A few key points from this time period:
Lindesfarne Abbey on Holy Island
  • Kingship was not hereditary; power was based solely on the king's ability to fight and win battles, gather treasure and slaves, and keep supporters loyal. Any male kin of the king could muster a claim for the crown. 
  • Academic opinions are split as to the size of the migrations in England (i.e. mass migration vs. band of elite warriors who took over the country) and whether the incoming Germanic groups drove the Britons west or if there was peaceful coexistence. In all likelihood, both happened. Initially, the Angles were invited in to fight incursions from Picts, Scots, and others. Others followed and by the 7th century Anglo-Saxons were the dominant people.
  • The country was divided into seven major and minor kingdoms, with smaller kingdoms within the larger ones. There were kings and high kings. Saxon kingdoms: Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, and Kent. The kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria fought for dominance throughout the 7th and 8th centuries.
  • This struggle ended in the 9th century when the Danish invasions began. If you want an idea of how terrorizing Vikings were, just close your eyes and think of the dragon-headed silhouette of the long ship breaking through the fog. That it’s still seen as an image of terror more than a 1,000 years later is telling. In the past few decades, a new, softer Viking has emerged from the historical records, and much as been written about the Danes as farmers, merchants, and able administrators. True as that might be, Vikings left a lasting and frightening impression on Europe so they couldn’t have been too soft.
  • In Europe, the Franks were consolidating power in what is now France. The Franks can be traced to the banks of the Rhine under Roman influence. After the collapse of imperial authority, the Franks moved west and south. The Merovingian dynasty grew out of the ruling elite and eventually replaced Rome as the ruling authority. It developed into the Carolingian Empire and reached its pinnacle under Charlemagne (783-814).
Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Scotland

The last Great Migration

The first Viking attack on England happened in 739 A.D. and the raiders devastated the priory of Lindesfarne on Holy Island. Within 150 years, they occupied major portions of what is now Britain. Wessex King Alfred the Great (849-899) halted the Vikings at Edington and started a revival of learning and culture outside the monasteries. The balance of power tipped between Saxons and Vikings over the next two hundred years until the Norsemen (Normans) achieved a lasting victory in 1066.

Vikings also raided deep into Europe, using the rivers as highways for strike-and-go raids before settling down to grow crops and children. In 911 A.D. the wonderfully named Charles the Simple gave what is now Normandy to the Viking leader Rollo.

Farther south, Muslim invaders crossed the Strait of Gibraltar between North Africa and Spain and defeated the Goths in the southern part of the country. Legends make this invasion as bloody and violent as those in the north, with reports of prisoners being cut in to pieces and boiled. The Moors then followed the old Roman roads north with little resistance. With a few years, much of Spain was Moorish and would stay that way until Christians began driving them out in the 12th century.

What This Means to You

If you’re writing (or reading) a story set in the early Middle Ages, the elements that will drive your story’s setting are those responsible for the slow breakdown of society and the gradual rebuilding of a new one.

In other words, lots of anxiety, confusion, fear, and warriors with agendas will be in the background.

There are also a few facts that you can’t ignore. For instance, a 7th-century Saxon queen serving as regent while her young son grows to manhood won’t be believable. That’s not to say there weren’t women with power or influence, or that your heroine can’t be a woman of power and influence. She just wouldn’t have a crown. You have to find a way to make her role make sense to readers. Along the same lines, she’s not going to be running around the countryside alone picking berries or delivering babies unless she’s down with probable rape, abduction and slavery.

Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. Her books are available from Prairie Rose Publications and Amazon. For more information on her stories, visit her Amazon page, her website, or Facebook.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Gorilla Gold Mine

In the town of Lundy that served the many men employed in the mines in the mountains flanking Mill Creek Canyon, the May Lundy Mine and its accompanying Mill Works were the elephant in the town. However, there was also a Gorilla in town.

Gorilla Mine stock mentioned
A minor detail in my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series involved this mine. After Beth Dodd discovers her scoundrel of a husband died just before she arrived in Lundy, as part of settling his estate, she discovered that he held some mining stock in a few of the area’s mines. One mine was the Gorilla Mine. The judge helping settle her probate comments to her it is fortunate she has stock in the Gorilla as opposed to the May Lundy Mine. Even in early 1884, there were some rumors that the May Lundy was in trouble and the process of selling to overseas buyers. However, the Gorilla, although smaller, was solid.
Map of Gorilla Mine location. The long narrow lake is Lundy Lake. The town of Lundy is between the lake and mine.

The big success story of the miners in Mill Creek Canyon was the Gorilla. The Gorilla Mine was located on the South side of Mill Creek Canyon not far from the May Lundy Mine, The owners were A. Maestretti, J.F. Murray, J.W. Matthews, Wm. Miller and James McCallom (Guerrilla), January 29, 1881.
Mt. Scowden on cover
The mine was located above the town of Wasson, west of the Homer M.&M. Co. holdings, on the south canyon wall above the Mocking Bird mine.  It was not far from the May Lundy Mine. All of these mines were on the north slope an arm of Mount Scowden that was situated east to west. This mine was not located until January 1881, the lucky owners being J.W. Matthews, J.F. Murray, James McCallum and William Miller. Peter Tautphaus bought into the mine in the summer of 1881, and started of a long association with the Lundy Reduction Works.

The mine was a producer from the beginning, with the ore packed to Lundy to be worked. Mineralization is hosted in hornblendite and granite. Gold was the only valuable mineral mined.
Approximate location of Gorilla Mine. Trees in meadow of former Wasson town site.
*** I interrupt this blog post for a tale of serendipity ***

During my internet search, I was unable to find a photo (public domain or otherwise) of the Gorilla Mine. However, in Mr. Patera's book he included his 1990 black and white photo of the mountain and described the approximate location of the 
Gorilla Mine.
I went back through the photos I took of the Mill Creek Canyon and surrounding mountains in the fall of 2015. It was almost as if I had taken the same shot as Mr. Patera, except mine had more trees in the foreground. And, my photo is in color.

*** End of serendipity tale *** 

The mine was worked by two tunnels employing six miners the first winter. The lower tunnel was in 290 feet on February 18, 1882, working a three foot vein of ore. In the summer of 1882 a track was laid in the tunnel and ore was moved by an ore cart.
gold ore in quartz rock
In 1883 the Gorilla became the second mine in the district to construct a tramway to lower ore to Wasson and from there to transport it by wagon to the reduction works. By this time the mine was producing 50 tons of ore per day.
Not a tram around Lundy, but similar to what they built.
In June of 1884 the company installed a Planet quartz mill. The local newspaper, the Homer Index, on July 12, 1884 published: “The outlook for the Gorilla M.&M. Co. was never so flattering as at the present time…. The bullion shipments are now as regular as those of the May Lundy…”

The Gorilla production remained strong and shipments of bullion continued even after the fail of Lundy as a town. By that time, workings include underground openings comprised of 3 tunnels, reported in 1888 to be 270, 340 and 412 feet long, plus a 386 foot deep shaft. As of October, 1884, the Index reported, “…bullion shipments are regular.”  At the end of 1886, mine foreman, Henry Miller, was killed in an accident at the mine. That effectively ended the operations. The mine produced $61,773 in five years of operation.

In May, 1887 the mine was leased to Fred Schwartz and Harry Sullivan. There was a small production in 1887. No other production record found, and since then the Gorilla Mine has remained idle.

Patera, Alan H., Lundy; Western Places, Lake Grove, Oregon: 2000
Western Mining History:

You may find the book descriptions and purchase links to all five Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 books currently published by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Last Call for FREE and 99-cent Special Deals!

Has everyone had a good week? Hope so! We sure have. There's a lot of truth in the old saying "it's better to give than receive." We at Prairie Rose Publications have enjoyed giving y'all some great reading for free this week. Free! You can't beat that with a stick.

We're almost out of time, though. If you haven't moseyed on over to Amazon to pick up your free and 99-cent books yet, you might want to get a hustle on. Today's the last day! You can find a list of all the books, with links, here. Links to all the books also appear at the bottom of this post.

I thought I'd throw some value-priced boxed sets in your path so you could stumble over them while you're over yonder picking up freebies. (I have an evil streak.) Boxed sets are a great deal: You get multiple stories by multiple authors, and all of them are first-rate. I don't know about anyone else, but I find a new favorite author every time I pick up a boxed set. My budget hates it when that happens.

All of these boxed sets are only 99 cents — or free if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
A Kiss to Remember: Get ready for some wonderful hours of pleasure-filled reading as you settle back in your easy chair and get lost in five full-length stories by five award-winning and best-selling authors. In Her Sanctuary by Tracy Garrett, a preacher falls in love with a grieving young woman, only to discover she harbors a secret that may tear them apart. A gunman and a woman from his past face treachery in an unforgiving town in Cheryl Pierson's Gabriel's Law. The outlaw in Tanya Hanson's Outlaw Heart finds going straight would be a whole lot easier if an angel didn't keep tempting him. The Dumont Way by Kathleen Rice Adams contains a trilogy of Civil War-era novellas that prove the love of a good woman can save a man's tortured soul. In Yesterday's Flame by Livia J. Washburn, a pair of firefighters from different centuries fall in love amid the chaos of the Great San Francisco fire.

A Cowboy's Touch can heal anything — including lost love, hard times, and angry moments. In these four full-length novels, emotion runs high with the tingle of danger and the heat of love: The Half-Breed's Woman by Cheryl Pierson, Prodigal Gun by Kathleen Rice Adams, Spirit Catcher by Livia J. Washburn, and Wild Texas Winds by Kit Prate.

Hold on to your Stetson and get ready for some darn fine reading. A Cowboy's Heart contains five full-length western romance novels offering hours of reading pleasure with something for everyone: Time Plains Drifter by Cheryl Pierson, Claiming His Heart by Tanya Hanson, The Calling by Sara Barnard, Saint or Sinner by Gil McDonald, and All for Love by Beverly Wells. Cowboy's Brand is a sensational boxed set guaranteed to make you smile. This collection includes five full-length novels from some of the best western romance writers writing today: Across the Sweet Grass Hills by Gail L. Jenner, Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride by Sarah J. McNeal, Into the Land of Shadows by Kristy McCaffrey, Double Crossing by Meg Mims, and Mending Fences by Livia J. Washburn.

Love's First Touch is powerful and sweet. It can move the heart to realize the true depth of emotion that only a first love can bring. There’s some exciting reading ahead in these five full-length novels! Come join these wonderful characters as they experience awakening feelings and tumultuous relationships that can only be discovered with Love's First Touch: Digging Holes in Paradise by Karen Mihaljevich, Drina's Choice by Agnes Alexander, Double or Nothing by Meg Mims, Fly Away Heart by Sarah J. McNeal, and Wish for the Moon by Celia Yeary.

There's something for everyone in Love, Come to Me, a wonderful collection of love stories from different time periods. We challenge you to stop reading in the middle of any of them. Each story is heart-warming in its own way, guaranteed to have you falling in love with the characters and the stories of their lives. Take a look: The Violin by Sarah J. McNeal, Family Secrets by Zina Abbott, Who is Elizabeth? by Patti Boeckman, Shattered Vows by Linda LaRoque, and Kissing Cousins by Diana Tobin.
From the Home Fires of the Civil War to a hard-won Race to Marry, you’ll love these tales of feisty ladies and Six Sizzlin' Mavericks who know how to live and love to the fullest. The collection contains two Christmas tales, Christmas Stroll and Hearts in Winter, which are sure to keep you wishing for a Wyoming snowfall and an old-time, full-blown holiday of your very own. The Widow's Lawman and The Ballad of Annie Sullivan round out this boxed set with a couple of tales that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
Are you ready to ride into the old west with six fantastic tales of outlaws, lawmen, Apaches, and ex-gunmen? There's nothing like outwitting a band of Apache warriors, facing down a man with a hard grudge, or standing with a brother you don't agree with and doing it all from your easy chair. Each and every one of these tales of the west are guaranteed to keep you turning pages. You'll share these hard-hitting action adventures as surely as if you were standing in the dusty Texas heat or the wilds of Indian Territory alongside the outlaws, marshals, and bounty hunters captured in the pages of Code of the West. So, DRAW...if you dare!

I promised y'all the links to all the special deals, so here they are! Just remember: You've only got today to take advantage of the offer. Light a shuck!

Free Feb. 13-17


99 Cents