A Gentleman and a Rogue

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on Memorial Day


Today President Obama will be visiting the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary in Chicago while Vice President Biden will be visiting the Arlington National Cemetary.

Memorial Day is a holiday close to my heart. I served in the military from 1986-1997. Military life is not easy. For those who serve and and are veterans, thank you for giving a part of yourself to our nation.

Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," and was established as a day of rememberance for those who died in service to the U.S. Nation during the Civil War. It was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 in Waterloo, NY. (Now, I have conflicting reports on the date, also given as 1866, most sources I've found, however, give the 1868 date.)

The south refused to recoginze it until World War I. In 1915, Moina Michael wrote a poem called "In Flander's Field" which inspired the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died during "The Great War."

In 1971, Congress passed the Holiday Act moving Memorial Day from it's traditional observance of 30 May to the last Monday in May to make it a three day holiday weekend.

I'd like to share a military poem I wrote in honor of this day.

MARCHING WITH MEMORIES

I saw them first
when I was six,
marching in the parade,
with faded uniforms,
and frayed ribbons.
Their smiles full of remembrances
I knew nothing of.

I saw them again
when I was sixteen,
Older, weathered,
wizened, tempered.
This time their smiles hinted at
proud memories I could have, too.

I saw them next
when I was twenty-one.
I marched with them,
my uniform sharp and pressed,
medals glistening in the sun.
My hand gone.

Memories haunted, hinting of times seen,
full of destruction and despair,
from scenes of war we share.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

History Saturday - Love & The Throne #1 - Edward III

The Tower of London

I'm honored to bring my Love & The Throne Series here to History Saturday. This was originally published on Lindsay's Romantics Blog in Jan 2010. Today is about Edward III and the legacy he left on the British Throne.

Edward III

Welcome to my series, “Love and the Throne,” which takes a look at the back door lives of famous monarchs.

I’ve always been interested in the lives of famous kings and queens. Their decisions have influenced the world. My series goes deeper – who personally influenced them?

The English monarchs were colorful, charismatic leaders and each new king or queen brought something to the throne that still resonates in England today. That’s why I thought I’d tackle Edward III first.

We have a lot of documentation about the type of reign Edward III had, but there’s not much about his “back door” life. I will say this, when people experience a lot of drama early in their life, it’s not something they forget easily. I would say that Edward’s parents and their scandalous behavior influenced him to be the opposite of them. After all, he is the epitome of an English medieval king. Edward II and Isabella would never be described as chivalrous.

Remember the movie, Braveheart? Historically, William Wallace wasn’t the father of Isabella’s baby. Edward III’s parents were Edward II and Isabella. Trust me. Nice movie element, but history backs Edward II as the father of Edward III. Interestingly, Edward II and Isabella had four children.

Edward II was a bi-sexual. He did his duty by his wife, Isabella, getting her pregnant and then went on to indulge in his male lovers – and he just about ruined England. Okay, Edward II didn’t ruin England, but he lost the support of the nobles by playing favorites with his male lovers. He did not make good administrative decisions as king.

Isabella gave birth to Edward II’s first child and son on 13 November 1312. He grew into a tall, handsome boy with a hint of the Plantagenet red in his hair. He was noted to be good natured and kind. He was also said to be ambitious and extravagant, traits, no doubt, he got from his mother. Edward’s childhood was that of a medieval prince. He was groomed to take the throne. Then, when he was 14, he witnessed the destruction of his father’s court.

When Edward was 14, the nobles had had their fill of his father, Edward II. Edward II’s poor decision making coupled with his bi-sexual activities lost him a good deal of allies. Isabella, who had taken a lover, Roger Mortimer, staged a coup. Edward II was forced to abdicate in favor of his son. Since Edward III was only 14, Isabella and Roger were named as Regents for the young king. Shortly after his abdication, Mortimer ordered Edward II’s death.

Isabella felt confident in her ability to control her son, Edward III. His reign is dated as starting in January 1327. One year later, Edward married his first cousin, Philippa of Hainault, on 24 Jan 1328. She was 14.

Edward III had a fruitful marriage to Philippa. Their first son was born on 15 Jun 1330. The boy, Edward, the Black Prince, was the first of 14 children, 9 survived into adulthood. Interestingly, history has not documented any bastard children attributed to Edward III. He appears to be devoted to Philippa.

In the autumn of 1330, Edward, now 17, staged a coup against Mortimer. Mortimer was getting greedy, giving himself estates from the crown property and Edward III, now a man with a family, must have decided it was time for him to assume kingship. Mortimer was disposed and within a month, Edward III had the greedy Mortimer executed for treason. As for his mother, Edward III sent her to a nunnery. It was rumored she was pregnant with Mortimer’s child at the time and miscarried at the nunnery.

Edward III did feel some remorse for his father. He did build a monument to the memory of Edward II shortly after he came to the throne.

Once Edward III had taken the throne for himself, his adventures began. His military accomplishments were legend. Philippa accompanied him on several of his expeditions to Scotland and Flanders. Rumor was his son John of Gaunt could have been a challenging, with the real baby dying in childbirth. The same rumor haunts their daughter, Joan, but there’s just not enough historical facts to back up these rumors one way or another.

Between fathering children with Philippa and warmongering, Edward III lived the life he wanted to live. He took half of France, securing the city of Calais for England. Philippa died in 1369 when Edward was 57. He took a mistress after her death, Alice Perrers. Alice was a gold digger, or so history would like us to believe. Alice used John of Gaunt to exert influence over Parliament, as Edward III declined in health in his later years. When Edward III died from a stroke in 1376, Alice supposedly took the rings off his fingers.

What resonates today? The Canterbury Tales were written during Edward III’s reign. He is also the founder of the “Order of the Garter.”

Edward III’s legacy was having too many sons.

NEXT: Edward’s heir, The Black Prince, his son, Lionel, 1st Duke of Clarence, and his son, John of Gaunt set the table for the Wars of the Roses.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review Friday - Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas


Book Review for: "Devil in Winter"
Written by: Lisa Kleypas
Avon Books
ISBN: 978-0-06-056251-9
374 pages
Print/Ebook
4.5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

Kleypas pens an intriguing tale of romance and suspense with "Devil in Winter." This is book three in Kleypas's "Wallflower Series," a set of stories involving four friends in Victorian England.

Set in London, 1843, Evangeline (Evie) Jenner, is a "wallflower" of a young woman with vibrant red hair, freckles, and an uncomfortable stammer. Yet, while her appearance lends itself akin to being a "wallflower," Evie has a strength of spirit and courage that few men can match.

The novel opens with Evie approaching Viscount Sebastien St. Vincent, a scoundrel to the ultimate degree, and proposing a marriage of convenience. Evie's father is dying and she stands to inherit his gambling club; only her mother's family keeps a brutal, watchful eye over her. Now that Evie is of age, she goes to St. Vincent with her proposal. She's not the type of woman who would catch his attention on a first glance, yet her courage impresses him. When he asks Evie why him, she replies she'd prefer a devil of her own choosing.

Evie and Sebastien make haste to Gretna Green in Scotland and get married. Sebastien's motives for entering into the marriage initially involve the promise of Evie's fortune, but he soon discovers that Evie's made of sterner stuff and he admires her for it. After a wedding night filled with passion, Sebastien realizes that Evie has touched his soul in a way other women have not.

Once back in London, Evie and Sebastien go to the gaming club where Evie's father dies. Joss Bullard, a man at the club, and Evie's family give the couple a challenge to meet, especially when Bullard aims a gun at Evie to shoot her. However, it's Sebastien who takes the bullet for his wife. Will Evie give her rake of a husband a chance at love if he recovers?

Kleypas's writing is crisp. The plot is solid and character driven. The pacing slows just in the right parts to let the reader catch their breath.

Kleypas's descriptions are rich and vivid, using a good economy of words while never slowing down the story.

Both Evie and Sebastien grow as characters. When we first meet Sebastien, he's shallow and caught up in material wealth. As he learns to help run the club and trust in Evie, he grows, discovering that Evie's steadfast nature, courage and strength mean more to him than possessions.

When we first meet Evie, she shows raw courage by proposing to Sebastien. She's comfortable with him because she knows what to expect from him. Her stammer lessens as Sebastien extends trust to her, and she, in turn, learns to trust him.

The novel is "sophisticated/intense" for romance readers and Kleypas's love scenes are graphic, yet tasteful. Overall, "Devil in Winter," is a sinful read that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Promos & Reviews - The Hungarian



Here's one of my latest reviews for "The Hungarian"
Readers Favorites
5 Stars

Hungary:
Months ago Count Mathias Duma and his English born wife were attacked by wolves. His wife was killed. Mathias was bitten and turned into a werewolf.

England:
Katherine’s favorite book in her uncle’s library was Destiny and Astrology. She had just curled up with the book when in walked a Count Duma. There was an instant attraction between the two. Katherine was the first woman to stir the Count’s heart since the death of his wife. He had mourned her for months. He longed to return to his home land of Romania but his former mother in law was trying to make that impossible. She was trying to take his daughter away from him. He had recently purchased an estate in the area so that his daughter would also know she had a connection to her mother’s home land.

Eventually Kate and Mathias were able to return to his home in Hungary. His rival Count Vargar was determined to steal Katherine away from him. Mathias demanded total loyalty. Filled with jealousy and rage he accused Katherine of being disloyal.

This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic. Katherine and Mathias play were together. This is the first book in a new series. I look forward to reading the next entry.

Link: http://readersfavorite.com/cat-71.htm?review=3136

*********

Stiggles, Margaret Young
5 Stars, Amazon Review:

A fantastic story. Stephanie's writing is superb in this paranormal romance. The Hungarian is rich with sharp, intelligent, likable characters that make the reader love them and root for them and cry for them along the way. Count Matthias Duma is dealing with the fallout of the tragic, somewhat mysterious death of his first wife. Suspicious of his involvement in her daughter's death, Matthias's mother-in-law has made it her mission to smear his name and prove him an unfit parent to her only grandchild, Matthias's daughter, Emily. An ugly custody battle has forced Matthias to leave his home in Hungary and establish a temporary residence in London for the duration of the investigation and proceedings. While there, he meets Lady Katherine Archibald, the modest, beautiful, vibrant young niece of a close friend and business associate. From the moment of their fateful meeting, she brings sunshine and optimism into his lonely, brooding life, along with hope for a future of new love and salvation from the dark cloud of his tragic past. While their romance blossoms over a summer-long courtship, it also stirs whispers and condemning gossip that threatens to ruin his chances of winning his custody suit.

And then there's another hairy situation to contend with - literally. What would his mother-in-law and Katherine think if they found out the truth behind his reason for loathing the moon...

Stephanie takes us on this emotional ride with grace and eloquence. She brings history to life, from noble life in Victorian Era England, to the mystic, rural countryside of Hungary. She takes you on location with vivid descriptions that bring the sights, sounds, and smells to life. Their period clothing unfold before our eyes. The descriptions of the smells of the spices and foods make the mouth water. Few authors can bring such detail to their writing without burdening and cluttering the pages, yet Stephanie does so with seamless, easy beauty. By the time Katherine discovers Matthias's secret, Stephanie has us thoroughly invested in this endearing, page-turning tale of werewolves, witches, friends, and enemies, all striving and driving for one end -- happily-ever-after. This is a must-read for anyone who loves a good love-story with a twist. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What I'm Reading Tuesday



Hi all, I thought I'd share with you what I was reading today. :)

I have to admit I really enjoyed Gail Delaney's "The Phoenix Rebellion, Book 1: Revolution," so much so I wanted to read Book 2, "Outcasts." It's a hard book to put down and I growl every time I have to.

In book 2, Outcasts, Victor is an Areth scientist who is in the Rebellion, having been taken there after the Rebellion broke into his NM compound. (Book 1) Victor was in a coma for several months and after emerging from the coma, he is presenting with two very distinct personalities. One he calls "a demon," the other is more sane and rational. He only finds peace, when Beverly, an empath, is near.

Obviously, the challenge is to figure out what's bothering Victor. It has Dr. Quinn and Dr. Montgomery stumped. I'm to the point where they have given him a neural "neutralizer" to help him suppress "the demon."

One of the features that I've enjoy is my text to speech on my Kindle. I've been listening to the book as I drive to work. I must admit it's a treat! I've always enjoyed a good audio book (however I'm very picky about my audio books) this one is a pleasure to listen to.

Outcasts is a sci-fi/speculative romance and there are my characters that the reader comes to care about. This book appears to focus on the story between Victor and Beverly.

I love the writing. It's easy to picture Delaney's futurtisic world and it moves at a good clip. I'm not done yet, but it is a pleasure to read.

Smiles
Steph

Outcasts is available at Amazon for Kindle, The Sony ebookstore, All Romance Books, Books on Board, and at the Desert Breeze Website.

Here's a link for Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Rebellion-Book-Two-ebook/dp/B0036FU0ZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1274803524&sr=1-1

Monday, May 24, 2010

Excerpt Monday - Royal Pretender



"Royal Pretender" is a historical fiction and recounts how George II met his wife, Caroline of Ansbach. In this excerpt, George escorts Caroline to her room.

*****
“We should go in. Night will come soon. Can I show you to your rooms?” William asked.

“May I escort the princess to her room before she retires?” asked George, standing up. “I promise to be an upstanding gentleman.”

“If my brother has no objections,” Caroline said, lowering her eyes.

“I trust you, Monsieur de Busch, to keep your word,” said William, the tone of his voice firm, brooking no debate.

“I will.”

George stood up and held out his hand. Caroline took it and rose. They dropped hands and walked side by side into the castle, in front of William and von Eltz.

George was now nervous as Caroline walked up the staircase to her room. She was beyond every expectation he had. His grandmother would be delighted by his choice.


She paused at her door and he almost ran into her. They both stumbled back and hit the wall. Caroline softly laughed and George put one hand on her upper arm; with the other he grabbed her wrist and pulled her against his body so they were chest to chest. The smoldering embers of desire in her eyes had erupted into heavy flames. His breathing became ragged as did hers.

“Would you allow this humble pilgrim the softest caress of your rich, full lips?”

“It would be a sin to do so.”

“The sweetest sin, Princess,” he confirmed.

“I’ve never been kissed before.”

“Then I ask for humble permission to be the first.”

She opened her mouth, just barely, but no protest came out. His lips fell onto hers, basking in how firm and sweet she tasted. He delivered a feathery kiss, and as quickly as he touched her, he jerked away, afraid of the sudden hunger to have more.

“You are the fairest princess in Germany,” he huskily whispered. With that, he spun around on his heels and quickly departed to find his old governor.

********

Link to buy the Cupid Diaries: http://www.classicromancerevival.com/the-cupid-diaries.html

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Creative Blogger Award


I was given the Creative Blogger by Diane Craver and by Linda Banche. LK Hunsaker also gave me the Award. I consider both ladies good writing friends and unfortunately I haven't been able to put this up until now so forgive me.



My creative bloggers:

Liana Laverentz
Danielle Thorne
Maggie Toussaint
Mona Risk
Shawna K. Williams
LK Hunsaker
Nicole Zoltack



Now it's my turn to pick 7 other bloggers to receive the award. I also have to tell 1 lie and 6 truths about myself or 1 truth and 6 lies about myself. You guess which is which.

I'm going to pick 1 lie and 6 truths. Have fun with it.

Which one is the lie?

1. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher.

2. I was an MP in the military.

3. I was married in Germany.

4. My favorite Soap Opera is As The World Turns.

5. I have a Kindle ebook reader.

6. My short story, "Spontaneous Decision" won 8th place in the 77th Annual Writer's Digest competition in the Mainstream/Literary category.

7. My latest release is a paranormal romance called "The Hungarian."

If you can pick the "bold faced" lie *grin* I'll send you a free read, "Under A Christmas Moon," a short story read that takes place after "The Hungarian" invovling Matthias and Kate. Get a peek at "happy ever after" for them.

Smiles
Steph

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Historical Saturday - Henry VIII and Syphilis - Part 3


Welcome to Part III in my Henry VII Syphilis Series - Today we'll take a look at Henry's children and how they suffered with congential syphilis.

FIRST THOUGH: I'd like to congratulate Jennifer Shirk for signing up to follow me. She won a $6.00 GC for Desert Breeze Publishing. Jennifer contact me at sgcardin1@yahoo.com or botrina_buchanan@yahoo.com with your information so I can get that GC out to you.

Smiles
Steph

***
Now, Part III

HENRY VIII & JANE SEYMOUR

During the king’s sexual relations with Anne, it was reported by her that Henry, on occasion, had a hard time sustaining an erection. In fact, Henry had been married to Jane Seymour for seven months before Jane conceived a child. While sources at the time can’t confirm Henry might be going impotent, I suggest this is strong circumstantial evidence he was. After all, we knew he was very virile. Katherine and Anne got pregnant by him almost immediately after consummating their physical relations with him. Also, while Jane Seymour died in childbirth, Edward, Henry’s son by her, was the last known child from Henry VIII. Henry did not get Anne of Cleaves pregnant in their brief marriage. Anne was reported telling one of her ladies that while he was on top, he tried and tried, but could not sustain an erection. In Henry’s next marriage to Katherine Howard, it was reported that due to his weight, she had to get on top of him. Katherine was documented often complaining that Henry could not sustain an erection. As for Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr, while unconfirmed, I doubt they attempted sexual intercourse. Parr outlived Henry and entered into a marriage with Thomas Seymour, Jane’s brother. Parr gave birth to a healthy girl who never showed any signs of congenital syphilis.

The interesting question history now poses is this: Did Edward VI suffer from congenital syphilis?

It is interesting to note that during Jane Seymour’s pregnancy, Henry developed a strange lesion on the side of his nose, a further tell-tale symptom of tertiary syphilis and secondary symptoms. Also, during this time, Henry started to go prematurely gray and grow fat. Within four years, his doublet would have expanded to fit 3 of the biggest men of the time.

Jane Seymour suffered a hard, three day labor. Reports as to her son’s health were mixed. As for Jane, the childbirth was excruciating. Given the documented evidence that exists, there was probably a tear in her perineum which got infected and this infection developed into perpetual fever which killed her. She did not die from symptoms of syphilis. Ironically, Henry had ordered clean sheets and the finest linens for his son, while Jane recovered in dirty and unsanitary conditions. If he had ordered the clean sheets and hygienic conditions for her, she might have lived.

History is inconsistent as to Prince Edward’s health in his early years. One source documents he had a healthy, lusty cry, while the other states, “he was never a robust child.”

Circumstantial evidence leans toward Edward having congenital syphilis. After all, his sister, Mary, suffered from it and she was now 20. Henry and Jane had unprotected sex for seven months before she conceived. Remember that lesion he developed on his face? His secondary symptoms were active. I assert that Henry had an open sore while his secondary symptoms of syphilis were flaring up and he gave Jane syphilis.

Weir writes that Edward thrived under the care of a wet nurse. Henry imposed high standards of hygiene regarding his son, yet Edward did have reported problems teething. This would be a symptom of congenital syphilis. When Edward was four it was reported he had a bad fever. He was occasionally ill in childhood and suffered from poor eyesight, but enjoyed good health until the last six months of his life. Again, a child with congenital syphilis could display all of this and be considered “healthy.” Mary Tudor’s own health demonstrated this.

In 1546, Henry VIII was 54 years old. He could barely walk and became absentminded. When he finally died, the stench of his bursting leg ulcers consumed the room.

Interestingly, the king’s doctors never thought for one minute he suffered from syphilis.

When Henry died, his 9 year old son came to the throne under a regency due to his age. Edward VI died when he was 15. The general consensus of the medical doctors was consumption, and while it was probable Edward did suffer and die from this, most of the symptoms given for his poor health in the last six months of his life are consistent with congenital syphilis. Edward was now a teenager and exhibiting signs of the tertiary phase. His symptoms included hair loss, the loss of his nails, swollen legs and arms, flu-like symptoms, chronic coughing (possibly due to the consumption) and rash-like bed sores. It was noted that he ejected a greenish-yellow, black and pinkish matter from his mouth which would support a diagnosis of consumption. However, I assert that the totality of symptoms also indicate Edward had congenital syphilis and tertiary stage symptoms which contributed to his death.

MARY I

Edward died in July 1553. Mary came to the throne in her own right. She was 37. Almost immediately, Mary went about finding a husband. She married the Spanish prince, Phillip in July 1554. While it was known that Phillip didn’t care for his wife, I do believe they did have sexual relations. Mary reported she was pregnant in November 1554, however, she would have the same problems regarding her pregnancies that her mother had, especially if she suffered from congenital syphilis. Doctors from Mary’s time document her child bearing problems as “phantom pregnancies.” Basically, that she was so desirous to be pregnant, she thought she was when she wasn’t. What makes more sense is that Mary, if she was pregnant, would have difficulty carrying to term because of the congenital syphilis. But, was congenital syphilis the cause of her “phantom” pregnancies?

What we do know is this: throughout her life, Mary was in poor health. She had problems with her eyesight, headaches, and infrequent menstruation. During her first reported pregnancy, doctors did document symptoms of pregnancy including an enlarging belly and lactation. What most likely happened was a pregnancy that she miscarried without realizing it. This would be very probably considering the condition she had. After a while, her symptoms went away and nobody talked about it to Queen. In February 1558, Mary thought she was pregnant again, but doctors thought his was another phantom pregnancy. Again, she had symptoms of pregnancy that went away. What I believe at this time is that Mary probably suffered from reproductive problems, possibility cysts, fibroids, and even ovarian/cervical cancer, giving the confusing range of symptoms the doctors reported. As her symptoms from the pregnancy faded, her health took a turn for the worst. As an interesting note, it was reported Phillip found sex with Mary intolerable, complaining of a gynecological condition.

Weir states that Mary had a malignant tumor in her womb, and that Mary died of cancer. This could very well be. There is more credible evidence to support that Mary died of “female” problems, as opposed to the congenital syphilis she suffered from. Mary was 42 when she died, proving that a child with congenital syphilis could live and thrive despite the symptoms that haunted her all her life.

ELIZABETH I

Elizabeth, Henry’s daughter with Anne Boleyn, was not reported to have any symptoms of congenital syphilis. She lived to be a ripe old age of 68 (considered a ripe old age for the times).

I would assert that if Elizabeth had married and had children, they would have been free of the taint of syphilis.

It is ironic that Henry’s greatest prize, Edward VI, would die such a painful death, so early in life and his greatest shame, Elizabeth, would be remembered for her successful reign. It is also ironic that Henry’s shameful behavior toward his daughter, coupled with Thomas Seymour’s amorous advances toward Elizabeth while her stepmother, Katherine Parr, was pregnant with Seymour’s child, soured her on the idea of marriage and having children herself. If she had a child, I would assert that it would have had a lusty cry, free of the taint of syphilis and it would have carried the Tudor dynasty forward into the next century.

CONCULSION

Henry’s promiscuous behavior led to him contracting syphilis and giving it to his wives. This active strand of syphilis made it near impossible for him to have an heir – be it a girl or a boy. Mary and Edward died, having been haunted by congenital syphilis all their lives, and Elizabeth, who could have carried on the Tudor dynasty, had no desire to get married and have children. She simply did not want to have herself subjected to a man’s will after experiencing her father’s.

Henry will always be remembered as a charismatic, dashing young man, and an old, fat king. The hallmark of his reign brought about the downfall of the Catholic Church in England, but he will forever be remembered for his six wives – wives who tried to please him but were doomed to fail due to the syphilis which haunted him practically all his life.


References:
Book: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Alison Weir, 1991, Ballantine Books, 642 pages.
Internet:
http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/syphilis.cfm
http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/pregnancy/a/syphinpregancy.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_England
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_England
http://www.tudorhistory.org/henry8/
http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syphilis
http://syphilis.emedtv.com/syphilis/syphilis-in-pregnant-women.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VII_of_England
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Aragon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur,_Prince_of_Wales
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Boleyn
http://en.wiki http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/edward6.html pedia.org/wiki/Edward_VI_of_England

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest Author Series - Welcome Vijaya Schartz!


Vijaya is a fellow Desert Breeze Author and writes about people and cats in THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK.

Thank you, Stephanie, for having me on your blog to talk about my new series, The Chronicles of Kassouk. For this particular world, I used my love of felines and created a world where large felines have become pets, and are trained for warfare.

The people of Kassouk are the descendants of a Human expedition named Noah's Ark, who crashed on this winter planet centuries ago. Having lost all technology in their fight for survival, they are now a flourishing medieval society exploited by Aliens, with the help of their hybrid children called Mutants.

Book One - WHITE TIGER:

"... an exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere." Coffee Time Romance - 5 cups rating.
In a winter world where blood and loyalty are everything, how can Tora avenge her father’s death when a handsome Mutant challenges her bloodline, and his offer to help can get them both killed... Dragomir offers to help, but Humans and Mutants are forbidden to fraternize under penalty of death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart?


In the vortex of war, treason and intrigue, among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes, will Tora solve the mystery of her father’s death and unveil the secret of her birth? Can she and Dragomir escape persecutions long enough to save their planet from the invaders and fulfill their destiny?

Book Two - RED LEOPARD:

"...another good read in this fantasy romance series... packed with action and adventure. Galya ... a tough warrior... a sweetness about her that makes her easy to like... I loved how Rascal was Terek's faithful companion and defender throughout nearly the entire story... I really liked Red Leopard." 4.5 stars - The Hope Chest Reviews



In charge of the fortress of Kassouk in the King's absence, what is Terek to do when a Goddian spacecraft lands in his medieval backyard, and the striking woman leading the galactic party insists on colonization?

Galya, the Goddian Princess commanding the geological vessel, is bent on finding a crystal with unusual hyperconductor properties. And the futile resistance of the local population isn’t going to stop her. Not even that defiant tribal chief nicknamed Red Leopard, like the infernal feline that follows him everywhere.

Terek and his band of swordsmen and felines must defend their people’s freedom, no matter the cost. But with this unexpected arrival, an old prophecy surfaces, taking new meaning and carrying a new threat...


When political intrigues, greed, murder and betrayal tip the scales, whom can Galya really trust? Her fellow Goddians? the Mutants bred to serve her race? or her primitive Human enemy?

EXCERPT OF RED LEOPARD:

The tall woman had ivory skin, full pink lips, short flaxen hair and deep blue eyes enhanced by curved blue lines tattooed around them. “And what about your sword, Red Leopard, is it?”

A Gray took a step toward Terek.

The woman raised one hand to stop him. She had six fingers, like a Mutant or a Godd. “I’ll handle this.” She stared into Terek’s eyes. She looked Human, taller than him, and extremely refined. “What are your intentions, Red Leopard?”

“How do you know my name?” Terek’s heart beat like a battle drum.

She had a sad smile. “The same way I knew you were coming. You were betrayed.”

Terek bristled at the idea that someone had intentionally sent a hundred Humans and a dozen felines to certain death. “Who is the traitor?”

“It’s not important.” The woman moved with natural grace, the pale blue silk floating around her shapely hips and slim thighs with each step. “I’m Galya.”

The name told him nothing. She exhibited no fear as she approached him, although he still held his sword at the ready, and she wore no armor that he could see. If she came any closer, he would…what? Kill her? The Grays would retaliate and massacre his warriors.

Struggling to ignore the way his body flushed in her proximity, Terek stared back at Galya. “I hope in all fairness that you will spare my fighters. I take full responsibility for the attack. But I would rather die than surrender myself.”

“I like your style, Red Leopard.” The shadow of a smile played on the woman’s lips and she patted the exquisite white scabbard hanging from her silver sash. “I need field practice, and you seem like a worthy opponent.”

She stepped out of her high platform shoes. A general gasp filled the room. She now stood at eye level with Terek. Could she be Human? No. She had six lovely toes.

Terek couldn’t imagine grappling with her in single combat. Or rather, he could. An intimate battle. He felt himself blush at the lusty thought and caught amusement in Galya’s blue eyes. Despite her pale looks and cool demeanor, he sensed in her a smoldering passion.

She unsheathed a pristine silvery blade that shimmered in the artificial light. “You fight me, and I’ll decide whether to spare your warriors or execute you all for treason.”



Book Three - BLACK JAGUAR
scheduled for release in November 2010

I can only tell you that Black Jaguar is the son of Terek and Galya from Book Two, that the daughter of Tora and Dragomir from Book One plays an important role. As for the heroine of Black Jaguar, she is a mind reader, and the story is one of exploration.

Check my contest page to win my books, click on CONTEST on the left at: http://www.vijayaschartz.com

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-Fi, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com

Chronicles of Kassouk - Book One - WHITE TIGER
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-30/%3Ci%3EThe-Chronicles-of-Kassouk/Detail.bok
Chronicles of Kassouk - Book Two - RED LEOPARD
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-77/%3Ci%3EThe-Chronicles-of-Kassouk/Detail.bok

Vijaya's paperbacks, kindle, and audiobooks at Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JP7UJ4

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Excerpt Monday - The Hungarian



Here's an excerpt from my latest release, "The Hungarian." Sign up to FOLLOW me here on blogspot between now and Friday, 22 MAY and be eligable to win a $6.00 GC from Desert Breeze. Smiles, Steph

*****

Martin struck up the guitar and she kept the beat with her tambourine. Matthias hardly felt rusty even though it had been two years since he had danced the Verbunkos. He easily kept time with the music. The dance involved a lot of jumping as well as clapping. He centered the dance around Resa spinning and twirling around her. It allowed him to keep his concentration on the dance. The music built to a fast pace and then stopped suddenly. Matthias ended the dance with a quick jump and fell to Resa's feet.

"Bravo, Count Duma!" Resa exclaimed.

Matthias got to his feet and smiled. Paul, Liz, and Katherine all clapped.

"Well done, Matthias!" cried Paul. "I've never seen a dance like that."

"Now it's time for you and Miss Archibald to dance," said Resa.

Katherine waved her hands. "I couldn't dance that."

"You don't have to. We can dance the Csándás," said Matthias.

Resa clapped her hands again. "Yes, it's perfect."

"I don't know how."

"I'll show you," said Resa.

"Go on, Kate," said Liz, smiling. "Give it a try."

Katherine took Matthias's hand, and he helped her to her feet. Martin and János played their music at a slow tempo. Resa showed her a couple of steps at a time. It took about ten minutes, but Katherine seemed to pick it up. Matthias danced it slow for her the first time. There wasn't much jumping, but it was a rather square-type dance, and there was clapping involved. When the song ended, Resa approached.

"Let me dance with Count Duma at the normal pace. Watch me. Try to twirl the skirt when I do."

Katherine nodded her head. Again, the music started, and Matthias danced with Resa. From time to time Resa would look at Katherine to make sure she was watching.
Matthias was pleased at how Resa was trying to help Katherine learn the dance.
The dance finished in a flurry of moves, with Matthias wrapping his hands around Resa's waist and Resa resting her head against his shoulder. She quickly parted from him and looked at Katherine. "Remember, it starts off slow but builds up to a quick ending."

"All right," Katherine said.

Matthias took Katherine's hand again. The music began. They danced in front of the fire. Liz and Paul clapped to the beat. They danced around the pit, laughing and clapping. The guitar played faster, the flute hit higher notes. Resa sang in Hungarian. They danced quicker, and when the Csándás ended, Resa threw powder into the fire. The fire crackled. It hissed loudly and then the flames turned colors -- purple, blue, green, and white before slowly returning to yellow. Matthias held Katherine tight against his muscular body. He felt her heart pulsing with energy just like his was.


****

Goodie Time: I'll be giving away two autographed postcards of the cover to two lucky posters. To be eligible to win, just post. I'll pick the winners out of a hat and announce the winners on the blog no later than the next day.

Link to the Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZwaF8hAdow

Links for the Books:

Desert Breeze Website:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-87/%3Ci%3EBudapest-Moon-Book-One%3C-fdsh-i%3E-cln-/Detail.bok

All Romance Books
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-budapestmoonbookonethehungarian-427260-139.html

Amazon for Kindle
http://www.amazon.com/Budapest-Moon-Book-One-ebook/dp/B003K15NG2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1273427954&sr=1-1

Visit Stephanie at:
Website:
http://sgcardin.tripod.com

Romance Under the Moonlight Blog
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

History Saturday - Henry VIII and Syphilis - Part 2

Jonathon Rhys-Meyers from "The Tudors" as Henry VIII

This Saturday continues my Henry VIII series and takes a look at how syphilis affects pregnant woman and how it effects the women who bore Henry children.

SYPHILIS OF THE INNOCENT

The above phrase was used early in the 1900’s to refer to a pregnant woman who had syphilis. If the syphilis bacteria is in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream, it can cross the placenta at anytime during the pregnancy and infect the growing fetus.

In today’s age of modern medicine, if this is detected early in a pregnancy, the woman and fetus can be treated. Again, medicine was not advanced enough in the 1500’s to treat this. Syphilis in a pregnant woman, left untreated, can cause a miscarriage, still birth, or a baby who dies soon after birth. Syphilis increases preterm delivery and intrauterine growth restriction.

Here are the stats: If a pregnant woman has untreated syphilis, 25 percent of the pregnancies result in a miscarriage or a still birth. Between 40-70% live birth children result in a syphilis infected infant. This infection in an infant is known as congenital syphilis.

An infected baby born with syphilis would have all or some of the following symptoms: jaundice, swollen arms and legs, a weak cry, possibly pneumonia, sores, rashes, and fevers. If left untreated, as infants grow into children and teenagers, they will have symptoms of late stage syphilis: damage to their bones, teeth, eyes, ears, and brain.

Now armed with this information, it’s time to visit the 1500’s. Doctors knew syphilis existed in Henry’s day. The standard, proven treatment was mercury, believe it or not. They just didn’t understand how syphilis ravaged the body.

HENRY VIII & KATHERINE OF ARAGON

Henry Tudor, Henry VII’s second son, was born on June 28, 1491. Little is known about his childhood. He was groomed for a vocation in the church while Arthur was groomed for the throne. In 1494, Henry was made the Duke of York. He was fluent in Latin, French, and Spanish.

On 14 November, 1501, Prince Arthur married Katherine of Aragon, from Spain. He was 15, she was just shy of her 15th birthday. Prince Henry was 10. Four months later in March 1502, Arthur died. The most likely cause was consumption, untreated tuberculosis, given the symptoms he had.

In 1502, 10 year old Henry became Henry VII’s heir. From that time on, he was groomed to take the English throne. Henry VII had a problem, now. He had taken Katherine’s Spanish dowry, spent it, and had no desire to give it back, yet that was what was expected of him, so he promised that Henry would marry Katherine when he was old enough. Still, Henry VII wasn’t thrilled with allowing a marriage between his son and Katherine and he kept putting it off. Henry VII did receive the required Papal Disposition to marry Katherine and Henry, but he did not act on it.

A year after losing his heir, Henry VII lost his beloved wife, Elizabeth, who died in childbirth in 1503. Henry VII was 46 years old. He made half-hearted plans to marry and have more children, but never carried them out. Henry VII died in 1509, at the age of 52. It was reported he never really emotionally recovered from the loss of Arthur and Elizabeth.

Henry VIII came to the throne on April 22, 1509. He was two months shy of his 18th birthday. He was young, handsome, and virile. He was physically active and enjoyed tennis as well as jousting. A picture from that time shows him to be a thin lad. Henry VIII was well educated and just days before he turned 18, he married Katherine of Aragon on 11 Jun 1509. She was 24 years old.

No one knows much of Henry VIII’s time as the Prince of Wales between 1502-1509. We can only suppose a 10 year old boy grew into a 18 year old man. Henry continued his education and excelled in physical sports. Now here, it is my assertion that during this time he became sexually active and contracted syphilis from an undocumented sexual conquest. After all, a young teenage prince having sexual relations with an older woman of questionable habits wouldn’t be unheard of in Henry’s day. Can we all picture a 16 year old boy having his first sexual encounter? Of course. It is an educated guess on my part, but also realistic to believe Henry VIII was not a virgin when he celebrated his wedding night to Katherine in 1509.

The untreated syphilis in Henry’s body was in the active phase when he began having sex with Katherine. I would say Henry was in the primary or secondary phase of syphilis during this time, having recently contracted it. When he bedded his wife, he had to have had an open sore and transmitted the infection to her. Katherine contracted syphilis from Henry and it was untreated in her body as it was untreated in his.

Now we’re going to take a look at Katherine’s childbearing years. Katherine’s first child was a stillborn girl born around or about Dec 31, 1509. It is my strong assertion, based on the medical documentation of her pregnancies, that this stillborn and her further pregnancies were a result of “syphilis of the innocent.” Later on in 1510, she became pregnant again. In January 1511, she gave birth to a son named Henry. He died two months later. Young Prince Henry was sick from birth, suffering from symptoms of a baby born with congenital syphilis. He died 52 days after he was born.

During this time, Henry VIII took his first documented mistress, Elizabeth FitzWalter. I would use as evidence that Henry VIII had a very healthy sexual libido and he freely took mistresses to satisfy his sexual desires. He also strived to be very discrete about it so little is known about how often he enjoyed these conquests, but I would agree with Alison Weir (see her book, the Six Wives of Henry VIII) that it did happen on a regular basis.

Two years later in 1513, Katherine was pregnant a third time. She later lost the child, a boy. The baby was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. Again, I assert that this third pregnancy is strong proof that the syphilis bacteria in Katherine’s bloodstream was highly potent. Knowing the stats as I mentioned above, pregnancies have a 25% chance of ending in a miscarriage or stillborn. Katherine had three pregnancies and had yet to deliver a child that would live past the first year of its birth. During this time, in 1513, Henry VIII was 22 and suffered a bout of small pox, which fortunately, did not leave him scarred.

Katherine’s 4th pregnancy in 1514 resulted in another stillborn son. She was now 29. Katherine’s 5th pregnancy came to term in February 1516 and she gave birth a girl named Mary. Mary grew into childhood but the doctors noted she suffered from poor eyesight, sinus conditions and headaches. She was considered a sickly child, even from birth. Given what we know about congenital syphilis, Mary suffered from this condition from the moment she was born. We’ll take a further look at Mary later on.

Katherine’s 6th pregnancy in 1517 resulted in a miscarriage. Catherine’s 7th and last pregnancy was in 1518. She gave birth to a girl who died a few days later. Katherine was 33 during this last pregnancy. In 1522, when Katherine was 37, it was reported she went through menopause and was unable to have more children, but the syphilis in her bloodstream, a wedding night gift from Henry VIII, had done its work well.

Henry’s next documented and well known mistress was Elizabeth Blount. Weir puts the dates of their affair between 1514-1519. Henry VIII was 28 years old in 1519. Elizabeth Blount gave birth to a healthy baby boy that year. I assert that Henry was in the latent in the phase of syphilis when he had his affair with Elizabeth Blount. He probably entered the latent phase of the disease anywhere between 1510-1519, but probably earlier if he had infected Katherine in 1509. Henry did not have any open sores when he had sex with Elizabeth Blount, thus he did not give the infection to her and she did not transmit it to her child via the placenta. There is no documentation supporting that Henry Fitzroy, Blount’s child, was a sickly child. In fact he lived until 1536. He was 17 years old when he died and according to the documentation, while not confirmed, he probably died from consumption. It is because of this that Henry VIII felt confident he could have a “normal” son.

I assert that Henry had many unnamed mistresses. These women met nothing to him – he used them to satisfy sexual urges, while the Queen, his emotional lover was pregnant. I believe, as Alison Weir does, that the king conducted numerous short and secret affairs.

In 1522, Henry, 31, had two children – a legitimate girl who suffered from congenital syphilis and a healthy son. He also had his father’s long ago counsel haunting the outer recesses of his reign. He wanted an heir who he could leave his throne to and that heir had to be a boy. A girl simply would not do. Henry then began making preparations to name his son with Elizabeth Blount as an heir – just in case.

Between 1518-1522, Henry VIII and Katherine continued to have sexual relations, but Katherine did not get pregnant. It wouldn’t have made a difference. The syphilis bacteria was in her bloodstream and any pregnancy would have little chance of success. Henry found sex with her distasteful now because he reported she suffered from a gynecological condition. What that was, history does not say. As for Elizabeth Blount, once she had Henry’s son, he did not have any more relations with her.

HENRY VIII & MARY BOLEYN

It is believed that in 1522 or 1523, Henry took Mary Boleyn as his mistress until Henry became infatuated with Anne Boleyn, Mary’s sister. During the time of Mary’s affair with Henry VIII, she gave birth to two children, a girl and a boy. Both children were healthy. While Mary was a married women, once she began having sexual relations with the king, she would not have been allowed to sleep with anyone else. There is strong evidence that Henry VIII was the father of Mary’s two children. Again, he was in the latent phase of syphilis. These children were born healthy, with no signs of sickness, and lived long, rewarding lives. Henry did not see fit to acknowledge being their father. He was most likely lulled into a false confidence that he could get a legitimate heir, (if he married someone else) and he had Henry Fitzroy alive and thriving, being groomed to be his heir as well.

In 1524, Henry VIII, now 33, suffered from his first bout of malaria. This would reoccur the rest of his life. In 1526, now 35, Henry suffered from a serious jousting accident. He began to have migraines from it. He also began to suffer from leg ulcers. From this point on, Henry suffered from symptoms of syphilis in the tertiary phase. It was documented that while Henry was in his late 30’s, he underwent a major personality change from being a benevolent ruler to an irrational and hot-tempered despot. His enemies, i.e., Cardinal Wolsley, did not know his mercy and neither did his wives.

In 1525, as Mary was recovering from her second birth, a son she named Henry, her sister, Anne caught his eye. Henry then began his dogged pursuit to make Anne his wife. By now he realized Katherine would never have more children and he needed to have a legitimate son.

HENRY VIII & ANNE BOLEYN

The period between 1525-1533 is known as the king’s great matter because Henry so actively sought to divorce Katherine. In the end, he discarded her to live away from the court. He considered them divorced at this point, but the Catholic Church did not. In January 1533, Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn. He was 42 years old. Henry and Anne’s only living child, Elizabeth, was born in September of that year. I assert that when Henry first began having sex with Anne, he did not have any open sores and did not give her syphilis. Once Anne’s pregnancy was discovered, Henry stopped having sex with her, as was the custom in that time. Thus, she did not contract syphilis in the initial year of her marriage. Elizabeth was born healthy and thriving. There is no medical documentation from the 1500’s that proves otherwise. However, after Anne gave birth to a healthy daughter, I assert that Henry had a flair up of secondary symptoms. Henry gave syphilis to Anne at this point in time. In January 1534, Anne was pregnant again, but due to poor record keeping, the child was either stillborn or a miscarriage. It was rumored she was pregnant shortly after this, but no conclusive proof from reputable sources at the time exist.

In January 1536, Henry suffered from another serious jousting accident. He was 44 years old. Henry was unconscious for several hours before recovering. However, when he did, he was reported to be suffering from aggravated fits of blind rage, severe migraines, and sore throats, symptoms indicative that his syphilis was indeed in the tertiary stage.

Also, in January 1536, Anne suffered her last miscarriage. It was reported the child was a fifteen week old male fetus. Henry was now stunned to witness Katherine’s successive childbirth failures play out again in Anne Boleyn. He sought options to rid himself of Anne. In May 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded and Henry married Jane Seymour.

HENRY VIII & JANE SEYMOUR

During the king’s sexual relations with Anne, it was reported by her that Henry, on occasion, had a hard time sustaining an erection. In fact, Henry had been married to Jane Seymour for seven months before Jane conceived a child. While sources at the time can’t confirm Henry might be going impotent, I suggest this is strong circumstantial evidence he was. After all, we knew he was very virile. Katherine and Anne got pregnant by him almost immediately after consummating their physical relations with him. Also, while Jane Seymour died in childbirth, Edward, Henry’s son by her, was the last known child from Henry VIII. Henry did not get Anne of Cleaves pregnant in their brief marriage. Anne was reported telling one of her ladies that while he was on top, he tried and tried, but could not sustain an erection. In Henry’s next marriage to Katherine Howard, it was reported that due to his weight, she had to get on top of him. Katherine was documented often complaining that Henry could not sustain an erection. As for Henry’s last wife, Katherine Parr, while unconfirmed, I doubt they attempted sexual intercourse. Parr outlived Henry and entered into a marriage with Thomas Seymour, Jane’s brother. Parr gave birth to a healthy girl who never showed any signs of congenital syphilis.

The interesting question history now poses is this: Did Edward VI suffer from congenital syphilis?

It is interesting to note that during Jane Seymour’s pregnancy, Henry developed a strange lesion on the side of his nose, a further tell-tale symptom of tertiary syphilis and secondary symptoms. Also, during this time, Henry started to go prematurely gray and grow fat. Within four years, his doublet would have expanded to fit 3 of the biggest men of the time.

Jane Seymour suffered a hard, three day labor. Reports as to her son’s health were mixed. As for Jane, the childbirth was excruciating. Given the documented evidence that exists, there was probably a tear in her perineum which got infected and this infection developed into perpetual fever which killed her. She did not die from symptoms of syphilis. Ironically, Henry had ordered clean sheets and the finest linens for his son, while Jane recovered in dirty and unsanitary conditions. If he had ordered the clean sheets and hygienic conditions for her, she might have lived.

History is inconsistent as to Prince Edward’s health in his early years. One source documents he had a healthy, lusty cry, while the other states, “he was never a robust child.”

Circumstantial evidence leans toward Edward having congenital syphilis. After all, his sister, Mary, suffered from it and she was now 20. Henry and Jane had unprotected sex for seven months before she conceived. Remember that lesion he developed on his face? His secondary symptoms were active. I assert that Henry had an open sore while his secondary symptoms of syphilis were flaring up and he gave Jane syphilis.

Weir writes that Edward thrived under the care of a wet nurse. Henry imposed high standards of hygiene regarding his son, yet Edward did have reported problems teething. This would be a symptom of congenital syphilis. When Edward was four it was reported he had a bad fever. He was occasionally ill in childhood and suffered from poor eyesight, but enjoyed good health until the last six months of his life. Again, a child with congenital syphilis could display all of this and be considered “healthy.” Mary Tudor’s own health demonstrated this.

In 1546, Henry VIII was 54 years old. He could barely walk and became absentminded. When he finally died, the stench of his bursting leg ulcers consumed the room.

Interestingly, the king’s doctors never thought for one minute he suffered from syphilis.

When Henry died, his 9 year old son came to the throne under a regency due to his age. Edward VI died when he was 15. The general consensus of the medical doctors was consumption, and while it was probable Edward did suffer and die from this, most of the symptoms given for his poor health in the last six months of his life are consistent with congenital syphilis. Edward was now a teenager and exhibiting signs of the tertiary phase. His symptoms included hair loss, the loss of his nails, swollen legs and arms, flu-like symptoms, chronic coughing (possibly due to the consumption) and rash-like bed sores. It was noted that he ejected a greenish-yellow, black and pinkish matter from his mouth which would support a diagnosis of consumption. However, I assert that the totality of symptoms also indicate Edward had congenital syphilis and tertiary stage symptoms which contributed to his death.

TO BE CONCLUDED

NEXT: A look at Henry's children who survived to adulthood.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Guest Author Series - Anne Patrick



I'd like to welcome author Anne Patrick to the blog. Anne is the author of ‘Sweet’ Edge of Your Seat Romantic Suspense, and has penned more than a dozen novels. She’s a confessed suspense junkie with a bad habit of mixing chocolate and diet colas when writing, which can, and often does, lead to mayhem. Her heroines are usually strong willed, witty, and often very opinionated…combinations that usually land them in situations where death seems imminent. Anne has an alter ego by the name of Kinzie Monroe, who writes Inspirational Romance. Anne, you might say, is the dark side of Kinzie. Anne’s books may be darker in subject matter, but they all carry messages of hope and faith.

Anne's here today to tell us about her upcoming release, "Out of Darkness." Welcome, Anne!

***

First of all I’d like to thank Steph for having me on her blog today, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about my new book that releases this month.

In Out of the Darkness, ex-FBI Profiler Alex Michaels is forced into hiding by the serial killer who murdered her twin sister and left her with a career ending injury. Meeting up with an ex-pro football player who is also facing an uncertain future, Alex makes Royce McIntire an offer he can’t refuse. Settling into her new life, Alex has no idea the killer is hot on her tracks along with the team of FBI agents who failed to protect her before. When they all catch up to her, not only is her peaceful life shattered, but once again her life is in jeopardy.
Here’s an excerpt from it:




The room was dark as he entered. Bypassing the light switch, he flipped on the TV and sat in the only chair in the room. He then picked up the remote and turned on the VCR.

“It is of my opinion we have a serial killer at work here. The victims are similar in background and appearance. The ways in which they were murdered are identical, and the victims were all recovered from the river.”

“Do you have any leads, Agent Michaels?”

“With these murders, important evidence is missing. All we have are the bodies. We don’t have a crime scene and we don’t know where the bodies were dumped into the river. This leads me to believe we have a very sophisticated killer. He’s familiar with police procedure. He knows by dumping the bodies into the river he is eliminating any evidence such as hair, fiber or semen.

“I believe he is Caucasian. Twenty-five to thirty years old. Five-eight to six feet tall, slim to medium build. He is muscular, may work out in a gym. He’s educated, undergraduate level, a thinker who takes great pride in planning things out. He is socially inactive. He hasn’t much experience with women either because of his appearance or lack of self-confidence. He has a criminal background, most likely juvenile offenses, either arson or petty larceny. I believe he may have committed his first murder during his preteens, but went unpunished. A major change or event has taken place in his life within the last six months, triggering his violent behavior: Either the loss of a job or promotion, or breakup with a girlfriend. I believe he is from the Joliet area and he quite possibly knew the first victim, Crystal Byers.”

“You said he knows police procedure. Any possibility he is in law enforcement?”

“Anything is possible. The only thing we know for sure is how dangerous he is. But he will be caught, I assure you.”

He paused the video and fixed his eyes on the still picture. Such a beautiful face. Her posture and expression were full of confidence.

She wasn’t so arrogant the night he’d attacked her though, and neither was her sister.

He turned off the video and stared at the snowy screen. Until she’d come along, he’d been in complete control. The Joliet police were such idiots. He’d had them running in circles, chasing their own shadows. Not even the great Galen Schroeder had a clue as to his identity or the depth of his capabilities. Not to worry though, no matter where she ran, he’d find her.

Out of the Darkness releases this month from Champagne Books. To learn more about me and my other releases, please visit my blog: www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com or my website: www.annepatrick.weebly.com


Thanks again, Steph, for having on your blog!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Excerpt Monday - Royal Pretender


My story in the Cupid Diaries is called "Royal Pretender." It's a historical fiction about how George II met his wife, Caroline of Ansbach. In this excerpt, George mets Caroline for the first time.

****

As soon as George saw her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She walked into the room and everything brightened. He felt his lips curve into a daring smile. Her soft blonde hair shined in the rays of the lowering sun through the large bay window. The warm velvet of her dress heightened the translucence of her face and neck. His eyes lingered on her firm breasts. Perfectly shaped, perfectly round. Such curvy hips. The stories of her beauty had not been exaggerated. His body quickly reacted to the stunning princess. He blushed, hoping the princess would not notice.

When their stares met, he sensed a mix of emotions from her – sadness, curiosity, and excitement? Had he managed to affect her? Despite his lack of inches? Was she as nervous about meeting him as he was of her?

“Monsieur Pierre de Busch, my sister, Caroline Wilhelmina,” said William, smoothly.

Caroline curtsied and George felt shivers race down his spine at her grace. He waited for her to recover before he bowed.

Caroline swallowed, then smiled. When he stood up, she held out her hand, as was custom. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Monsieur de Busch.”

The minute he took her hand in his, a pulsing jolt of pleasure went rippling through him. By the sudden gleam in her eye, he knew she felt the same from their touch. With the softest kiss he could provide, his lips brushed against her knuckles. “The pleasure is mine, Princess Caroline,” his thick, deep voice purred. “It is an honor to meet you. This is a great moment for both of us.”

Caroline blushed before him and turned slightly away. “You’re welcome, kind de Busch. I’m delighted to see anyone from Hanover. Perhaps you have news of the Electress Sophia?”

“Perhaps I do,” said George, teasingly. Even now he longed to tell her that the Electress was his grandmother. Still, he had a part to play, and he could barely take his eyes away from her. George admired her more than any other woman he’d known. He had always favored blonde hair, blue eyes, and a curvy body, but she was the living fulfillment of everything he wanted in a woman. Now, if only she was pleasant and sweet. She must have a nice personality. He wouldn’t be married to a shrew that made his life miserable. Oh, he said a silent prayer that she was just as his grandmother described.

********

Buy Link:
http://www.classicromancerevival.com/the-cupid-diaries.html

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blog Tour Grand Prize Winner



I just want to say I had a fantastic time on my blog tour. I got to visit some new faces and meet some new people. Thank you to everyone who took time to hang out and post. I appreciate your support very much. I'll be visiting more blogs this month in support of "The Hungarian"

The Grand Prize Winner of "The Hungarian" Blog Tour is: Erotic Horizons! Big Congrats

EH won:
A mousepad with the cover of "The Hungarian"
A Coffee Mug with the Cover
A set of Magnets
and a set of autographed postcards.

Send an email with your snail mail so I can get that out to you. Send it to either sgcardin1@yahoo.com or botrina_buchanan@yahoo.com


*********


I just want to say "Happy Mother's Day" to all you Mothers out there today. May your day be filled with smiles, hugs and love. Here's some flowers to share with you all today.


Steph

History Saturday - Henry VIII and Syphilis - Part 1

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII in "The Tudors"


Here are my thoughts on Henry VIII and how syphilis played a part in his life. Enjoy.

Henry VIII. The name evokes Holbein’s famous picture – a tall man, overweight, with a trimmed, neat beard wearing clothes made of the finest cloth. After that, one thinks of his six wives and the toll marriage to Henry took on them. Katherine of Aragon died heartbroken, discarded and divorced in middle age. Anne Boleyn was beheaded for bewitching the king. Jane Seymour died after giving birth. Anne of Cleaves was divorced. Katherine Howard was beheaded for treason after cuckolding the king, and Katherine Parr was forced to walk a tight rope so as not to offend lest she be taken to the axe. Oh, and the real Henry VIII didn’t strike that handsome figure that Jonathon Rhys-Meyers does in the Showtime Series, “The Tudors.” No, the real Henry VIII was vain, selfish, and pitifully indulgent by the end of his life. That’s who history remembers – a king consumed by his desire to have a son.


Henry’s desire to sire a son drove the Tudor dynasty to implode on itself. Buy why was he consumed by this and why couldn’t he have a slew of healthy children? This question has haunted history throughout the ages.

I intend to explore several facets of Henry’s reign. Why did he desire a son? Why did two healthy and very different women, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, in the prime of their childbearing years, suffer miscarriage after miscarriage? Why did Jane Seymour die in childbirth? What about the children Henry sired with his mistresses? Were they healthy?

To understand Henry’s desire for a son, we’ll look at the origins of the Tudor dynasty and we’ll examine the one thread that binds Henry’s women together – syphilis. There have been many arguments for and against Henry having this complicated disease. Medicine in the 1500’s was primitive with doctors believing in “ill humors” and leeching. Being the king, doctors did keep good notes of Henry’s health and these notes reflect the outward symptoms of syphilis. We’ll examine Henry’s medical history. Unfortunately, the doctors didn’t keep as good care with Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn’s medical history, but thankfully we do know enough about their childbearing years to come to an educated conclusion about syphilis.

While history can’t confirm that Henry suffered from this sexual disease, through a bit of old fashioned detective work, history builds a strong case of circumstantial evidence in favor of Henry having a very active strain of this venereal disease.

Lastly, we’ll examine Henry’s legacy, his surviving children, and how his quest for a son drove a promising family from the throne of England. Are you ready? Let’s peel back history’s curtain and peer through time to Tudor England…


HENRY VII

Henry VII was born Henry Tudor, the only son and child of Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor. Interestingly, Edmund Tudor was the half-brother of Henry VI. They shared the same mother, Katherine of Valois. Edmund Tudor married Margaret when she was 12 years old. Edmund himself was relatively young, 24, when he married, but according to today’s moral code, such an age gap would be frowned upon. Indeed, it would be considered statutory rape. Edmund promptly bedded his young wife and then died during the Wars of the Roses, leaving her pregnant. She was 13 when she gave birth to Henry VII. Henry VII was born in 1457.

Henry VII grew into a strong, virile man. During Edward IV’s reign, Henry VII was raised under the tutelage of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. The Wars of the Roses left the royal houses of Lancaster and York devastated. Edward IV, well respected, died in 1483. His brother, Richard III, had Edward’s children declared illegitimate and took the throne for himself. In a final, decisive battle, the Battle of Bosworth, held in August 1485, Henry VII defeated Richard III. Richard died during the battle and Henry VII claimed the throne. Thus, Henry asserted his main right to the throne was by right of conquest.

While Henry VII had a strong link to the British throne on his father’s side, it was because of his mother he was able to assert a right to the crown. Margaret Beaufort was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, the first Duke of Lancaster. In order to bring peace to England, Henry VII, now 28 at the end of the war, assumed the crown and promised to marry Edward IV’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and unite the two warring houses. Elizabeth was 20 when she married Henry VII in January 1486.

Henry VII’s marriage to Elizabeth accomplished several things. First, it brought together the houses of Lancaster and York, and second, it brought peace to the kingdom which had seen close to 25 years of war. Henry VII’s actual claim to the throne was weak (Elizabeth’s was stronger) and he benefited from the fact the Wars of the Roses had killed those who had stronger claims, and while there were members of the House of York with stronger claims, none dared to challenge him. Simply, while Henry VII had a poor claim to the throne, he was able to assume kingship by being the best, perhaps the only viable candidate available.

Henry VII loved his wife. She was kind and beautiful, and liked dancing. Henry had a document known as the Titulus Regius, which branded Edward IV’s children illegitimate repealed, thus legitimizing his wife. He received a Papal disposition so he could marry her since they were third cousins. From their union bloomed the Tudor Rose, a combination of the red rose of Lancaster and white rose of York. The future of England looked promising as Henry and Elizabeth came to the throne after years of war that had decimated the English countryside and people.

Almost immediately Henry VII had concerns. His claim was weak and he knew it. To secure his crown he used various successful methods. First he used bonds and created laws that discouraged the nobility from raising private armies. A pretender masquerading as Edward IV’s son made a play for the throne supported by John de la Pole, Richard III’s heir designate. Henry had de la Pole killed and the pretender was sent to work in Henry’s kitchen. John’s sister, Margaret, who had a strong claim to the throne was allowed to live, assuming the family’s title and lands in Lincoln.

Henry VII wanted to bring peace to England. His polices put money in the exchequer. He promoted shipbuilding. He conducted treaties with France, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire. Notably, Henry VII managed to acquire a Bull of Excommunication from Pope Innocent VIII against all pretenders to his throne.

As Henry began to consolidate his position and secure his legacy, his marriage to Elizabeth proved fruitful. Their first son, Arthur, was born in 1489. Their second son, Henry, was born in 1491. Henry and Elizabeth had eight children, but only four survived to adulthood.

This much was clear; in 1500, Henry VII had been on the throne for 15 years. Arthur was 11, and Prince Henry (VIII) was 9. Henry VII was now 43. England had known peace and the exchequer was growing due to his policies. Still, there were underlying feelings that Henry VII’s claim to the throne was not strong and Henry VII was constantly on guard for rivals and pretenders. Henry VII would impart this belief onto his son who would succeed him – be alert for those who would covet the new dynasty’s throne. Civil war could threaten England again without a strong heir. It was a belief Henry VIII kept in the back of his mind as he reigned.

A LOOK AT SYPHILIS

I’m going to take a bit of an interlude from the history to talk about syphilis. It’s important to understand this disease and how it effects people, before we continue with Henry VIII’s story.

I first learned about syphilis in my high school sex education class. It was a venereal disease one got through sex. It could be treated with drugs. If you had unprotected sex with another you could give it to them. I think that’s all I remembered about it from my high school days. My next exposure to syphilis was when I got pregnant. In the early weeks of my pregnancy, my doctor took a blood sample from me to test for syphilis. I wasn’t worried, nor was I curious. Then I found an old medical book at work published in 1940 that discussed “Syphilis of the Innocent.” What I read stunned me and compelled me to do research on the disease itself.

The symptoms of syphilis vary from stage to stage and person to person. It is a sexually transmitted infection which occurs by having direct contact with a syphilis sore. Syphilis is caused by a bacteria called spirochetes. The most common way to get infected is through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Once infected, the person who has been infected develops a painless and highly infectious sore (or sores) with raised edges called a “chancre.” This chancre develops at the site of the infection. It grows between three weeks to three months after the initial infection. Keep this in mind – the chancre is painless and if it is in a woman’s vagina, it is not seen. In today’s era of modern medicine, if you treat the chancre at this stage, you can be cured of syphilis. Back in the 1500’s, they simply did not have the medical knowledge to know this. Syphilis was known as a venereal disease, but it was more often referred to as “the pox.”

Once the chancre develops, it takes three to six weeks to heal. This is known as the first stage of syphilis. As it heals, the syphilis bacteria, spirochetes, spreads through a person’s bloodstream. The person who has done the infecting is highly infectious at this point; they are exhibiting an open syphilis sore or sores and open sores carry the infection.

As syphilis spreads through the bloodstream (after the chancre has healed) its now considered in the second stage of syphilis. A person might or might not develop symptoms. Symptoms of the second stage include a non-itchy rash anywhere on the body, lesions in mouth, wart-like sores in the genital area (which are infectious), hair loss, and flu-like symptoms. Again, in today’s era of medicine, if syphilis is treated at this stage, it can still be cured.

After this stage and even without treatment, these secondary symptoms will clear up, but the spirochetes bacteria remains in a person’s bloodstream and continues to multiply. This is known as the latent stage where there are no signs of symptoms of the syphilis. The latent stage can last two to thirty years after the initial infection. During the latent phase the person with syphilis will not infect their sexual partner because they are not presenting any open sores. However, during the latent phase, if they have a flair up of secondary symptoms and sores appear, they can be infectious. Syphilis’s extended latent phase “lulls” the infected person with a sense of security that they are fine.

The late stage of syphilis is known as tertiary syphilis. Symptoms include neurosyphilis, where the bacteria has gotten into the brain and spinal cord. This can cause seizures, blindness, hearing loss, dementia, and spinal cord problems. Additional symptoms can include lesions where syphilis has multiplied in bones, skin, heart, and arteries.


NEXT SATURDAY: A Look at Syphilis of the Innocent and the Ladies in Henry VIII's life.

References:

Book: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Alison Weir, 1991, Ballantine Books, 642 pages.
Internet:
http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/syphilis.cfm
http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/pregnancy/a/syphinpregancy.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_I_of_England
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_England
http://www.tudorhistory.org/henry8/
http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syphilis
http://syphilis.emedtv.com/syphilis/syphilis-in-pregnant-women.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VII_of_England
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Aragon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur,_Prince_of_Wales
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Boleyn
http://en.wiki http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/edward6.html pedia.org/wiki/Edward_VI_of_England

Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome Guest Author - Shawna Williams


Today, I want to welcome fellow Desert Breeze Author, Shawna Williams. Shawna's book, "No Other," an inspirational romance that takes place after World War II released on 1 May. Welcome Shawna!

Can you tell us a little about "No Other?" What's the plot?


SHAWNA: Sure Steph! "No Other" is set in the aftermath of WWII when the nation was trying to heal. That's what Jakob Wilheimer wants too. He wants to get past the pain of his family's internment, get on with his life, and if possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself.

Having quit school three years earlier to look after the family business and care for his younger siblings, Jakob knows his first step back into normalcy must be to return and get his diploma. And after enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of being a twenty year old amidst a bunch of teen aged high school students shouldn't have been a bother. What Jakob hadn't counted on was his former schoolmate, Meri Parker, being one of his teachers.

Seeing her every day, with her life on track, uninterrupted by the war, only serves as a reminder of Jakob's hardship. However, a school assignment brings these two in closer contact, and soon Jakob begins to see little hints of a not-so-perfect life behind the facade that is Meri Parker.

As a friendship deepens into feelings of something more, these two are faced with the dilemma of their situation. To be together, means they'd have to lie to everyone around them in order to keep their relationship a secret. But Jakob also fears for Meri, and the pressure from her family who wants her to marry someone else. He's aware of their cruelty and how they use Meri's yearning for their affection as a means of control. Jakob is afraid that without him at her side, she'll succumb and be lost to him forever.

Choices made out of desperation take them down a treacherous path.


STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the plot?

SHAWNA: The inspiration for "No Other" actually came from a dream I had eight years ago. It was bizarre, like watching a movie almost. And for the next six months I kept thinking about it, trying to fill in all the gaps between scenes. It eventually grew to be so complicated that I had to write it down. After playing with it off and on for six years, I finally decided to try and turn it into something publishable, and began studying the craft of writing, joining critique groups, and submitting short stories to rack up a few publishing credits. "No Other" was inspired from the first part of that dream, when the characters were young. All the details came later as I researched and got to know them better.


STEPH: Why did you set the story just after World War II?

SHAWNA: I just knew that's when this story took place. From the very beginning this made sense to me. I didn't realize how interesting I'd find this time period though, or all the complexities it would bring to mind in consideration of the events during the war.

STEPH: Did you do any research for the novel, if so, what?

SHAWNA: Oh yes! Researched and researched some more. I actually researched Jakob's family history all the way back to the early 1900's and the seeds that eventually led his family to immigrate from Germany to America. I have on a file somewhere the name of the boat they came over on, and the city the left from. I chose a real boat that docked at Pelican Island in Galveston, TX because this is where I wanted them to arrive at. None of this made it into the book, but it helped me to understand his family. I like to try and make as much of a story plausible as possible, so any place I can incorporate a real event or place I do.

The most fascinating thing I researched for this story was the internment of German American citizens during WWII. In the initial story Jakob's family had faced discrimination at the hands of the community, but I wasn't satisfied with that explanation for his anger. I always felt there was more to it. One night my husband and I were watching a documentary on Japanese American internment, and I suddenly wondered if anything similar had happened to German American citizens. I'd never heard of it, but it seemed likely. When I started researching I was shocked at what I found. The camp, Crystal City, was a real place. The censored mail and seizing of property was all something that really happened to people. Some of the stories I read were absolutely heartbreaking.

STEPH: What's your muse like? A girl or a boy? When do they annoy you the most?

SHAWNA: Can't say. It's just another facet of me, so I guess it's a girl. But my characters come to life so that they end up telling me the stories. For some reason though, I always seem to identify with the male characters perspective slightly more. My husband once said that I'm a girly girl who thinks like a guy, so maybe that explains it.

STEPH What was the road to publication like?

SHAWNA: I played with this story off and on for nearly six years before I decided to try and get it published. Once I decided to get past my fear of rejection and start working toward publication it took me about a year and a half. I knew I had a lot to learn, so I started studying the craft through books, and critique groups. I also began submitting short stories to journals for writing credits. I received both rejections and acceptances on those. When I started submitting to agents I received mostly rejections, but several came with some pleasant words of encouragement. I did have two ask to see partials. One of them rejected "No Other" after reviewing it, the other took six months to ask for a partial. At that time I had already signed with DBP so I told her "thank you," but the story was sold. I wasn't upset by that because I honestly feel that DBP was the best place for this story. It was actually the first publisher I submitted to.

STEPH: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?


SHAWNA: Sure. Be true to yourself. You need to learn the craft, but don't lose your voice in the process. There's a balance between what you can take away from a critique group in order to hone your skills, and trying to heed so much advice that you end up losing what makes you unique. Rules are good, but in the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "They're more like guidelines anyway."

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who is Meri? Jakob?

STEPH: Kind of, but really I'd say they cast themselves. The story for "No Other" and its sequel "In All Things" came to me so long ago that the cast has changed a bit. In the early day, the movie Pearl Harbor was only a few yrs old, and Josh Harnett had that shy farm-boy thing going on, so I kept seeing him as Jakob. Amy Smart reminded me of Meri.

Now this is kind of funny. When last year's season of American Idol started I was working on "No Other" and critiquing back and forth with a friend. She'd look my stuff over, and I'd do the same for her. Well, this one night after one of the early episodes of AI, I get this email from her, and she says "OMG, Kris Allen is Jakob!" The funny thing was, that night as I had watched, I'd been thinking the very same thing. He fit the physical description fairly well, and his mannerisms were spot on. Then in a later episode I saw Kris Allen's wife, Katy, and she fit Meri's description perfectly! So ever since last year's AI, that is who I see Jakob and Meri as, except taller.




STEPH: How did the cover come to be? What does the locket represent?

SHAWNA: Jenifer Raneiri, Desert Breeze's cover artist did such a beautiful job. I can't even begin to explain how much I love the cover. The locket is something that actually endured from the original story long, long ago. It's a family heirloom, having belonged to Jakob's grandmother. He gives it to Meri, but he doesn't have pictures of them, so he writes their names in it instead. The farmhouse is Jakob's childhood home that was taken from them when his parents were interned. It ends up being abandoned, and my favorite scene in the whole story takes place there.

STEPH: Is there a sequel?

SHAWNA: Yep! It's called "In All Things." It picks up with Jakob and Meri ten years later, in 1950s Hollywood. It's an inspirational romance, like "No Other" and the theme is similar, but with a different perspective from a different phase in life. It gets to tackle some unresolved issues that have festered for a decade. "No Other" is very much about just Jakob and Meri, but "In All Things" includes a lot of Jakob's family. So many surprising things have crept up while writing it. It makes me think of how life is like a mosaic, and many good things wouldn't be if not for the bad that proceeded them.


STEPH: Can you share a book trailer and buy links with us?

SHAWNA: Certainly!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVxeR7yeztw


You can purchase "No Other" here http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-86/No-Other/Detail.bok
Or the Kindle download http://www.amazon.com/No-Other-ebook/dp/B003K15MY0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1273031737&sr=1-1


Stephanie, I'd like to give away a pair of freshwater pearl earring and a signed postcard. There's a contest I'm running throughout the month of May where you can enter as many times as you want in accordance with the rules, which are posted on my blog, http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/p/no-other-prize-drawing-details.html.

There are three prizes; Good, Great and Grand, and they include things like Amazon gift certificates, a sterling silver-gold overlay locket, more freshwater pearl jewelry, "No Other" coverart posters and notebooks, goatsmilk soap and lotion (we live on a ranch, remember) honey soap, and postcards, not just of the book's cover, but of my daughter's beautiful photography work. You'll also receive a copy of the short story, "What Happened Next" which was derived from a funny childhood experience of my character, Jakob, one afternoon as his family spiffed up for a photo on their front porch. This story has been published in two journals, and I delight in being able to share it.

Everyone who comments today gets an entry, and if you can answer this question, you get another.

"What's Jakob's sister's name?"

Email me at shawnawilliams@allegiance.tv. The answer can be found in the first chapter of my book, viewable at http://noother-shawnawilliams.blogspot.com/,
or http://www.freado.com/read/6928/no-other-by-shawna-k-williams or in the free sample download from Kindle .

More about Shawna K. Williams at
http://shawnakwilliams.com/
http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/shawnakwilliams
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Shawna-K-Williams/236629884245?ref=ts

Thanks for popping in, Shawna. Good luck with sales.
Smiles
Steph