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Wicked Wednesday – Voices on the Waves and a Contest

Today we have fellow author Jessica Chambers who is here to tell us about her debut novel, a sweet holiday read called VOICE ON THE WAVES, which is now available from Red Rose Publishing.

Jessica was born in the UK in 1982, and currently lives with her family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that has left her almost totally blind.

Jessica has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. As a shy person, she loves being able to escape into another world, and the sense of power that comes with controlling everything that goes on in that world. She especially loves writing women’s fiction centered around memorable characters that leap off the page.

Jessica is also being kind enough to have a contest to celebrate this release and her blog tour! Everyone who comments on any of her blog posts during the tour is automatically entered into the drawing to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The five winners will be announced on October 31st over at Jessica’s blog at www.jessicachambers.co.uk/blog.

***Excerpt***


Not pausing to consider, Karenza marched back up the stairs and along the landing. Reaching Marcus’s room, she hammered on the door.

“Hang on, I’m not de—” came the protest from within, but she had already flung open the door to reveal Marcus hoisting up his trousers.

“I don’t remember asking you to come in,” he spat, “or do you think you’re so special you can barge into other people’s room’s uninvited?”

Karenza ignored him, her gaze on the bed where a discarded pair of trousers lay in a stained and crumpled heap. “What happened to you?”

“I would have thought that was obvious. I accidentally spilled coffee down me.”

“How careless. Not like you at all, Marcus.”

Marcus’s features tautened. “Get out.”

Unperturbed, Karenza shut the door behind her and leaned against it.

“I told you to get out,” Marcus snarled, advancing on her. “Go on, or I’ll have to make you.”

“Please, spare me.” Karenza fastened him with a cool gaze. “What have you done to Leah?”

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

“No? Then why was she so upset when I saw her a minute ago?”

Marcus made an impatient gesture. “How the hell should I know?”

“Don’t play the innocent with me. You were downstairs with her, weren’t you?”

“No,” he said, then recoiled as Karenza took a menacing step towards him. “Well, all right, yes, but it wasn’t my fault, if that’s what you mean. It was just a misunderstanding.”

“Is that so?” Karenza raised her eyebrows. “I don’t suppose this ‘misunderstanding’ had anything to do with you coming on to Leah and her, being an intelligent girl, rejecting you?”

“How dare you!”

“And then, so desperate to get away from you, she spilled coffee all over your Armani’s.”

Marcus reddened. “I won’t have you accusing me of crimes I haven’t committed. For your information, Sherlock, it was Leah who made a pass at me. I tried to let her down gently, but once she realized I wasn’t interested, she ran off in floods. The silly child had got the ridiculous notion into her head that I’ve been sending out signals. Naturally I was forced to put her straight.”

Karenza moved to stand right in front of him, her eyes locked on his. “So whose handprint is that on your face?”

Marcus stared at her in silence for a long moment, then dropped his gaze.

“You bastard,” she said in a low hiss. “How dare you drag Leah down to your disgusting level just because she’s too sensible to fall for you. See, you don’t fool me. You might be laboring under the delusion that you’re God’s gift to women, that no one could possibly resist you, but you’re sadly mistaken. It’s high time you learned that some women—decent women, that is—just aren’t stupid or desperate enough to let you use them to satisfy your sordid little desires!”

And before Marcus could utter a suitable retort, Karenza swept from the room, shutting the door behind her with a reverberating slam.

******

You can buy VOICES ON THE WAVES now from Red Rose Publishing, by clicking here or cutting and pasting this link:
http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?products_id=853

Tomorrow, the VOICES ON THE WAVES Blog Tour continues over at Beary Good Books, where Jessica is sharing the first chapter of her novel.

Travel Tuesday – A Visit to Windsor

We took a lovely train ride out to Windsor to see Windsor Castle and the quaint town nearby, also the home to Eton, the exclusive school. Weather was a bit dreary, but not too cold. Unfortunately, Her Majesty was in residence which meant we could go on the castle grounds for free, but were unable to get into any of her “apartments.” Major bummer as I was dying to see the various bedrooms, kitchens, dining areas, etc. that we had seen on the PBS special about a year in the life of Windsor Castle.

Nevertheless, we were able to walk around all the grounds and see St. George’s Chapel. The guards were patrolling all over the area and are quite attractive in their bright red coats and furry hats. Real guns — no one will mess with them.

The gardens and areas in and around Windsor Castle are lovely. Well-kept and so green thanks to the spring rains. If you see the picture of the entrance to the Moat Path in the slide show below, it is now the entrance to the gardens that have replaced the moat.

We then headed to town where we had fish and chips in a delightful pub and walked around town before returning to London. The train ride was nice and it was a good way to also get a glimpse of the suburbs and countryside around London.

I hope you’ll enjoy these pictures. If you can’t see the slide show below, you can also check them out on my Facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2058180&id=1130005412&l=877be7ad1e

Travel Tuesday – Stonehenge

If you’re like me, you’ve got a list of places you’d like to see sometime in your life — Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Great Wall of China, etc. and possibly also Stonehenge.

Well, I’m so happy I could take Stonehenge off the list because we took a tour to see it during our visit to London. It took about an hour and a half to get there, but it was worth the trip since we got to see the English countryside and then went on to see Bath (more on that in another post).

Some interesting things about Stonehenge. The word “henge” derives from either “hanging” or “hinge” which makes sense considering how the stones hang on each other.

Even before Stonehenge was built, the area was used as a burial place and there are several burial mounds in and around Stonehenge. Eventually, the closer you got to be buried next to the stones, the more important you were. In this shot from the bus (a little blurry), you can see a burial mound off to the right of the photo. The mounds are known as barrows.

It’s believed that construction at this site began around 3100 BC and continued until about 1600 BC. Archaelogists believe the site was constructed as a monument by early civilizations and the connection to Druids apparently comes much later in the history of the monument.

This shot was taken from what is known as the “Heelstone” (which you can see in the album as the one lone stone apart from the monument). The smaller stone laying down in front is the “slaughter stone.”

Sadly, you can no longer touch the stones or get very close to them. It would have been nice to get in the center and see what kind of energy, if any, exists there. Unfortunately, that was not possible and so the only thing we felt was the cold wind blowing along the fields.

Here are some more photos for you! If you can’t see the slideshow below, you can also click on this link for pictures of Stonehenge:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2057499&id=1130005412&l=e7e3468533

For more information on Stonehenge, you can visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge
Unesco Stonehenge World Heritage Site
English Heritage Site

Travel Tuesday – Tower of London

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s behind the scenes look into a writer’s brain!

As I mentioned, I needed to do some research and spark story ideas for the new book that I’ve been plotting in my brain, hence the cashing in the frequent flyer and hotel rewards for a trip to London.

The book is contemporary and revolves around some secret orders of knights, mystical relics and the need to save the world from demonic forces. But there are scenes set in ancient London and other interesting spots in both the United Kingdom and elsewhere, including New York City.

One of the places I could envision doing some flashback scenes was the Tower of London. It was a fascinating place to visit and some of the things we saw already inspired ideas – like the “Entry to the Traitor’s Gate” that can be seen from boats on the Thames (see below).

Traitor's Gate as seen from the Thames

View of the Gate from within the Tower of London
Traitor's Gate as seen from the Tower of London

I could so picture one of my heroes being rowed through the gate on the way to some punishment in order to get information from them. The guide on the boat trip we took mentioned that the last man to be rowed through the gates was William Wallace (of Braveheart fame).

While we were in the Tower there was an amazing exhibition of armor as well as the Crown Jewels. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to snap pictures of the jewels. Bummer. I had hoped I could use one of them, or maybe one of the stones in them, as part of the collection of mystical relics in the story. I guess that will require additional thought on my part as well as more research.

I’ll be posting more Tower of London photos to my Facebook page shortly (something wonky is going on with uploading!). As soon as I have the link to those photos, I’ll post it here.

Travel Tuesday – London Gardens 2010

I’m back! Sorry I wasn’t back yesterday as promised but computer issues ate up most of the day.

So you may have been wondering where I’ve been. Well, hubby and I had been planning this trip for some time and we cashed in all our frequent flyer and hotel miles and headed off to London for a variety of reasons.

We visited our best friend in London and I got great inspiration for new stories and research one in particular.

We had a wonderful time and the break from legal and writing work did me a world of good. After feeling a wealth of frustration over a number of projects in the last few months, all the new sights, sounds and foods revived my flagging creativity.

I hope the sights and info will inspire you as well as over the next few months Tip Tuesdays become Travel Tuesdays as I share some of the 600+ photos that I took all over London and nearby environs.

Today’s photographs are from some of the parks in London as well as the gardens in the area. The Brits love their gardens and it shows in the neatly manicured plots in front of many of the homes. In particular, the camelias caught my eye as they were in full bloom in an assortment of colors. I’ve always wanted to plant a camelia, but NJ is just too cold. Surprisingly, London which is far more North of NJ, has more temperate weather and because of this palm trees, camelias and other plants seem to thrive there.

The weather during our visit was a little drizzly, but not cold which made it just fine for the long walks we took through the various neighborhoods and parks. We even had two beautiful sunny and warm days and when that happened everyone seem to come out of their homes and offices and head to the nearest greens.

The photos in this collection are of three different parks:

St. James Park is located directly behind 10 Downing Street and Whitehall Chapel and in front of Buckingham Palace. It is a lovely park with a lake in the middle of it. Lush lawns, trees and flowers were all over and since this park was close to offices, Parliament, etc. it was mobbed when the sun came out.

Regents Park was right near our hotel in the Camden area of London. It’s also right next to the London Zoo or ZedSL as they call it (ZSL in American Speak). Even bigger than St. James, Regents likewise had lovely gardens and an immense lake filled with an assortment of very interesting water fowl.

Finally, St. John’s Wood Church Grounds was a smaller park along the route to the Tube (aka the subway). We passed by the park several times as they had closed our Tube line for servicing during their “bank holiday” (aka public holiday) over the Easter weekend. Take a moment to notice the very old tombstones scattered in the park and buried beneath the flowering camelias. It was rather creepy to walk past them at night, but it got my writer’s mind going about what might happen in such a place in the dark!

We spent over a week in London and also did a daytrip to Stonehenge and Bath, so look for tons more photos in the coming weeks as well as some video.

I hope you enjoy!

If you can’t see the slideshow below, you can click on this link to see the London Gardens 2010 photos!
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2055743&id=1130005412&l=7d26d54995