Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Available Now: The Swan's Road by Garth Pettersen

THE SWAN'S ROAD
Garth Pettersen

$5.99

BUY HERE
(99c through 19 November)
In the eleventh century, Cnute, the Viking king of Engla-lond and Scandinavia, sails with his son, Harald, and his shield brothers to Rome. Thrown off course by a storm, they follow the route up the Rhine.

When Harald hangs back to assist Selia, a beautiful Frisian woman, his path turns perilous. Newfound enemies, retainers of Robert the Devil, Duke of Normandy, pursue them. Harald, Selia, and their companions fail to rendezvous with King Cnute, and are forced to travel cross-country on horseback. If Duke Robert's plan to assassinate Cnute succeeds, an invasion of Engla-lond will follow.

Can Harald and Selia reach Rome in time to warn the King?

• • •

The prow of our longship broke the waves, the salt spray stinging my eyes. My legs bent, and my feet shifted naturally at the rise and fall of the sea. Always, it was the same, when the unfurling sail caught the wind and the ship surged forward. Like when you put heels to horse and she runs. The same. My spirits rising. The sun glistening off the surface of the sea.

This was more to my liking than learning the ways of the realm, for surely my royal Danish blood was many parts seawater.

I turned and watched my father, King Cnute, standing with his back to the mast. At forty years, Cnute was past his prime now, though he still maintained the strength of his sword arm, and the force of his will could not be broken. With his red cloak wrapped around him and the bronze circlet on his brow, my father looked out toward the other longships as if his gaze alone was enough to gather them in, to keep the wolf pack together. Four drakkars or longships, sixty men, and a string of horses, an adequate force for a raid, but a mere fighting band in a battle.

At that moment, he saw me watching him.

“Harald, my son,” he called. A broad smile lit up his face. I could tell the wind and waves had ripped the weight of kingship from him. “It’s a fine day to be a Dane.” He laughed in that way of his, tossing his head back, so his long mane of gray-blond hair blew in the wind.

I left the prow and walked the pitching deck to join him.

“We’ll make the Norman shore by nightfall." His voice rose above the sound of the wind. “The weather will hold so the ships can return with the morning tide.”

“I wish we were sailing all the way to Rome,” I said. “I am more at home on a deck than a horse.”

“As am I. But I have need to see the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire. There is much to learn—for both of us.”

I tried to discern if my father alluded to some of my past lapses of judgment: fits of childish anger directed at him, a fondness for ale beyond my ability to control my behavior, and a tendency to be overwhelmed with love for a pretty face. This time, as at others, I could not read what lay behind his words.

My father continued. “This system the Normans and Franks use—fee or fief they call it—I would see how it functions, whether it enslaves those who work the land, or secures them.”

“Your subjects prosper, Father. Is there need for change?”

He looked at me shrewdly, wiping seaspray from his face. “Perhaps not. Let us say we shall borrow that which we deem to be good and make note of the rest. A king should always know about his friends, for one day they may be his enemies.”

“May God will all your days be lived in peace,” said a voice behind me.

“Your Eminence,” said the king.

I had not seen Archbishop Lyfing approach. He was a short, thin man, and his bishop’s robes only made him look smaller.

“The Duke of Normandy’s representative will be watching for us,” the prelate said. “He will not want to miss collecting the passage toll.”

“I bear a letter from the Holy Father,” the king replied, “that will serve as a pass through the toll collectors in any Catholic lands.”

Lyfing was caught off guard, but replied, “I wasn’t aware of this arrangement.”

“You are my Archbishop of Canterbury and my confessor, but you are not privy to all matters of state, Father Lyfing.”

For a moment, the archbishop’s arrogance faded from his countenance, though he recovered quickly, making a slight bow to the king. Whenever Cnute addressed Lyfing as “Father,” he was reminding the man of his humble priestly beginnings, a role he could be reduced to if he displeased his King.

Not able to keep the smile from my face, I asked to be excused. My father nodded and continued his conversation with the churchman. I made my way toward the stern where my two best friends, Torsten and Gwyn, fished with hand lines ahead of the steersman.

I said, “It looks to me the crew will be eating salt pork for supper tonight, not sea bass.”

“The passage is not yet over, young princeling,” Torsten replied. “Chide me at the day’s end.”

Gwyn grinned. “If we land something spiny and full of worms, we’ll save it for your highness’ supper.”

We shared the laugh. Torsten, Gwyn, and I had grown up together. Our fathers had fought as shield brothers in the taking of our English kingdom. To be included in this journey was an honor for their families.

The company of our friend, Gwyn, could not be equaled. He loved to jest or tell a tale around a campfire or over horns of ale. Like most Welshmen, Gwyn was dark and short in stature, a wild barbarian in a fight.

Torsten had a different nature. With a Danish father and an English mother, he stood tall and blond like a Northman. The impression he gave to strangers was of a quiet shyness. But those who sought to take advantage of that lack of brashness suffered for their mistake, for although Torsten was gifted with patience and forbearance, the embers of injustice could be quickly fanned when the need arose. In our world, the need did most often arise.

Of the three of us, I would have to admit to being the most hotheaded and impulsive. I had once chosen like-minded companions, but our antics many times reached the ears of the king. It is one thing to be reprimanded by one’s father; it is quite another when one’s father is the king of the realm. Cnute made it a clear choice: either pursue a royal path or be on my way to the devil. My former companions found themselves shipped off to rustic and unknown relatives in different parts of my father’s vast kingdoms. I found better friends.

“Look, Harald,” said Gwyn, checking his fishline, “what’s all this Holy Roman whatnot we’re off to?”

“Aye,” said Torsten, “the king’s not one to give his rowers lessons in statecraft.”

“That’s because you’re better at rowing than listening.”

Torsten reached over to cuff his friend on the head, but Gwyn ducked the blow.

“Both of you listen, and I’ll explain it to you,” I said. “You know Cnute rules the northern lands of Engla-lond, Danmark, Nordvegr, and parts of Sverige? Well, the kingdoms directly south, in central Europe, are tied together as the Holy Roman Empire. This is not the Empire of the old Roman legions, but a Christian alliance of kingdoms under a monarch who is appointed by the Pope in Rome. A new emperor is to be crowned in Rome, and this voyage from Engla-lond, across the Narrow Sea, is the first leg of our journey. Once we get to Normandy, we go overland. I don’t know the whole route, but we keep heading south, all the way to Rome.”

“And that’s why the archbishop’s crawled out from ’neath his rock, isn’t it?” said Gwyn. “So he can sample the Pope’s wine.”

“I’m sure there are many reasons for Lyfing to be with us. One is to make our King appear to be more than a northern barbarian. Another is to strengthen our ties with the Holy See. Does this all make sense?”

“Clear enough,” Torsten replied, peering down at the sea.

“Perfectly clear, Harald,” said Gwyn. “Except the part about the Holy See. I thought we were going overland, didn’t I?”

Just then Gwyn’s line jerked taut, and he struggled to keep hold of it. “Now if you’ve finished preaching to the ignorant, could you help me pull in your supper?”

• • •

Garth Pettersen's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella, River Born, was one of two runners-up in the Wundor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. The Swan's Road is his debut novel. He is a Canadian writer who lives with his wife on a farm in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, British Columbia. When he's not writing, he's riding horses and working with young, disabled riders.

Find Garth online:

Website - http://www.garthpettersen.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/writeandride
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/garpet011
LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/in/garth-pettersen-5842996a
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Pettersen_Garth



Monday, 13 November 2017

Available Now: The Mist na Mara Series by Paula Martin

MIST NA MARA SERIES
~ Each book specially priced at just 99c/99p through Wednesday the 15th ~


IRISH INHERITANCE
Mist na Mara, #1
$3.99
BUY HERE

English actress, Jenna Sutton, and American artist, Guy Sinclair, are thrown together when they find they’ve jointly inherited a house on the west coast of Ireland. Neither knows their connection to their unknown benefactress, but set about unravelling the intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. Despite their personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements, Jenna and Guy feel their growing attraction.

When local property agent, Eve Callaghan, appears to have her own agenda, friction builds over Jenna and Guy’s decision about the house and its contents.

Will their Irish inheritance bring them together - or drive them apart?



• • •



IRISH INTRIGUE
Mist na Mara, #2
$3.99
BUY HERE
Actress Charley Hunter is forced back to Ireland to complete her filming of a TV drama series. She still hasn’t come to terms with losing her husband there two years ago, so the last thing she expects is her instant attraction for the local veterinarian.

After Luke Sullivan’s divorce, he vowed to concentrate on his two young children and his busy veterinary practice. Falling for Charley certainly wasn’t in his plans.

While trying to find their way together, Luke is suddenly faced with a series of unexplained crises at his clinic, as well as his ex-wife filing for custody. And has Charley put his children in danger? Has she betrayed him? Can they reconcile their differences and find love?


• • •


IRISH SECRETS
Mist na Mara, #3
$3.99
BUY HERE
While working at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre, Kara Stewart embarks on a search for her mother’s birth parents; she’d been adopted in the 1960s by an American couple. Kara soon realises the task is not as simple as she’d anticipated when she’s meet with a wall of secrecy surrounding Irish baby adoptions.

Ryan Brady is hiding the secret of his real identity, but when he offers to help Kara trace her Irish family, his attraction to her is undeniable.

As the mystery unravels, secrets drive a wedge, not only between Kara and her mother, but also between Kara and Ryan.

Can Kara and Ryan find a way to heal the rifts created by all these secrets and find love?


• • •


IRISH DECEPTIONS
Mist na Mara, #4
$4.99
BUY HERE
After a devastating car accident which halts her career as a professional dancer, Ellie Vaughan relocates to beautiful Connemara in the west of Ireland, where she finds a new life teaching at the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre.

When she’s teamed up with Irish actor, Dan Nicholas, to work on a musical at the local school, they’re instantly attracted to each other. Their mutual attraction grows, until Ellie discovers Dan has deceived her. He, in turn, is angered by what he believes is her lack of honesty.

Deceptions mount as Ellie’s former dance partner and Dan’s ex-girlfriend add to the complications, and a thirteen-year-old schoolboy is hiding his own secret.

Can Ellie and Dan find a way to overcome all the obstacles that threaten their future together?



The Mist na Mara series is specially priced at 99c/99p through Wednesday, the 15th.
Grab the whole series today for just $3.96!



Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Available Now: The Crucifixion by Daithi Kavanagh

THE CRUCIFIXION
The Tadhg Sullivan Series, #3
Daithi Kavanagh

$4.99

BUY HERE
(99c through 12 November)
Detective Tadhg Sullivan’s break away from serious crime comes to an abrupt end when he is pushed into investigating the murder of a retired Christian Brother. A newly elected left wing government fear that the media will hold them personally responsible for what is believed to be a hate crime against the Catholic Church.

Ella Kavanagh, the new Minister for Justice, hopes that placing Sullivan in charge of the investigation will help to distance the government from any mud-slinging by the media. However, no one is prepared for the litany of abuse and corruption stretching back decades, which is about explode in all of their faces.

Can Sullivan save this fledgling government, or will the sins of the past remain buried, and so doing destroy the future of everyone concerned?

• • •

It was a beautiful late spring morning. The sun was starting to burn through the haze. He could hear birds chirping, high up in the trees. They were welcoming the summer, which would turn the leaves green to camouflage their nests. He loved the early morning; it blew away the cobwebs and made him feel fresh and clean. At night, his past would engulf him, filling him with fear and guilt. He hated the dark and always slept with the light on.

He took his early morning stroll down to the old barn-style church. The tiny church was only a stone’s throw from the main Parochial House. His leather shoes crunched the gravel path, just as they had done for twenty years, since his retirement. At the time, no one would have imagined him still there. It’s hard to kill a bad thing.

He was just about to enter the church, when he heard a movement behind him. He hadn’t time to turn and see what it was, because suddenly a hand had clasped him around the mouth. It pulled him backwards; a stinging pain in the side of his neck and then everything went black.

When he came around, it felt as if his body were being torn apart. Taking his head away from his chest he could see that his hands had been nailed to the church door. Unable to scream, due to being gagged, his head dropped back onto his chest and his hands and arms felt like they were on fire. The searing pain pushed him back into unconsciousness as he was grabbed by the hair and his head slammed against the church door. His gag was pulled off and a face from the past appeared before him.

“Remember me, sir?” was all that came out of the grinning demonic mouth as his tormenter began to speak.

“What do you want?” the old man answered back, but they were the last words he spoke before he felt a piercing pain in his side and the smiling face welcomed him to hell.

• • •

Daithi Kavanagh lives in Trinity, County Wexford with his wife and two teenage children.

He has worked for several years as a musician.

In the last couple of years, after taking up adult education, he began writing.

Find Daithi Online:

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/caroline.kavanagh.543
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DAITHIKAVANAGHWRITER
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Daithik3
Blog - http://www.daithikavanagh.blogspot.com
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Kavanagh_Daithi




Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Available Now: So Much It Hurts By Dellani Oakes

SO MUCH IT HURTS
Dellani Oakes

$3.99

BUY HERE
($2.99 through 5 November)
Alone in the big city, Pia Donovan is feeling rather lost when she finally arrives at the majestic, old hotel in the downtown area. Flynn Chancellor and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick, take an interest in Pia, introducing her to their city. Pia seems to have found her niche, and has made friends with the welcoming residents in the old hotel.

Life seems perfect, until one weekend when everything changes forever.

• • •

Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.

“Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”

Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.

“You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”

“Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”

“Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.

“Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”

“Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”

“Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”

“That was nice of him.”

“He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”

Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”

“Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”

“No kidding? What brings you up here?”

“I got a scholarship to City University.”

“In?”

He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.

“Music.”

“We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”

“I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”

“We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formerly been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.

“When was this place built?”

“Early 1900s.”

“And they’re tearing it down?”

“No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”

She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.

“You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”

“It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” he agreed.

No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”
A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”

“I got lost.”

“Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.

“Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”

Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from the wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.

“You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.

“Sounds elegant.”

• • •


Dellani Oakes makes her home in Florida, but she grew up in Western Nebraska. Before that, she had lived in four other states. Since then, she has added two more, giving her a unique perspective on life. Always a people watcher, Dellani put that talent to use when she became an author.

Bitten by the writing bug early in life, Dellani first pursued poetry as her medium of self-expression. Soon, she moved on the song parodies and then short stories and humorous essays. Once she got to high school, it became apparent that she needed to learn to spell when she got a paper back from her English teacher, “For content – A+. For mechanics – F.” That comment changed her life, forcing her to focus as much on how she said things as what she said.

Dellani took up writing full time when her youngest son started kindergarten in 2002. Since then, she has published four books. Her two romantic suspense novels are with Tirgearr Publishing, though she has an historical romance and sci-fi novel with another publisher. She has also contributed to several anthologies.

Find Dellani Online:

Website - http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/dellanioakes
Twitter - http://twitter.com/dellanioakes
Blog - http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani