A Secret Scottish Christmas (Agents of the Crown #4) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

 Secret Scottish Christmas (Agents of the Crown #4) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

A Secret Scottish Christmas

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.au / Amazon.uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 6, 2017

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819 – Twin brothers Nash and Robbie of Powell and Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long considered pagan by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns both are spies?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: A Secret Scottish Christmas begins with a group of people traveling from England to Scotland to celebrate Christmastide, albeit a secret celebration, with friends. Once the group arrives in Scotland, it doesn’t take long for the Powell twins, Nash and Robbie, to notice not only Aileen’s beauty, but also her fiery spirit.

As the story progresses, the twins put their secret plan into motion, in hopes of making their mission a successful one. However, as the twins get to know Ailie, it becomes apparent that one is more enamored than the other when said twin starts questioning their mission altogether.

A Secret Scottish Christmas is a great addition to the Agents of the Crown series. Ailie is a wonderfully written character. She is intelligent and feisty, but also has a loving heart for those she holds dear. The Powell twins were wonderfully written as well. I love the fact that they love each other as you would expect, but what drew me in was their sense of independence. Regan Walker did a phenomenal job of making each one of them their own person with their own identities. I also loved that Ailie picked up on their nuances that were written so brilliantly. Walker has also, once again, woven actual historical events into her story seamlessly and built a world that you can vividly see in your mind. Whether it is the sound of a dog barking, feeling the wind in your face as you sail away or seeing a landscape covered in new snow, you will find yourself noticing all of the details she meticulously sets for us to truly feel as if we are a part of. Reading Regan Walker’s books is, at least for me, like watching a movie. You are swept into her world from the very beginning and you truly do hate for it to end. Added to all of this the fact that we get to see so many couples from previous books throughout the entire story makes it one of my favorites of everything she has written. If you’re a fan of historical romance, you will most definitely love A Secret Scottish Christmas. There is a beautifully developed romance, political intrigue and such well developed characters that you’ll swear this is your favorite as well….until the next one. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post-Black and Blue

Scot, Scotsman, Scotch or Scottish… how to refer to the Scots?

By Regan Walker

For my new Christmas Regency, A Secret Scottish Christmas, I wanted to make sure I referred to the Scots as they would want, so I did a bit of scouting. What I discovered was that the terminology can be confusing. Robert Burns, Scotland’s beloved poet, referred to the people of Scotland as “Scots”.

As you know from reading my stories set in Medieval Scotland, the people have always been “Scots” and their kings were never Kings of Scotland, but Kings of the Scots, the people being of first importance, not the land.

The Scots refer to their stories and language as “Scottish” but, in past times, they used the word “Scotch” in place of “Scottish” or “Scot”, something not done today.

In Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character by Edward Bannerman Ramsay, first published in 1857, the author looks back “forty years” (which would be to the Regency era) and describes the unique “Scottish dialect” spoken at the time. In one place, he says, “I recollect old Scottish ladies and gentlemen who really spoke Scotch.” He also refers to the people of Scotland as “the Scotch” and describes himself as “an out and out Scotchman”. So there you have it. Clear as haggis… er, mud.

I hope you enjoy my Christmas story set on the Northeast coast of Scotland. The people there in 1819 would have spoken a unique dialect, except in prominent families such as the Stephens, who spoke the King’s English. (The journals of the Scottish upper classes read like ones written by the English at the time). They might have spoken with an accent, of course. Most of the common people would have spoken the Doric dialect. Since Doric would be hard for readers to understand, I used it sparingly and sprinkled the book with a few Scottish expressions to give you a flavor for the local speech, particularly in the taverns and for the heroine’s grandfather from Stonehaven.

About The Author Black and Blue

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has six times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the Medieval category). Her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards in 2017. And her novel To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction in 2017.

Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels features real history and real historical figures. And, of course, adventure and love.

Regan’s website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076BBG6HV
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104
Regan’s Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y
Pinterest Storyboard for the book: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/a-secret-scottish-christmas-by-regan-walker/

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Echo in the Wind (The Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

Echo in the Wind (The Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

Echo in the Wind

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2017

England and France 1784

Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.

Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious comte de Saintonge.

Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW:  Regan Walker has once again written a tale that pulls you in from the very beginning. As the story begins, we immediately discover that Lady Joanna West is more than just a Lady of the ton. She is a strong and independent woman whose heart aches for the poor, and proves she will do just about anything to see to their well-being.

Lady Joanna and her brother, Richard, the Earl of Torrington, are hosting a party for the new English Prime Minister in their home, when Jean Donet makes his entrance. Joanna is immediately intrigued, as their paths have crossed before, although unbeknownst to him. Rumors of Donet’s past pique her interest even more. Richard has been trying to convince Joanna to travel to London with the family for her little sister’s first season, but she truly had no interest, until Jean Donet asked “Will you be coming to London, Lady Joanna:’. Little did she know that her simple answer of “why, yes”would have a profound effect on her future.

Echo in the Wind is another wonderfully written tale by Regan Walker. Joanna is such a great character. Her big heart, as well as her independent streak, draws you in immediately. However, it is Jean Donet, whom we met in To Tame the Wind, that will grab your heart and not let go. Having lost his first wife years before, he never thought, or even dreamed, that he’d be inclined to love again. His back story is heartbreaking, but it is his strong sense of honor and self that will endear him to all who read. Even though he was cast out by an overbearing father in his youth, he steps up to do what is right by his remaining family after his father and brother are killed in what seemed to be an accident. With tensions rising in France, unforeseen danger lurks in his home country as he tries to unravel not only what happened to his father and brother, but his growing feelings for Lady Joanna. “Like an echo in the wind, love had come to him a second time and he was more than grateful it had”.

Once again, no one, in my humble opinion, writes this genre like Regan Walker. You are always pulled into her tales immediately. You can feel the bumps as the carriage passes over the cobblestone streets and smell the salty sea air as the ship sails to each destination. Walker’s world building is second to none as you are swept from one beautiful and intriguing location to another. And, as always, if you’re a fan of this genre, you will never go wrong with reading any of Ms. Walker’s stories. I always think that once I finish one of her books that it’s my favorite…..until I read the next. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very, very well done!

Reading order and previous review
To Tame The Wind
Echo in the Wind
A Fierce Wind (2018)

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

excerpt


Bognor, West Sussex, England, April 1784

Except for the small waves rushing to shore, hissing as they raced over the shingles, Bognor’s coast was eerily bereft of sound. Lady Joanna West hated the disquiet she always experienced before a smuggling run. Tonight, the blood throbbed in her veins with the anxious pounding of her heart, for this time, she would be dealing with a total stranger.
Would he be fair, this new partner in free trade? Or might he be a feared revenue agent in disguise, ready to cinch a hangman’s noose around her slender neck?
The answer lay just offshore, silhouetted against a cobalt blue sky streaked with gold from the setting sun: a black-sided ship, her sails lifted like a lady gathering up her skirts, poised to flee, waited for a signal.
Crouched behind a rock with her younger brother, Joanna hesitated, studying the ship. Eight gun ports marched across the side of the brig, making her wonder at the battles the captain anticipated that he should carry sixteen guns.
She and her men were unarmed. They would be helpless should he decide to cheat them, his barrels full of water instead of brandy, his tea no more than dried weeds.
It had been tried before.
“You are certain Zack speaks for this captain?” she asked Freddie whose dark auburn curls beneath his slouched hat made his boyish face appear younger than his seventeen years. But to one who knew him well, the set of his jaw hinted at the man he would one day become.
“I’ll fetch him,” Freddie said in a hushed tone, “and you can ask him yourself.” He disappeared into the shadows where her men waited beneath the trees.
Zack appeared, squatting beside her, a giant of a man with a scar on the left side of his face from the war. Like the mastiffs that guarded the grounds of her family’s estate, he was big and ugly, fierce with enemies, but gentle with those he was charged to protect.
“Young Frederick here says ye want to know about this ship, m’lady.” At her nod, Zack gazed toward the brig. “He used to come here regular with nary a con nor a cheat. He’s been gone awhile now. I heard he might have worked up some other business—royal business.” He rolled his massive shoulders in a shrug. “In my experience, a tiger don’t change his stripes. He’s a Frog, aye, but I trust the Frenchie’s one of us, a free trader still.”
She took in a deep breath of the salted air blowing onshore and let it out. “Good.” Zack’s assurance had been some comfort but not enough to end her concerns. What royal business? For tonight, she need not know. “Give the signal,” she directed her brother, “but I intend to see for myself if the cargo is what we ordered.”
Without seeking the position, Joanna had become the smugglers’ master of the beach, responsible for getting the cargo ashore and away to inland routes and London markets with no revenue man the wiser. She took seriously her role to assure the villagers got what they paid for. Their survival depended upon it.

Copyright © 2017 Regan Walker


 

About the author

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has six times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the Medieval category). Her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards in 2017. And her novel To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction in 2017.

Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels features real history and real historical figures. And, of course, adventure and love.

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors #4) by Regan Walker-a review

King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors #4) by Regan Walker-a review

King's Knight

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 11, 2016

HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT

Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wanted was a commoner he had saved from a terrible fate.

SHE KEPT MEN AT BAY WITH HER BOW

The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?

••••••••••••••

REVIEW:  King’s Knight is a wonderful addition in Regan Walker’s Medieval Warrior series. Once again, the world that Ms. Walker continues to build in this series is superb, as is her storytelling .

Merewyn is a character that you will immediately feel a kinship with. She took the shame she felt as a child and turned it into something beautiful: pride and determination. Fiercely protective and loyal to those she loves, Merewyn will, more than once, prove that her determination knows no bounds. Alex is just as loyal and fierce and protective, which he proved as a child when he and Merewyn were children. However, it is defiance in later years that will endear him to all who read this story. It is truly a fairytale come true for them both. The historical aspects of this story, more than any other in this series, leapt from the page. Let me just say, THAT is saying something. I’ve said before that one of the earmarks of a great author, at least for me, is being able to actually see the scene in your mind. Regan Walker is unparalleled in accomplishing that fact.

It was so great to see this series move forward several years and see the original characters from previous books happy and healthy and their children taking lead roles in securing their own futures. Regan Walker has once again written a sweeping tale that pulls you in at the very beginning and doesn’t let you go. Along with a wonderfully developed romance, there is political intrigue, along with a cast of supporting characters begging for their story to be told. This is true medieval romance at its finest. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very well done!

Reading Order and Previous reviews
The Red Wolfe’s Prize
Rogue Knight
Rebel Warrior
King’s Knight

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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Rebel Warrior (Medieval Warriors #3) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

Rebel Warrior (Medieval Warriors #3) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

Rebel Warrior

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /Amazon.uk

About the book: Release Date May 17, 2016

When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Review:

Rebel Warrior begins with Catriona’s home being attacked and her beloved parents being murdered as she and Angus, her trusted guard, make their way home from a day of flying her falcon. Those whom the attackers didn’t kill, they took as prisoners. Thankfully, her brother was away as well and was spared. They were taken in by their uncle until the time came for Catriona and her cousin, Fia, to become ladies of the Queen’s court. Catriona was not very enthusiastic when it came to her duties at court, but soon fell into a routine and discovered that Queen Margaret is more than she first thought.

Steinar had become a valuable member of the King of Scots’ inner circle. He relished his duties, but practiced daily trying to regain his warrior’s body and strength from a wound that could have very well killed him. Once he sees Catriona, he is immediately drawn to her and is determined to get to know her. He soon discovers that she is betrothed to another, but can’t help his feelings for her.

Catriona can’t help but notice Steinar and is drawn to him as well. She steadfastly stays the course her father had laid out before her though. However, once she was betrayed by the one she was to marry, she immerses herself into a project helping Queen Margaret.

However, when King Malcolm decides to meet war head on, he and his men head out, leaving Queen Margaret and her court worried and anxious. It just so happens that Catriona is not the only one smitten with one of their King’s guards, so they do the only thing they know to do. Pray. What transpires will leaving you turning the pages and holding your breath at the same time.

Regan Walker has once again written a story like no other. Rebel Warrior is, without a doubt, one of the most well written stories I’ve ever read, by any author. The storytelling, as well as the world building, is phenomenal. I know I repeat myself when I review one of her books, but the weaving of actual historical events in with the story she tells is awe inspiring. As Walker starts to weave her tale, you will swear you can hear the clamor, whether in the dining hall, or in the courtyard. Catriona is a wonderfully strong and determined young woman. Even after witnessing the destruction of her own home, she stays true to the path that her beloved father had set in motion. Steiner is wonderful in his own right. Strong, intelligent and deeply loyal, he is the perfect match for Catriona. However, it is Catriona’s beautiful friendship that develops with Queen Margaret, that is truly life changing. Margaret not only gives Catriona a sense of purpose, but helps restore her faith. A faith that she had been struggling with ever since she was forced from her home. The secondary characters are well written as well, and I hope to read more about them in the next installment. Rebel Warrior is truly one of the most heartfelt and inspirational things I’ve read in years. The romance that develops between the two main characters is very touching, but it is Catriona’s renewed faith that will have you cheering and shedding a few tears. If you’ve not ready anything by Regan Walker, I will tell you once again…..it is truly your loss. Very well done Regan Walker! Very, very, very well done.

Series Reading Order and Vickie’s Previous Reviews
The Red Wolf’s Prize
Rogue Knight
Rebel Warrior

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest post

Reflecting Characters’ Faith Without Making the Romance Inspirational
by Regan Walker

It seems to me that historical romance authors who strive to accurately portray the era in which they set their stories should consider the element of faith, both in the culture of the time and their characters’ lives. I write mainline Georgian, Regency and Medieval novels and, in each case, I have found the historical setting often requires me to add this aspect to my characters. Not to do so would be to give the reader an inaccurate picture of the times in which my characters live.

For example, in my newest novel, Rebel Warrior, the hero and heroine meet in the court of King Malcolm Canmore in 11th century Scotland. The heroine, who has just suffered a devastating loss, becomes a lady in waiting to the devout Queen Margaret. I could hardly present Margaret any other way since she was a real historic figure about whom we know much. And her ladies in waiting would be expected to join her in prayer and good deeds, yet how would a heroine who doubted God’s love serve such a queen? To include this element does not mean the story is not full of action, sexual tension and romance, or that there isn’t a love scene, which there is.

Queen Margaret feeds the orphans

In my Regency romances, you might encounter the heroine going to church with her friends, especially on Christmas, as in The Holly and the Thistle or The Twelfth Night Wager. It was just something they did in the Regency era as a matter of course. The Church of England was very important to their lives.

Jane Austen wrote about the world of the Anglican clergy, which she knew well, her father being the Reverend George Austen. Often, she featured clerics as characters, sometimes favorably (Edmund in Mansfield Park) and sometimes unfavorably (Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice).

Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park

In the medieval era, one daughter or son in a family might be expected to serve the church, which made it terribly inconvenient should that character fall in love.

In Georgian England, it was the Protestant Church of England vs. the Catholics and sometimes a story must reflect it. In my novel To Tame the Wind, which begins in France with a Catholic heroine and ends with her being married to a Protestant Englishman by the Anglican Bishop of London, I could hardly fail to deal with the difficulties their love produced, especially when England was making it near impossible for Catholics to own land, retain a title or even marry. And if you were Irish, as my hero in The Shamrock & The Rose, you had even more issues!

To reflect the characters’ faith is not to make the novels inspirational, that is to say, novels with a decided Christian message. Rather, it is merely presenting the culture in which my characters live and love. And I think the stories are richer for it.

About the author

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is a #1 bestselling, multi-published author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romance. She has been a featured author on USA TODAY’s HEA blog three times and twice nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize is a finalist for 2015). Regan Walker writes historically authentic novels with real history and real historic figures. She wants her readers to experience history, adventure and love.

Her work as a lawyer in private practice and then serving at high levels of government have given her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.”

Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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Rogue Knight (Medieval Warriors #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

Rogue Knight (Medieval Warriors #2) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

Rogue Knight

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / BAM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 7, 2015

York, England 1069… three years after the Norman Conquest

The North of England seethes with discontent under the heavy hand of William the Conqueror, who unleashes his fury on the rebels who dare to defy him. Amid the ensuing devastation, love blooms in the heart of a gallant Norman knight for a Yorkshire widow.

A LOVE NEITHER CAN DENY, A PASSION NEITHER CAN RESIST

Angry at the cruelty she has witnessed at the Normans’ hands, Emma of York is torn between her loyalty to her noble Danish father, a leader of the rebels, and her growing passion for an honorable French knight.

Loyal to King William, Sir Geoffroi de Tournai has no idea Emma hides a secret that could mean death for him and his fellow knights.

WAR DREW THEM TOGETHER, WAR WOULD TEAR THEM APART

War erupts, tearing asunder the tentative love growing between them, leaving each the enemy of the other. Will Sir Geoffroi, convinced Emma has betrayed him, defy his king to save her?

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

Rogue Knight begins with Emma of York hurrying home, only to discover some heavy-handed Norman Knights trying to take that which isn’t theirs, which has become all too commonplace in her beloved York. Crisis averted, this time, Emma makes her way home. She has family to see to. She has taken in twins, Finna and Ottar, whose parents were killed. She also has servants, Artur and Sigga who help her take care of the children and her home.

Sir Geoffroi is in the practice yard in Talisand when the king’s messenger rides in to see the Red Wolf. He can feel it’s not good news. When Geoffroi makes his way to the great hall, he is eventually able to see the Red Wolf, who is still recovering from an injury and not able to be up and around. King William has requested the Red Wolf and his knights head to York to try and quell any uprisings. However, since the Red Wolf is not able to go, he sends Sir Geoffroi in his stead along with his knights. As Geoffroi heads out, the words of the wise one and seer, Maugris, echo in his head. The wise one’s visions have never been wrong………

When Sir Geoffroi and his knights finally arrive in York, it doesn’t take him long to ascertain that things are not good. The people of York are angry and he fears things will only get worse. He spots a lovely woman and her hound headed into the bailey, and even though she scowls, he finds himself intrigued.

Later, as Emma dreams of death and destruction, she is awakened by yelling and discovers that the men from York are leading an uprising. When she discovers Ottar missing, she knows that he has sneaked out to be with the men leading the uprising. She also knows she has to find him and see him safe. Little did she know that decision would change the rest of her life. She had come to think that all of the Normans were barbarians, until she encounters Sir Geoffroi on her quest to find Ottar. When she does find him, Geoffroi, who recognizes her from the bailey, aids them and gets them safely back to their home. Almost unbelievably, Geoffroi comes to her aid several times throughout the havoc that has become York. With her father being one of the rebel leaders, can she trust Geoffroi with her secret? And, what of her heart? As war wages and secrets are revealed, can they find their way back to each other, even though Geoffroi would have to defy his king to do so? Well, my friends, you will just have to read it to find out. And what a wonderful read it is.

Regan Walker has once again written a wonderful story that pulls you in from the very beginning. I truly am almost at a loss for words. I feel that I repeat myself when I review one of her novels, but I just can’t help myself. The way she effortlessly weaves actual historical events and characters into her tales are inspiring. Emma of York is one of the most brave, compassionate and determined heroines that I’ve read in a very long time. The love she feels for her family, whether they are blood related or ones that she has taken into her home, leaps off of the page. Then, there is Sir Geoffroi. His internal struggles are many, and you feel every one of them. His sense of honor and loyalty is something everyone should aspire to. And, once again, Regan Walker’s world building is phenomenal. Whether we are in a field of wildflowers, trudging through the snow, witnessing a great battle or sitting by the hearth in Emma’s home, you absolutely feel like you are there. I can see it, I can smell it, I can hear it and I most definitely can feel it. The intrigue will pull you in and the beautifully developed romance will make your heart smile, but the depth with which she writes her characters will keep you coming back for more. If you’ve not read anything by Regan Walker, it is truly your loss. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very, very well done!!

Review by Vickie M.

Copy supplied by the author

excerpt

Dear God.
She crossed herself and covered her mouth, fighting the urge to spew at the sight of so much blood and so many bodies strewn about the clearing, blood congealed on their clothing, their vacant eyes staring into space. Some of the blood had pooled on the ground to catch the rays of the sun. The metallic scent of it, carried by the wind, rose in her nostrils.

At her side, the hound whimpered.

So many.

Until the Normans had come, Yorkshire had been a place of gentle hills, forests and thatched cottages circling a glistening jewel of a city set between two winding rivers. A place of children’s voices at play, some of those voices now silenced forever, for among the bodies lying on the cold ground were mere boys, their corpses cast aside like broken playthings.

At the sound of heavy footfalls on the snow-crusted ground, she jerked her head around, her heart pounding in her chest.

A figure emerged from the trees, so close she could have touched him.

She cringed. A Norman.

A tall giant of a knight, his blood-splattered mail a dull gray in the weak winter sun, ripped off his silvered helm and expelled an oath as he surveyed the dozens of dead. The sword in his hand still dripped the blood of those he had slain. He was no youth this one, at least thirty. His fair appearance made her think of Lucifer, the fallen angel of light. A seasoned warrior of death who has taken many lives.
Had he killed people she knew? Her heart raced as fear rose in her chest.

Would she be next?

 

Guest postWhat’s in a name? Picking Character Names
by Regan Walker

Choosing my characters’ names is always a huge project. I do not choose names on a whim. I want the names to fit the characters and the story. For for my Medieval Warriors series, the names had to be right for the time period (11th century) and the setting (medieval York, England). They had to compliment the personality of the characters, too. Because there are Norman (French), English, Anglo-Scandinavian, Danish and Scottish characters, the names had to be historically accurate. Some of my characters were real figures.

Emma and Sir Geoffroi f

The French knights in both The Red Wolf’s Prize and my newest story, Rogue Knight, are all named for knights who actually accompanied William the Conqueror to England from Normandy in l066. (Yes, there is a list!) Geoffroi de Tournai, the hero in Rogue Knight, was one of them.

The Normans introduced the name “Geoffroi” to England where it became common among the nobility. It means “Peace of God.” I rather think it fits a knight who was so noble he rebelled against his king’s orders to do what was right.

The setting for my story is Yorkshire, which was Anglo-Scandinavian in culture at the time. Almost every street in the city of York had the Old Norse suffix “gata” meaning “street” and most of the personal names would have been Scandinavian, too. Hence I gave the characters from York, including my heroine, Scandinavian names, not Norman or Saxon names.

I chose to name the heroine “Emma” after Emma of Normandy, Queen Consort of England, Denmark, and Norway earlier in the century. She was also the mother of Edward the Confessor. Until 1043, Queen Emma was the richest woman in England with extensive lands in the East Midlands and Wessex. She died in 1052, a respected woman. My heroine was born in 1046 while the Queen Mother still lived.

Queen Emma and her sons being received by Duke Richard II of Normandy

Other characters in my story who populate York also have Scandinavian names: Magnus, Emma’s huge Irish wolfhound, named after a Norwegian king; Inga, Emma’s friend; and Ottar and Finna, the two nine-year-old twins Emma adopts when they are orphaned. You can see them all on my Pinterest board for the book: 

1-Magnus

Emma’s father Maerleswein is a real historic figure, a rich Danish thegn who was Sheriff of Lincolnshire until he joined the rebellion against William I in 1068. I thought long and hard before using him as a main character, but he was such an enigmatic figure with little known of his family (no record of a wife or children, yet he had to have had them), it seemed like it could work. I held true to everything we do know about him.

As in all my stories, there are real historic figures joining the fictional characters. Those I don’t have to name, but I do have to learn as much about them as I can so portray them as they truly might have been. In Rogue Knight, you’ll find not only William, King of England, but King Swein of Denmark, King Malcolm of Scotland and various Normans: William Malet de Graville, Sheriff of Yorkshire, Richard FitzRichard, the castellan of York, Gilbert de Ghent, castellan of the second castle in York, William FitzOsbern, the Earl of Hereford and Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother to King William. All lived at the time and were, I believe, as I have portrayed them.

When I’m dealing with so many characters, I always include a character list to help readers, though they tell me they don’t have any trouble keeping track. (That’s always good news!)

~~Regan~~

About the author

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is a #1 bestselling, multi-published author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romance. She has been a featured author on USA TODAY’s HEA blog three times and twice nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize is a finalist for 2015). Regan Walker writes historically authentic novels with real history and real historic figures. She wants her readers to experience history, adventure and love.

Her work as a lawyer in private practice and then serving at high levels of government have given her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.”

Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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To Tame The Wind by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

To Tame The Wind (Agents of the Crown Prequel) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

To Tame The Wind

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

About the book: Release Date May 9, 2015

France 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear…her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED

The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

Review:
To Tame the Wind begins with Claire having sneaked out the convent in order to see for herself the masquerade ball that she’s heard so much about, only to discover that her young and frail friend, Elise, had followed her into the night. Even though Claire tries to convince Elise that she needs to return home, her young friend will not hear of it. Claire relents and allows Elise to tag along. Once the two girls near the grand estate where the ball is being held, the music floats through the air and Claire is immediately drawn in. She tells Elise to stay put as she seeks a spot closer in order to see the party for herself. Claire climbs a tree and the sight before her has her completely enthralled. She sees gloriously dressed men and women dancing and longs to maybe someday be a part of such a scene.

It’s not long before a man with golden hair, and a woman dressed as a hussar walk out into the night, and end up at the tree where Claire is perched. Things turn a bit amorous between the wayward partygoers and Claire can’t believe her eyes, nor the feelings that stir within her. Suddenly, a streak of lightning lights up the sky and things go a little haywire for Claire as she falls out of the tree and is discovered by the handsome Englishman with the golden hair and the amber eyes, who initially mistakes her for a party guest, but soon realizes she’s an innocent young woman and sends her on her way. As she and Elise frantically make their way back home, they are completely drenched by the storm. Little does she know how much her life will change due to her decisions made that night.

The story then fast forwards two years and finds Claire still in the convent. She has made the decision to take a vow to become a member of the Order, only to find out that her papa has arranged her marriage. The Reverend Mother doesn’t think that Claire is wanting to take her vows for the right reasons, and also doesn’t think that her papa will allow it, but she leaves it up to Claire to convince her papa. But, that convincing will never get the chance to come to fruition as Claire is awakened in the middle of the night and kidnapped from the convent. Once she sees her captor, she almost can’t believe her own eyes, because before her is the ever handsome golden haired Englishman that had unknowingly set her heart aflutter so long ago. Unfortunately, he tells her things that she just cannot believe. Her beloved papa was not a pirate, but a “man of business”. But, Captain Simon Powell assures her that there are things in motion that her beloved papa will have to address if she is to be freed. It doesn’t take Simon long to realize that Claire is not as meek as she first seemed, but more like a wild wind blowing through and determined to make her own place in the world. Claire soon realizes that Captain Simon Powell is a man of his word and realizes that he would never harm her. Along with the new found knowledge that privateers, pirates and spies abound, will Claire be able to resist the noble Captain who only wants to get his ship and his men back safely? And, will Simon be able to tame the wind? Well, my friends, you’ll have to read to find out. And, oh, what a read it is!

Regan Walker has once again written a wonderful story that will have you hooked from the first page. Claire Donet is such a wonderfully written character. She is kind and compassionate, as well as fiercely loyal and loving. I love the rebellious streak that we are privy to, as does Simon. The chemistry between these two is palpable. He is just as loyal and compassionate and loving as Claire, but will move heaven and earth to make things right. And, once he decides on all of the things that need to be righted, nothing will stop him. I’d love to say more about what transpires between them, but do not want to spoil what is a great story.

I’ve told you before, but I feel I need to tell you again. No one writes like Regan Walker. She effortlessly weaves historical facts into her fictional stories so well that you will find yourself questioning your own history lessons. You can absolutely feel her passion for her craft as she tells her tales, whether on the high seas of the English Channel, or on the cobble stone streets of London or Paris. And, I don’t just mean her passion for writing a story. I mean her passion for making sure that her stories ring true, whether it’s the sound of the ocean, the smells in the air or the character’s feelings. Her world building is phenomenal. There is political intrigue and a bit of mystery and a beautifully developed romance, but I’ve come to expect nothing less from Regan Walker. The only problem I have with her stories is that I have to wait for the next one! I have it on good authority that the next installment will be Claire’s beloved papa, Jean Donet’s story. If you’re a fan of this genre, you are sorely missing out if you’ve not read any of Ms. Walker’s books. Well done, Regan Walker! Very very very very well done!!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post

Making Characters Endearing and Believable by Regan Walker

Vickie asked me to share how I develop my characters. And I will. But first, I thought to share what some reviewers have said about them:

For Racing with the Wind:

26 reviewers “I loved the characters and story.”
23 reviewers: “This author has researched and presented an historically accurate world for the actions of her characters.”

And from my first medieval, The Red Wolf’s Prize:

25 reviewers: “The plot was interesting, and the characters well written.”
And “very endearing characters.”

Vickie’s own review:

“Serena is absolutely my favorite heroine dreamed up by Regan Walker to date! Her loyalty, her fierceness and her heart will endear her to everyone who reads this story. Her understanding of what her people want and need is so touching. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Renaud is a perfect match for her. He is as loyal and fierce as she is, and their chemistry is palpable. The cast of supporting characters is terrific in their own right.”

To me this just proves how important characters are to readers. They want to fall in love with the heroine as well as the hero. If you have endearing secondary characters, so much the better. I know that’s what I look for in a romance. Since I was a reader before an author, that is also how I think about my characters.

How do I do make my characters believable and endearing? For me, it’s all about the story. First I research the historical setting. Then I come up with the idea of the hero or heroine, sometimes both at once. I look for traits that would make them endearing in that time in history. All of my heroines are strong and the heroes who win them are stronger still. I let the history lead me to who they are. Would he be a British lord masquerading as a gallant spy on Napoleon like Lord Ormond in Racing with the Wind? Or, might he be a jaded sea captain sailing off to investigate a pirate for the Prince Regent as Captain Nick Powell in Wind Raven? Or, perhaps the hero might be a privateer spy for the Crown wrestling with a French pirate, and resisting the charms of the innocent heroine as in my latest work, To Tame the Wind?

Once I have my history and the lead characters I begin to write the opening scenes. Then, other characters come to me, companions and acquaintances of the hero and heroine. I move into their environment in my imagination, whether it’s a mansion, a schooner or a medieval castle. I get a feel for it visually, the daily life and who’s doing what. Since The Red Wolf’s Prize, I now use Pinterest for my image research for my characters and setting. Once I light on an image, I write to it.

When I found this image, I knew I’d found Elijah, the wizened old bosun on the Fairwinds in To Tame the Wind:
Elijah from To Tame the WindWhen I first conceived of Elijah he didn’t wear a knit cap or smoke a pipe. But once this image was in my head, ever thereafter he did. I could see him using his pipe to gesture and his hair blowing around his face when the wind captured a few strands. Being able to visually conceive of your characters adds details you might have overlooked otherwise. And it helps you make characters distinctive and endearing. Of course, I have always done this, even before I began using Pinterest.

Lord Ormond, the hero in Racing with the Wind looked like a young Clark Gable to me:

Clark Gable as Lord OrmondAnd he acted just like him, arrogant and sure of himself and what he wanted, including Lady Mary Campbell. So it was no surprise to me when he began ordering her around or when she informed him she would not do as he asked.

Once I have my main characters, it’s like watching a movie in my head. I put them int he setting and watch them interact. I learn about them as people. That’s how I knew that Claire Donet, the heroine in To Tame the Wind, would be a constant trial to the nuns in her convent school in France. It was no surprise to me when she snuck out to watch a masquerade ball. And I knew, notwithstanding her rebellious nature, she’d have a soft heart that would break more than once during the story.

I force my characters to act consistently. If my heroine would rebel but never whine, then she never whines. If my hero would not apologize, then he never does, at least not until something happens that changes him.

To me, my characters are real. Oh I don’t mean they are real people—though some are real historic figures—but my image of them is so real I see them as people I could have known if I’d lived in that time in history. I imagine some of them as friends, and some as evil miscreants. When I finish writing a book, I experience a sense of loss. It feels like a friend has moved away. I miss the world I’ve created and the characters in it. I can’t wait to dive into the next book and meet a whole slew of new characters. See if you don’t agree when you read my books!

about the author

Regan WalkerI didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.

I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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The Red Wolf’s Prize by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

The Red Wolf’s Prize by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt

The Red Wolf's Prize

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

About the book: Release Date October 1, 2014

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed the heiress that goes with them, Lady Serena.

SHE WOULD LOVE HIM AGAINST HER WILL

Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.

As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?

•••••••••••••••••••

Review: The Red Wolf’s Prize begins with Lady Serena of Talisand pondering her future. She has received word that King William decreed she is to wed the new Norman Lord of Talisand, who should be arriving any day. But, she knows that she could never love a Norman who battled his way across England and helped his king conquer her and her people. She knows her brother is to the north, in Scotland, and is determined to leave Talisand in order to reunite with him. Although she will miss her people, she knows she must leave to escape her fate. She would have done well to know that fate is a fickled mess sometimes………..

Sir Renaud, and his knights are exhausted, having fought across England for what seemed like forever. Once they are given their leave by King William, they head to Talisand and are pleased with the sight before them. Even though the people seem nervous, they are welcoming to Renaud, now Lord Talisand, and his fellow Normans. It doesn’t take Renaud long to realize that his promised bride, the beautiful Lady Serena, is not in Talisand and sends a contingent of his men to search for her. Good news? They find a small group of men and women and bring them back. The bad news? Lady Serena is nowhere to be found. However, there is a very attractive servant girl, Sarah, who catches the Lord’s attention and when he tries to woo her, things don’t go quite as he’d have liked them to.

As Lord Talisand becomes more comfortable with his new people, and they with him, he starts noticing that some of his men and some of the women of Talisand are growing more comfortable with each other as well. But when one of the local women is attacked by one of his men, only to be saved by Sarah, he knows that he is at a crossroads with his people and his next steps will either earn their trust or it will earn their ire. He has also noticed that Sarah is most fierce in her protection of all of the people of Talisand. How could he not be the same for his people and his new home? The one thing that would make it all better? His promised bride, Lady Serena at his side. But could she ever come to love him, or would she forever see him as a conqueror of her people and her land? Well my friends, you’ll have to read to find out. And, oh what a read it is………

Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Serena is absolutely my favorite heroine dreamed up by Regan Walker to date! Her loyalty, her fierceness and her heart will endear her to everyone who reads this story. Her understanding of what her people want and need is so touching. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Renaud is a perfect match for her. He is as loyal and fierce as she is, and their chemistry is palpable. The cast of supporting characters are terrific in their own right. I truly can’t wait to read more about them.

The Red Wolf is another wonderfully written story by Regan Walker. If you have read my reviews of her previous books, you know that I have raved about her character building and her masterful world building, and this one is no exception. The way she weaves actual historical events into her stories is unparalleled. There is intrigue, action and a beautifully developed romance. As you read her stories, you can see it and you can most definitely feel it. The Red Wolf is ultimately a story of coming to terms with what is and what can be, and letting go of what was. This is Regan’s first foray into the Medieval genre, but from what I’ve read, thankfully, it won’t be the last. Very well done Regan Walker, very very well done.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

 Click here for :  The Red Wolf’s Prize trailer

excerpt

 

 

Red Wolf Excerpt: the Red Wolf meets Serena, disguised as the servant, Sarah
Renaud lingered at the high table in the hall until he glimpsed the servant girl with the brown plait carry a pile of linen through the entry heading toward the stairs to the bedchambers. Slowly rising, he nodded to Geoff and followed after her.
Quietly, he stepped through the open door of his chamber. The girl had her back to him as she freshened the bed, the stack of clean linen resting on a nearby chest. He did not acknowledge her but went directly to the trestle table, poured a goblet of wine and sat, pretending to examine a drawing of the lands surrounding the manor.
She turned. “I can come back later, my lord.” She spoke meekly, barely looking at him as she hurriedly finished with the bed and began a hasty retreat to the door.
He replied in the English tongue, as he did to all save his men. “Nay, you may stay. Your work will not disturb me.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her back stiffen. Slowly, she retraced her steps and resumed her work. Her movements were rushed as if she were trying to complete her assigned tasks in haste. Was she nervous at being alone with him? Even with that, Renaud thought she was graceful as she walked to the shelves near where he sat. She held her head high, unusual for a servant in the presence of her lord. Though her long plait was the dull color of country earth, her profile was refined and her features delicate. He rose and silently moved to stand behind her where she dusted a carved box.
She must have sensed his approach.
“My lord?” she said, turning to face him.
Blue-violet eyes held his gaze only a moment before looking down at the floor. Set in her ivory face they reminded him of violets in the snow. So mesmerized was he that, for a moment, he forgot his question.
“Your name is Sarah?”
Keeping her eyes focused on the floor, she said, “Yea, my lord.”
“How long have you been at Talisand?”
“All my life, my lord.” Her voice was soft, a low purr, and with her words a flowery scent drifted to his nose. He was captivated and wanted to touch her. How long had it been since he’d had a woman? And this one was causing his manhood to stir.
Turing back to the shelf, she resumed dusting the carved box, as if to put an end to the conversation. His gaze shifted to her hand as she set down the box. Delicate fingers and ivory skin. It was not the hand of a kitchen wench.
“Let me see your hand.” She started at his request, and though he could see she wanted to resist, she did not fight him when he reached for her hand and brought it close to his body turning her palm upward.
It told him much.
“These blisters are new. You have not always worked in the kitchens nor done the wet work of the laundry, have you?”
She shook her head in silent agreement.
“What were your tasks before I came to Talisand?”
Looking down at her feet, she said, “I was with the Lady Serena, my lord.”
“Ah, a lady’s handmaiden then.” So that is where the girl learned to speak so well, for her speech was not that of an ordinary servant nor her manner that of a scullery maid.
He waited for her to say more but when she did not, he said, “Tell me about her.”
She looked up. “What would you know, my lord?” Blue violet eyes held his. He could get lost in those eyes.
“How does she look?”
“She is tall and her hair is the color of summer wheat, my lord.”
“And her character?”
Turning her gaze again to the floor, she hesitated before speaking. “She loves her people and her family, my lord. She is very loyal. Had she been a man, she would have fought with her father at Hastings. Most of all, she loves Talisand and would die for its people.”
Her voice, nearly breaking at the end, told him her words were spoken with deep emotion. She was close to the Lady of Talisand and to the old thegn.
“I’m told her brother took the lord’s place for a time,” he said, hoping she would continue to talk.
She raised her eyes to his. “Yea, Steinar did lead Talisand for a time, but then he was drawn away by other battles.” When she spoke the young man’s name, a tender look came into her eyes. Did she love the old lord’s son? Mayhap she was his leman. The possibility was not to his liking.
Still holding her hand, he looked down at her palm seeing other signs. “These are the calluses of an archer. How is it a lady’s handmaiden comes to use a bow?”
The girl’s eyes shifted to her hand where Renaud had begun moving his thumb across her palm in slow sensual circles. He was not unaffected and, he suspected, neither was she.
“Rhodri taught me, my…my lord.” She spoke in a halting whisper, confirming his touch was disrupting her thoughts. Then she added hastily, “I was not the only one. It was the old lord’s desire that Rhodri should teach all at Talisand who cared to learn.”
Renaud remembered that when the young servant women had been returned to the demesne, Sir Niel had taken several bows from them.
He stopped stroking her palm. She tried to pull back her hand but he had no intention of releasing her. “Who is this Rhodri?”
“He is a Welsh bard, my lord, who is also skilled with a bow. The thegn met him on his travels and invited him here. He lived among us for several years.”
“Where is the Welshman now?”
“I know not, my lord. Peradventure he is in Wales, though his music and his skill with a bow are much in demand. He may yet be in England.”
“A bard and a bowman…an unusual combination.” Renaud frowned in concentration as he considered the idea.
“Not for a Welshman,” she said, matter-of-factly.
Renaud smiled, amused. She was so serious, so insistent, this servant who acted like no servant he’d ever known. “Aye, mayhap you are right. Many Welshmen would have both talents.”
He let go of her hand, but remained close. He knew now what had attracted his men for he, too, was falling under her spell. She was beautiful and well spoken and something about her enticed him. If she had been the leman of this brother of Lady Serena’s or the bard Rhodri, it was possible she was not a maiden and would accept an invitation to come to his bed.

about the author
Regan WalkerI didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.

I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
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Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Wind Raven
Agents of the Crown #3
by Regan Walker
Release Date: March 2014

Wind Raven

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release March 2014

Ordered by the Prince Regent into the Caribbean, English sea captain and former privateer Jean Nicholas Powell has no time for women onboard the Wind Raven, especially not Tara McConnell. The impudent American forced herself aboard, and so she’ll get more than she bargained for: Instead of a direct sail to Baltimore, she’ll join their quest to investigate a rampaging pirate, the infamous Roberto Cofresi. But the hoyden thinks she can crew with his men, and though he bans her from the rigging, Nick is captivated watching her lithe, luscious movements on deck. Facing high seas, storms, cutthroats and the endless unknown, he must protect his ship, his passenger, his crew. But on this voyage, with this woman, there is a greater danger: to his heart.

•••••••••••••••••

Wind Raven begins in the West Indies, where Captain Powell has gone into a tavern to meet up with an associate and to have a drink. He overhears a conversation by some rambunctious Americans about a woman serving as a crewmember aboard their ship! “What kind of woman would crew with men?”. Be careful of your thoughts Captain………….be very careful.

Tara McConnell has spent the last year in London with her aunt, who is a member of the ton. Tara’s father had sent her to live with her aunt and to become a lady. And, even though her Season was a success, Tara longed for home. She also longed to see her father and her brothers again. Even though she was grateful for her aunt’s guidance through her first Season, she just could not see herself marrying an Englishman. She’d lost one of her brothers in the war with Britain and she was convinced that they were all a selfish lot and she almost felt traitorous even attempting to enjoy their company. But, when word reaches them that her father has fallen ill, it becomes a race against time to get Tara home to Baltimore.

Her aunt insists that there is only one ship that she would feel safe sending Tara home on: The Wind Raven, captained by Nick Powell. Seems Tara’s aunt was a friend of Nick’s mother and she knew that Tara would be well taken care of. Unfortunately, neither Tara nor her aunt knew that Nick had an assignment to take care of for the Prince Regent. Not only were they not sailing directly to Baltimore, they were to see if they could ferret any information on a pirate, one Roberto Confresi, via the Caribbean. When Tara makes it to the ship and requests passage and presents her aunt’s missive, Nick knows that there is no way that he can say no, just as he knows that he can’t tell Tara of their mission for the Prince Regent. But, really, how much trouble can one woman with a full crew be? Well, if that one woman is Tara McConnell, be careful what you ask for…………………

Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabbed me from the beginning and did not let go. You will absolutely fall in love with Tara McConnell. She is fearless, loyal and, oh yeah, an awesome crew member! And, once she and Nick are drawn to each other, the chemistry is off the charts. He is my absolute favorite hero that Regan has written to date. And, that is saying A LOT. I’ve said of her stories before that she beautifully entwines fiction with history, but I don’t think until now that I’ve given her enough credit for her world building. You can absolutely hear the roar of the ocean waves and smell the sea as you read this book. Her descriptions are spot on without being over the top. That, in my humble opinion, is another characteristic of a great author. This book will have you on the edge of your seat at times, and tearing up at others. Wind Raven is ultimately a story about letting go of one’s past to see just how bright your future can be. And letting go of the preconceived constraints might not be so bad either……………..

Wind Raven is a wonderfully written story with a lot of action, a smidge of mystery and a whole lot of romance. This is, without a doubt, my favorite in this series. And, I have to confess that I’ve been a bit of a schooner fanatic for most of my life. I’ve actually sailed on one several times and words can’t express what an adventure it is. So, for Wind Raven to be set on a beautiful schooner? I was so on board……………….(pun intended!). Once again, if you’re a fan of Regency Romance, Regan Walker is the one for you. Well done, Regan Walker, very very well done!!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

 

Guest Post beige

History as a Character:
Research & Writing Historical Romance
By Regan Walker

For me, research and writing historical romance must include real history, as it’s a character in each of my books. What do I mean by that? Well, the historical setting is not just “background.” Rather, I am constantly weaving in historical events, attitudes and real historical figures into my romances. I don’t just refer to the food and dress either, though those can certainly require much research at times, but also what was actually going on in the time period that was of great import and who was involved.

Typically, I begin with an idea, a scene or a character. For my novel, Wind Raven, it was the sea captain, Jean Nicholas Powell, an arrogant Englishman who gave up on love (and virgins in particular) some years ago. Now he loves only his ship, his crew and his life at sea. For this man, I needed a worthy heroine, a woman he would come to respect who would defy convention and give him a major run for his money.

Enter the American patriot, Tara McConnell from the shipbuilding family of privateers who made the Boston Clipper ships that helped America run the British blockades in the War of 1812. Tara, who grew up on her father’s ships, disdains the English even though the war has been over for a few years. Yet she was forced by her father to spend a year in London with her aunt, a dowager baroness, and to have a Season. I had a real, historic model for Tara in Anne Chamberlyne, a scholar’s daughter and member of the gentry who, declining offers of marriage in 1690, at the age of twenty-three, donned a man’s clothing and joined her brother’s ship to fight the French off Beachy Head. Tara was just such a woman.

Once Tara becomes a passenger on Nick’s ship, the sparks start to fly. She wants to act a member of his crew and he wants her far from the action. It was important to me that I get all the ship scenes correct and use all the right terminology, particularly since both Tara and Nick well understood the workings of a schooner. I read my 4-inch thick Sailor’s Word Book and studied drawings of schooners of the period until I was seeing them in my dreams. I also took a ride on a schooner of the period to get a feel for the movement of the ship—and in doing so, found a friend and my consultant in the person of the ship’s gunner. We became fast friends and exchanged dozens of emails on technical subjects.

Schooner

The research that went into this book took over a year and included not just schooners and the War of 1812, but what was happening on Bermuda (where Nick makes a stop), how a schooner would weather a major storm at sea, and, most importantly, the life of the real pirate Roberto Cofresi. A tall, blond giant of a man from Puerto Rico, Cofresi preyed on all merchant ships not flying the flag of Royal Spain. And he had reason to do so, as you’ll see in my story.

About The Author beige

Regan WalkerI didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.

I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)

Giveaway beige

Regan is offering an ebook copy of RACING WITH THE WIND (Agents of the Crown #1) or an ebook copy of THE TWELFTH NIGHT WAGER -winner’s choice.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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5. The giveaway is open where ever Amazon is available.

6. The giveaway runs from April 16  to April 20, 2014

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