Monday, March 31, 2014

Addictive Reads, the best of many genres in a Free Giveaway


Happy April Everyone!  

You know the old saying, April showers bring May Flowers. Here's hoping we'll have some rain soon to wash away the snow in the northern regions like Wisconsin, in the USA. I'm part of an incredible author's network called Addictive Reads. This week, we're having a special event in celebration of springtime. 

We're a dedicated bunch, and we strive to bring you books from all genres. Our goal is to provide you with well-written and entertaining reads.
Several of our authors are New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.
Each author has an individual page with all of their books listed, along with their social media links. We also have genre pages where you can find books in just about any genre you enjoy. (See the menu guide links at the top of the page.)
And we have FREE ebooks for you, as well as collections (anthologies and box sets) from Addictive Reads authors.

As a thank you for checking us out, we're holding a giveaway. You can enter through Friday, April 4, 2014. Winners will be announced, Saturday, April 5th.
We're giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card, one $20 Amazon Gift Card, and one bundle of eBooks from Addictive Reads Authors including:
§  LET'S SCARE CANCER TO DEATH Anthology (Horror) with short stories by Rhonda Hopkins & Gregory Carrico
§  EVIDENCE OF TRUST (Romantic Suspense) by Stacey Joy Netzel
§  DEADLY OBSESSION (Romantic Suspense) by Kristine Cayne
§  ETERNITY OF ROSES (Paranormal Romance) by Natalie G. Owens
§  BIRDS DO IT! (Contemporary Romance) by *lizzie starr
§  AIR: MERLIN'S CHALICE (Fantasy) by Meredith Bond
§  ANGEL OF DEATH (Fantasy) by Anna Erishkigal
§  WANING MOON (YA Dystopian) by P.J. Sharon
§  TRUST NO ONE (Suspense) by Diana Layne
§  ALWAYS REMEMBER (Contemporary Romance) by Sheila Seabrook
§  STARS, LOVE AND PIROUETTES  (Contemporary Romance) by Alicia & Roy Street
§  REVENGE (Romantic Suspense) by Dana Delamar 
>>>>>HERE I AM>>>§  SOME ENCHANTED WALTZ (Time Travel Romance) by Lily Silver

To enter the giveaway, just go to our ADDICTIVE READS site and follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter near the bottom of the post for your chance to win one of the prizes!
We hope you'll visit with us often and connect with us on our social media sites. We enjoy talking with our readers.
Thank you for being part of our reading family!
*Please note: If any of the winners do not respond within five days, we may select a new winner and the original winner will forfeit any prize.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Serialized Sunday: The Gypsy's Curse Rough Draft

Hello everyone, If you've been following this blog, you're aware that I do a free chapter of my WIP every Sunday, in an event called Serialiced Sundays. I'm featuring a work that I've been trying to finish for some time, in the hope that by posting my progress each week I'll be held accountable, sort of like Dean Wesley Smith is doing with his Writing in Public posts. 

Here is the next installment of The Gypsy's Curse,  Paranormal, Historical Romance set in Regency England.  The heroine is a gypsy accused of foul things that are not true. She is in hiding, in an empty manor house. The hero is a wealthy merchant's son who owns the house, and has a few problems of his own, one of them being a werewolf. Ah, did I mention recently that I love, Love, LOVE a good Gothic Romance?  Well, here's my latest effort on that front:  

Chapter Five
Copyright Lily Silver 2013
            The main floor of the manor house was harder to navigate than the second floor had been.
 There were twists and turns that led one astray, much like a garden maze. Zara meandered about the grey halls, peeking into rooms until she despaired ever finding the kitchen.
            After several false starts and turning back to retrace her steps, she finally encountered the ancient chamber. It was huge, with low beamed ceilings and stone flooring that gave it a cave-like appearance. She stood in the center of it, clutching her bag to her chest, just staring at the huge fireplace taking up one wall. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before. She set her bag down on the stone floor and stepped close to the massive opening. Crouching slightly so she didn’t hit her head on the low mantel, she tiptoed into the large, clean stone chamber that made up the fireplace. It was nearly the same size as the interior of a caravan wagon.
            The ironwork gratings had to have been created to specification to fit this enormous hearth. She could only imagine the gigantic feasts that must have been prepared here centuries ago. It almost seemed as if this house had been built around an old castle. The kitchen and the rooms adjacent to it were made of ancient stone, including the window and door frames.
             She stepped out of the cavernous fireplace. Zara was intimidated by the prospect of starting a fire here. She’d have to find another room, one with a more manageable hearth in which to set up her camp. Still, the large stone chamber was a wonder to behold. The windows were mullioned, like in the old castles she’d seen during the caravan’s travels.  Uncle Lothar marveled at the Gadje’s penchant for building newer and bigger right over the old. He loved pointing out the differences of styles within one home to her as they sat in the wagon seat watching the countryside move slowly by. What would her uncle make of this place? An ancient monk's abbey that might have been converted into a garrison by the conquering Normans and then transformed into a residence when the Saxons had been subdued by their overlords? 
            The unguarded thought awakened a fierce choking sensation. With tight lips to contain the aching emptiness, Zara turned away from the great fireplace and her fanciful daydreaming to apply herself to a more practical task; finding food.
            For an empty house, the larder was surprisingly well stocked with all manner of dry goods. She found dried beans, some hairy onions, a few cabbages, carrots and potatoes from the garden, flour, sugar, oil, tea and a generous store of berry preserves. The basement storeroom had a smoked ham hanging from the rafters, along with a side of fresh venison. She unwrapped the ham, cut a small piece from it, and then re-wrapped it carefully so her intrusion would not be noticed. The cottagers must keep food on hand in anticipation of their lord’s hasty visit and make use of it themselves before it spoiled, and keep replacing the stores throughout the winter. Ah, the wealthy Gadje had their hirelings well trained, like dogs who eagerly traipsed behind the master, anticipating a few crumbs tumbling to the floor for them to devour as a reward for their faithfulness. Stupid, docile beasts. They’d be better off looking after themselves first and finding ways to profit from their dealings with the idle rich, like the gypsies did.
           After choosing a few root vegetables to cook in a stew, she rummaged about the kitchen for a small cooking pan and a bowl that she could use to soak her injured hand. She had to make a poultice of comfrey leaves and goldenseal to draw out the infection and she would need hot water to cleanse the wound and let it soak for a time before re-bandaging it. Her bag was already too full with the vegetables and the meat so she looked about the kitchen for a basket in which to place the two pots and the bowl in.
          The larder gave her what she was searching for. Satisfied that she had gleaned the makings for a good earthy stew, Zara set her bag and the reed basket on the counter and searched for a water pitcher. She’d have to step outside for a short time to get water from the well in the kitchen courtyard and to grab a few sticks of firewood from the pile near the door. She didn’t relish leaving the protection of the manse as she gazed out the mullioned windows overlooking the back courtyard. The wind was wiping the trees as if they had offered it deep offense. The rain sloshing down the windows looked like it could freeze at any moment.
           There was no use for it. She might be able to stick a pan out the door and have it filled with water easily, but the firewood was another matter. Of course, it would be soaked, and thus, it would not light. There had to be some inside, hadn?t there? She gazed about the grey stone kitchen. There was a tinder box above the massive hearth on the mantle shelf. A metal box of sulpher sticks, a recent Gadje invention that seemed practical, for once. She took a handful of the sulpher sticks and put them in her pocket. The tinder in the box was low, just a few shreds of yarn and some wood shavings. Well, she?d claim it. Who ever came to light a fire for the master when he returned would just have to improvise.
           The dry wood was going to be problem. There had to be something in here, a few twigs stowed away, a few dry pieces, for pity’s sake. She checked the heavy oak door with the pointed archway, the doorknob gave way and the bolt clicked with just a twist of the wrist. Whatever was in here wasn’t considered too precious, if they didn’t bother to lock it. No silver, she gathered, as she stepped into the small enclosure. It was little more than a closet, a pantry that didn’t hold food. Oh yes, the butler’s pantry, the Widow Kendall had told her of those curious little closets that held precious items the head servant of the house needed to keep the master and mistress happy. Widow Kendall had been in service and her husband had been an under butler in a great house many years ago.  
            She wished she had a candle so she could see what was on the shelves. The light from the large mullion windows behind her didn’t penetrate the dark cubby. She felt among the shelf, and withdrew a dusty bottle. The label said ‘Claret’, if she were right, it was some kind of wine. She took it and closed the small cupboard. As she leaned her hip against the door to make it latch, her eyes fell upon the odd cabinet just below the windowsill to her right. The cabinet itself was rectangular in shape, but the wooden top was built tilted at an angle like a deep slope on a hillside. There was a handle on the bottom, and hinges on the top. She lifted it, and nearly squealed her delight wood! Dry wood. There would be warm fire and some good stew tonight. As soon as she found a safe room to conceal her trespass.
            Unwilling to leave her prizes on the counter, lest someone come in the kitchen door and discover the intrusion, she swung the heavy laden bag over her shoulder, placed the wine bottle and a few small pieces of wood in the basket, and moved toward the interior door that led her to this wonderful old room. She didn’t relish wandering amid the dark halls again, but now that she had food and fuel she must find a small room in which to set up camp. She’d come back here later for the water, as she couldn’t manage to carry another stick, let alone a full pitcher.
            It took Zara nearly an hour to find that one isolated, lonely room that would be her campsite for the night. It was at the end of a long sequence of hallways and turns, an interior parlor that appeared to be abandoned. Ignoring the glowing white shrouds of furniture that rose up from the dark gloom, she set her gear near the fireplace before shutting the door. Once the door was closed, she’d have no window light to guide her in the small room. She remembered the sulfur sticks she found in the kitchen and put in her pocket as she looked about for a candle. A single brass candlestick was on the mantle shelf, with a half burned candle still in it.
   It didn’t take long for Zara to get her camp fire going in the fireplace. The small hearth was very cozy, just right for her purposes. She set up her bed roll and sat on the floor. After removing the riding boots, she sat with her legs crossed at the ankles and jutting out from her hips in a manner the Widow had always chided as unladylike. She pulled up her skirt to the knees, and admired the red silk stockings in the firelight. They made her feel pretty. Just knowing they were there, beneath her skirts brought a sizzle of pleasure and a quick smile to her lips. Oh, she’d managed to grab a pair of serviceable woolens, too. Those were in her knapsack.
            Once the fire was going steady, she returned to the kitchen for water. While her simple stew cooked she tended her hand. Upon removing the bandages, she winced at the angry color of her skin where the flesh was parted. Infection was setting in. Three days since the injury, and despite her best efforts while on the run the wound was not healing as it should. She grimaced at the pain and rummaged through her sack with her good hand for the comfrey leaves and powdered goldenseal she kept there. A paste of those two herbs, along with a good soak in some hot water should work well in reversing the infection.
            As the sun began to set, Zara relaxed after a cup of tea and some vegetable stew. She didn’t put the chunk of ham in the pot but instead kept it stashed in her pack for the days ahead. She’d need some substance while travelling. She set a couple of potatoes near the flame of the hearth but not close enough to burn them, just enough to bake them through. Those she intended to pack in her bag for the journey ahead, along with the ham. Some bread would be nice, but she didn’t want to mess up the kitchen by trying to make it and go through the proofing and rising. Alas, it was not to be.
            At least she had the bottle of wine. That would go a long way toward lifting her spirits and keeping her warm on this chill winters eve. Tomorrow, she would set out again toward the east, putting more miles between herself and the angry villagers who hunted her for the old woman’s murderer.
            Zara went over the scene again in her mind as she sipped the wine and gazed into the fire. She’d gone to bed that night in the attic room, where the widow’s daughter had slept until her marriage. She didn’t remember anything until she awakened later in the parlor in her night clothes, with two bodies in the room beside her. The widow, a sweet, gentle creature, had been slaughtered like an animal. It was horrifying to think that anyone would want to harm the gentle old woman. The widow’s nephew was lying near the door. He was badly mutilated. She didn’t recall his being at the cottage when she went to bed that night. What was that wicked man doing in the widow’s parlor in the middle of the night?  
            A chill went through her despite the warmth of the flames and the fire of wine spreading through her belly. Something wasn’t right. There was something, just beyond her memory that nagged at her. Jasper was a pig, a repulsive man who seemed to think his aunt was crazy. He kept claiming he’d commit her if she didn’t give him what he wanted. He wanted the deed to the farm. He believed the old woman owed it to him and she should just turn her home over to him. He believed his aunt had money hidden away, lots of money. He was the crazy one.
There was something else . . . a horrible howling came from outside the farmhouse that night . . . a nerve shredding cry that was unlike anything she?d ever heard before living in the woods. It wasn’t an animal cry. It was the cry of a demon, a hound from the depths of hell.  
The memory brought shivers and a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. She reached for her uncle’s big hunting knife. The wind outside the manor made eerie, keening noises. Lothar’s knife seemed smaller as she listened to the mournful wind. And somehow, this big, empty manor house was not as comforting to be in all alone at night as it was during the daylight hours.
                                                                                   *    *   *
Stephan turned Maggie over to his valet when she arrived the next morning. He asked Brisbane to befriend the girl and try to find out why she had been at Covenant Gardens that night and what she might have seen when she found him wounded there.
            As the carriage drew away from Grosvenor Square Stephan gazed out at the city.
           This was not the first murder in the past weeks that had ripped the headlines. Nor was it the first time he?d grappled with the growing presentiment that he might be the perpetrator. Each murder reported in the papers coincided with one of his blackouts. Each time he awakened, he had the disgustingly sweet taste of blood in his mouth. Ten unsolved murders had taken place during his two month stay in London. That was a lot of bodies. He thought it best to leave the city before he found himself in a situation that would shame his family and sully the name of St. John forever. He couldn’t help but wonder if leaving the city were wise. No matter where he went, if he were indeed the one responsible for the murders, death would surely follow him.
         The papers had been rife with speculation regarding the murders. It was rumored that a beast had killed the last couple, not a man or group of men. The rumor was substantiated when the physician examining the bodies said no knife could do such damage, that the slashes on the woman’s torso more closely resembled the rough claws of an animal; a wolf or perhaps a bear. The difficulty remained in that assessment as there couldn't be a wolf stalking the city streets, nor had any animals escaped from the London zoo recently. 
          Stephan had his own hypothesis, one that defied reason. He believed the animal responsible was within himself. And he was leaving London before anyone could make the connection between the murders and his aimless wandering of the city streets in the midnight hours. James Hadley, Lord Cavendish, had been no help in the matter. James had no head for liquor, he reminded Stephan grimly of that fact when asked about the events of that particular night. He did not recall anything more than Stephan had about their wanderings that night. Like Stephan, he did not recall how he made it back to his home. He simply awakened in his bed the next morning, hung over like his companion. Unlike Stephan, however, James Hadley did not harbor any nagging fears that he may have committed unspeakable and heinous acts during his memory lapse.
            The slow progress of the coach was something Stephan couldn’t fix. They would be traveling for several days before they reached the Lake District, and that was with good weather. The roads were usually not bad at this time of year. It was too early to snow and if the rains held off they’d be at Huntingdon Abbey by the end of the week.
           Stephan ordered Maggie to sit outside, up with the coachman for this stretch. The weather was tolerable. The sun was out and it wasn’t cold. Having taken her under his wing to be a servant and perhaps saving her from falling into prostitution in the streets due to her desperate situation, he felt there was no need to pamper the girl and give her the impression he was her guardian instead of her employer. Brisbane sat opposite him, and like Stephan, had the foresight to have chosen a thick volume to occupy the time.  They would be stopping at a posting house for luncheon and to rest the horses, and then they would make their way to the Inn in Haversham for the night.
        He did not understand why he let himself be hoodwinked into taking the girl on as he had. He could have given her a few guineas for helping him and sent her on her way. He must be getting soft, he decided, as he stared out the coach window at the passing scenery.
       And yet, there was also something to be said for removing the witness from the scene of the crime. The London constables would not trouble themselves to travel 120 miles north just to question an adolescent girl of little consequence about what she may have witnessed on the night of the latest murders. Perhaps he wasn’t so soft after all, merely shrewd.
Copyright Lily Silver 2013



Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Madness: Irish Heroes to Warm Your Heart

Hey, It's that time again.  March---cold winds, climate change, and St. Patrick's Day.

It's that time when everyone wishes they were Irish.

Or pretends they are!  I love Ireland, the beauty, the myths, the legends, and the lovely emerald landscape.

It started when I was little. I blame the leprucan, the Lucky Charms dude who won me over as a child with his sweet breakfast offerings, those little marshmallows sprinkled in my cereal, with shapes!  And then there was the movie I saw as a wee lass, 

Darby O'Gill and the Little People. My sister took me to the theater to see it. I was entranced. Not just the little people, Sean Connery as a young man or the mysterious Irish landscape. It was the coiste bodher, the death coach scene that scared me and hooked me. That,  and the mysterious pooka horse that kept trying to lead Darby into the mountains ....... 

Needless to say, I'm not Irish. Not a drop, despite my bright red hair. It's English, and Norwegian that does that to me. I still LOVE the Irish, and Ireland. Go figure.  I'm stuck on the myth and legends, and most of my romance heroes are Irish Rogues.

Elizabeth O'Flaherty & Donovan O'Rourke Beaumont

  To Date My Irish Heroes have been 

Donovan O'Rourke Beaumont (Dark Hero)

Kieran O'Flaherty (Bright Scoundrel) 

Lord Adrian Dillon ( Some Enchanted Waltz) 

Gareth O'Donovan  (A Christmas Kiss) 

Rose de Lacy

Most of my heroines are Irish (Not all) 

Irish Heroines:

Elizabeth O'Flaherty  (Dark Hero) 

Rose de Lacy  (Bright Scoundrel) 

Tara O'Neill  (Some Enchanted Waltz) 

Alicia O'Donovan (The Widow's Christmas Wish) 

Jessica Kelly (The Rock Star Next Door) 

 Hmmmmm,  there's a pattern here somewhere. 

 What Heroines aren't Irish, you may be asking?  Well, Chloe Ramirez (A Christmas Kiss) is Spanish, but her lover is half Irish (Gareth O'Donovan). Zara, the Gypsy isn't Irish. Nor are the heroines in a couple of upcoming books. We'll see, maybe I can break this habit...... probably not.

We all love a good haunting Irish Romance, complete with a ghost or two, a banshee, some druids, and a fairy or two. (if you like Fairy Romance, try Some Enchanted Waltz, my Time Travel romance that takes place in Ireland). Tara and Adrian are both Irish, although he's old school 18th century Irish and she is a 21st century Irish American.....time travel lovers with plenty of misconceptions about the opposite sex that skewer their expectations in their relationship.



Well, this month, for the entire month, I'm sharing my Irish Lovers with you, at March Madness prices. I'm offering two of my Irish Rogues, in two Historical Romances, for just .99 cents.  That's two sweeping romances of over 100,000 words each, or 400 plus pages. Why, well, to celebrate the Irish, and all things Irish, of course.  Both books are in my series, Reluctant Heroes, and as I'll be publishing the third book in the series soon, here's another reason to offer the first two books at a discount.  So, here they are, ladies, two Irish Rogues to steal your heart away this month . . . . Dark Hero and Bright Scoundrel. 

Dark Hero features the tortured hero, Donovan Beaumont, who has some PTSD and likes to play games of masquerade. He keeps the heroine on her toes as he goes back and forth between his two personalities, Donovan O'Rourke, the common stable master, and the mysterious masked Count Rochembeau, a French nobleman. Like I said, he's got issues, mostly of the paranoid kind. He keeps people at a distance, making sure he is never betrayed by those about him again. But, as he is the hero, he does have strong redeeming qualities, and it takes a special heroine to get him to give up his dual indentities and just let people accept him as he is. Will the real Donovan please stand up? Donovan is my favorite hero. This story is very Gothic.

Bright Scoundrel features an Irish Hero who returns to his childhood home. He's a rake, and also a descendant of druids, so he possesses magical powers. Kieran O'Flaherty is hiding, as well. Not from himself, but from some bad media back in London that's put his grandfather in a snit, so he's hiding away in Ireland until the scandal dies down. He returns to his familial castle Roisin Dubh (Black Rose), only to find it is full of ghosts and one nasty elemental creature with the thirst for human blood. He is set with the task of cleaning up his home, but he needs some magical help. He finds it in a clever fae, a druid hermit, and the Banshsee of Roisin Dubh Castle. He also finds a very alluring woman, Rose de Lacy, a spinster who seems to be the only woman alive immune to his magnetic charms. Kieran must not only set his house to rights, but also win the heart of the fair Rose.  

Think Nicholas Cage in The Sorcerer's Apprentic, and you'll get the feel of this book. Yes, there is magic in it, as Kieran must use magic to fight his enemies. And it is chock full of Irish legend and myth, my own tribute to that wonderful film "Darby O'Gill and The Little People" that had such and impact on my childhood.  

Sean Connery, 1960

So there you have it. Two Irish Heroes, a gift from me to you in celebration of March, Spring, and St. Patrick's Day. You can find them at discount prices through March on all platforms. If you click on the book covers on the side bar, it will take you to the Amazon links.

Hey, I'm close to being related to the Irish, as my son is engaged to a sweet Irish American Girl!  Maybe I'll have an Irish Grandchild one day. I already have two red headed grandkids, very spirited red headed boys, by the way!  


Note to readers: If you were looking for another chapter or The Gypy's Curse, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, as I have not had any comments regarding the story in the past postings, I felt it was not popular enough to continue with the weekly postings. If you would like me to continue the Serialized Sunday feature, please contact me at I will be publishing the book this summer, 2014.