Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank You

November Blog Statistics
Thanks to all the visitors from around the world who participated in last week's book launch promotion for Spellbound Souvenir, book 2 in The Legend Of  Lord Randall Castle e-series.

As you can see from the image (at left), blog statistics skyrocketed for the duration of the promos. Total visitors for the 6-day period were 193! Therefore, I hereby dub the promotions a grande success. Please consider yourself to be part of that success.

Thank you for reading and commenting on both character interviews and the chapters of my books; for re-posting daily blogs across Facebook and Twitter, and for your pre-orders of Spellbound Souvenir (which became available for instant download yesterday). Thank you, also, for downloading my best-seller, Engaging Enchantment, from Amazon.com during its free promotion day. I got such a thrill out of having so many people reading my writing and I truly hope you enjoyed yourselves.

When The Legend of Lord Randall Castle becomes legendary in the literary world, you can honestly claim that you were part of its story from the very beginning.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Pre-Release Peek Inside of Spellbound Souvenir (part 2)

Each week at the bottom of www.LordRandallCastle.com, either a reader review is featured or (much less frequently) a promotion runs. 3, 4 and 5-star reader reviews of the Lord Randall Castle series titles are chosen at random from Amazon.com, and verified reviews are given top priority for being featured. Post your Reader Review to Amazon for your chance to win the weekly spotlight and check LordRandallCastle.com to see which week you have won.


Chapter 2 continued...


Entering his bed chamber, he walked over to the chest on which his sword was laid. Picking up its scabbard, he stretched the belt around his waist. As his fingers worked, his eyes fixed on Barwick, “So you were both taking care of the ship, leaving the princess unguarded during an attack.”
cover of Spellbound SouvenirGuilt washed through Barwick’s heart at Concobhar’s statement. The duke was right. Ellie’s abduction was his fault. Though he had believed she was safe in the captain’s quarters, his focus during any kind of attack should have been on her protection – even an attack from fish.
The tall man’s gaze dropped to the floor and his shoulders slumped just a little. “Yes, sir,” he acknowledged.
Satisfied, Concobhar asked, “Do you know who took her?”
“Yes, sir.” Barwick straightened his broad shoulders to report, “An ex-sailor awaiting trial for misconduct was stowed away on our ship. He stole Princess Elysant on a lifeboat while everyone else was aft.”
Concobhar frowned. Years of military training boiled his blood. Irritation in his voice betrayed his disapproval, “I will not ask how a sailor who should have been imprisoned found his way aboard your ship, and I will not ask how he went undiscovered during your ship’s pre-voyage inspection – which is, of course, assuming the Scilleian navy does pre-voyage inspections.”
His reaction did not make the difficult situation any easier for either captain. Both already felt horrible. Tethion stood as straight and tall during the chastisement as the stocky man could. He fixed his eyes on an invisible point directly before him, waiting for the duke to finish. Barwick swallowed hard. Also standing with a straight back and squared shoulders, he gauged Concobhar’s anger by watching his eyes.
His reproach would be even harsher if he knew the princess has escaped with her lover, he thought.
Slipping a dagger into his belt, the duke continued, “Has there been a ransom demand? Do you know what he wants for her safe return?”
The line of questioning frustrated Barwick. Elysant was getting farther away with each passing moment. He just needed horses so that he could take some of his sailors after her. Then he could bring her back to her duty and all would be well. It was not a difficult concept. He did not understand why the duke was taking so long with it.
“No, sir,” he perpetuated his series of half-truths, “no demands have been received.”
“Very well. We shall leave forthwith.” Concobhar glanced around the room one last time and walked out the door. Barwick and Tethion looked at each other. Neither had anticipated that the duke might accompany them. How could they hide that the princess had purposely run away if he was there when they found her?
“My lord, don’t you still have meetings to attend?” posed Tethion.
Concobhar stopped walking to pierce him with steel grey eyes. “The other lords can come to a resolution without me, Captain,” he chastised. “My future bride is endangered. A criminal has stolen her for some unknown, nefarious purpose. I will find her, I will kill him and I will bring her home.”
It was now Tethion’s turn to stare at the floor. “Yes, sire,” he swallowed. “Of course, you are right.”

Copyright 2014 © Elizabeth W. Durkee
All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for participating in the book launch activities for Spellbound Souvenir, book two in The Legend of Lord Randall Castle e-series. Find it available November 23, 2014 on Amazon.com.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Pre-Release Peek Inside of Spellbound Souvenir (part 1)


Chapter 2 (part 1)



The Scilleian ship docked in Southampton, where a servant waited with a carriage to greet Princess Elysant and take her to Winchester Palace. Instead of the princess, he received a very worried pair of captains. Barwick and Tethion were immediately taken to Duke Concobhar to report the situation at hand.
cover of Spellbound SouvenirMid-afternoon, the duke was in a council meeting. His manservant, Aelfgar, a gangly lad in his late teens, tiptoed into the meeting chamber and whispered into the duke’s ear. The dark-haired duke rubbed his cropped beard as the servant spoke, then excused himself from the meeting.
Outside the chamber door, Barwick introduced himself and Tethion then cut to the chase with a half-truth he had concocted for the circumstance, “My lord, the princess has been abducted. Will you provide horses for us to track and retrieve her?”
The captains stood erect, waiting for Concobhar to speak. But he responded with silence. After a moment he directed, “Aelfgar, send for Wulfstan and prepare gear for five.” The manservant acknowledged his master with a curt bow and scuttled away.
Five men is not many but it will suffice, thought Barwick. He calculated that meant three men other than himself and Tethion could go on the search. He and Tethion could talk on their ride back to the ship about which three sailors to take.
Turning down a corridor, Concobhar addressed the captains, “Gentlemen, walk with me.”
Concern now creasing his forehead, the duke began a series of questions, “You say the princess was abducted. Which one of you is responsible for her safety or are you jointly responsible?”
“I am responsible for the princess, sir,” answered Barwick, following the duke. “Captain Tethion commands the ship.”
Concobhar did not acknowledge the answer. He simply asked another question, “Where were you when the princess was abducted?”
“I…” stammered Barwick, surprised, “I was at the aft. Remora were attacking the ship.”
The duke paused at the threshold of a chamber door. He responded, “You just said that Captain Tethion is responsible for the ship.”
Pushing open the door, he addressed Tethion, “Where were you at the time?”
The bald man answered, “I also was at the aft, sire.”
“Hmm,” the duke raised an eyebrow. 

-- To Be Continued Tomorrow -- 

 

Copyright 2014 © Elizabeth W. Durkee

All Rights Reserved.

 

Would you like your reader review featured?

 

Each week at the bottom of www.LordRandallCastle.com, either a reader review is featured or (much less frequently) a promotion runs. 3, 4 and 5-star reader reviews of the Lord Randall Castle series titles are chosen at random from Amazon.com, and verified reviews are given top priority for being featured. Post your Reader Review to Amazon for your chance to win the weekly spotlight and check LordRandallCastle.com to see which week you have won.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Character Interview: Blinkifizz

Today we interview Blinkifizz, Alyssa's and Andy's mother. Known affectionately as "momma," Blinkifizz spends her days splitting homeschooling duties with the other hobgoblin parents  residing in Lord Randall Castle. For relaxation, she enjoys gardening and cuddling with her husband, Carkigo.

Reporter: Blinkifizz, the bedtime story you tell your children seems to be some kind of a fairy tale but it is not one I have ever heard of. Can you tell me, where did you find it?
Blinkifizz: My parents told it to my siblings and me when we were young.

Reporter: Alright. But where did they find it? Was it in an old book of fairy tales or something?
Blinkifizz: This story is not in a book. It has been passed down by word of mouth for generations upon generations of my family.

Reporter: So are you saying that one of your ancestors made it up?
Blinkifizz: No. Nobody made it up. It just happened and the story of it has been passed through the generations. It is part of our family history. The Keeper can tell you. He was there.

Reporter: The Keeper was there? But this is 2014. Isn't the story set in 924?
Blinkifizz: Yes and yes.

Reporter: That doesn't make sense. Nobody is that old.
Blinkifizz: Yes, it does and yes, the Keeper is. But you have to listen until the end of the story to find out how and why. I don't give spoilers.

Reporter: Alright, then. No spoilers. Can you answer why nobody I know has ever heard the story?
Blinkifizz: Well, how many hobgoblins do you know, other than me? [Reporter shakes head in response.] Faeries? Pixies? Gnomes? Unicorns? Werewolves? [Reporter shakes head after each magical creature.] I think you have just answered your own question. You know no magical creatures. Of course you have never heard the story of the castle. It is only passed through the generations of magic-kind.

Reporter: What do you mean? If it happened for real and it involved human beings, it would be in our history books.
Blinkifizz: Not necessarily, but remember that I am not giving spoilers. I will give you this: Is there a King Charles castle in the archipelago of Scilly? Yes, and who was it named after? There is no non-magical history of its namesake. Furthermore, have you ever heard stories of dragons? Likely, but has anyone you know of ever discovered dragon bones? Haven't heard of it. Plus, I am here talking to you today direct from Lord Randall Castle, but have you ever been able to locate the castle on a map? Of course not.

Reporter: Wait. You live in Lord Randall Castle? Like the legend in the story you are telling?
Binkifizz: Darn! I didn't want to give you any spoilers. We had better end the interview before I accidentally give any more.

Reporter: Alright, but can you please just tell us one more thing? We interviewed Darragh yesterday and he does not seem as wonderful as the princess believes. Please just tell us: Do they get married after they escape?
Blinkifizz: I would love to tell you that. Please come back and listen to me tell some more of the story for your answer.

Reporter: [sighs] Alright. I get it: No spoilers. Thank you, Blinkifizz, for taking time for our interview. It was a pleasure learning more about you.
Blinkifizz: Thank you for having me. I'm sorry I could not be more helpful, but trust me when I say it will be worth it in the end.

Come back tomorrow for a sneak peek inside Spellbound Souvenir, book two in The Legend of Lord Randall Castle.
     
Discover Blinkifizz in Engaging Enchantment by Beth Durkee. Available exclusively from Amazon. (Kindle Unlimited Lending Library eligible book.)


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Character Interview: Darragh

Remember to download your free copy of Engaging Enchantment from Amazon.com today (November 19, 2014).
  
Today we interview Darragh, a commoner from Hibernia. Darragh was a sailor in King Charles' navy until he was caught trying to elope with Princess Elysant two days ago. His job used to keep him very busy until he was put under house arrest and he spent much of his off-duty hours with friends in Melador's alehouse. His favorite activities are wooing women, drinking ale and testing get-rich-quick schemes.

Reporter: Darragh, you seem quite smitten with the princess. But it is highly unusual for a commoner to have close access to a royal. I have to ask: How did you meet?
Darragh: Remember that I am Hibernian by birth, not Scilleian. When I met Elysant, I had no idea who she was. I came here to join the navy and after Basic Training, I was assigned to work in the office doing paperwork, filing and other administrative tasks. I was just doing my job when she came in with her brother to get Captain Barwick for lunch. (They do that a lot. They all grew up together, you know.)

I really did not know who she was. When the Captain and Prince Caddaric (I did not know he was the prince, either. He acted just like any normal officer) went behind closed doors for a few moments to discuss something of naval importance, they left Eysant in the office with me. She looked lonely and uncomfortable so I struck up a conversation with her.  I'm a good person and I try to do the right thing when I can. Talking to her seemed like the right thing to do under the circumstances, so that's what I did.

Reporter: I see. What it love at first sight? Or what compelled you to pursue her?
Darragh: Love at first sight does not exist. She is very attractive and when she told me that she was unmarried, I just asked her out. She said no but didn't tell me why, so I asked again the next time she was waiting alone in the office. I just kept asking until she finally said yes.

Reporter: So it was the hard-to-get play that snagged you?
Darragh: Well, that and the hideous earrings she wore to our first date: Dangle earrings that looked like fish on hooks -- and one of them had clay on it! I remember thinking that she had come to the date trying to get me to give up and go away. But there was no way I was going to let her make me give up that way. So I asked her out a second time.

Reporter: Sorry, but did you say dangle fish earrings with clay on one?
Darragh: Yes, I did... and they were purple. She later told me that she wore the fish because I am a sailor. I don't know what fish have to do with sailing, but okay. She also said she had no idea about the clay on one. She had just been enjoying sculpting earlier in the day and did not realize her earring got dirty. Of course, I did not know that at the time. I just assumed she was trying to get rid of me.

Reporter:  After you discovered that Elysant was the princess, why didn't you stop seeing her? Don't you know she is betrothed?
Darragh: Of course I know she is betrothed. The whole kingdom is talking about how her marriage to the duke will solidify the alliance with Wessex. But by the time I figured out who Elysant was, I already liked her a lot. I am not going to give her up if being with her makes me happy. I don't deserve less because I was born a regular man, and I would get no benefit from giving her up so that she could marry the duke.

Reporter: Aren't you afraid that the difference in your social statuses and upbringing will cause problems in a marriage?
Darragh: Why would I be? She is a woman. If she doesn't conform to what I want, I can always divorce her and send her back to her parents. Then she can marry the duke if she wants.

Reporter: But don't you know that once a lady weds a commoner, she becomes ineligible for re-marriage to a noble?
Darragh:  I don't believe that.

Reporter: Okay. Well, that was enlightening. Thank you, Darragh, for taking time for our interview today. It was a pleasure learning more about you.
Darragh: Sure. Whatever. When do I get paid?

Come back tomorrow for a character interview with Blinkifizz.

Discover Darragh in Engaging Enchantment by Beth Durkee. Available exclusively from Amazon. (Kindle Unlimited Lending Library eligible book.)


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Character Interview: King Charles

Remember to download your free copy of Engaging Enchantment from Amazon.com today. (November 18, 2014)

Today we interview Charles, Princess Elysant's father. Charles is king of the Isles of Scillei and resides on Scillei's capital island of Saint Mary. He is married to Queen Piala, has little time for relaxation and his favorite activity is serving his people.

Reporter: After you found out the princess had tried to elope with a common sailor, what did you think?
King Charles: The princess was born with a royal duty to her people. The sailor was born as a peasant, with duty only to himself. It is clear from his actions that he has no sense of responsibility to others nor desire to serve the people. My thought when my Queen informed me of the events surrounding our daughter's attempt to elope was that the peasant needs to be kept away from her. It is as simple as that.

Reporter: Darragh seemed scared enough of punishment that he stowed away on the princess' ship. What dreadful fate did you have planned for him before his escape? 
King Charles: Is his name Darragh? I don’t remember. [waves hand dismissively] I had no specific plan at the time. I needed to research the law. The circumstances were quite unusual. If the peasant were born a Scilleian, he would be guilty of breaking the law and incarcerated. But he is not Scilleian. He is Hibernian. Legal actions against him may trigger an international incident if I am not careful. My sole intent before he stowed away was to keep him under house arrest until I could determine my best course of action.

Reporter: The princess escaped from the ship with Darragh. Assuming Captain Barwick is able to retrieve her, what is going to happen to Elysant when she returns home?
King Charles: Nothing different. Our alliance will not be disrupted by a peasant. The princess' sixteenth birthday is less than a month away. She will be restricted and closely watched until her birthday. Then she will marry Duke Concobhar and things will proceed according to plan.

Reporter: What does the law say should happen to Darragh now?
King Charles: Maritime law is universally clear that stowaways are dealt with at the discretion of the ship's captain. However as a sailor, the young man deserted his post, which at the time was house arrest, to run away with the princess. He is absent without leave and has abducted a member of the royal family. The only punishment for him is to be fired. [Brief pause] "Firing" a sailor simply means putting him to death. There is usually no real fire involved.

Reporter: But he did not abduct her. She went willingly.
King Charles: He abducted her if I say he abducted her. She is a maid and my daughter. She belongs to me. No matter how willing she was, taking her without my consent is abduction.

Reporter: I forgot for a moment that the year is 924. My apologies. What will happen to the alliance with Wessex now?
King Charles: Hopefully, Captain Barwick will keep in mind our prospective alliance when he presents the princess' abduction to the Duke. If the situation is correctly framed, we should still be able to solidify Scillei's relationship with Wessex through the princess' marriage.

Reporter: Thank you, your majesty, for taking time for our interview. Your insights have been very enlightening and it was a pleasure to learn more about you.
King Charles: You're welcome.

Come back tomorrow for a character interview with Darragh.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Character Interview: Melador

Today we interview Melador, grand-uncle to our story's hero, Captain Barwick. Melador is a sole proprietor who owns and manages an alehouse on Scillei's capital island of Saint Mary. He is a confirmed bachelor who enjoys fishing for relaxation, and his favorite activity is interacting with people.

Reporter: Melador, rumor has it that you were born on Avalon. How did you come to own an alehouse on Saint Mary?
Melador:  My parents wanted to stay as close to Avalon as we could and Scillei was safe for druids at the time, so the main island is where we came. Mom and Dad bought the alehouse because they could no longer make their living as druid priests. I inherited it. [sighs] I miss my family. I still remember Momma sitting under the old tree by the shore, doing her needlework and gazing across the water toward the sinking island.

Reporter: How many siblings do you have? And what happened to them?
Melador: Those are good questions. I had two older siblings, a brother and a sister. My sister was Barwick's grandmother, of course. She came with us and her betrothed to Saint Mary. A year or so later, she died during childbirth. It was her only child, Barwick's father. My brother, though, did not come with the family. He was old enough to choose his own direction during the evacuation. He and some of his buddies went on a fool's mission to find Lord Randall Castle. They chased a legend and disappeared. I assume they were caught and killed by Nemoth.

Reporter: How long had you been living on Saint Mary when the story in Engaging Enchantment began?
Melador: You mean yesterday? Well, now, let me see. This requires some math... [Purses lips] This is July of 924. I was born in 771. That makes me 153. I was 13 when my family fled Albion. So I guess I have lived on Saint Mary for... 140 years. Does that sound about right?

Reporter: At the beginning of Engaging Enchantment, you await the return of your faerie helper from taking a message to Queen Piala. How is it that you felt comfortable sending a faerie to the Queen when there is a war being waged against creatures of magic?
Melador: Ah, Bud is a brave little fellow. Isn't he? He never complains about the dangers of a long flight across Saint Mary if it is for a good reason. As for sending him to the Queen, she is from Hibernia. What with so many druids relocating to her homeland and so many Hibernians chasing after Leprechaun gold, she embraces magic-kind. Faeries and pixies talking to her is as safe as safe can be. Now King Charles, on the other hand... Well, a faerie of any kind wouldn't want to show himself to the king even on a good day. He wants an alliance with Wessex and they are waging a war on magic.

Reporter: Your nephew, Barwick, has been half-druid his entire life. How is it that he did not know his magical heritage at the beginning of Engaging Enchantment and why did you wait until he was in his twenties to tell him?
MeladorWell, that is a story all in itself. We druids mate for life and are long-lived. My nephew, Barwick's father, was determined to never marry a human girl because he did not want to live in sorrow after his wife died. He wanted to stay near family and there were no eligible druid girls here, so he decided to remain a bachelor. Did a pretty good job of it for a long time, too. He joined the King's Guard and everything was going fine until King Charles married Lady Piala and she brought her own handmaiden with her.

The boy fell in love the instant he saw that handmaiden. Seventy-five years old and he was acting like a youth. He wasted no time asking her to marry him and they had Barwick right away. Then came two girls and a boy. Tensions with the Nemoth being what they were at the time and growing more hostile, my nephew wanted his children to be safe. He wanted them to grow up like normal kids, something he was never able to do. He made the whole family promise to keep our druid heritage a secret. So, even after he and his father went off and got themselves killed in battle, I honored my promise. That is, until Barwick needed use of his magic for that fool girl.

Oh, no! Did I remember to tell him about the faerie gold I hid in her necklace charm? My memory is getting so bad in my old age. Oh, I hope I remembered to tell him. He'll have a hard time finding her without knowing that.

Reporter: Wow. That is quite a story. Thank you, Melador, for taking time for our interview. It was a pleasure to learn more about you.
Melador: No problem. The pleasure was mine. I am happy to be of service.

Come back tomorrow for a character interview with King Charles. 
     
Discover Melador in Engaging Enchantment by Beth Durkee. Available exclusively from Amazon. (Kindle Unlimited Lending Library eligible book.)


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