LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: A Walk on the Wylder Side by Laura Strickland

Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

Outspoken, rebellious Cissy Arkwright was sent west from her Chicago home to work at a boarding house in Wylder, Wyoming. The last thing she expects is friendship with the handsome new boarder, a man with an air of danger and the power to make her smile.

Buck Standish is on the run from his past. He’d like to put aside the life of a gun-for-hire, especially once he meets Cissy. But experience tells him the past has a way of catching up, pistols in hand. He’s lost his heart to Cissy—should he protect her by hitting the trail again? Or stay in Wylder and fight for their future?

 

 

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Winter Blogfest: Laura Strickland

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of my Christmas story, Northern Magic.

The Past is With Us at the Holidays

Is there anyone who, at this time of year, doesn’t look back toward childhood? No matter how you celebrated, or whether childhood was happy or otherwise, memories of the holiday season stand out so vividly.

In my home, we celebrated Christmas. My mom saved up all year to give us a wonderful holiday. Each time my dad got paid, she would squirrel away a dollar or two in an envelope clearly marked Christmas. Having gone without a lot of things as a child, she’d learned to be frugal. But when Christmas came, all that changed. We would have cookies wall to wall (some of my best memories are of baking with her, in a fragrant kitchen) and gift-wishes would somehow, miraculously, come true. Looking back, I’m not sure how she managed it, and I’m certain there was a little magic, as well as a lot of love, involved.

And that gets me thinking…where did my mom, deprived of so much, including her own mother at a young age, get the desire to make us a magical Christmas? How did she come by her cookie recipes, if not via memories of watching her mother, who once ran a tearoom, bake? And where did my grandmother learn to bake, except from her own mother? In all this I see a woven chain of tradition, stretching back through the ages—an unbroken connection of love.

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Just because she’ll be alone this Christmas, is no reason for Beth Manning to feel sorry for herself. A busy nurse with plenty of friends, she knows she can keep occupied and have a good holiday. But when a tiny package containing an antique locket arrives, she tumbles into a century-old mystery. Is it intended for her, or for a relation of the same name, who lived four generations ago? Why does the image of the young soldier, inside, tug so hard at her heartstrings?

When Tommy Rafferty accompanies his injured friend to the hospital, he’s not thinking about romance. Yet as soon as he meets nurse Beth, his heart gets its own ideas. He’s sure he wants to see her again. But what a strange coincidence, that the tiny package he found and mailed just days ago, while cleaning out a relative’s property should have been addressed to this woman he’s just met. And what about the dreams of past battles he’s been having, that hint at promises and sacrifice?
Is it possible for two lovers parted a century ago to be reunited in time for Christmas? In the blossoming of a new love, will an old promise be kept?

Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she's writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: RapAnn’s All by Laura Strickland


Thanks for joining us on our 13th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

Surrendered to a powerful witch at birth, RapAnn doesn’t know her parents. When she resists becoming the mistress of a lecherous roué, her guardian imprisons her in a tall tower as punishment. There, she has only the music of her voice and the company of the birds for comfort.

Prince Kenzie, hearing her song, vows to free her, but the tower lies in the grip of the witch’s dark magic. Even if their love survives the spell, how can RapAnn, deceived by illusion, ever see the truth in Prince Kenzie’s eyes?

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Winter Blogfest: Laura Strickland


This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the Holiday novella ebook, Northern Magic, a love story set at the North Pole.

A Dose of Good Will

Whether you look forward to the holidays all year, or dread them as a time of hectic shopping frenzies and awkward family gatherings, I think everyone can agree, they bring us together. For better or worse, we gather for parties, dinners, and gift exchanges. At these moments, we reach for good will.

I don’t know about you, but given the past year, I’m ready for a dose of good will—a big, warm, fuzzy one. Though I always do my best to avoid political discussion, I will say it grieves me to see how divided our nation has become. Hate and ugliness seem to have joined hands and surfaced from the deep, dark cave into which we banished them on our long walk from the ‘60s forward. It doesn’t matter who you support, or whose side you’re on, anger rules the day.

I believe it’s time for some peace, love and good will toward all to surface. I’m ready for that holiday feeling—the one that grips you when you’re driving your car through the neighborhood and see those first twinkling lights on a neighbor’s house.  The one that urges you to patiently hold the shop door open for that woman toting three kiddies and an armful of packages. The feeling prompted by the sound of jingly songs on the radio, the scent of newly-baked cookies in the air, and a big tree going up in the town square. 

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Meghan Martin fears it’s going to be a lean Christmas. Since her husband, Dustin, abandoned her and their six-year-old daughter, Angie, she’s been forced to give up their cozy house in the suburbs and move to a small apartment in the city. Though she loves the multicultural flavor of the new neighborhood and how people help each other, she fears she won’t be able to make all Angie’s Christmas wishes come true, especially when Angie falls in love with an expensive, hand-made doll in the toy maker’s shop downstairs.
Now mysterious things are going on at the community center where Meghan works. Instead of too few packages beneath the giving tree, there are too many, and nobody can tell how they’re arriving. Could it be a touch of Christmas magic?
Jonas Kristensen has been making toys for children a long time, but when he sees Angie’s longing for the doll he’s made, it touches his heart, just like Meghan’s beauty and determination. Used to giving to others, he’s nearly stopped hoping for his own happiness. It’s been ages since he shared the secret of his magic with anyone. Will this be the year the toy maker receives a gift of his own?

Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she’s writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura’s mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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Buy the book at Amazon.

Winter Blogfest: Laura Strickland

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one ebook copy of my newest Christmas book, The Toy Maker’s Secret. .

Winter Magic

When we were children, it was easy to believe in the magic of the holidays. It took root sometime soon after Thanksgiving and grew up gradually, as neighbors put lights up on their houses, stores began playing seasonal music, and those all-important holiday catalogues arrived in the mail. I was raised in the northern part of the U.S., so the finishing touch for me was always a dusting (or more) of snow. Then on the Big Night, I’d lie awake in bed, straining my ears for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof. Because I believed.

These days, and in our world, it’s harder to buy into the magic. All too often, we groan at the thought of the holiday season coming on with all the extra tasks it adds to our busy lives. Most of us work outside the home, and the addition of shopping, baking, addressing greeting cards and above all coming up with the extra cash needed to purchase gifts can become overwhelming. 

And let’s face, it, recently our world often doesn’t seem too pretty—or too magical. Our country is split into political factions, and hatred runs rampant. Ugliness abounds, and madmen decide who will stay or go, who will live or die. In the face of all that, it’s difficult to summon up a holiday spirit.

But let me tell you this, my friends. Beneath all the shouting, all the red-faced rhetoric and the “you’re-wrong because I’m-right”, the magic of the holidays still exists. That’s because, when you get down to it, that magic doesn’t depend on gifts, greeting cards, or even snow.
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It depends on the look in a child’s eyes when he sits in a loved-one’s lap, listening to a story being read. It depends on the warm, contented feeling that comes when the family’s all together. It’s born when a song’s sung, or a smile’s given to a stranger, or a door’s held for a fellow shopper. It blossoms whenever we do something for someone else.

You see, I still believe, because the magic’s what unites us, and it’s called love. May you have a beautiful holiday however you celebrate!

When Santa asks his worker, Olja, to help make another elf’s Christmas wish come true, she believes the job calls for a love potion. Brewing it up will require her to travel all around the North Pole gathering unusual supplies, and to take a few dangerous risks. But she’s never failed Santa in the past and doesn’t intend to now.
Elf Runi’s in the business of guiding Santa’s sleigh and making other people’s wishes come true. This year he’s dared make a wish of his own, one from the heart. When he meets Olja, he hopes he’s found his forever. But it will take assistance from a reindeer, a generous helping of love and a whole lot of magic to make his wish come true. That is, if Olja and Runi can just outwit the three troublesome trolls who decide they’d make a fine winter’s snack.

About the Author: Multi-published and multi-award winning author, Laura Strickland writes stories that span several Romance genres. Her Scottish Romances have been compared to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and her American Historicals echo the work of authors such as Susan Wiggs and Kristin Hannah. Her award-winning Buffalo Steampunk series has broken new ground both for its setting and its portrayal of automaton characters pursuing their rights. Currently, she is at home in Western New York and at work on her next book.

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Winter Blogfest: Laura Strickland

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one ebook copy of my Christmas novella, “Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship”.

When Hearts Come Home

They say all hearts come home for the holidays. No matter how far we may roam, part of us always returns to the childhood memories that made those wonderful days in December special enough to last all year long. The scents of cookies baking or a turkey in the oven; the radiance of a candle lit at nightfall; the reflection of happy faces in a dark window and snowflakes pressed against the glass. Long-known and loved voices raised in laughter or song. A warm feeling of being cherished and loved.

I think many of us, consciously or unconsciously, try to recreate those scenes and recapture those feelings every time the holidays roll around. It’s the reason we stay up late baking those cookies Grandma used to make, tramp the malls for that elusive, must-have gift and strain our brains assembling toys from Santa. There’s a mystique about the holidays that encompasses an image of perfection carried not so much in the mind as in the heart.

But what if we can’t come home? Or what if, when we do arrive there are missing pieces, missing faces that can never be replaced? As the years have passed, for me that has understandably happened more and more often. Childhood friends go their separate ways and dwindle into fond wisps of memory only rarely recalled. Family members pass on from this fragile life to whatever lies after, some of them so dearly-loved life without them will never be the same.

But when the magic of the holidays reoccurs, are those we love ever truly gone from us? Just like the memories of breathless childhood mornings when anything seemed possible, is it not easy to believe they too live on in our recollections? I am convinced so. When our hearts come home at the holidays, they bring everyone we’ve ever loved with them. Just listen for their voices and let the warmth wrap around you. Happy holidays!


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For most of her life, Becca Monroe’s been running. The urge to see what lay beyond the next horizon took her away from Donner’s Mountain and the man she loved. Now, back for what will surely be her grandfather’s last Christmas, she’s caught in a tangle of unresolved emotions that leave her torn between the impulse to flee and the desire to stay.

Jack Donner never stopped loving Becca, even though she deserted him. Better than anyone else, he knows how cruel it would be to fetter her wild spirit, and he doubts she could ever be happy living in one place, on his mountain.

Can memories of Christmases past remind Becca what truly matters? And can love convince Jack to give her one more chance, even if it means risking his battered heart?

About the Author: Multi-published and multi-award winning author, Laura Strickland writes stories that span several Romance genres. Her Scottish Romances have been compared to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and her American Historicals echo the work of authors such as Susan Wiggs and Kristin Hannah. Her award-winning Buffalo Steampunk series has broken new ground both for its setting and its portrayal of automaton characters pursuing their rights. Currently, she is at home in Western New York and at work on her next book.

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INTERVIEW and Giveaway: Laura Strickland

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Strickland, whose newest book Daughter of Sherwood is now available. She had serious doubts in the beginning about taking on the legend of Robin Hood, but once she got started the characters came alive and began weaving the story on their own.

“It was precisely like watching and hearing it all happen in my mind, complete with color, scents and a veritable wealth of emotion. All I had to do was write it down,” she explained. “In fact, there were times when I was forced (by things like my day job) to lay my pen aside, but the characters just kept right on going. While driving my car, cleaning the house or performing my duties at work, I’d be listening to them with half an ear and, very often, scribbling down what they said so I wouldn’t forget. And more than once, during the writing, I was unsure about what would happen next and how the story would end.”

As you can tell, Laura is definitely a pantser. Usually, she’ll get the flash of an idea for a book–it might be something as insignificant as an opening line or a comment one character makes to another. It might be a “what if” question: what if a Celtic warrior lost the ability to fight? what if a woman taken as slave by a Viking enchanted him? what if a character dreamed a world that became more real to him than his own?

“The rest of it just sort of takes off from there and I have no time to plot. The story becomes a living, breathing entity that creates its own plot as it goes along,” she told me. “I have never in my life made a written outline and probably wouldn’t have the patience. The most I ever do is jot down lines or details so I won’t forget them, and sometimes make lists of characters’ names because I write about antiquity, and some of those names can be tough to remember until the characters and I become well-acquainted. It’s a bit like automatic writing.”

Laura started writing because she loved to read. As a child, she was known among her family as the girl who always had a paperback book in her pocket.

“I consumed books the way other kids consumed candy,” she said. “Well, I consumed candy too, but that’s another story. There was just one problem with the books I read: they always ended too soon. If I got my hands on one of those truly wonderful books – the ones that drew me into another world –like Witch of the Glens by Sally Watson or Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott, I wanted it to go on and on. It was a real wrench when I had to lay the book aside. Then one day the voice of inspiration whispered in my ear: ‘Why don’t you just make up the story?; It dawned on me that if I wrote the tale, I could make it go on for as long as I liked and create whatever wonderful worlds I wished. So I guess writing became the fix to my reading addiction. And it still is!”

Laura wrote her first book in third grade–called “The Haunted House.” She wrote it out by hand and made a construction paper cover with a drawing of a spooky house on it.

“Even back then I nursed the conviction that I’d been born to be a published writer. It took the world some time to get up to speed with that conviction, but I never let that hold me back. I wrote throughout school, manuscript after manuscript scribbled in loose leaf notebooks, and when I met my best friend in high school (she’s still my best friend) I introduced myself by saying, ‘I write books about Scotland.’ For my Senior year Independent Study project I wrote a book (what else?). And I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve graduated to spiral notebooks, but no further. I still like to write curled up with a spiral notebook and a pen (college ruled and blue ink only, please). And I’ve created plenty of worlds to which I enjoy returning time after time.”

She’s been obsessed with Scotland since kindergarten–maybe even before. She lived and breathed stories about the place and studied texts about the Clans–attributing this connection to the strength of ancestral blood on her mother’s side. After she wrote her twenty-book Celtic Series, she saved up her money for her first trip to Scotland.

“I drafted my grown daughter into accompanying me and rented a cottage (via the internet, unseen) near Kippen, not far from Stirling,” she said. “And here comes the crazy part: we landed at Glasgow airport early on a rainy Saturday after flying all night into the dawn, rented a car and took off to find the cottage, which at this point was no more than a point on a map. Now, you have to understand I had never driven a car with right-hand drive. We took off from the airport parking lot in mid-day weekend traffic, in the pouring rain, and the first thing we had to do was negotiate a roundabout, which is like a traffic circle, with other cars driving around it madly. They all, presumably, knew where they were going. I didn’t! Eventually we did find the cottage, five hundred feet up a hillside, and even ventured out again to drive great distances. Scotland didn’t disappoint, and the locale where we stayed became the setting of my first book for The Wild Rose Press, Devil Black.”

Of her Celtic Series, four of the books have been published: The God’s Song, The Shadow Ground, The Walking Dream, and The War Raven. The series started out as a single book several years ago with one of Laura’s “what if” questions: What if a quintessential Celtic warrior, foremost in his clan, was so badly injured in battle he could never fight again? What would become of such a man once his purpose in life ended? What kind of physical and spiritual journey would he need to make? The answers to these questions became the story of Aoghan MacKintire, set in a (so I thought) mystical place on the coast of Scotland.

“The book and the place both possessed me and speaking in Aoghan’s voice became so deeply personal I wanted to return to it again and again. So that single book turned into a saga telling the story of Aoghan’s ancestors and descendants,” she said. “Ironically, Aoghan’s book, which came first, hasn’t yet made it into print. Instead, I began publishing with the stories that came earlier in the timeline. But I did find the mystical place where Aoghan lived when I journeyed to Scotland, and it proved to be exactly the way I’d always seen it in my mind.”

Not only is Laura a historical writer, she lives as close as possible to the way her ancesters lived.

Use Generic Drugs Rather Than Branded Ones and are not at all different viagra soft in their chemical properties. On a final note, you should always talk to a cheapest price for levitra doctor before buying or using one. Consequently, the human body experiences varied levitra online purchase symptoms. Once installed on your machine, how does spyware actually work? How does it deliver its insidious, unwelcome contest to your computer? Well, it infects your operating system (Windows, for example), and then order levitra online http://ronaldgreenwaldmd.com/testimonials/ begins to direct your internet usage once you go online. “For the past thirty years my husband and I have heated our home exclusively with wood. We do not even have a back-up furnace! I am the official Keeper of the Hearth in our house,” she told me. “I rise before everyone else each day and kindle the fire, which I consider a semi-sacred duty. In winter I also leave my job at midday to drive home in my 1988 Volvo station wagon and stoke our woodstove. (Our dogs have long benefited from this, as I’m able to take them for walks after the fire is revived.) We live in the country and since acquiring our property 25 years ago, we’ve also harvested most of our own firewood from the deadfall found on our forested acres. We make it a point to fell no healthy tree, and make use of all those whose lifespans have come to an end. And each time I toss a log onto my fire, I’m grateful.”

“Who is your favorite author?” I asked.

“Wow, this is really a tough question because there are many, many authors whom I’ve elevated to the status of demi-gods, in my mind. If I look back, I can see I’ve progressed through them the way a ship progresses through waves. Each one pushed me a bit further on my chosen path. I’ve always said I learned to write by reading great authors, so I know I owe a great deal to each of them. If I had to choose one, though, to reign above them all – the Odin of my writing pantheon, so to speak – it would have to be Sir Terry Pratchett. To my mind, Terry Pratchett’s writing is untouchable. I’ve never read another author who approaches him for originality, humor, zaniness and pure creativity. And he’s brilliant, an absolutely delightful mind. The first of his books I read was The Fifth Elephant and from there I moved through the whole Discworld series the way a forest fire moves through dry timber. It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite, but Going Postal might come close.”

Finally, I asked, “If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?”

“In Scottish Hebridean lore, there’s a creature called the Bauchan, a dour, unhappy elf, and I’d like one of those if I could. Why, you ask? Well, because though not effusive in disposition, the Bauchan will work tirelessly for his keep and that’s exactly what I need around my house. I’m so busy writing, reading and editing I rarely have time for housework. In fact, things have been slipping drastically for some time. And a creature – even one full of gloom – willing to sort through my closets, neaten up my cupboards, scrub my floors and do the laundry in return for an occasional bannock, a cup of custard or a mug of ale would be most welcome. Of course, you did specify ‘pet.’ Every pet I’ve ever owned has spent its time lying around and sleeping in comfort while I performed every household task under the sun, so I don’t know … I could only hope for better behavior from my Bauchan.”

11_11 DaughterOfSherwood_w7891_750Laura Strickland’s new historical romance book Daughter of Sherwood, published by The Wild Rose Press, was released on November 1, 2013.

Raised as a scullery maid in Nottingham Castle, Wren has no idea she is the daughter of the legendary Robin Hood. When she is forced to defend herself against the unwanted advances of an influential man, she flees the castle and finds refuge in Sherwood Forest. It is then she learns a powerful secret: she has a destiny as a guardian of Sherwood, charged with the responsibility of defending its ancient magic.

Since Robin’s death many years before, his supporters have kept his legend alive. Now one of the three guardians holding the spell has died. With two young men, Sparrow and Martin, Wren must form a new bond strong enough to protect Sherwood and continue her father’s fight. Drawn equally to Martin’s warrior spirit and Sparrow’s gentle strength, she finds it nearly impossible to choose between duty and love.

Laura takes us on a journey into the world of Robin Hood’s daughter, where we experience her struggle to accept her identity and the demands of her father’s legacy. Along with Wren, we learn that what is loved in life can never be lost, and that great love is worth the price paid. For at last, when Martin is captured and held at Nottingham Castle, the path becomes clear for Wren and she finds the strength to become the woman she was born to be, the Daughter of Sherwood.

Daughter of Sherwood is book one of The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy.

About the Author:11_11 Laura StricklandBorn and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Currently she is at work on the third book of the Guardians of Sherwood series.

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