It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Featured Today- HIGHLAND QUEST


WINNER OF THE CONTEST IS
CATHY MACRAE!


By B.J. SCOTT
Book Two in the HIGHLAND SERIES- Sequel to HIGHLAND LEGACY



No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers, Bryce Fraser rejoins the fight for Scottish independence, but arrives too late to inform his fellow patriots of a surprise ambush. Seriously wounded and left for dead, Bryce awakens to find Fallon MacCrery tending his wounds, a twist of fate that rekindles passion and desire he’d vowed to forget.

Gifted with second sight and having lost everyone she ever held dear, Fallon believes her ability and her love  are curses that if pursued will mean Bryce’s demise. But when she learns the English army plans to destroy the Bruce and his followers, she risks all to warn them, even her heart.

Can their unspoken love stand the test in a time of uncertainty and war, or will the plans of their enemy, a traitorous laird from a rival clan keep them apart forever?


EXCERPT

Loch Ryan Scotland, 1307

“Wa . . . water,” Bryce mumbled, but there was no one there to listen.

His throat was parched and he ran his tongue over dry, cracked lips, but his action offered no relief. An entire loch lay only a few feet away, but he couldn’t muster the strength to drag himself to the bank and quench his thirst.

“Cold . . . so cold.”

Despite the sun beating down on him, he’d swear he was encased in ice. His life’s blood seeped from his wounds, soaking the ground beneath him. He tried to raise his head, but the excruciating pain radiating across his chest stole his breath away.

Was this what it felt like to die? If so, he prayed the Almighty would be merciful and take him now.

Bryce moaned, a shift in his position bringing on another nauseating wave of agony. He sucked in a short, sharp, gulp of air and stretched his arm out as far as he could, his fingers grappling in the dirt.

If only I could reach my sword.

Beads of perspiration dampened his brow. As the strength slowly drained from his body, drawing a simple breath became more difficult. The end grew near. No time to make amends for sins of the past, and he had committed his share.

Regrets? He had those, too. “Fallon.” He whispered her name then heaved a ragged sigh. He could see her beautiful face, her soft, porcelain-like skin with just a sprinkling of freckles across her nose. Raven tresses hanging loose in a riot of curls down her back. Her petite, slender body had just the right curves to drive a man wild with desire. Mysterious sapphire eyes that held him captive and a heart-shaped mouth he’d never tire of kissing. If he had one wish before he died, it would be to hold her in his arms one more time, to find himself nestled between her thighs, making love until neither of them could take anymore.

But he’d missed his chance when she left Fraser Castle after his brother’s wedding, returning with her clan to their home in the borderlands. Determined not to allow Fallon, or any woman, to breach the protective wall he’d built around his heart, he’d let her go.

A restless spirit, he longed for adventure. While he admired his two older brothers, he was tired of living in their shadows. Alasdair had turned down the position of Laird when their father and older brother were killed at Berwick on Tweed. Connor, the next in line, had accepted the responsibility and did the Clan proud. He was happily married and Bryce was certain his wee son, Andrew, would be raised to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Bryce held no land or title. Until he had made a name for himself and earned these things, he had nothing to offer a wife. But marriage and family were not part of his immediate plans. He loved women, all women. Be they large, small, short, tall, fair, or plain, it made no difference as long as they were willing to warm his bed, and expected no long-term commitment in return.

A rogue many would say, but he made no secret of his intentions. So far, this way of life had served him well, and should he die in battle, he’d leave no one behind to mourn his loss.

When he was a lad of sixteen, he’d made the mistake of falling for the daughter of the village smithy. Totally enamored with each other, they’d vowed their eternal love and he believed they’d marry some day.

He swallowed hard at the ball of emotion rising in his throat, and clenched his teeth against the sudden ache gripping his heart. He’d heard when a man is about to die, his life experiences flash before his eyes. But some memories were far too painful to revisit.

He balled his fists at his sides, his nails digging into his palms. He didn’t want to think about the past and didn’t want a woman in his life. While Fallon was the only lass who had tempted him to stray from his chosen path, she was better off without him. Or so he’d told himself when he returned from a morning ride to learn she’d left Fraser Castle without saying goodbye.

Clinging to the memory of their brief time together, Bryce closed his eyes and waited for death to take him. But distant voices and the sound of approaching footfall alerted him to the fact that he was no longer alone.

“Over here,” a man shouted. “I think this one is still breathing.”

“Aye, he’s alive, but for how long? The lad has lost a lot of blood,” another man commented and clucked his tongue.

Hovering on the edge of consciousness, Bryce heard the conversation going on between two men, maybe more. He tried to open his eyes, but the lids proved too heavy.

Judging by the familiar burr, these men were Scottish, but so were the traitorous bastards who had attacked them.

For a sennight, he’d ridden day and night. However in the end, he was too late to warn the Bruce’s brothers and their small group of Irish and Scottish islanders of the impending threat. Rushing headlong into an ambush and outnumbered four to one, their fate was sealed.

This wasn’t the first time the MacDougall Clan sided with the English. Staunch supporters of John Comyn’s bid for the Scottish crown, they’d turned their swords and their loyalty against their countrymen when Comyn was murdered at Grey Fryer’s Abbey and Robert the Bruce was accused of the deed.

After the massacre at Methven—the last major battle fought between the English and the Bruce before he went into hiding—the buggers lay in wait, attacking the Scottish survivors as they tried to make their way to the Argyle Mountains to regroup. The battle of Dail Righ would forever be a stain on the MacDougall clan’s name, and a battle Bryce would long remember.

Nor would he forget their leader. Today he’d had the long-awaited chance to make good on his oath to see the blackguard pay for his treasonous acts, but he’d failed. Instead, he’d found himself on the receiving end of Dungal’s sword.

“I canna believe Scots would kill Scots. These poor fellows dinna have a prayer of making it to shore unharmed,” the first man said.

“Aye, the ship was run aground and there must be at least fifty dead men on the bank of the loch. There appears to be a mix of Irish and Scots, but nary an English soldier or a MacDougall plaid among them.” The man speaking nudged Bryce’s shoulder with the toe of his boot. “This appears to be the only one alive.”

A dizzying wave of excruciating pain shot through Bryce’s chest as he was rolled onto to his side.

“What do you plan to do with this fellow, Donald?” the second man asked. “We canna just leave him here to bleed to death.”

“We’ll take him with us. My niece has some knowledge of healing. She cared for my wife when she had the pox . . . rest her soul.” Donald paused for a moment before he continued. “After Mairi died, the lass decided to stay on for a while. Mayhap there is something she can do for him. Best we make haste. I dinna want to be here if the bastards return.”

“I’ll be surprised if he survives the journey. But we can always bury him along the way if need be,” the second man responded.

Strong hands slid beneath Bryce’s shoulders, raising him to a sitting position, then someone grabbed his legs. A few garbled words of protest were all he could manage before darkness closed around him.


WATCH HIGHLAND QUESTS TRAILER

HIGHLAND QUEST IS BEING RELEASED TODAY BY SOULMATE PUBLISHING!


PURCHASE HIGHLAND QUEST
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A PAN member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with four dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, doing a variety of hand crafts, camping, or antique hunting.

To find out more about B.J. Scott and the other book in the Highland Series- HIGHLAND LEGACY please visit her website- www.authorbjscott.com or at her blog http://authorbjscott.wordpress.com/

*Highland Legacy will be On sale from Dec 11th to Dec 25th for $2.99* 
Highland Legacy, book one in the Highlander series. An Amazon best seller in historical romance and finalist in the Oklahoma RWA International Digital Awards 2012. Is available in print and e-book.


PURCHASE HIGHLAND LEGACY

*IN SPIRIT OF THE SEASON- THE YULE LOG*



When we think of this holiday treat, we see a chocolate cake shaped like a log and decorated with colourful icing, sprinkles and sprigs of holly. In many countries, including Scotland these festive cakes are still used to mark the end of the year and to bring luck and good fortune to their home and loved ones.

But the origin of the Yule Log had nothing to do with cake or treats. The actual country of origin is not known for certain, but the tradition goes back centuries and was believed to have stemmed from Nordic cultures and Germany pagan rituals, later brought to Britain, Ireland and Scotland. The first record in Britain of the Yule log being associated with Christian celebrations was in 1620, but that does not mean it was not used prior to that date.

In Ancient Europe, before medieval times the Yule Log was associated with the Winter Solstice, or Yule, celebrating the rebirth of the sun. Celts and Druids would select a large piece of wood, often from an oak, pine or evergreen because they were believed to hold magical properties, decorated them with mistletoe and holly--two plants associated with the Yule season for their magical and protective powers. The Yule log was then blessed, lit with a torch from the previous year’s log, and kept burning for twelve days and nights. Being a dark and cold time of year, by doing so and keeping the fire burning for that designated length of time, they believed it would not only bring good luck and prosperity, but also ensure the return of the sun and warmth. To allow the fire to burn out would bring bad luck, so it was tended with care.

Later associated with Christian rituals of Christmas and twelfth night festivities, the log were selected with care, decorated and dragged into the home on Christmas Eve. Sometimes an entire tree was used. The largest end placed on the hearth and lit using twigs or torches saved from the log of the previous year. The remainder of the log stuck out into the middle of the room, but as the fire consumed the wood, the tree was fed into the hearth as needed, by the end of the twelve days all that remained was ash and remnants to be saved and used the following year to light the next log. The ash was saved and sprinkled on fields to aid the crop and in the well to assure it did not run dry.

As the years past and open hearths became obsolete, the tradition of the Yule log diminished in Europe. However the belief in its power still remains and the tradition kept alive on a much smaller, more practical scale. Symbolic Yule logs are still selected and decorated for the season and lets not forget the Yule log we can eat.

So as you cut a slice of your chocolate treat this holiday season, think about the origin of the Yule log and how it became part of our Christmas traditions.

Traditional Yule Log Recipe

Cake:
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons water

Filling:
1/2 pint whipped cream
2 tablespoons icing (confectioners') sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups icing (confectioners') sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions 

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan, and line with waxed paper. Grease waxed paper.

Mix flour, soda, and salt together.

Beat eggs in a small mixer bowl at high speed, until thick and light - about 5 minutes.

Gradually add the sugar, and beat until thick.

Melt the chocolate and water together, and add to the egg mixture.

Fold in the dry ingredients, and mix gently but thoroughly.

Spread in prepared pan, and bake for 15 - 17 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Remove from oven and turn out immediately onto a tea towel that has been sprinkled generously with icing sugar.

Remove waxed paper, and trim of any crisp edges of the cake.

Begin at the narrow end, and roll up the cake and the tea towel together. Allow to cool.

Filling:
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Stir in icing sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff.

Unroll the cake when cool, and spread the top with the whip cream.

Re-roll, without the towel.

Cut a thin slice off of each end of the roll, to make them even.

Icing:
Soften butter. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and of good spreading consistency.

Use the centres of the ends you sliced off the cake to make "bumps on the log": Use a little of the icing to affix the bump to the side of the cake - one on each side.

Ice the entire cake with the icing, including the ends and the bumps.

Run a fork along the icing so that it resembles tree bark.

Sprinkle with icing sugar, and decorate with holly or other Christmas decoration leaves.
Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy


***ONE LUCKY COMMENTER WILL WIN AN E-COPY OF EITHER HIGHLAND LEGACY OR HIGHLAND QUEST- (WINNERS CHOICE) AND A HANDMADE BOOK THONG!****
Please leave your E-mail address so we may notify you should you win!


33 comments:

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for hosting me today ladies! I look forward to spending my release day with you. The book is up for sale at Soul Mate Publishing but apparently there was some sort of system problem at Amazon and Barnes and Noble but it will be up today...hopefully ;)

Chicks of Characterization said...

You're welcome B.J!!! So excited for you today- Happy Release day!!!!

Ugh, don't you just love technology?? Hopefully it will be fixed soon!!

:)

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Happy release day to you, BJ! And wow, what an excerpt that was! Gotta have this book on my kindle!

BTW, you KNOW I love that cover.

Wishing nothing but the best for your career! See you at my blog on Friday!

Pat McDermott said...

What an exciting and intriguing excerpt, BJ! I'm assuming they didna bury poor Bryce along the way. The recipe is intriguing too. Will have to give it a try. Congrats on your latest release!

pat@patmcdermott.net

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Renee! Thanks so much for stopping by!! I appreciate it!!:)

That is one YUMMY cover isn't it?

Hi Pat!! I appreciate you stopping by!!! And I love the excerpt too!!!

Thanks for showing your support, ladies!!! :)

Gerri Bowen said...

Congratulations and Happy Release Day, BJ!

Ana Morgan said...

Enjoy your release day, BJ. Your book should sell..your exceprt sold me!

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Pat. Appreciate the support.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Renee. Looking forward to doing your blog on Friday ;)

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Gerri. Appreciate your support.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Anna. Hope you enjoy the book.

Adrienne Clarke said...

Congratulations, B.J.! What an intriguing excerpt! I'm sure you'll find lots of new readers with this exciting sequel!

hotcha12 said...

CONGRATS ON YOUR RELEASE BJ. LOVE THE EXCERPT AND THAT HAWT MAN ON THE COVER! HEY, I'LL TRADE YOU MY DH! LOL
linda_bass@sbcglobal.net

Sarah Hoss said...

Congratulations B.J. I am so excited for you!

I loved the excerpt and I can't wait to read it!

Brandy B aka Brandlwyne said...

HI. I love historical books especially when they take place in Scotland. I like how it involves there fight for independance.

~Brandy
brandyzbooks at yahoo dot com

Cathy MacRae said...

Happy release day, BJ! Loved the post and am looking forward to reading Highland Quest. The recipe looks yummy, too! Thanks for sharing!
authorcathymacrae@gmail.com

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Adrienne. Appreciate the support and that you took the time to do so.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Sarah. Hope your release day is going well too!

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Linda

Both books are about the Scottish fight for independence and hawt hunks for both

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks so much Brandy
So glad you stopped by.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Cathy.

Always appreciate your support.

Tore said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I would love to read these books. Tore923@aol.com

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for stopping by Tore and if you get the books, I hope you will enjoy them ;)

Jennifer Page (JC) said...

Congrats with your release BJ!! I can read your words over and over again...a truly great writer...always takes/keeps my attention :)


Linda said...

Congrats on the release of your book, BJ. I'm excited to hv discovered a new author; heading out to checkyour books

thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Best of luck with your story, B.J. - what a great cover. Of course, I must agree with you that anything Scottish is wonderful. :)

That recipe looks so good. All that chocolate - yummmmmm

Callie said...

Hi B. J. So excited for your new release. I wish you much success with Highland Quest.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks for the kind words Jennifer and for stopping by. I truly apprecaiate it.

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Linda
Appreciate you stopping in and saying hello

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks Paisley

Happy holidays!!!!!!!!!

B.J. Scott said...

You are a doll Callie for dropping in to all the blogs. I truly appreciate it ;)

B.J. Scott said...

Thanks again ladies for having me here on your blog today. I wish and all who visited a happy holidays and a fantastic new year!

Chicks of Characterization said...

You are so welcome! We were honored to have you, and to have that AWESOME cover grace the pages of our blog!!!

We wish you the BEST of luck, BJ and Many, Many sales!!!!

All the best in the New Year!!

I would like to THANK everyone who took the time to stop by and show us your support!!! We can't thank you enough!!

Happy Holidays!

Andrea :)

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