Sunday, April 21, 2019

Join Jon Paul Ferrara on Instagram and win copies of One Snowy Knight


Jon Paul Ferrara
is relaunching his website for
 Jon Paul Studios
 showcasing gorgeously beautiful cover art.

One of the dreams I had even before I sold was to have
 a Jon Paul cover on one of my books, and the model would be John de Salvo. 
That dream became real when Jon Paul allowed me to use this amazing cover
 for my third book in the series of the Dragons of Challon.  MY DREAM CAME TRUE (with a little nudge...lol)  I have liked or loved my covers before, but when I saw
 this image I knew it was PERFECT for 

One Snowy Knight
So, to get the word out about his new Instagram account and his coming website, he is showcasing "our" One Snowy Knight this
Easter Sunday 8pm EST on Instagram.

Call it my DREAMS COME TRUE contest.

Click to ENTER:

Go over to his Instagram page and follow him
https://www.instagram.com/jonpaulstudios/?hl=en

And just post "I want a copy" to the thread and from the posters over the next week I will pick three to received the beautiful trade size paperback of my book (and his cover!)

So, give Jon Paul a little following love and you could win a copy!


Jon Paul on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/jonpaulstudios

Sunday, March 10, 2019


Blurb:

Had the music stopped, or had she just ceased to hear it? All she could do was stare into the dragon green eyes. Drown in them. This man was her destiny. Nothing else mattered. He removed the netting from her grasp and then dropped it.


Shaking, Challon took her face in both hands. The hunger in his eyes rippled, tangible. So strong, it nearly robbed her of breath. With a need, tempered with reverence, he took her mouth with his. Lightly at first. Then deeper, more desperate, more demanding. The primitive male desire to mate unleashed. Beneath it all was his need for her—in ways she knew he did not begin to understand.


She smiled. He would.


Lost in the power, Tamlyn was not aware of the hundreds of other people around them or their celebrating. To her, the world stood still, narrowed, until there was nothing but the star-filled night.


And Challon.


“Deborah writes as if she’s been in Medieval Scotland and can somehow, magically, take you back there with her to stand amidst the heather and mist of another time. This is breathtakingly beautiful, award caliber writing.” — New York Times bestselling author, Lynsay Sands.


My review:


*closes the book and feels rudely jerked back to the 21st century.*

Whew!!  What a trip!!  After a few moments to let go of reality and immerse myself in the Scotland highlands of the late 1200s, I also became a captive of the Dragon of Challon and didn't want to escape my captor. haha!

I loved how Deborah Macgillivray painted the world around me with her words - it was almost like standing there and watching the words grow and bloom a new reality all around me -- I could sense the heather and apple blossoms, see the waves of flowing grass, hear the startling cry from the crows, feel the cool misty fog enveloping around me... then add in the emotions of the characters and I was enraptured!  Toss in the smallest touch of mystic and a knight who's armor is not shining because he knows how to use it, and I'm enchanted.


Tamlyn charmed my heart with how strong and brave and defiant she was, but at the same time, she held a regal vulnerability, a softness, a gentleness to her.  I loved being in her head as she encountered Julian and fell for her man.  She truly was the perfect compliment to him, giving him the peace and calm and healing he so desperately needed.


Julian - the Black Dragon of Challon - his intensity, power, loyalty, determination, and protectiveness, along with his scary roughness, physical strength, and mental fortitude, overflowed from the pages into reality, gifting me with my favorite kind of hero - just with a sword and armor.  Oh, and the way he shows his love and affection and devotion to Tamlyn?  Watching it grow from an interesting challenge to intense love made me swoon over and over again.  And feeling his arms wrap around me..... er.. Tamlyn?  I'll take more of that, please. (so will she, I'm sure!)


This felt like the perfect never-ending story (said with much love and appreciation) - there was so much to Tamlyn and Julian's story that it could keep going on and on... and in fact, I still found myself wanting more.  Hopefully in future books in this series we'll get to keep tabs on the couple.  I also enjoyed how some famous historic characters were weaved into the story, making this feel as it was a true piece of history, and not simply a tale to while away a winter storm.


If you're a fan of epic and beautiful medieval tales, this is one that'll sweep you away!


Purchase links:

     


Thursday, February 28, 2019

History and Meaning Behind the Masks of Venice Carnival




The History and Meaning Behind the Masks of Carnival

The Venice Carnival dates back to the 1300s, but has changed in purpose and style over the centuries, even banned by the Church at points.  Not just a time of festivities, it saw a period of social change by the people, outside of government and Church.  It was often used for political purposes, allowing the common man and nobility to move and navigate the troubled times without revealing their identities.  In ancient years, the lengths of observances ran much longer, often months—sometimes nearly half of the year—as it permitted people to hold votes and work political machinations, giving voice, albeit anonymous to the common citizen, and allowing the nobles to work outside of their sphere to affect change.  It often allowed romantic assignations, as the masked revelers moved from party to party, even indulged in the gaiety in the streets.  Yet, it was so much more.  Carnival was the budding of political and religious change that happened outside normal channels of government and Church.

Currently, it runs the ten days before Ash Wednesday.  On first glance, The Carnival of Venice shares many characteristics with the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.  New Orleans is the Big Easy, with a party on down, Cher that sees less emphasis on the traditional costumes, and focuses on enjoying the best time ever.  The Venice celebration still draws heavily on their Medieval roots and customs of their elaborate costumes.  The fancy attire slowly evolved over the centuries, yet remained firmly rooted in the Medieval origins.  Venetians generally started holding their masked parties on the 26th of December—the start of Lent.  Masks were created to conceal identities, thus reflecting a social change, allowing the lowest classes and nobility to mingle.  Peasants and aristos alike could indulge in grand balls, dancing and partying throughout the long winter nights.  The anonymity of masks permitted a freedom to let their inner wishes and fantasies take life.  Gambling, drinking and indulging in clandestine affairs happened with no repercussions, which soon proved advantageous for furtive political aspirations.  Soon, it was obligatory to wear masks at certain governmental decision-making events, where all citizens were required to act anonymously as peers.  Through the masquerades the divisions of aristo and serf lines blurred.  The protected processes, in truth, were the first steps to a democracy. To see this balloting was fair and secure, men were not permitted to carry swords or guns while wearing masks, and the police enforced this law religiously.  Thus, you see the masks and their meanings carry a more involved significance that just hiding who you were and having a good time.




The original mask was named the Batua.  It was always white, and made of ceramic or leather.  The name comes from behüten, meaning to protect.  The mask fit over the whole face, completely concealing the wearer’s identity.  To further hide who they were, a hood of black or red covered their heads and reached their shoulders, and was topped by a black tricono—a tri-corner hat.  A long black or red cape finished the costume.  While designed for a man, women soon were taking advantage of the opportunity the outfit afforded them.  The mouth on the mask was very small and expressionless, with oval slits for eyes, and two air holes on the nose.  While the mask afforded complete protection, it did not allow the wearer to eat or drink without taking it off.



The Volta was the next style to rise.  It completely cover the face, but often held a ghostly or more sinister expression.  Also called the Larva Mask—Larva meaning ghost—it was a slightly unnerving countenance, though it did let the wearer eat and drink easily. 



Usually worn by men, again they came with black hoods covering hair and shoulders, black capes and the black tricorno hat.

Women quickly saw disadvantage to the full covering, and adopted the Moretta.  Originating in France, the Moretta, allowed their feminine features to be showcased with less coverage.  The design quickly saw this mask losing favor.  Also called the Silent Mask, women held the mask before their face by clenching a tabbed button between their teeth.  I can imagine they quickly wanted changes to this style!  Surely, a man invented this one.  




Disenchanted with the Moretta’s enforced silence, women soon flocked to the Columbina masks.  Inspired by Commedia dell’arte.  The art form was improvised plays, very popular from the 1500s.  Each held a set stock of comedic characters for the actors, a few basic plots—such as troubled love affairs—but often they reflected current events and political protests in the guise of comedy.  Much like political cartoons of today, these street plays poked fun at politicians and the Church, all in the perimeters of comedy and entertainment.  The female standard in the plays had a demi-masque, only covering part of the forehead, eyes and upper parts of the nose and cheeks, revealing, yet more flattering to the female face.  These were decorated with gold, silver, crystals, and colorful plumes, especially peacock feathers, and tied with ribbons to hold them in place or carried on a baton.  Today, the costuming has been taken to a high art form.  



One of the more bizarre ones you will see is the Medico Della Peste (Plague Doctor).  These startling bird-beak style masks were created in the 1600s by a French physician Charles de Lorme, and not for the purposes of Carnival celebrating.  Just the opposite, de Lorme formed them to protect doctors treating plague victims.  By this time, foul airs were suspect as the cause of spreading the plague, and in response, naturally physicians wanted to guard themselves against infection.  De Lorme decided plague tainted the air with these noxious fumes, so then if the physicians breathed perfumed air they would escape catching the disease.  He created this grotesque mask that looked like a larger-than-life bird head.  The exaggerated beak was filled with herbs, and the eye slits were covered with rose tinted lenses.  Literally, several pieces of common knowledge have passed into our consciousness from this horrible period.  The term looking through rose colored glasses, now meaning viewing the world in a beautiful tone, instead of facing reality, came from the creation of these physicians’ masks.  The other was the old tome Ring Around the Rosie—a child’s rhyme that speaks about the mass spreading of deaths from the Black Death.  Children of future generations repeated this morbid singsong without ever understanding what they were chanting.  To further the protection of the healers, physicians wore hoods covering their head and shoulders, long gowns and capes, with huge white gloves that went all the way up their upper arms.  The Japanese used the figure of Godzilla, first to explain the bombs that were dropped on them during WWII, and then through making Godzilla the protector of their island, they faced their terrors and made the nightmare less disturbing.  The Venetians did the same in adopting this bizarre costume as part of the collection of characters. They were saying that death walked amongst them, and they mocked and laughed at mortality.



Arlecchino was a later addition.  Coming from the French Arleguin—this evolved to the more familiar Harlequin.  He was a fool, depicted dressed in diamonds of black and white, or a rainbow of colors.  Another version on this theme was the Pulcinella—a crook-nosed hunchback, that you typically saw as Punch in the Punch and Judy street puppet theatre performers.



The final two you will see are La Ruffinathe Old Woman.  She is usually the mother or, grandmother, sometimes with Gypsy portrayals, who takes great delight in trying to foil a lovers' tryst.  Scaramuccia, again comes from the French Scaramouche.  He was a total rogue, who dashed about with a sword causing mischief, and challenging other males to mock duels.  Rounding out the costumes were ones of the Moon and Sun, religious popes and bishops, kings and queens, or sometimes animals such as cats and wolves.



By the 1800s, Carnival began to fall into decline.  It had changed from the period of Lent, to lasting for six months of every year.  In 1797 Venice became a part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, after Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio.  The Austrians quickly took charge of the city, and afterward the celebrations all but stopped.  It was a long absence before Venice saw a true Carnival again.  In 1979, the government decided to revive the traditions of the celebration, using it to draw tourists.  The move worked as over three million visitors come to Venice each year for the colorful pre-Lent parades and parties.  A centerpiece for the ten day festival is the la maschera più bella—the most beautiful mask.  A panel of international designers pick the most stunning mask for each year.

So, even if you have experienced the unforgettable Mardi Gras of New Orleans, you might still wish to indulge in the extravagance, pageantry and historical display of Carnival in Venice.




© Deborah Macgillivray, February 2019
Author of the Dragons of Challon series

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Nano time sees the birth of new Dragons of Challon novella for One Midsummer's Knight



#NaNoWriMo18  another NANO this time I am doing a novella
 "Balefire" a Dragons of Challon story
 in One Midsummer Knight anthology out next summer.

Friday, August 17, 2018

One Snowy Knight excerpt


cover image by Jon Paul Ferrara

Turning back to the man on the ground, she once again had to wipe the gathering flakes from his face.  She attempted to tug him to a sitting position, thinking she could wrap her mantle around them both, and lend him what little body heat she still had.  When she went to lift him, she realized he still had his broadsword lashed crosswise over his back.  Finding the strap’s buckle on the center of his chest, she released it.

Then, froze as the howl came. 

It was close by.  The man groaned as she urgently rolled his dead weight, enough to drag the sword out from under him, and then dropped the leather sheath as she freed the blade.  Holding the sword in her right hand, she used her left to release the clasp of her mantle.  She would need her arms free to swing the sword.  Keeping her eyes fixed upon the trees, she dragged her woolen cape over the man’s unmoving body.

The deep growl sent a chill to her marrow as the threat of the snowstorm had failed to do.  Low tree limbs rustled and then parted as the set of glowing yellow eyes peeked through the wintry foliage.

Swallowing hard, Skena brought the sword up, preparing to swing, and praying she had strength enough to wield the mighty sword true.


Skena stood trembling, from the cold, aye, but more so from dread.  With the specter of famine looming across the land, she feared wolves would soon be a threat they would face.  Foolishly, she had hoped the menace would not come this early in the season.  Swallowing to moisten the dryness in her mouth, she watched the feral eyes narrow on her, judging how much a threat she presented holding the sword.  Plainly, she posed nary a concern to the creature.  Shoulders lowered, teeth bared, he edged forward, a low growl of intent rising deep in his throat.  The animal scented her fear.  Her weakness only emboldened him. 

Keeping her attention on the black wolf, her eyes quickly scanned to see if there were others coming up behind him or circling around.  Where you found one, usually there lurked a small pack.  Her luck holding, thus far no other pairs of bright eyes appeared; no dark forms skulked through the unmoving undergrowth around the dense pine trees. 

“Oh, please let him be a lone wolf,” she offered her wish to the Auld Ones, before whispering dark words to weave a Charm of Protection, drawing upon what little powers she possessed to sustain her through this ordeal.

 Not a small woman, her Ogilvie blood showed in her tall body and strong bones.  Even so, to hold the heavy broadsword—which took years for a man to master—was tiring.  Her arms vibrated; tremors racked her muscles.  A mix of terror and cold.  The winter storm slowly leached all the strength from her body.  She fought against the quaking, still the sword wobbled in her grip.

Baring his fangs, the wolf crept slowly forward, more daring with each step.  Skena had trouble keeping her vision clear.  Falling flakes and those kicked up by the spindrift continued to stick to her long lashes, adding moisture to the tears she valiantly labored to hold at bay.  It was vital to see the wolf when he leapt, in order to time her swing.  She sucked in a hard breath of terror.  The creature was so much bigger than she expected!


“Off with you, evil foal-chû.  You shall no’ be making a meal of this warrior or me.”  She spoke false courage, hoping the sound of her voice might frighten him into backing off.  Instead, his body coiled, preparing to spring.

So intent upon the wolf, Skena hopped slightly when long arms enclosed about her.  Startled and yet unwilling to take her eyes off the black creature, it was several heartbeats before she comprehended the stranger had awakened and was on his feet.  Suddenly, in his strong embrace she was not so scared.

“Be still, my lady.  I lend my strength to your swing.”  The warrior’s cold hands closed over hers.  He leaned against her back; his powerful muscles caused her shaking to lessen.

Skena had little chance for the details of his nearness to filter through her thoughts, for with a feral snarl the wolf leapt at them.  Frozen in terror, she was unable to move, yet she felt the warrior wielding the sword.  Bared teeth snapped close to her throat.  She cried out and then flinched when the great blade caught the beast in the neck.  Blood splattered across her clothing and her face.  Its heat shocked her.  Numb with the horror, she stared at the animal writhing on the ground.  In the gathering darkness, the pooling blood oddly appeared black upon the pristine snow.  The coppery smell set her stomach to roiling; revolted, she choked back rising nausea.  Her grip slackened about the hilt.  

            The knight’s fingers closed tighter around hers.  “Nay, my lady, never leave a wounded animal alive...sometimes, not even a man.  ’Tis when they are most dangerous.  They risk all for they have naught to lose.” 


 

One Snowy Knight, Dragons of Challon, Book 3

Coming July 19 2018  - Print
July 12th for eBook


eBook and Library Quality Tradesize print

Prairie Rose Publications

#DragonsofChallon #ScottishRomance #MedievalRomance  #Historical Romance




Thursday, August 9, 2018

Happy National Book Lovers Day








Blind Cat and Rescue Shelter fundraiser for my birthday - on Facebook



Facebook is running a fun when you sign up for your birthday.  They give you $5 to kick off the campaign, they collect the money and see the charity gives it.


I chose the Blind Cat and Rescue Shelter, which I have supported for a long time.

There is another way you can help this shelter --
 when you buy nearly anything on Amazon.com
you can create a special URL called SMILE.  
Each time you buy from Amazon a percentage will go toward your charity.




Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy Dancing at Big R's and Shannon's


Still happy dancing over my release of One Snowy Knight.

s

had a stuffed bake potato - with cheese, BBQ brisket and cheese....yum


We were st
Was at supper at Big R's and Shannon's
to help kick off the Mayor's race for La Grange

Go Shannon!!




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Woo woo nothing so special as holding a book wrote





Happy Birthday, Candy!!










Tomorrow is Miz Candy's birthday. I will be taking her shopping and her favourite stores and will take her to lunch at Steak and Shake, because she wants to go there...lol.

She came here in 2010--from circumstances that were getting dire - to say the least. NYC wasn't being too good to Candy. I knew Dawn would love it if I kept an eye on her, so magic was worked with a friend, Rowena Cherry, and she came to live near me. Almost immediately, she was in hospital with a bad heart, overweight, not eating good, and in a wheel chair. Since that time, she now runs circles around me, has lost a lot of weight, eats better and loves life.

Getting her to come here, where she can live independently, yet have me close at hand has been on of the best things I ever did in my life. Yes, life was a bit easier, calmer, but we have been laughing through merry an adventure. So Happy Birthday, Candy....a friend like none other!!





Tuesday, July 17, 2018

updating the strange pricing in Amazon Secondary market...lol


The story by author David Streitfeld was on page B1 of the New York Times Monday.  It was a trending story on Yahoo news, and picked up on Publishers Marketplace daily newsletter.

He said he requested a response from Red Rhino -- the nickname of the Amazon Secondary seller, but received no response.  Well, there sort of was one -- This morning Red Rhino deleted the $2850+ offering, thought the $1558 from another dealer is list there.

I have to admit it was total shock to open my browser, going to check my email, and see my book there as trending.  Very bizarre sensation!  lol