Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Christmas Carols - Daisy Banks

Thank you, Diane, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.       

I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early.

When I taught history one of the activities my students completed in the autumn term was to make pomander balls. These were made in early October so they would be ready for a Christmas re-enactment celebration. Everyone in school enjoyed the fragrance and so many people said it made them think Christmas was on the way. I only have to smell orange and cloves to recollect those fun times.

In Victorian England pomanders were used to help keep linen insect free, to fragrance rooms and dispel unhealthy miasmas, (nasty smells). The idea an unpleasant stink could make you ill wasn’t refuted until the brilliant work of Dr. John Snow in the late 1840s through to the 1850’s where he isolated the cause of a cholera epidemic in London to water and not the ever present stink.  Yet even after his success in 1854 the notion bad smells caused illness remained for some time.

You might notice if you buy a period property in England that if the outhouse or outside lavatory are still standing, there is usually a large lilac bush growing nearby and sometimes roses too, to sweeten the air.

This is an easy recipe for a pomander ball.

Use as many large oranges as you want to make into pomanders, or if you are making this with little children you can use a juicy Satsuma for each child.

A length of bright ribbon in a suitable festive shade.

A large bag of cloves with stalks. This is important as some culinary cloves are treated and destalked before being put into jars. You need the stalks to push the cloves into the orange.

I usually tied the ribbon after the cloves were in place as the oranges tend to leak juice.

Any kind of segmented pattern made by pushing the cloves into the orange is suitable and obviously the more cloves you use the stronger their scent. You can score a pattern onto the orange with a sharp knife if you wish or you can create freely.

The cloves can be quite hard to push in so you can use a cocktail stick to pre-make holes in the skin or use a thimble to protect your thumb as you push the cloves in.

Make sure you leave gaps in your pattern for where the ribbon is to be tied on.

Once you have made your pattern, tie on the ribbon and hang your pomander somewhere dry and airy so it can dry out. This process can take some days.

I have only ever had one lot of pomanders go bad and that was because someone left a window open and the damp got to them.

There are more complex recipes for pomander balls which call for Orris powder, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice. You can use these if you wish or rub a mixture of them all onto the skin of the orange before you stick it with cloves.

This has to be one of the simplest and fun activities to do with children. You can use the smaller pomanders to decorate your tree and the larger ones to fragrance rooms.

While he strolled behind the dog, he considered what he’d say to Mrs. Broadbrace tomorrow. When she sang, as she had so naturally, unknowingly he’d surmised, as he played this afternoon, she was pitch perfect. A gift such as hers ought to be encouraged. At the very least, she should sing in the choir. What he would like best would be for her to sing solo to his accompaniment. The high notes she could reach had caressed his senses like the trained voice of one of the best opera singers might. She’d a pretty laugh too, that woman, not many women had a laugh like hers, light like a mountain stream dancing over pebbles. The comment she’d laughed at hadn’t been especially funny, but…
Sympathy! Who needed sympathy? No one. Since his earliest childhood, he’d met it a thousand times and it had done him not an ounce of good. Truth and commitment, those were the things to help people along the road of the human condition.
Several thoughts rose but he shook his head, no good to be anything but honest, though not brutal. He would try his best not to sound dismissive of the flowers but it had to be something like; “Madam, your flowers are afflicting me and they have to go. Relegate them to the side isles and the altar area, and the fewer blooms you use the better. I don’t want them anywhere near the organ, but I do want you in the choir.”
Blue paused and Stephen waited for the dog. When Blue again pulled a little on the leash, they both moved on down the street.
That would be perfect. The woman could put her wretched blooms in other areas of the church far enough away with luck to allow him the luxury of breath. Another darn good point, he couldn’t be the only one made uncomfortable by her lilies. Yes, she’d have to understand, and modify the arrangements she made, for the common good. He hoped she’d be lady enough not to sulk or throw a tantrum at the request. He recalled her soft fragrance and once again the low laugh.
Yes, she seemed very lady-like.
Blue gave a throaty bark, and Stephen stopped still. They’d gone too far. Blue had a better nose than his. He sniffed like the dog and a faint whiff of the gasworks made him do Blue’s bidding and turn around. “I agree, Blue. Time to go home.”
The wind blowing into them as they journeyed back grew stronger, and gusts tugged at his coat as they walked. The blasts of air buffeted against him, and the raw element held the scent of frost and snow. Stephen sniffed, and again, uncertain if the lilies still afflicted him or if it were the chill of the night.
Next recital night he’d know for certain because the church would be clear of lilies.


Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.

Thanks for reading
Daisy Banks

Find Daisy Banks here
Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/
Twitter @DaisyBanks16
Facebook http://on.fb.me/18iRC35    

Buy Links
Barnes and Noble  http://bit.ly/1NWh8gi

Daisy Banks is the author of
Soon to be available with Liquid Silver Books Serving the Serpent
Christmas Carols
Marked for Magic
To Eternity
A Perfect Match
Valentine Wishes
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
Fiona’s Wish
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy’s books are available here
Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.

Attribution for Orange Pomander Ball image

Monday, 24 August 2015


Welcome to Rosanna Leo, here today not only to show us her new release, but to let us have a little insight into release day for her.


Thanks so much to Diane for hosting me today, on the release day for my latest paranormal romance, Predator’s Trinity, Gemini Island Shifters 6. I’ve often loved reading posts about what authors do on release days and I’ve certainly had visions of what it must involve for different writers.

Surely it’s all about cracking open a vintage bottle of champagne? Or an unending parade of well-wishers prancing by the house, offering their congratulations?

Um, not quite. At least, not in my case.

If anything, release day spells more work, but most of it involves promotion. So what does my typical release day look like?

7am – wake up in a fog because it took me hours to fall asleep. I was too busy dreaming about a release day with champagne and well-wishers.  Jump out of bed, fire up the computer and prepare my exhaustive release day toilette (i.e. dragging a brush through my hair and remembering to brush my teeth before I sit at the computer).

7:30am – quickly scan computer for message from publisher, saying. “It was a joke. We changed our minds. Better luck next time.”

7:31am – realize my book did actually get published – small pat on back.

7:32am – scan all retail outlet sites to ensure links are good. Report any issues back to publisher (although I haven’t had any yet).

7:45am – begin posting the new release and various sales links on social media. Hit Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Tsu, Goodreads, and all others. Share in as many places as possible, without trying to appear “spammy.” Try to engage readers, rather than hit them over their heads.

8:00am – update my blog with release info, if I haven’t already done so.

8:30am- report in to various sites where I am blogging (such as this fine one) and respond to any comments or questions from readers. This continues all day long.


9:30am – respond to any “Congratulations” messages that have come in via social media. My readers are so supportive and I am lucky enough to receive several lovely messages. This makes my heart swell.

And now here comes the important part…at this point, after reminding myself to eat, I turn off the internet for a while and continue writing the next book. A successful writer doesn’t sit on her laurels for long. She keeps writing. Sure, throughout the day, I check in to see if any new messages have come in, but I certainly don’t wait around for them. I always keep my eye on the prize, or at least, the next prize. It’s wonderful to celebrate an achievement like a release day, but I don’t celebrate long. 
I’d rather be writing.

10am-4pm – WRITE, WRITE, WRITE

Oh, and remember to eat lunch at some point.

5:30pm – dinner with family

7:30pm – check in with social media/emails once again. Answer any remaining questions.

8pm – collapse on couch. Snore for two hours before hitting the hay upstairs.


Librarian Suzan Marsh is an empath and has always felt assaulted by the feelings of others. She has had to distance herself from the people in her life, raising a mental barrier to ward off unwanted emotions. When wolf shifter August Crane abducts her, he breaks through the walls she constructed, forcing her to accept a frightening new truth.

Jaguar shifter twins Percy and Byron Moon are familiar with the evil ways of August Crane. Because of him, their childhood was destroyed. Because of him, their way of life at the peaceful Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort is threatened. And they won’t rest until he is dead.
When Crane drags Suzan into his cult and decides to make her his “concubine,” Percy and Byron know they must save the human woman. Their connection to her is strong and they cannot deny the dream they always held close. That they could share a woman and make her their mate.

But even after rescuing Suzan, none of them are free from Crane’s clutches. The wolf shifter has plans, ones that involve the demise of every shape shifter at the Ursa Resort. Not only must Percy and Byron keep Suzan safe, they must convince her to accept them both. In order to stop Crane from hurting everyone they love, they must learn to fight together.


After her shower, she toweled off and dressed in the clothes provided, choosing a pretty green V-neck T-shirt to accompany the jeans. Everything fit perfectly, from underwear to outerwear, as if the Moons had already known her. It boggled her mind, but she couldn’t lose the sensation they were connected by more than just circumstance. Her instincts never lied. After slipping into a pair of soft white socks, she made her way toward the kitchen.
She heard Byron and Percy before she saw them and stopped to catch an excited breath. 

When she heard what they said, she paused a moment longer.

“How’s your jaguar holding up?” Byron asked his brother.

She knew it was Byron. Despite them being identical twins, there were slight differences in their voices. Byron’s was the smoother voice. Percy’s had the odd touch of sexy gravel.
“My dumb cat,” replied Percy on a near growl, “was up all night long. He keeps pawing at me, trying to get to her.”

Her? As the burn of jealousy sizzled in Suzan’s gut, she gnawed on her bottom lip in a futile attempt to quell it. Maybe Percy had a girlfriend and he was dying to see her. Maybe he couldn’t wait to escape the cabin so he could meet up with this woman and, well, let his jaguar loose.

“Yeah,” Byron said. “My cat’s in agony, too. I think my ribs are black and blue inside, it pounds them so much.”

Oh, great. She wasn’t sure why this information astounded her. Of course men like them would have girlfriends. Hell, they might have mates. She hadn’t bothered to ask, had she? She’d already heard the mate bond was a powerful thing, that it would drive any shifter to distraction, both sexually and emotionally. Why had she been na├»ve enough to think these men might be single? She knew enough to know the good ones were always taken.
She’d been so stupid to think they had a bond. Bullshit. Clearly, her empathic tendencies had let her down for the first time.

“I can’t believe how quickly my jag … recognized Suzi,” said Percy.

Oh. Last she heard, she was the only Suzi around here.

Byron grunted. “I feel the same way. I’ve never felt like this. My head’s not working properly. Fuck, I couldn’t even hold a bowl of eggs without losing it. Percy, we need to discuss things. Seriously.”

“I know.”

“If Suzi is the one we’re meant to share, we can’t afford to make any wrong moves, especially with Crane in the picture. We need to support her and not let our egos get in the way.”


If Suzi is the one we’re meant to share…

Holy hell.

Predator’s Trinity is available August 24 at www.lsbooks.com 
Preorder links:
Looks for it soon at ARE, Kobo and B&N!

Author bio:

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.
A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com

Author Links:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

Monday, 17 August 2015

Cover Reveal - M S Kaye

By M.S. Kaye

A Sumerian water and sky god myth collides with a modern high school.
Ayanna is a math nerd, logical and rational, even cold, but Calder makes her feel things she never had before. Somehow, she’s able to accept it when she discovers he’s a reincarnated Sumerian water god. Will she be able to accept the full truth, that the story of Enki and Inanna has been reborn in a modern Ohio high school?
Release Date: 9/12/15

About the Author:
M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.
To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.
Contact M. S. Kaye at:

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