Sunday, 20 December 2020

Lindsay's Christmas Viking - or how I was inspired for one of my romances

 In the days before covid, when I would go to speak at Women's Institute meetings, I would often be asked, "Where do you get your ideas from?"

This blog explores where and how I develop my story ideas.

Where do I get ideas from?  Everywhere. But the main triggers are:

1. What if so-and-so happened? 

2. What happened next?

3. I tend to think in pictures and scenes, as if watching a frozen film. Sometimes a scene comes into my mind and won’t go away, and then I play with it and start from there.

4. I like to be interested in everything and everyone. As I write, I try to keep in mind that everyone has a story, that everyone can be a hero or ant-hero, even if they themselves don’t know it.

How I develop ideas.

1. Start with a scene, a frozen incident.

2. Develop characters I’ll enjoy writing about, often with interesting jobs.

3. Place the characters in a setting I can relate to.

4. Give them a plot that stretches my people.

5. Mix all these together in a chapter by chapter outline.

6. Write!

An example of this process is how I came to write my Christmas Romance, "Carrie's Christmas Viking." In this case, my inspiration came from an object, the figure of a Viking that had once belonged to my father-in-law. It was known in my husband's family as Eric, so I called him Eric, too.


As you can see from the photograph, Eric is wound about by a "chain", a silver-gilt necklance that was my mother's and that I playfully draped over Eric as a means of keeping the strands from tangling. Eric stood in my window for a long time and I knew I wanted to write about him, but had not found the driver of any story.


The chains of the necklace gave me an idea. A Viking bound, a Viking trapped, that was a powerful image, a heroic, romantic image. So my next thought was "Why is he bound? How is he trapped?"

The answer suggested to me was "Magic", and after magic, the craft of a witch. A witch whom Eric had angered for some reason. Since the witch in question was a good witch, my Elfrida from "The Snow Bride" "A Summer Bewitchment" and "One Winter Knight" I knew that Eric had tried to work against her and Magnus, her warrior companion. 

Those thoughts gave me the seed that became "Carrie's Christmas Viking," a story of romance and redemption.

To read it for free, see it on KindleUnlimited.

Or buy for just 99cents or 77p.



Happy Holidays!


Lindsay Townsend

Sunday, 13 December 2020

One Perfect Knight Boxed Set. Six full-length Medieval Historical Romances. Romance Bargain!


 ONE PERFECT KNIGHT BOXED SET

Blurb


Your knight in shining armor is waiting to tell his exciting story in this new boxed-set release from Prairie Rose Publications! ONE PERFECT KNIGHT is a fantastic collection of SIX full book-length tales of beautiful medieval ladies and their dangerous men as they discover the magic of love! These exciting stories are sure to capture your imagination as you travel back in time to those romantic days of knights and ladies in medieval times! Handsome warriors, valiant knights, or valorous common men of the day—all will meet their matches with the daring and unusual women they happen to fall in love with, and you won’t want to put this boxed set down until you’ve read the very last story!

Authors Deborah Macgillivray, Lindsay Townsend, Cynthia Breeding, Linda Swift, Keena Kincaid, and Livia J. Washburn spin six incredible novel-length love stories filled with danger, excitement, and romance that will keep you turning page after incredible page until the very end. What could be better than ONE PERFECT KNIGHT? How about six fabulous stories of knights, warriors, and noblemen who want nothing more than to live happily ever after—in love—with the women in their lives?



A RESTLESS KNIGHT—DEBORAH MACGILLIVRAY

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. 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.



THE SNOW BRIDE—LINDSAY TOWNSEND

She is Beauty but is he the Beast?

Beautiful Elfrida is the witch of the woods, and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, and is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast—or will he save her, as well as the other young women who have disappeared? Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, has finished with love, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the red-haired Elfrida, whose touch ignites a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.



CAMELOT’S DESTINY—CYNTHIA BREEDING

The legend of Camelot is born and, with it, bold passions and forbidden desire. Fiery-tempered Gwenhwyfar is chosen by Arthur to be his wife and queen… Seared by the forbidden kiss of Arthur’s most-trusted warrior, Lancelot, Gwenhwyfar is swept into a world of passion, torn by loyalty and love to a husband who betrays her and a man she cannot have. But in a time where good and evil clash, where magic and chivalry reign, love will prove a weapon as powerful as any sword.



MISTRESS OF HUNTLEIGH HALL—LINDA SWIFT

Wait for me… Malcolm Gray asks only one thing of Alice Wykeham when he goes to sea. But ten long years go by, and Alice is forced to marry an elderly lord who is eager to claim her dowry. Malcolm has been shipwrecked and severely injured, but when he heals, he remains nearby in disguise, too late to claim his true love. When Alice discovers the lord is involved in a treasonous plan to overthrow the king, she must do something—it could be the death of her, along with Malcolm, the only man she will ever love…



ART OF LOVE—KEENA KINCAID

Abigail d'Alene has been in love with learning all her life, and she now has the means to indulge in her passion. Disguised as a boy, she heads to Paris and the abbey schools that will one day change the world. Shocked by the ineptitude of her masquerade, Alain of Huntly Woods takes Abigail under his protection until she recovers her senses. But her audacity and intelligence spark unexpected passion. When Alain discovers Abigail's uncle plots against the English king, Alain must choose between protecting his king or the woman he loves.



ALURA’S WISH—LIVIA J. WASHBURN

In the fire opals of an ancient treasure live two djinn. Once freed from the stones, these immortal spirits will serve this master's commands. But these djinn also have another purpose—to bring the wearer a true and lasting love… Can a reluctant bride find unexpected happiness with the dark knight, Sir Connor Warrick, she agrees to marry for the sake of honor and duty? The brilliant opals of the exquisite slave bracelet unlock a magic unlike any Lady Alura has ever imagined…and a love more rare than any jewel…




Free to read with KindleUnlimited

Amazon Com 

Amazon Co UK

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Two Christmas Romances - perfect holiday reading


 There is a link between past and present, between a medieval witch and a modern Viking. Read THE SNOW BRIDE and CARRIE’S CHRISTMAS VIKING to find out more.

amzn.to/2MZZan0 UK amzn.to/2H1tYzY amzn.to/33Vahpd UK amzn.to/2Vs3PkO #viking #magic

CARRIE'S CHRISTMAS VIKING is published today! Read for only 99cents or 77p!



Both stories work as stand-alones.

Both are free to read with KindleUnlimited 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Vikings for Christmas? Right here!

I have two new romances for the holiday season, one serious, the other more light-hearted.






The first is my "Viking and the Pictish Princess".


THE VIKING AND THE PICTISH PRINCESS 

Can a Viking and Pict save Black Broch before winter?

Eithne’s cruel father sold her mother into slavery and gave her away. Despised by her siblings as a bastard, beautiful Eithne has lost everything, including her name.

Now called Bindweed, the illegitimate daughter of King Giric has made a life for herself on Maiden Isle as a respected wise-woman. She is determined to hold fast to that position and her little home, no matter what—or who—may come to try to steal it.


But when a fleeing Norseman appears dripping from the loch to seek shelter on Maiden Isle, Bindweed traps him – is he friend or foe? What is his purpose here on her isle? When ruthless raiding Gaels invade, Bindweed and Olaf must unite and fight together, if they plan to survive.


Excerpt

Chapter 1

The lone figure rose silently from the loch. Emerging from

the grey shimmer of a winter morning with water sheeting off

his body, he glided over the submerged boulders onto the

shore of her island. Bindweed scrambled into a holly tree and

dropped to the parched ground. She gritted her teeth against

the shout surging up her dry throat, old fears from the past

made real.

Viking!

He was big, this invader, big as a king stag of the forest,

tanned, barrel chested and with arms thicker than her legs. His

black hair, dark as December pinecones, matted itself to his

skull in long streamers of shadow and eyes, the colour of

storm clouds, were quick and piercing.

“Black Norse,” Bindweed muttered, not daring to stir as

that fierce grey gaze swept over her hiding place. His thick

gold collar and armlets flashed when he strode by, arrogant

as a lord. He moved with the swift, quiet grace of a warrior,

the low winter sun illuminating his leather tunic and trews,

the long dagger strapped to one thigh, his sword on the other.

Spy or assassin, Bindweed wondered, watching his retreating

back. He made for her cave-house as if he had walked the

path a hundred times, though she doubted he sought her skill

in herb-lore. Still, she did not stir.

Free to read with KindleUnlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LTGYTHV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i20

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08LTGYTHV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i13

My second Viking romance is much lighter. It's a holiday read, a time-slip, coming out from Prairie Rose Publications on Dec 3rd and priced at only 99cents or 77p.



CARRIE'S CHRISTMAS VIKING

He was trapped and she freed him.


Bound by golden chains, the old statue of Eric the Viking protector had belonged to Carrie’s grandfather, and his father before him. Eric had always been a part of Carrie’s life, though she’d wished through the years that he was real—not just a statue.

But Eric had been imprisoned by magic spell dealt him by one of Carrie’s ancestors—a punishment for his own greed—until he truly understood what he’d done.

When Carrie’s ex-husband shows an unnatural interest in her modest little home left to her by her grandfather, Eric finally gets his chance at freedom. Who else can save Carrie from the ancient, wicked forces at work against her?

But will his protection be enough against the powerful evil they face in this present time? It’s his only chance to prove himself worthy of release from his centuries of imprisonment. He vows to love and cherish Carrie in his heart forever—if he can save them both. Though the dangerous dark powers threaten them, Carrie has faith. For at Christmas, anything is possible—even magic!

Excerpt

Bound, shackled, he waited. Unable to stir or speak, he

had, over the countless seasons since his capture, learned to

listen. He was a long way now from self-pity. The Norns had

judged and found him wanting. He had betrayed a kinsman.

Big brute of a fellow, mangled by battle scars. A Viking in all but

name, who went crusading, instead. What was he called?

“Magnus.” The captive mouthed, though he made no

sound. Magnus his ugly cousin, with his pretty son, the little

lad who he had tried to steal.

Chained, he could not twitch, though now, eons later, the

Viking acknowledged his stupidity. Magnus had a wife, a

witch-wife, and she had stopped his foolish scheme stone

dead, as if he had been struck by a crossbow bolt.

What magic did she fashion? He did not know. Worse, he

had never forgotten the dreams she had sent him, ever since

he had been trapped by her enchantments.

“Release me!” he had bellowed in his nightmare, trying

and failing to struggle in his chains. He could speak then, but

the red-haired witch shook her head and laid two fingers on

his rigid jaw. His lips tingled, then froze.

99cents https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08P3X8QH6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0



0.77p https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08P3X8QH6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0


Free to read with KindleUnlimited.



Enjoy!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The Viking and the Pictish Princess. New Romance Novel. Details & Opening Excerpt

 


THE VIKING AND THE PICTISH PRINCESS https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LTGYTHV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i20

https://amzn.to/3jA5bDvUK

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08LTGYTHV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i13

https://amzn.to/3jA52Qt


Excerpt

The lone figure rose silently from the loch. Emerging from the grey shimmer of a winter morning with water sheeting off his body, he glided over the submerged boulders onto the shore of her island. Bindweed scrambled into a holly tree and dropped to the parched ground. She gritted her teeth against the shout surging up her dry throat, old fears from the past made real.

Viking!

He was big, this invader, big as a king stag of the forest, tanned, barrel chested and with arms thicker than her legs. His black hair, dark as December pine cones, matted itself to his skull in long streamers of shadow and eyes, the colour of storm clouds, were quick and piercing.

“Black Norse,” Bindweed muttered, not daring to stir as that fierce grey gaze swept over her hiding place. His thick gold collar and armlets flashed when he strode by, arrogant as a lord. He moved with the swift, quiet grace of a warrior, the low winter sun illuminating his leather tunic and trews, the long dagger strapped to one thigh, his sword on the other.

Spy or assassin, Bindweed wondered, watching his retreating back. He made for her cave-house as if he had walked the path a hundred times, though she doubted he sought her skill in herb-lore. Still she did not stir.

The first snare on the trail he avoided with a snort of humour, the second, set below a seeming bed of innocent pine needles, swallowed him whole. Bindweed was out of the holly and sprinting before the Viking had stopped his bellow of surprise. A quick jerk of the rope hidden by ivy had the nets and timber unravelling and the trap closed. She quickly pinned it down, panting hard as she rolled the lock-stone in place.

Thirteen feet below, in the round pit it had taken her three summers to dig and harden with fire, the black Norse prowled, thumping the sheer walls and slamming the mud-churned floor. He would not look at her. Bindweed did not care.

“No one comes here,” she lied—why tell truth to the enemy? “Yell away,” she added, when the stranger’s mighty chest swelled like organ bellows. “None shall hear.”

The Viking lunged up. She stamped his clenching fingers off the timbers and nets and he cursed and spat. “Food later,” she told him, spotting how his eyes narrowed briefly in calculation. He understands me, then.

It did not matter. Tomorrow night she would lace his portion and his ale with enough sleeping draught to fell an ox and then drag him out, to question at her leisure. Thank the stag god and the great mother that I heeded my instincts four summers ago to fashion these traps. Sometimes my senses are not only tuned to women’s healing, but to more brutal matters of survival.

She had no time to celebrate, however. Now she was exhausted, harp-string taut tension replaced by a yawning tiredness. Without troubling to undress, she stumbled into her bed and slept.

She dreamed of her past, an old horrific recollection, that began, as too often, with screaming.

****

She was seven summers old when her father Giric killed her mother. Nothing as quick or kind as a knife, but his selling of Kentigerna bright-hair into slavery, to a Viking, was still murder. Years later, she had never forgiven the old man, nor forgotten her mother’s screams.

She had tried to follow the Viking’s longship, running hard for the track by the loch. Mongfind, her half-sister, older and bigger than her by two summers, had grabbed her. After hearing Mongfind’s shouts, Giric himself had seized and flung the little one, flailing and punching, into the ancient black broch that gave the people their name.

She had hammered on the locked door until her knuckles were bloodied, then sprinted up the winding staircase to the roof of the broch. Seeing a flash of her Ma’s bright red hair in the longship’s bowels, she had clambered right over the thick circular walls of the broch and leapt down.

“Me, too!” she yelled in her later dreams, though she could not remember if she spoke the words. She only knew that if the ship sailed, she would never see her mother again.

Seven years old, I knew this! But then bastards have to grow up fast.       

She landed in a mess of heather, winded and broken. She scrambled to rise and a searing pain in her left foot seized her whole leg. Too shattered to scream, too shocked to move, she watched the Viking longship and her mother sail away.

Irish Maeve, old and wrinkled as a dried out leather flask, prodded her with her walking stick.

“You will do, now get up. There’s work!” Maeve ordered, laughing as she burst into tears. “Get to it, Bindweed.

“She clings,” Maeve told the whispering onlookers, who smirked or shook their heads and turned away.

From that day, the little girl was Maeve’s servant. The name her mother gave her was forgotten and all knew her as Bindweed.

Later, Bindweed learned, a travelling tinker who had a taste for young things had wanted to buy her, but Irish Maeve had refused his offer. But only because I was quick and clever. She never forgot how the old woman had laughed at her hurt and grief, how the others in her father’s fort had turned away.

She never saw her mother again.

 Six years later Irish Maeve died in her sleep. Bindweed buried her mentor on their island home and mourned for three nights, as custom demanded. On the dawn of the fourth day, she poured the ashes of a barley loaf over the new grave and squeezed a final tear from her smarting eyes.

Enough of that, as Maeve would say. I respected her as a healer, but no deeper feeling than that. She took me in for her own convenience and laughed at my grief. Though she did keep the secret of the smaller cave, so there was that.

Bindweed patted the cold earth once, in valediction, and turned back to the small cave where she and the Irish wise-woman had made a dwelling and a home of sorts She was Bindweed Silverhair, wise-woman of the loch, keeper of the island pool, the one maidens and womenfolk turned to so she might heal their hurts. Poultice their beasts. Charm the chickens into laying more eggs. No one now remembered she was the bastard get of Giric the Harsh, a warrior and giver of gold, who had sold his own mistress, her mother Kentigerna, into slavery.

Lightning strike him down for that! Why does Giric thrive? Why do his well-fed, well-dressed legitimate sons and daughters parade through this land like the blessed children of fairy. Not that I wish them ill, but still—

Revenge did not interest her, for that would merely prove she cared about Giric’s ill-nature. She had a home and skills, a name she had made respected. She ate well, even in winter and before harvest-time. No man would want to wed her, with only this scrap of a wooded islet as her land dowry, but she might take a handsome highlander as a lover, someone quick and wick and small as herself.

No boy with light blue eyes, though, no youth with a beard like Giric’s. Send me a sunny lad, nimble with his fingers—

A long, low snore from nearby brought Bindweed stark awake. It was time for her to move.

Time to spar with the Viking again. Even if the brute sleeps.

 

****

Olaf came to with a pounding mead-style headache and a sick stomach. Twitching sore limbs he found himself bound, hand and foot, and blindfolded.

“Drink!”

A pot clashed against his teeth and he guzzled the weak ale, soothing both headache and sore jaws. “Why did you not slit my throat?” he demanded, after the cup was withdrawn.

“I heal, not kill.”

A young female. Another wise woman? Olaf risked a confession. “I was told the witch Irish Maeve was dead, her place empty. I planned to move in for the coming winter.”

“Who told you that? In truth, you cannot. I am her heir.”

“No one mentioned you.”

“No one ever does.”

When the wench said nothing more, he did not deign to respond to her question but asked, “What did you drug me with?”

“Drenched-salted the food, spiked the ale.”

He sensed her smirk and his bound fists clenched. She had admitted nothing new. “My men will find me.” And kill you. The threat went unspoken but hung like a gibbet between them.

A rustle like dry leaves made Olaf turn sharply to his left but the woman was already drawing back, leaving a whiff of lavender and a touch of the soft wool of her skirts.

“You will mend.”

True, since his headache was almost gone, though he tensed in irritation at her ignoring his warning. “And my men will still find me.”

“You have lain in my pit for two days, been sleeping hard for a day and a night, and none have come looking for you. Now there is fog. No ships in or out of the loch, y’ken?”

He breathed in deeply against her mockery, savouring her perfume afresh. “Aye.”

“No men are allowed here on Maiden’s Isle. For despoiling this sacred space I could spell you with ill luck for the rest of your life.” She paused, allowing the silence to grow, then delivered her final threat. “The curse would stick.”

Dread iced up his spine. Has my bad luck tracked me from Byzantium? Fore God, it has been evil since Karl’s death. Grief sleeted through Olaf afresh at the memory of his brother-in-arms, dead these six months and entombed in the white marble of Constantinople.

“What do you want from me?” he demanded. Anything to stop thinking of Karl, cut down in ambush in an arid city street, hundreds of miles away.

“Your name. Why you are on the run. The truth.”

“I am Olaf No-Kin.” He did not ask how the wise woman knew he had neither ship nor men, though he inwardly cursed the loss of that flimsy advantage. How can I do anything if she does not respect me? “I quit my lord Ragnar’s service and took the first passage I could to Alba to offer my sword to a laird of the Picts.”

“A mercenary. Why, if you left his war-band, does this Ragnar pursue you?” 

Published by Prairie Rose Publications, this novel is available for pre-order and will be out on November 5th.