Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Touring Innocent Tears with Iris Blobel

Thank you, Laura, for having me today on your blog, and a big hello to all your readers. My current story is called Innocent Tears and this is what it’s all about:

Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it almost pulls the feet from right underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight! He had no idea about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody.

With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, and his parents, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’, and Emma is voicing her opinion as well. And right in the middle is little Nadine, still grieving the loss of her mother and finding a wonderful friend in Emma. There’s no doubt she’s afraid where and with whom she will settle.

But in the end, it’s a letter Flynn receives that helps him figure out what to do.

So I thought I’d give you a bit of a guided picture tour through the story and with that through Melbourne, the capital of Victoria and where Innocent Tears is set. Enjoy!

Whenever Flynn needs to sort his thoughts, he looks out of his window and watches the world go by... along the river at the famous “Southbank”.
Melbourne Skyline from Rialto - Nov 2008

The first time he spends some time with Nadine and Emma, they take the tram to go to St Kilda Beach.
W Class Tram St Kilda

Well, these ones still exist, but they’re doing the “circle hoop” and not going anywhere near St Kilda. So, they actually took one of those trams:
D2.5012 + D1.3513 stkilda

And this is where they had their lunch. Wouldn’t you like to have lunch at a place like that. But .... hmmm ... looking at the sky, well, they say, Melbourne is famous for the four seasons in one day. I suppose that would’ve been “autumn” that day.
St Kilda Beach

After the initial helplessness, Flynn received help from his parents, who live here:
Townsville, Queensland - Beach

Flynn not only receives parental advice, but also some time to think, while his parents take little Nadine to where he grew up –Tasmania:
Misty cradle mountain and lake - tasmania

Wineglass Bay from Lookout crop

But in the end it’s a simple letter that helps him make a decision, the probably most important one of his life!

Hope you enjoyed this little introduction to my adopted home. Thank you, all, for taking your time to stop by, I appreciate it!

And thank you, Iris, for taking the time to guide us on that gorgeous tour of your setting! I loved having you visit inklings today!

Where you can buy Innocent Tears by Iris Blobel:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Shipwreck

Abraham Willaerts - Stormy Sea - WGA25762

Elias lay in his bunk, crammed between two other prisoners. The rhythmic sway of the ship and the foul stench of the hold had long since lost their sickening effect. They had been at sea for two weeks. The sea sickness had passed after only a few days. Now the soft pitch of the ship was a comforting constant — something to depend on even when the rest of his life was spiraling desperately out of his control. Uncertainty was the only thing left to nauseate him.

It was adequate to the task.

His trial had been a miscarriage of justice. But what did the French know of justice? They could hardly keep their own people fed and content. Their monarchs and nobility with their gluttony and excesses balked in the face of the poor and starving of France. Revolution was inevitable.

But what did that matter to Elias? He was bound for the French-held islands of the Caribbean to be sold into slavery and worked to death in the sugar cane fields. And he would never see his beloved Jaime again.

He allowed his eyes to close in a fitful sleep. Dreams of his new wife calling his name, begging him to return to her, besieged his mind. But iron bonds tightened around his wrists, and he couldn’t reach her.

Elias awoke to the rocking of the ship seeming to move with a wider pitch, though it was difficult to tell from his place in the hold with the other prisoners. When the sea water began spilling in torrents down through the hatch and filling the prisoner’s quarters, Elias grew concerned.

Movement on the bunk below him accompanied by frightened murmuring, brought him to the edge of the berth. Other prisoners were leaving their places on the wooden planks and dropping the short distance to the floor. He was forced to follow those next to him, since they were chained together. In a short time he was ankle deep in the cold salty brine.

Panicked shouts from the crew reached his ears. But he could only understand a word here and there. The roar of the sea outside seemed to drown out all other noises, except the wind as it screamed through the cracks of the deck above them.

Fear seemed to leap like wildfire from face to face in the hold, spreading from one trembling prisoner to the next. If the ship went down, they would all die down there, bound together and shackled to the hull. The walls of the ship creaked and shook as it rolled from side to side, moaning out the funeral dirge that sang of Elias’s death. His chest constricted and he closed his eyes, conjuring the image of his beloved Jaime one last time. If he was going to die, he wanted to do so thinking of her.

Somehow she would know he had loved her with his last breath.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

One Year Already?

Last year on Black Friday I made my author debut with a co-authored Christmas novella entitled The Parting Gift. Since then I have released five other books -- two other cooperative efforts with Rachel Van Dyken and three solo works. It has been a busy year to say the least.

On this anniversary of my debut book and the blogaversary of inklings I'd like to celebrate the occasion with a giveaway of the book that started it all.

Interested? Leave me a comment below and I'll enter you for a chance to snag an ecopy of The Parting Gift. I have three of them up for grabs! I'll do a random drawing for three winners on December 1st.

Thanks for making my first year so amazing!


Blaine Graham lost his mother when he was the tender age of eleven. Grief over the loss drove a wedge between him and his father, and soon proved too difficult for him to deal with. At the age of sixteen, he falsified his papers and made the trip across the border into Canada with his best friend to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and enter the war in Europe as a pilot. Ten years later Captain Graham finds himself flying commercial jets in Boston – his estranged father and his past life all but forgotten, until the day he receives a telegram from his dying father asking him to come home.

The persistent Mara Crawford, a live-in nurse, has experienced her fair share of loss as well. Her attachment to Blaine’s father drives her desire to bring reconciliation between the two men before time runs out for her patient. But her best laid plans didn’t include falling in love again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wedding Jitters

Georges de La Tour 039It was late when Elias and Jaime found their way back to the room they had already rented for the night. It wasn’t overly spacious or elaborate in décor. There was a table with two wooden chairs and a double bed with a straw tick mattress. A single candle flickered on the table, casting a soft glow on the rustic furniture.

Elias closed the door behind him and slid the bolt into the latch. The solid thunk of the wooden bar rang through the silence physically jolting Jaime who stood only a few steps past him. She seemed to tense in the ensuing quiet, and her eyes were wide and frantic as her gaze darted all about the room, looking at everything but him.

Perhaps it was a mistake to ask her to refuse the gypsies’ offer of wine.

His palms were clammy, so he tugged off his gloves and tossed them on the table, trying to seem nonchalant. A losing battle. His heart felt as though it would burst out of his chest at any moment. He swallowed hard and realized how dry his throat was.

A pitcher of water sat in the middle of the table for washing. How long had it been sitting there? At this point, he didn’t care. Even if there were things visibly growing in it, Elias would drink some.

He stepped to the table and lifted the pitcher and a nearby wooden cup. Tipping the pitcher, he poured a small amount into the cup and lifted it to his lips. The cup was a bit stale smelling, but the water was fresh and clean. He swished the mouthful over his tongue and swallowed then turned to Jaime.

“The water is good.” His ears burned. Had he just said that? He cleared his throat, perhaps he could make it better. “Would you like some?” He lifted the cup toward his bride and immediately cringed at his own ineptness. Why was this so difficult?


Elias refilled the cup and extended it once more. Jaime took it from him and sipped it. Her gaze remained on Elias’s face as she drank. She took another draught from the cup and returned it to him. A single clear droplet remained on her lower lip for only a moment before her tongue slipped between her lips and swept it away in what seemed an agonizingly slow movement.

He was transfixed and painfully aware of the tension between them. Glancing at the cup in his hands, Elias realized his mouth again felt like an Arabian desert. He drained the cup of the remaining contents and set it on the table with a heavy clunk. Much louder than he had intended.

“So…” Jaime seemed to scan the room as she turned away from him and began to loosen her own gloves one finger at a time, finally slipping them off in a slow deliberate motion.

Tracing her movements with his eyes would certainly send Elias over the edge of control, but he could hardly help himself. However, it wasn’t until she laid her gloves on the bed and faced him again with those wide, imploring golden brown eyes and asked him to help her with her boots that he realized his long habit of practiced control was no longer necessary. They were married.

~Pirate's Ransom (work in progress)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Gypsy Wedding

File:Encampment of Gypsies with Caravans.jpg“Gypsies?” Jaime’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Oh, let’s hurry!”

“Are you certain? There won’t be a priest. Or a church. We will be out of doors.”

Her smile was bewitching. She rested her hand on his forearm and lowered her eyelids seductively. “As you said before, it is our only alternative.”

Elias swallowed at the dry knot in his throat. “Then we should be going. They are expecting us.”

He took her hand and led her down the path to the edge of town. The flickering light from the campfires betrayed the location of the camp, and they made their way swiftly across the field to the outer boundary of the woods where the gypsy sentries waited to guide them in.

Elias could feel their dark gazes assessing Jaime. He stepped between the two men and his bride and tightened his grip on her arm possessively. A low murmur from the taller of the two gypsies brought a peal of laughter from the shorter man. Jaime tensed beneath Elias’s grasp.

“Kako Nicu, the Moroccan and his… woman.” The last word came out with an ironic cast. The old bandolier looked up from his place near the fire. It was too dark to make out his expression, and the flicker of the flames played tricks on Elias’s eyes.

“What is this?” he asked in his low gravelly voice. One of the sentinels escorting them answered in a stream of Hungarian, something Elias understood but had no intention of repeating for Jaime’s ears.

“You didn’t tell me your woman was French.”

“Why does it matter?”

“From the look of her a noblewoman. We don’t want trouble here.”

Elias pulled her closer, hesitating only a moment before lapsing into the Hungarian language to explain. “This is the daughter of Seigneur Pepiot. He promised her to another, a man older than himself, a drunkard and a pig. The lady escaped his tyranny without his knowledge and has elected to marry instead, a servant of the sultan’s brother. It is dangerous for all of us. But for none so much as me. And I vow to keep your family’s part in this affair a secret.”

Nicu, the old bandolier, held his peace a moment, considering Elias’s petition and assurances. Then a solemn nod. “We will hear your vows, Moroccan,” he answered in French and gestured for them to join him by the fire.

Time for Christmas Stories!

It is that time of year again! Get into the Christmas spirit with some good reading. Astraea Press has eleven Christmas regencies releasing this month (including Two Turtledoves and The Devil Duke Takes a Bride). Check out these titles on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!