H. L. Burke – Dragon’s Curse – The Dragon and the Scholar Tour

I have another guest for you today, fantasy author H.L. Burke has stopped by and she’s brought dragons! Don’t worry, they don’t really look hungry. ;) They’re just kinda guarding us. So do come sit by the fire, have some coffee, or ale, whatever you like best, while H.L. Burke tells us a little story about the latest in her fantasy series, The Dragon and the Scholar … H.L.  And do check out her giveaway below. Without further ado, H.L, The floor is all yours.

ABOUT H. L. Burke

Author H.L. Burke

Author H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Dragon's Curse by H.L. Burke

 
 On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.

H. L. Burke on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Burke/e/B00EYQ1HLW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

H. L. Burke on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter

H. L. Burke on Twitter:https://twitter.com/typativemamacat

H. L. Burke on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7230868.H_L_Burke

H. L. Burke’s Author Website:http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/

Click here to fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway

More about H.L. Burke

There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ~G. K. Chesterton

A long time lover of fairy tales and folk tales, I’ve always had an affinity for a “fairy tale” romance, but I’ve also been amused at popular perception of what a fairy tale romance is. Even the Oxford dictionary defines “fairy tale” as Denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy: a fairy-tale romance.”

This wouldn’t be my definition. When someone describes a love story as “fairy tale,” I want to know whose toes got cut off, who had to spend a year hopping about the swamp as a frog, and if there were any dragons involved. Usually such inquiries lead to disappointing stories about idyllic dates and rose petal paths and the like. I always wonder, have these people actually read fairy tales?

Fairy tale love can fall into the shallow, cliche of love at first sight and princesses sleeping while they wait for first kisses, but if you dive deeper into the collections (basically past anything that has been adapted by Disney) you’ll find so much more.

Love endures much in these stories. People are sent upon impossible tasks. In The Blue Bird the heroine must walk until she has worn out three pairs of metal shoes. Other leading ladies ride upon the wind, discover the Water of Discernment, and wash shirts . . . well, washing shirts may not be thrilling stuff, but it is practical. Also, sometimes heads are cut off.

As a child reading these stories, I never imagined being rescued by a prince charming. Yes, a portion of them feature this, but my favorites involved a lady–princess or peasant–going on quests to find her stolen love. Perhaps she lost him due to her mistakes. Like Psyche she could not resist lighting that forbidden candle. Other times the fault lies with a jealous stepmother or rival who set a trap to turn her love against her (and in her lover for not seeing through it).

So to me a fairy tale romance is one where the lovers face insurmountable odds and defeat them through sheer determination.

Fairy tales also do not always involve the unions of “beautiful people,” at least not right away. In fairy tales love conquers physical repulsiveness and focuses on true positives. Princes and princesses deprived of their beauty win their loves because they are kind or brave or clever.

Having the love interest cursed to another form brings the appealing prospect of being loved for a sense of self beyond physicality. The king may merely be a voice in the darkness. A bride may be a clever frog. A girl may turn to a frail old woman with the waning moon. Love truly can make any being beautiful.

And this is why I love fairy tales romances. Because they are anything but “fairy tale.”

The dragon, Gnaw, has survived a battle with Sir Roderick. Worried about him, Shannon comes to his cave to see to his wounds.

“Gnaw lay in the dark, trying not to concentrate on the throbbing puncture in his wing. It was a flesh wound and a clean one at that, but it still hurt like the devil and the prospect of infection worried him.

When he heard the approach of another person his heart skipped a beat. He had not the energy for a second battle today and fleeing, in the dark, with a wounded wing, would be difficult. He breathed deeply. The approaching human smelled of crushed herbs, tea leaves, and books. He sighed in relief.

“Gnaw! Gnaw!” Shannon called out. He managed enough of a flame to light the pile of branches and illuminate the cavern again. She rushed to his side. “Are you all right?” she stammered.

“Aye, no thanks to that rabid lap dog you set on me,” he snorted. “My advice, put that one down.”

“I didn’t set him on you,” she sniffed.

“Well, he seemed convinced you wanted him to do it,” he said. “Of course, he was obviously insane. He kept coming after me when most men would’ve been lying on the ground in tears or running for the hills.”

“And you still let him live,” she smiled at him.

“I did? That was careless of me. I’ll be more thorough next time.” He lay his head back down.

“Thank you; he’s too much of an idiot to see that you had mercy on him, but for myself, I thank you. If you had killed him he would have died because of me, and I don’t know if I could sleep at night with that on my conscience.”

“You wouldn’t be responsible for his idiocy.”

“Are you hurt?” she pressed.

“No, well, not much.”

“May I see?”

He unfurled his wing towards her. She winced.

“I’ve never bandaged a wound like this. I mean, the wound isn’t unusual but . . .”

“It’s on a dragon?” he pointed out.

“Well, in a wing, I was thinking. During my training, I treated an injured bird, but the structure was a little different and a lot smaller. I think I can figure out something, however. Hold still, please.”

He winced a little bit but didn’t make a fuss as she cleaned and bandaged his wound.

“All done,” she said. “I’m so sorry you were hurt.”

“I’ve had worse.” He carefully folded his wing back against his body and lay still. He glanced out of the cave. “It is well after dark. You trip over your own feet enough in the day time. It’s a miracle you made it up here without breaking your neck.”

She grimaced.

“Well, I was worried about you, and I couldn’t exactly ask Roderick if you were all right. Still, I hope you are fine with me staying the night. I don’t want to make the descent until sunrise.”

“Of course. I can fly you down at dawn,” he said.

“Are you certain that is a good idea?” She caressed his wounded wing.

“I’m hardly crippled,” he scowled. “It will be fine.”

She nodded and rubbed him behind the ears. His ego bristled. He wasn’t a lap dog or a barn cat. What did she think she was doing? Oh, that felt good.

He shut his eyes with a contented moan as she continued to rub the back of his head and neck.

“I am not sure if you are a witch or an angel,” he murmured.

“Semantics,” she teased.

He laughed.

He let himself doze off, only marginally aware of what was going on around him. After a while he realized she had stopped her massage and opened his eyes to find her asleep, her head, arm, and shoulder draped over his neck. He curled his head back again to form a cradle for her body and listened to her breathe.

Such a pretty little thing. Would it be wrong to keep her?

 

 

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it folks? Thank you for stopping by, H.L.! Good luck with Dragon’s Curse. Folks, if you’d like to get a copy, again, Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.

A brand new tour

I’m going on tour again…yes, another webtour. This one courtesy of Fire and Ice Book Tours, I’ll be visiting a whole new set of sites. We’re also featuring another giveaway so do follow along by checking out the following schedule.

Fire and Ice book tour banner
Master (past) Schedule.

And there’s a giveaway. One winner will win any title (ebook only) from my backlist. Enter through the Rafflecopter.

Do stop by! It should be fun. :) My thanks to Shelly–and Cherry Mischievous!–for setting this up for me.

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Past stops:
8/12 Fantastic Indie Author’s (Interview)
Stop 2 The Book Recluse (Review)

8/13 Literary Chanteuse
Stop 2 Teen Romance Books List
Stop 3 Memories in a Box

8/14 Peace Love and Writing

Stop 2 Coffee, Books, and Art (Guest Post)

8/15 Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

8/16 Underneath the Covers

8/18 Fiction Zeal (Guest Post)

8/19 Cryptic Reads (Review)

Stop 2 Book Skater

Maybe this assignment wasn’t going to be so bad….

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Another Sunday already? How are y’all doing? Anyone else melting in the heat?  I thought, for  this week’s Sneak Peek Sunday, I’d draw from  my new, New Adult/upper YA paranormal romance, CHANGELING’S CROWN. This is a little bit of a nervous scene, I guess you could say. Herein, Ianthe’s about to learn a little more about her assignment, and in particular, a man she’s going to be seeing a lot of in the very near future:

 

“Good. I’ll see the paperwork’s sent through; meanwhile—” Ms. Siabelle wiggled her finger over the file and it rose from the desktop, floating like a bird into Ianthe’s less than eager hands. “Why don’t you get started?” She shook her head sadly. “Seems Randall and Mallory are in dire need of a happy ending, as you’ll see.”

Ianthe sighed. The pages flipped open before her, and she took in the photographs. Randall, his employees. One stood out: a man with a handsome angular face, tousled brown hair, and deep, coffee-colored eyes.

She leaned forward to study the picture, wondering who he was. Too handsome to ignore, she thought. Was he the reason for the couple’s troubles? She could see that being the case.

Maybe this assignment wasn’t going to be so bad, after all.

~*~*

Would it? You’ll have to read to find out!

Synopsis:

When Ianthe began her career as a faery godmother, she stumbled so badly that Snow White will probably never speak to her again. After a long suspension, she’s finally been given a chance to redeem herself…but everything on this latest assignment is going wrong.

But why?

Worse, she definitely doesn’t need an attractive mortal man distracting her from her duties. Of course, needs and wants are two different things.

Briak has had his eye on Ianthe for a very, very long time, but he’s been waiting for just the right moment to make his move. Despite the fact all hell’s about to break loose on his watch, he can’t resist the opportunity to insert himself into her earthly assignment. Can he convince Ianthe of her true calling and thereby win her heart? Or will his subterfuge ultimately cost him her love?

If you’d like to try CHANGELING’S CROWN out it’s available at Amazon, Smashwords and in paperback from Createspace.

#speeksunday-Something’s Wrong here…

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Here’s a little snippet for this week’s Sneak Peek Sunday from my latest release in the Antique Magic series Drawing Down the Shades. This is only a few months after Caitlin and Trevor open their new antique shop, are things falling apart already? Let’s see…

“I—” Caitlin gulped. “I felt—”
What?
“Something wrong.”
Beryl took a step forward. “Like what?”
A ghost. But it didn’t feel like Roland’s ghost, Trevor’s Civil War era grandfather who
seemed still to love her so much. The presence felt, darker. It made Caitlin want to fall down in a heap and sob herself dry. She wanted to die and for a moment, looked down, eyeing the shards of glass on the table. She could see herself dragging one across her wrist …
She scrambled away from the shards, seeking out Trevor’s stability.

****

What has caused Caitlin such distress? And what could it mean for she and Trevor’s future? you’ll have to read Drawing Down the Shades to find out! If you would like to, it’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and in paperback via Createspace. For more Sneak peeks see the main site here.

 

Distractions, distractions….such a pretty distraction

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Here’s another new year, and glad to see Sneak Peek Sunday return. If you don’t know what this is about, author Sara Walter Elwood created a hop to showcase the work of fellow Romance authors, just a snippet or two at a time. For me, here’s a snippet from my romantic paranormal mystery, MURDER UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, Detective Helene Collias is question the victim’s brother (Sean Grant) during her  investigation and Sean’s mind’s wandering a bit.

*~*~

He looked into Helene’s eyes and could see her mind working, as his hadn’t. She took his place and he stepped back, watching her examine his defaced mailbox. He skimmed his gaze over the length of her back. Her shoulders tensed and relaxed as she moved. He wondered if she worked out. Her black slacks fitted to the curve of her butt as if she’d painted them on this morning. She cleared her throat.

Sean’s gaze shot to hers. Her smile flashed so fast, he wasn’t sure he’d seen it. The shame of a scolded school kid bubbled up in him. You expected her not to catch you drooling? “What?”

*~*~

Murder Upon a Midnight Clear by Juli D. RevezzoSynopsis:

Tis the season … for death.

Murder reminds Detective Helene Collias of Holly PD that crime doesn’t respect holidays. And the last victim she ever expected to find in her case files is the sister of her old flame, Sean Grant. Ordinarily, Helene’s psychic gifts give her an edge but this time, that gift has short-circuited. Could her lingering attraction to Sean be blurring her abilities, or is something more sinister at work?

If you’d like to read more, MURDER UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is available for Kindle and in paperback.

Incorporeal halloween party guest Julia Rachel Barrett

afternoonteatag

*Minion Juli steps into the Mistress’ office* “More of our guests have arrived, miss.”

Mistress peeks out the door! Oh, good! I had hoped we’d attract a few more. Ghosts! I love them. *steps out the door*

Well, now  isn’t this party just turning out lovely? Our dear friend Julia Rachel Barrett seems to have brought a guest along with her. Julia, who is that guy? Well, never mind. I take it he pokes his nose in from time to time. Any friend of yours is welcome! Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find a charm to help keep him where he belongs. Why don’t you tell us a little about his story?

Incorporeal, J.R. Barrett
Copyright Julia Barrett

Incorporeal_v3-1Sara turned from the window, and clicked off her cell phone. Her lips moved, forming a silent, “Holy shit.”
“What?”
Startled, her hand flew to her chest. “Christ! Would you stop doing that?”
“Doing what?”
“Sneaking up on me like that; it’s rude.”
“I did not sneak up on you. I stood right here the entire time you spoke on the phone.”
Sara turned in a slow circle. “Stood where?”
“Over here, by the sink.”
She faced slightly away from the sink and glanced out the corner of her eye. She could just see the faintly glimmering shape of a man. “You could announce your presence once in a while. I really dislike the thought that you might be, well, you know, spying on me.”
“In the bathing room?”
“Exactly,” Sara agreed. “In the bathroom. I like my privacy.”
“So you’ve said.”
Sara flipped open her computer and waited for it to boot up. She wanted to check her calendar.
“What do you mean by the words, holy shit?”
Sara jumped. “Stop doing that!”
“I have no other way to do it. I’m incorporeal, remember?”
“Yeah, as if I’m likely to forget. Go haunt someone else.” As she scrolled through her datebook, Sara heard a long-suffering sigh from over her left shoulder. “What?”
“You’d be rid of me so soon?”
“So soon?” Sara swiveled around on her chair. “It’s been two months. You showed up here two months ago and you refuse to leave.”
Sara heard his laughter, that familiar warm, deep, throaty laugh, and her stomach clenched. Yes, he had shown up two months ago, first in her shower, incorporeal, as he’d just reminded her, sending her screaming in terror from the bathing room; and then in her dreams, where he was about as corporeal as any man could get. Sara shivered despite the warmth of the room.
“It’s not a matter of refusing to leave; I’m not permitted to leave.”
“Well, why the hell not?” she grumbled. “Every other ghost leaves. They say a word or two, ask me to pass on a message, which I still refuse to do by the way, and they move on. So move on.”
“I can’t comply with your request. It’s not up to me; I’ve already said as much. Besides, do you really want me gone?”
Sara glanced over her shoulder in the general direction of the voice. “Don’t press your luck.”
“Why not? You like my luck, as you call it.” The low, suggestive whisper right beside her ear made Sara flinch, and not because he’d startled her again.
“Fucking horny ghost,” she muttered.
He laughed. As annoyed as she was with him, Sara couldn’t suppress a grin. Yes, he was a horny son of a bitch, but her dreams since he’d arrived, oh my god, they’d been scorching. Last night’s encounter still lingered in both her mind and body.
“So what’s holy shit?”
“Huh?” Sara gave herself a mental shake.
“You heard me.”
She could almost visualize him rolling his eyes and a corner of her mouth twitched. “You’re awfully nosy for an incorporeal being.” Sara sighed. “All right, I’ll tell you, but chances are you won’t understand what I’m talking about.”
“I don’t understand half of what you talk about, Sara. I’m just curious, that’s all.”
“Right.” Sara snorted. “You’re such a bossy ghost I keep forgetting how truly impotent you are.”
“Impotent?”
Oh, I hit the mark with that jab.
He roared at her. “Impotent, you say? Wait until you fall asleep, woman, and I’ll show you impotent!”
Choking back her laughter, Sara managed to ask, “Is that a threat or a promise?”
“Both.” He purred, and that one word sent Sara spiraling back into her dream.
“Enough. I have work to do. I’ve been asked to pick someone up at the airport on Friday.” Sara studied her calendar. “I’ve got a meeting scheduled that day, but I might be able to switch it.”
“So this is your holy shit, a trip to the airport?”
“Yup.” Sara couldn’t help it. She smiled and her smile felt a little smug, even to her. “I’m picking up a publisher.”
For a few seconds, there was complete silence in the kitchen. The lack of conversation surprised her. Sara had grown accustomed to his constant presence, even though he annoyed the hell out of her during her waking hours. She looked around the kitchen, scanning for his outline.
“So someone is finally interested in your ghost stories, eh?”
“Where’d you go?”
“I’m over here, on the couch.”
“You know, I really hate it when you move around like this. I like to know where you are. Can’t you wear bells or something?”
He snorted. “It’s just as tiresome for me to stand in one place as it is for you. At least you can get out. I’m trapped in this damn house, haunting you until, well, until I’m not haunting you.”
Sara rose from her chair and stretched. “I don’t know if she’s interested in my ghost stories, as you call them. I’ll see.” She filled the tea kettle with cold water and set it onto one of the gas burners. “I know it bothers you, but I’m going to make some coffee.”
“Would you mind having tea instead?”
“But I’m craving coffee and I’ve barely been able to use my new French press since you showed up.”
“You can buy coffee anytime you want at that Starbucks place. I hate it when you make coffee. It’s downright cruel. I may not be able to drink it, but it smells so good. We didn’t have coffee when I was…”
Sara interrupted. “But it’s my house and I want coffee. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Is that so?”
The voice was right at her neck again and Sara shivered. She swore she could feel the warmth of his breath against her skin, but she knew damn well ghosts didn’t breathe.
“It seems to me you slept very well.”
Sara turned around to face the ghost, despite the fact that she couldn’t see him. “Stop with the innuendos. You’re not being fair. I can’t help what I dream.”
“Yes you can. You choose to dream of me.”
“I do not. You enter my dreams uninvited.” Yeah right. He spoke the truth and she knew it.
“But not unwelcome, I should say.”
Sara turned the gas burner on. “At least I don’t have to worry about birth control in a dream,” she muttered.
“What was that?”
“I’m getting out the coffee grinder so you might want to make yourself scarce.” Ignoring his question, Sara pulled a bag of extra-bold Ethiopian coffee out of her freezer. She waved it in the air. “See? Pretend this is garlic. Be gone. I have work to do, I want a couple cups of coffee, and then I’m going for a hike. You skedaddle, you ghost.”
He snorted. She heard him say, “Garlic is for vampires,” and then the voice was gone.

Oh, a snarky ghost, is he? Now, listen you. *pokes ghost*

*smiles* I snark with the best of them, welcome to the party!

Julia’s story Incorporeal, if you’d like to check it out, is available at Amazon.

author Julia Rachel Barrett

Julia Rachel Barrett

Bio- Julia Barrett

If one word describes me, it’s eclectic.  Or so my friends say.  I’m a lover of books, poetry, art, history, baseball, barbecue, chocolate, coffee, children, animals and the great outdoors.  I’m a hospice nurse as well as a writer, but I got my first job at the age of twelve so believe me when I tell you if my heroines are doing it, I’ve probably done it.  At the heart of every one of my stories is a real life event.  (Even in Captured!)

If I was pressed to brand my romances, I guess I’d say I write romance for the thinking woman.  Or I try.  I layer my stories with meaning – I have fun, yes, but I draw on my literary background and I love nothing more than to sprinkle a special pixie dust composed of one part mythos, one part symbolism.  I’m quite fond of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.

Family is everything to me.  I keep my kids private, but my mom and dad and my poor husband are occasionally fair game!  And I talk about my German shepherd, Jake, all the time.

Please feel free to visit my webpage, my author page on Amazon, or chat with me on Twitter!