I am thrilled, delighted, and utterly pleased to be celebrating with my friend, the talented Mary Morgan. This month has marked her ten-year anniversary with The Wild Rose Press and the birth of her spectacular series, Order of the Dragon Knights. I have all of her books in kindle and Audible versions, read or listen to them every year (sometimes both), and fall in love all over again every time.
Today, she is sharing her playlist for the series. So gorgeous! Be sure to check out links to the Dragon Knights' trailer and their farewell song.
Congratulations, Mary, and welcome!
Hello Anastasia! Delighted to be on your lovely blog to celebrate my 10-year anniversary with The Wild Rose Press! What an amazing adventure since signing that first contract for Dragon Knight’s Sword (Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 1). I’d like to share a collection of songs I listened to while writing all the Dragon Knights’ stories.
I’ve often said music feeds my soul for creativity. It stirs the muse and my writing soars. Writing each story in the Order of the Dragon Knights was emotional for me. The MacKay brothers were damaged and haunted by grief. Therefore, I required instrumental music to dig deep within the well of emotions for each brother. I had to search for unique melodies—ones that would be epic.
Here are a few of the songs from my playlist for the Order of the Dragon Knights ~
1. “The Quest of Culwch” by David Arkenstone, from the album Celtic Book of Days. The power in this melody says it all. Perfect for the intense scene where Duncan sets out to rescue Brigid from the evil druid Lachlan. (Dragon Knight’s Sword)
2. “Heart of Spring” by David Arkenstone, from the album Celtic Book of Days. A beautiful song that set the tone for Stephen and Aileen’s love scene on Beltaine. (Dragon Knight’s Medallion)
3. "Destiny" by Marc Streitenfeld from the Robin Hood soundtrack (2010). When Fiona first sets her gaze on Alastair "Beast" MacKay at a slave market in medieval Ireland. To her horror, he barters with others to purchase her. (Dragon Knight’s Axe)
4. “Lament” by Ronan Hardiman from Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. A haunting melody that was perfect for a certain scene with Duncan. I won’t give any spoilers for those who have not read the book. But I will say this scene brought this powerful Dragon Knight to his knees with grief. (Dragon Knight’s Sword)
5. “Stolen Kiss” and “Gypsy” by Ronan Hardiman from Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. A song for the marriage between Angus and Deirdre. The four MacKay brothers had returned to Urquhart Castle, and this was a celebratory event. (Dragon Knight’s Shield)
6. “Warriors” by Ronan Hardiman from Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. This song resonated deeply while I was writing the scene where Alastair turns his back on his brothers, Fiona, and his powers. His journey leads him to the Great Dragon who is not pleased with him. (Dragon Knight’s Axe)
7. "Nightmare" by Ronan Hardiman from Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. The battle between Angus, the Fire Dragon, and Lachlan. Powerful, epic, and both will never be the same again. (Dragon Knight’s Shield)
8. "Celtic Treasures" by Joemy Wilson from Celtic Treasures, Music of Ireland. Loved this song! Perfect for the tender reunion of Stephen and Aileen after being separated for a long time. (Dragon Knight’s Medallion)
9. “The Quest of Culwch” by David Arkenstone, from the album The Celtic Book of Days. I used several songs for the final battle, but constantly played this one until I knew I had poured out every detail in the final battle between the Dragon Knights and Lachlan. (Dragon Knight’s Ring)
10. “Ceridwen—The Potion of Knowledge” by Peter Gundry, from the album The Dream Weaver. My farewell song to the Dragon Knights. It starts slowly and then builds to this powerful ending. Did I cry writing this ending? Aye! I sobbed buckets! The Dragon Knights had dwelled within me for sixteen long years by the time Dragon Knight’s Ring was published.
Currently, the Wolves of Clan Sutherland dominate most of the time and my thoughts. Usually, I turn to YouTube for a selection of Nordic and Viking music. We won’t discuss how intense these men are until I’ve finished the series.
Thank you, Anastasia, for letting me share a huge part of my writing inspiration with your readers.
Book Trailer for Dragon Knights: https://youtu.be/iEruV9P6PtU
And if you have a moment, check out the farewell song to the Dragon Knights here:
“Ceridwen—The Potion of Knowledge” below:
All I can say is... "swoon!" Thank you for sharing your time, inspiration, and Dragon Knights with us, Mary. We eagerly await your next in series!
Order of the Dragon Knights
They were an ancient order, descended from the great Tuatha Dé Danann, the Sidhe, or in simpler terms: the Fae. Half-human and half-fae, each knight blessed with mystical powers. Given to them were holy relics from the Fae and guardianship over their Dragons.
They were known as the Dragon Knights.
However, some believed the Order had too much power and they tried to possess it for themselves. They were evil and twisted, and their plan succeeded one fateful night. The brothers of the Clan MacKay—Dragon Knights, fought a battle. Blood spilled onto holy ground, bringing forth the wrath of the Fae. Their relics were taken, and the Order was banished—each name stricken from the hallowed halls of the Fae.
The Clan MacKay is no longer.
The Dragon Knights have scattered across the land.
Yet out of the darkness, they will each fight for redemption, and the women they love.
Available at AMAZON
About the Author
Multi award-winning romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then travel back in time within the pages of her books.
"When the worlds of fae and human are open, the reflection of love shimmers like a rainbow."
Dragon Knight's Sword, Order of the Dragon Knights
This series! Order of the Dragon Knights has been such a treasure for me, introducing brave, magnificent heroes and heroines, powerful, unscrupulous villains, and a wholly unique and thrilling realm.
Happy Medieval Monday! This month marks the tenth anniversary for the series. Ten years ago this month, Mary Morgan signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for the first book of the series, Dragon Knight's Sword.
From Dragon Knight's Sword to Dragon Knight's Ring, which is the last book in the Order of the Dragon Knights series, onto the Legends of the Fenian Warriors and the other beautiful, related books, the reader is absorbed into a magical world of fae and druids, and dragons. Coexisting for centuries, the fae and human realms are racing towards catastrophe. Despite a curse, in the face of remorseless treachery and unspeakable anguish, love proves itself stronger than all.
For me, it's very hard -- nae, impossible -- to choose a favorite book from the series. But I can name a few favorite aspects of each.
Dragon Knight's Sword -- my introduction to the Dragon Knights, so not much can top that. But I do really love the way Duncan and Brigid become aware of each other.
Dragon Knight's Medallion -- It always strikes me (yes, I've read all the books more than once), that while all of the Dragon Knights are good men, Stephen might be the gentlest. Also, I love that Aileen is part fae.
Dragon Knight's Axe -- So maybe, just maybe this is my favorite book of the series. For one thing, I'm madly in love with Fenian Warrior Rory MacGregor. For another, I appreciate that Alastair's powers come from the land. As a gardener and nature lover, I can relate.
Dragon Knight's Shield -- Angus and Deirdre -- wow! He is a tortured leader. She is a sword-wielding badass. What's not to love?
Dragon Knight's Ring -- Adam, Meggie, Jamie -- beautiful. This story sort of brings things full circle. Prepare to cry buckets.
The settings for all the books are magnificent, often the medieval Scottish Highlands -- Urqahart Castle, Loch Ness, the Great Glen, not to mention Trinity College in Dublin.
Have I mentioned there's a dragon?
There's so much love throughout this series -- friendship, brotherhood, family, true and sizzling romance. In these books, love conquers pain, evil, even time.
The Order of the Dragon Knights series, along with Legends of the Fenian Warriors, join the ranks of classic fantasy. I love them more than all because despite the battles, pain, and torment the characters go through, love and hope prevail.
And isn't that just what our world needs?
Congratulations, Mary Morgan, on the anniversary of your brilliant series. Classic.
Be sure to stop by MaryMorganAuthor.com to learn about her books.
For more medieval fun, visit both Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!
Congratulations to Debby Grahl, whose romantic suspense Island Heat just launched yesterday! The book looks great, and she's gifted us with a sexy little excerpt. But first let's get to know this talented author a little better.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I loved Pippi Longstockings and Nancy Drew.
I loved those books, too!
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays? I enjoy paranormal and contemporary romance.
I also love mystery cozies. I’m a huge Miss Marple fan.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books? First a little background.
I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I was around twelve when I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. As we walked to school, I would entertain my girlfriends with them. It wasn’t until the invention of computers and wonderful screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print. Everything I type is read back to me.
You are clearly a determined and very talented lady. Thank you for sharing with us.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
This would have to be the first book I wrote, Decorated to Death. The story and characters are all taken from a neighborhood I used to live in.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I’m sure you’ve heard this from a number of authors, but these stories pop into my head, and I have to write them down. One of my books, Rue Toulouse, came about while sitting on our hotel balcony in New Orleans. I was taking in my surroundings -- the sounds, smells, and music, and the story came to me.
I love that. And New Orleans -- it might be impossible for a writer to not be inspired in that extraordinary city.
6) What’s your writing space like?
This is kind of embarrassing. A few years ago, I had back surgery. I couldn’t sit comfortably in my desk chair, and the recliner was the only place I could sit. So I placed my keyboard in my lap and began to type. I thought this was pretty easy, so I’m still there today.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
Mornings are best for me. The house is quiet and there aren’t too many distractions. If I become blocked, I find sitting in the hot tub with a nice bottle of wine helps.
8) Time to talk about your latest release (rubbing hands together). But first, how did you come up with the idea for the series? Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
Island Heat is the second in my Carolina series, Mountain Blaze, being the first. I love both the mountains and the ocean. Island Heat takes place on Hilton Head Island, where I live. I loved being able to describe this beautiful island to my readers and even more fun including some of my girlfriends in the story.
9) I realize that you’ve just published a book. I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
Yes, the third book in my Carolina series will take place in historic Charleston, SC. I have the plot, setting and characters, but can’t come up with a title.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’d like to thank Anastasia for having me today.
Debby, thank you. It's a privilege to share in your book launch week. Wishing you all the best!
And now, Island Heat!
A chance encounter leads to romance and murder.
When bookstore owner Suzanna Shay and writer Austen Kincade meet on a Who Done It mystery cruise, their instant attraction has them more interested in romance than searching for clues. But when the leading actress in the shipboard murder skit, Austen’s publisher’s wife, throws herself at Austen, she’s furious when he rejects her advances and vows to have Austen no matter what it takes.
After the ship docks, with plans for a future together, Suzanna and Austen part, unaware vindictive lies will soon test their newfound love and entangle them in a real mystery that proves deadly.
“There’s a full moon. How about a stroll out on the deck?”
Suzanna, you don’t know him. Think about what you’re doing. Her mother’s voice rang through her head. But as she gazed into Austen’s face, careful was the last thing she wanted to be. She stood. “Let’s go.”
They said goodbye to the Paiges and headed for the doors leading onto the deck. The night was warm with a gentle breeze. Stars filled the velvet sky as moonlight sparkled upon the water.
Suzanna breathed in the salty air. Right now, my life in Charlotte might as well be a million miles away, and I haven’t a care in the world.
“There’s Orion,” Austen pointed. “Studying the constellations is a hobby of mine.”
“I find the stars fascinating. And I love having my fortune told.”
“I can tell you what your future will bring,” Austen replied.
He took her into his arms. “This.” His lips covered hers.
The warmth of his mouth made Suzanna’s skin tingle. This moment came right off the pages of the romance novels she so loved — a moonlit night, a handsome man, and the faint sound of a piano in the distance. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
He held her close. His kiss, gentle at first, his lips moving slowly across hers, skillfully coaxed her lips apart. Their tongues met, and Suzanna let out a low moan as the kiss deepened. Her body molded to his. She slid her fingers through the hair on the nape of his neck. His hand glided up and down her back. His hard erection rubbed against her, and Suzanna’s passion soared.
Austen broke their kiss and gazed into her eyes. In a husky voice he said, “I want you.”
Suzanna, never one to jump into bed with a man she’d just met, hesitated. Again, for a second, her mother’s disapproving scowl flashed through her mind. She defiantly brushed it aside. There’s no one here to question your actions. Don’t let this perfect night pass you by. Besides, who would ever know? the adventurous part of her brain screamed drowning out any misgivings. Who was she kidding? Nothing would keep her from having sex with Austen. “Yes.” she whispered.
“I suggest we get off this deck before we go any further. Your cabin or mine?”
Struggling to gather her wits, Suzanna nodded. “Mine.”
About the Author
Award-winning author Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach, and a glass of wine at sunset. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.
Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in the French Quarter, medalled as second place in the Readers’ Favorite international competition, and was awarded first place in the Top Shelf Fiction for the Romance category. His Magic Touch, a paranormal romance, is also set in New Orleans. Her latest book, Island Heat, will be released May 1, 2023, and will be the second book in her three-part Carolina series. The first, Mountain Blaze, released November 2, 2020, has received a five-star review from Readers’ Favorite.
May peace and plenty bless your world
With joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours.
Happy Medieval Monday! Welcome, May!
Nestled between the spring equinox and summer solstice, the first of May has been celebrated since ancient times. It was Floralia to the Romans, Beltane to the Gaels, and in many countries has been called May Day for centuries.
Beltane was -- is -- a celebration of life, nature, and fertility. Although not yet the summer solstice, it's considered the beginning of summer.
For the medieval Celts -- and many other medieval peoples -- it was a time of joy and anticipation. Crops were beginning to grow, fruit trees were budding, and animals could finally be led to pasture. The dark days of winter were well and truly over.
Also, according to pre-Christian beliefs, it was a time when the veil between the worlds was thin. Bonfires were lit for protection against evil. Rituals, dancing, and feasting took place around the fire.
While Beltane traditions waned in later centuries, they never completely disappeared. In many places, Beltane and other May Day celebrations have made a comeback. Edinburgh's Fire Festival on Calton Hill, for one, is a huge, unique, and important cultural event.
Beltane Fire Society
A Detailed History of Beltane
At its core -- now as much as in days of old -- Beltane is a celebration of hope. Isn't that nice?
I, with my agrarian tendencies, will smile upon my little garden, think of my loved ones, and consider the world. And I will send up prayers of hope and gratitude.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit medieval ladies Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis.
Wishing you a beautiful day -- and a beautiful May!
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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