BY MARIE LAVAL
DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY – Book 2
Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)
Release Date: 28th Jan 2016
Publisher: Áccent Press
BLUE BONNETS – Book 2
Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
When her ship is caught in a terrifying storm off the far north of Scotland and she catches her first glimpse of Wrath Lodge, Rose believes she has reached the gateway to hell. Her encounter with Wrath’s laird Bruce McGunn does nothing to reassure her. A reckless officer discharged from the army, McGunn holds a bitter grudge against her husband’s family, the wealthy McRaes, and Rose is soon horrified to find out that he means to hold her to ransom in order to save his estate from financial ruin.
Bruce’s health is failing fast, and he fears he is descending into madness with terrifying hallucinations tormenting him every night. Soon something else is keeping him awake – a growing attraction for his feisty and exotic captive, and the gruesome discovery of two women’s bodies washed ashore near the castle. One of them, Malika, is a childhood friend of Rose’s she last saw in Algiers the day before her marriage to McRae. How the women died, who killed them and disposed of their bodies is a mystery Bruce now has to solve.
Determined not to miss the ball where her darling Cameron promised to announce their wedding he has until now kept a secret, Rose manages to escape dark, gloomy Wrath. She takes with her a posy of pine sprigs she believes was given to her by the Dark Lady, Wrath’s resident ghost, and confused feelings for Wrath’s brutal and tormented master – the man she calls McGlum…
Blue Bonnets (BOOK 2) Excerpt
‘Why did you lie to me?’
‘I didn’t.’ She didn’t even look at him but carried on stacking the dirty tumblers up. She then snapped shut the lid of the jam jar and brushed the crumbs off the table top into the palm of her hand. When she threw the crumbs into the fire, the flames hissed and flared.
Like his temper.
He strode towards her, stopping only a couple of paces from her.
‘You did lie. You heard the McKenzies…The question is why.’
The rush of heat to her cheeks didn’t escape his attention, and neither did the trembling of her hands as she caught the sides of the plaid slipping off her shoulders. So she wasn’t that cool and composed after all. He narrowed his eyes, hardened his voice.
‘I want answers, and I want them now. Who are you? McRae’s mistress? A whore he picked up in the docks in Algiers?’
She gasped, the plaid dropped down from her shoulders onto the floor but this time she didn’t seem to notice. The fire behind her outlined the contours of her body, the curve of her waist and the swell of her hips. Her blonde hair fell in tight curls and ringlets down to the small of her back, her lips parted, her breasts stretched the thin fabric of the nightdress with every breath she took. She looked as innocent as an angel, as tempting as sin.
He clenched his jaw and stepped closer. Some angel she was. She would damn well explain herself even if he had to pull the truth out of her the hard way.
ABOUT MARIE LAVAL
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.
Book 1 in the series
For a chance to win a print copy of Book 1 (open internationally) simply click on the link below and register
MARIE’S TOP TEN WRITING TIPS
1) Tip Number One may not be original, but it’s one most many writers will agree with. You should write, or work on something related to your novel, every single day. It can be research, editing, jotting a few words or lines of dialogue down, looking up photos of settings or characters, as long as it keeps your story fresh and your characters alive in your mind.
2) Tip Number Two: it is worth spending time choosing names for your characters. We all know how evocative names can be in real life, and how we unwittingly associate them to physical, social or personality traits. It’s the same for fiction and your character’s name will help build a picture of their appearance and personality in your reader’s mind too.
3) Tip Number Three: don’t get too fixated about finding the title of the novel. It will come to you eventually. If stuck, try writing random words linked to the themes running through your story, the names of your characters, or even to the season or locations in the story. Then make up titles with the words. One of them will shine through… For the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy, I decided on the individual titles for each book quite late in the process by selecting names of Highland dances.
4) Tip Number Four: write, rewrite, and then…rewrite. That most exquisite dialogue you spent ages writing, or that beautiful description you are so proud of may not really fit the scene, or may stop the flow of the story. If that’s the case, you will have to be merciless, and however painful it is, you’ll have to cut them out.
5) Tip Number Five: buy a detailed map of the area where your story is set. I have a map for every one of my novels and spend ages kneeling on the floor, looking at names and measuring distances with a ruler. When I started DANCING FOR THE DEVIL I knew I wanted to set my story in Scotland but I didn’t know exactly where. I had a good look at my map and then I saw it…Cape Wrath! It was perfect. Who else but a dark, tormented hero could live there? Bruce McGunn was born, so to speak. I had not only my setting but my hero too!
6) Tip Number Six: it will not always be possible for you to visit the locations of your novel, but you can still give your readers a good sense of place. Firstly, you can get lots of photos and display them around you when you write. You can also create a Pinterest Board which your readers might like to visit. Secondly, you should read as many travel guides and travel accounts as possible to collect anecdotes and odd facts. I love guides with the words ‘secret’, ‘hidden’ or ‘mysterious’ in their title. I found a gem of a book when researching DANCING FOR THE DEVIL about Highlands folklore and superstitions.
7) Tip Number Seven: keep a notebook with you at all times. I am a great fan of notebooks. Having said that, I once watched an online lecture by the great Stephen King who was asked if he needed notebooks to jot down ideas in case he forgot them. He replied that the best ideas were the ones he would never forget because they would always stay with him, no matter what. And despite my great love of notebooks, I had to agree with him. You never, ever forget a great idea, a great name, or a great piece of dialogue. The best scenes are the ones you can visualise so much you are actually inside the story. When I was writing DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, I experienced quite a few of those magical moments. The meeting at Wrath harbour between Rose and Bruce was one of the first and most striking images I had of my characters.
I still love my notebooks, though!
8) Tip Number Eight: when you get stuck and you can’t see the way forward in your story, go for a walk on your own. It is incredible how inspiring being alone in the fresh air can be. And don’t worry if people give you a strange look because you are talking to yourself!
9) Tip Number Nine: slip into your characters’ skin and ask yourself what you would do, feel, say, if you were in their place.
10) Lastly, Tip Number Ten, and the most important tip of all: enjoy writing. You write because you love writing, because it’s part of you, and because you want to tell your characters’ story.