Friday, July 30, 2010


Is it just me, or is the summer skipping by? I can't believe we're in the last days of July, yet the calendar says it's so. How did that happen? Are the days zooming by more quickly than they used to?

When I was a child, my mother always said that when I got older I'd see the difference in time. Back then, when the minutes during history and geography seemed endless, I brushed off her observations. Now, though, I know she was right. The older one gets, the faster time seems to slip by. At least that's how it feels here.

What about you? Did you ever receive a bit of information that, as time passed, seemed truer?

Hope you're having a happy Friday. Enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dangerous Enchantment -

She sat by the brazier, wondering what she would do. Should they steal horses and try to escape? It was ludicrous. She had no idea where to catch a boat from that would take them to Burgundy and who on the roads would be their friends? Everyone would be afraid. Miserably she looked at the burning wood. Hearing a movement she turned. The lord stood in the doorway.
Quickly she left her chair, standing to face him, trying to stop her chin from tilting and her hands from going to her waist. She had to endeavor to stop her foot from tapping. She did not like the way he looked at her. He allowed his eyes to explore every part of her, from her bound head to her velvet slippers and delayed far too long on the way between them both. He stepped deeper into the room. She said nothing. He went to the adjacent chamber and looked inside. Seeing it empty he came back.
“Where is the boy?” he asked at last.
“I do not know,” she lied. Unsure of how vulnerable Richard was feeling, Kate did not want him to have to confront Caradoc just yet.
“You will no longer be served food here. You will come to table in the hall.”
“Will I?” she asked.
“You will. If you do not, then you can starve. It is nothing to me.”
“I am sure that would be very convenient for you — to have Richard and me starve to death. You would then be able to feel comfortable in your role here, happy in these lands without seeing Richard, who will be a daily reminder that you have stolen these from him.”
He smiled the smile that was not quite a smile. “I have stolen nothing, but if that is what you think, so be it, I care not for your opinion. I do not canvas your support or your favour. You are nothing to me. But while you are under my roof…”
“Your roof?” She could not stop the words.
“My roof, lady, and do not forget it. While you are my guest you will be treated as all other guests. You will dine in the hall, or you will not dine at all.”
“Your guests are whores and I do not treat with whores,” she said, matching his insolent gaze.
“Whores earn their keep. They are not parasites.”
“Are you calling me a parasite, sir?” she demanded, unable to stop her hands going to her waist, her elbows akimbo. She was unable either to stop her foot from tapping.
“I do not see you earning your keep…unless…” He strode across the room and before she could prevent him, he had moved to pull her hands from her waist and to fasten them behind her back. Slowly he bent her backwards and leaned over her. She could feel the intimate curves of his body pressing against her skirt. She moved, conscious of fear creeping up inside her. Her movement seemed to excite him; she felt the hardness more definitely. Somehow she dredged up her courage to meet his eyes. There was something in their gleam, something that was no longer cold, but a glint that told her of his intention to… She stopped moving.
“Do you rape as well as plunder?” she asked chillingly. For a moment he met her gaze, then, with a coarse word, he flung her to one side.
“Lady,” he spat, “you would not be worth my energy. I prefer my meat hot to cold.”
Then he turned on his heel and stormed out. Weakly Kate fell into her bed, the trembling began in her legs and soon her whole body was shaking. She had to be very careful in her treating with him. He was a dangerous adversary and she, she was beginning to learn, could be a fool.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seems we all have new releases coming out in October. I haven't bragged about my next full length novel lately but now seems as good a time as any. All the Right Moves is my first release with The Wild Rose Press Crimson line. It's smack full of on the edge of your seat suspense, humor and sizzling romance!

It will be offered as an ebook and in print!

Annie McCall finds a patient dead in her office, and now she's on the run for her life. Detective Marshall Thomas is willing to break the rules to protect the beautiful doctor, but who will protect her from him? It isn't long before the only danger Annie's facing is the sizzling heat between the sheets.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Christmas Bargain

The cover for my October release with Avalon Books. Isn't it pretty?
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Saxon Tapestry - Excerpt

A small cage had been constructed, just large enough for the boy to sit in. He could not stand or lay down, but twice a day he was taken out and exercised. Ivo had put a collar about the boy’s neck, and the duty guard would tie a length of rope to the collar and pull the boy about. It always caused a great deal of amusement, but Le Blond somehow could not enjoy the humiliation and left the scene.
Le Blond’s cheeks still bore the scars from the boy’s long nails, and he had ordered his nails to be cut. He didn’t think the guards would have cut the nails gently, but even he was unprepared for the swollen tips of the boy’s fingers as he swung the flaming torch down into the cage and the boy, startled by the sudden furious light, covered his face with his hands.
“I do not understand you,” Le Blond murmured, almost to himself. “You walk to no set pattern. You are either a sniveling coward that no man can respect, or a fool who dares my patience. You change moods as suddenly as a woman at her moon time. I don’t want to treat you like this, but you test me so!”
He poured a measure of wine into a goblet and thrust it through the bars. The swollen fingers seized the goblet, and for a moment he thought the lad was tempted to throw it back in his face, but it was cold and the wine would be warm and whatever else he was, the lad was no fool. He drank greedily, then pushed the goblet back through the bars. Le Blond refilled it with a faint chuckle.
“Come, Alfred, give in, be my companion. God alone knows there is no intelligent company to amuse me.”
“Never. You have no right; you are trespassing on my land.”
Le Blond crouched low on his haunches, peering into the cage at the boy. How thin about the face he had become; gone was that slightly cherubic, innocent roundness, and in its place was an unpleasant wolfish leanness. “I have won by right of battle. I am the victor and this…” He waved a hand. “…is the spoil. Why will you not accept the inevitable? I should put you to the sword, but if you do as I wish, then I will fight to have you pardoned. I swear it.”
“Pardoned from what, pray?”
“For being a Godwineson. You know that the king hates all Harold’s family, yet he lets his sons live. When time has softened his memory, he will pardon you too. I am sure of it. Be sensible, Alfred.”
“You must be uneasy in your ownership, Rolf Le Blond, to let me trouble you so.”
“Perhaps my heart is kind, or maybe looking at you as you look now, my head is soft from too many blows. Think over what I have said. You have until tomorrow to decide. Bend the knee to me; that is all I ask. Promise me you will cause no trouble or do things against us...”
“And if I refuse?”
“There is little point in prolonging your agony. You will be executed at dusk.”
Alfled handed back the goblet. She could feel the wine warming her belly; it stilled her chattering teeth and made her forget her stiff limbs.
“One thing,” she asked. “I am curious, were it my sister left, what fate was to have been hers?”
“She was to be sold into slavery.”
“You would have done that…sold my sister?”
“I cannot say, truly I cannot.”
“It is hardly fair what you ask. You do not offer me the chance to escape?”
“I dare not, boy. It could all fall on my head should you find an army of supporters.”
* * * *
At one time in the night when the temperature was so low she could hardly breathe without pain, when her limbs were so stiff she could not feel them, Alfled felt that death would be a wonderful fate. Le Blond would have her executed swiftly. She knew she would not be tortured to death; perhaps he would hang her, or have a dozen archers shoot their arrows into her body. Maybe he would have her beheaded, but whatever the method, it would be over quickly.
Then as the dawn came, and the hall and its environs came to life, as the cock crowed and the dogs barked, the horses neighed with pleasure and human voices could be heard on the sharp morning air, she knew she would not take a step that might just lead to total blackness.
Part of her believed what the priests had told her, and she could even visualize the great golden gates of Heaven, but so too did she hear her brothers scoffing about it and declaring that there was no such place because if there were, it would be more crowded than Friday night at a London whore shop. No, she was afraid to take the big step voluntarily into the next world. There just might not be a next world, and she was young…so very young.
“The seigneur would have your answer.”
One of the house servants who knew her identity had come to ask the question. He looked at her fearfully; shame for the sorry state she had found herself in caused his cheeks to burn vivid red. There was nothing he could do to protect or save her; he had failed in his duty to the house of Godwine. Alfled read all these things in his face.
“Tell him…tell him…” She began to tremble so violently, speech was impossible.
“For pity’s sake, lady, do as he says,” the man cried.
“Never call me ‘lady,’” she spat. “You fool. I will bow the knee, tell him I will—I swear.”
“Praise be to God,” the servant muttered as he returned to the hall.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Hallelujah Hugs ~ this is wonderful. Do watch!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summertime Eating

We're usually pretty healthy eaters here at Casa Leone. Lots of fruits, veggies and hardly any processed foods. We typically grow most of our own food, so it's all pesticide-free and lovingly tended.

This year, however, is somewhat different. We did not plant any gardens, so we're not surrounded by fresh produce. While the fruit trees and berry patches are doing well, they're not garnering much interest, either.

The thing that's gotten our attention? Ice cream. That's right, ice cream. You see, we've had a scorcher here in the northeast and while we're sweltering there just doesn't seem any more logical food to eat than ice cream.

We've had cones, sundaes, shakes, floats, pies, parfaits... you name it, if it has ice cream in it, we've probably given it a go! Not a bad diet, if I do say so myself. Not many pots and pans to wash, although there has been a shortage of clean spoons in the flatware drawer.

You know, I could get used to this. I do believe that if we lived in a hot place, like Florida, I might consider not even owning any kitchen items aside from ice cream dishes, scoops and, of course, spoons.

Yes, we're on an ice cream streak. What about you? Any foods have your attention during these hot, sultry months?

And, uh, if you're not using your spoons, feel free to send them our way!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today I am talking to Kaye Kelly, the New Zealand writer and Kaye
has given this little introduction to herself.

Kaye Kelly says she’s been an off and on writer for the past 17 years (Kaye confesses to having been more off than on at times) and still can’t shake the bug. She continues to head back to the computer on a daily basis even if she does sometimes spend more time gazing out the window than at the computer screen.

1) I think we can all relate to that – I am always drifting off into playing solitaire!
Kaye I know you live in the small town of Blenheim on South Island. I have been to New Zealand and found it breathtakingly beautiful; do you find the country inspiring?
Margaret, it’s hard not to find inspiration when I can look out my office window and see the Whangamoa Mountain range in the distance or a half hour drive takes me smack bang into the Marlborough Sounds. )

2) Wonderful I can well imagine how that can work for a writer. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

Even as a tiny kid I used to ‘hear’ a voice in my head telling me I should write a book. Snag was, I didn’t want to write a book and I ignored it thinking it would go away. Instead the thought just got stronger until I finally gave in and wrote a book. Yee ha! I thought as I finished the last page, it’s done! Now I can pack that annoying little monster of a thought off to bed. But as any writer will tell you, it’s nigh on impossible to write just one book and I’ve continued to write ever since.

3) You are published by Random House which is a major publisher, how did you manage to have our novel accepted? Did you use an agent or did you just “go for it”?

For me, trying to find an agent was like trying to find a gold nugget in a supermarket - I couldn’t. Though the price of meat does make me wonder if it’s packed on gold lined trays. So I fired off a book to Random NZ. Six weeks later I received a very nice letter from Harriet Allan at Random declining the novel, but suggesting revisions and saying she would love to see the book again once I’d done them. I did the revisions and Random took me on. And here I have to say what an amazing person Harriet is. Approachable, she’s wonderfully encouraging and if not for her dedication to helping new writers, I wouldn’t have been published.

4) That’s wonderful. So many writers send off novels and just get a blank rejection. Please tell us a little about your novels, Kaye

Both novels are set in the late 1800s on the South Island’s wildly beautiful West Coast. Cross the River to Home is the story of an impossible love between Mai, a part Chinese woman, and Henry, an English immigrant to New Zealand. Against a background of opposing familial ties, a brutal husband, and racial prejudice these two young people struggle to be together.
In a Secret Mind, Mai and Henry’s story carries on, but a new character, Libby Budd, is introduced. Plagued by violent seizures, strange visions and premonitions, Libby
fights a losing battle against her viciously cruel step-father’s plans to have her committed to a lunatic asylum.

Around six months after the first book was published, Harriet emailed me saying two German publishers were bidding for Cross the River to Home. Both books have now been published in hard cover by Der Club Bertelsmann and trade paperback by Random, Germany. You can read more about them on

5) Kaye, how interesting that the German publisher picked you up. It must be very satisfying to realize that your novels have an international flavour. Also I have to say both books are really good. You are wonderful at characterisation as well as story-telling.

Thank you It’s great! Interestingly, the day before I heard the good news about the German bids, I had a nasty fall as I was stepping out the front door (stone cold sober, honest!). So that put paid to the saying, “Pride comes before a fall” because in this instance it was the other way round.

6) That's so you, Kaye to see humour in what must have been painful.Many people want to write today, what advice would you give to any aspiring writer

Don’t give up your day job! Seriously, though, I would advise any new writer to join a local writers’ group if possible, and any other national writers’ association. Writing is all about networking, contacts, friends, critique and polishing, polishing, polishing your work! I can’t stress that enough. You have to learn to harden up and accept critique for what it is. Not an attempt by other cruel nasty writers to hurt your feelings, but a genuine desire to help you make your novel the very best it can be.

7) That is so true. What are you doing now – do you have a book cooking?

Yes, I’m working on a fantasy. A bit of a change from historical novels I grant you, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time and I’m having a ball. But true to my roots, at some stage, Daliah ( pronounced Dar –lee – ah, not Day – lee – ah as she testily informs the friendly neighbourhood vamp) the main character in MoonShroud will travel back in time to the 1800s.

8) Kaye what do you do when you are not writing?

Well, that’s an easy question. I spend a fair amount of time in my garden. And I read, read, and read some more. Though I do get off the backside and go for walks, and sometimes, instead of airing the clothes on the Ab-Track (a nasty machine you lie on then grab a handle attached to the sides and pull yourself up
and down in a vain attempt to flatten the abdomen) I do actually use it.

Oh my goodness, it sounds like some form of torture. Anyway, Kaye thank you for being my guest. It’s been wonderful chatting with you and good luck in the future.

Thanks for having me, Margaret. It’s great to be the Lark Journals Blogspot.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Welcome Caroline Clemmons

It's so exciting to have a guest blogger today. She is both an excellent writer and a new friend. So Ill let her tell you a little about herself and her new book.

As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.

My Hero and I live one a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Our two daughters are grown, and supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. I also love garage and estate sales, but have to ration myself—we only have so much room and I think we've filled our home until the walls are bulging. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion. I hope you'll share my stories with me.

Synopsis for OUT OF THE BLUE

Deirdre Dougherty has always been an outsider because of her clairvoyant visions and the fact she uses herbs to heal others. When the local potato crops rot in 1845, the people of her remote Irish village don’t realize the cause is a nation-wide blight. Villagers accuse Deirdre of witchcraft, and she flees for her life. Cut off from escape, she leaps off a cliff into the Atlantic and is propelled through time. She plops down 165 years later in Possum Kingdom Lake in North Central Texas beside the boat of Police Detective Brendan Hunter. He is the man from Deirdre’s visions, and he demands answers she can’t supply. Deirdre only knows that he’s in danger, and she senses an old vibe. Brendan wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details only his late partner knew? The beautiful psycho’s story must be a colossal fabrication. He wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. Together they must solve the riddle of Deirdre’s displacement, battle a drug scandal, and stay one step ahead of the enemy—without knowing friend from foe.

Monday, July 12, 2010

If you've ever done remodeling at your house then you can probably relate, and yes sympathize, with what we're going through right now. I had three contractors come out yesterday to look at what we want done and to give estimates. When the first one arrived, three minutes early, my daughter laughed and said, he's a keeper! (The one we had come out last week was supposed to be here at 9:00, at 2:00 he called and said he forgot.) The other two were almost as prompt, but none of them had the same things to say.

We're converting the garage into a room, taking down the garage doors and replacing it with a double set of french doors. A wall will also have to be added to box in the water heater and air conditioner unit. I'll do my own painting and the carpet will be installed last.

There is one outside wall that will need to be insulated, another that only half will need to be done. Two contractors said we needed insulation in that half wall, one said it was already insulated. One said we needed electrical outlets every 6 feet, another said every 8 feet. One mentioned the septic tank might not be big enough and of course I said, there isn't going to be a bathroom in the room. He said it didn't matter, it went by the size of the house. One contractor said he could do the job in one week, another said three days and the third said it would take him three weeks.

This morning when my daughter went to pick up the portable air conditioner unit I bought she asked for the spec sheets on the french doors we bought. She was told there aren't any because the doors aren't hurricane resistant. Now these are outside doors, why in the world would they (a big home builder supply place who will remain nameless) sell outside doors that aren't hurricane resistant, if the county requires it when you're building?

So now I might have to return them for something else because the first contractor said the inspector will require them to be hurricane proof. Or change my plans, which we do have another option.

Later today I will receive their bids. My daughter and I really liked contractor number one so I'm hoping I can work something out with him. Keep your fingers crossed that this project will only cost an arm, and not an arm and a leg:)

Friday, July 9, 2010


We were away from home for a time recently. While the house was clean when we left, we found the most amazing additions to the interior landscape when we returned.


Can you imagine? In the corners, high above the furniture as well as on lampshades and bookshelves, we had cobwebs. They were pretty, and fairly simple to remove but they were, without a doubt, a surprise.

Who would have thought a house could produce cobwebs in just a matter of weeks?

It's been suggested that I begin writing something--anything!--in the near future. I've been told it will "keep your mind occupied" and "make things seem more normal", all of which is probably true. Still, I hesitate.

You see, I haven't written anything in quite some time. I'm wondering if there might be--you guessed it!--cobwebs in my mind. If there are, I hope they'll be as easy to dispense with as the ones in the house were!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dog on a Diet

Okay he got chubby. It took him years to train us that he needed a biscuit after we ate. He required sustenance during car rides and the sounds of vacuuming made him irritable and, of course, hungry.

So are skinny little rescue got a bit portly and our Vet has him on a diet. Spencer is annoyed. He has been giving me dark-eyed looks all morning. I have tried to substitute rice cakes for cookies and mash the kibble with green beans but so far the only one losing weight is me. I burn lots of calories as I try to drag him out for a walk. And he is incredulous, "me exercise in this heat."

But I'm staying the course because I want my not so little sweet pee to be healthy. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Saxon Tapestry

Since coming back from beautiful Florida I have been very busy promoting A Saxon Tapestry. It just so happened that many things came together all at once. It wasn't that I was running around arranging things to happen like this, it's just that when an opportnity comes along for you to talk about your latest book, you grab it.

If you have missed my many posts you can read about me at the following, and if you like leave a comment.

Also if you would like to read a review of A Saxon Tapestry, this can be found at

I thought I would give you an example of this review - so here we go. Hope to be chatting with you more generally next week.

"The ingrigues, subterfuge, scheming and conflicts that keep Alfled on the estate make A Saxon Tapestry spellbinding. The twists and turns in the plot tantalize.

The story is filled with cruelty, jealousy and continual battles that Rolf is pulled back into, making lives dark with misery with ony rare times of light, carefree, normal living.

Margaret Blake's captivating style of writing takes your breath away at times. While she shows the horrors of war she also slips in a wonderful love story that reaffirms the resilience of people to overcome hardships and built a life with hope for the future." (Long and Short Reviews).

A Saxon Tapestry published by