Monday, August 13, 2012

Lindsay Townsend, Midsummer Maid

Author name: Lindsay Townsend
Book Title: Midsummer Maid
Publisher: Muse it Up Publishing

Please tell us about yourself with the following favorites:
Food? Tomatoes, soft cheeses, bananas, dates, pasta.
Drink (non-alcoholic)? Cranberry juice. Ginger beer.
Flower? Roses, marigolds, lilies.
Day of the week? Friday.
Time of day to write? Mornings.
Place to write? Anywhere but usually at my computer in the study.
Season? All of them. To me they all have their delights.
Holiday?  Christmas and Easter.
Color? All of them, especially pink.
Animal?  All of them, apart from slugs.
Hobby? Reading, listening to music. Walking.
Sport? Watching sport, yes. Playing it, I’m not good at sport. I quite like swimming.
Song? Ode to Joy.
TV show? Lie to Me.
Movie? LA Confidential.
Book? I can’t choose! There are so many wonderful books!
Author? Again, I love so many.
Word? Love.
Quote?  ‘I used to be Snow White but I drifted.’ (Mae West)

Now some easy one-word answers:
Coffee or tea? Tea.
Veggies or fruit? Fruit.
Cat or dog? Cat one week, dog the next.
Plot or not? Plot.
Desktop or laptop? Desktop.
Pencil or pen?  Pen.
Rain or sun? Rain at night, sun in day.
Mountains or ocean? Both.
Plane or train? Train.
Car or motorcycle? Car.
Run or walk? Walk.
Casual or dressy? Casual.
Indoors or outdoors? Both.
Reading: EBook or paperback? Both.
Reading: Short story or novels? Novels.
Theater or rental?  Rental.
Vampire or shifter? Shifter.
Horror or romance? Romance.

Tell us about your new/latest release:

Title: Midsummer Maid.
Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb: He is a woodsman, a forester, a good man but cursed with the mark of the devil on his face and shunned by many.

She is a dairy-maid, caring and brave, who feared no one.

Drawn to each other on a long and fateful Midsummer Day, can Haakon and Clare overcome the superstitions of their village and the brutal, lecherous knights to break out of their bonds of class and custom and to strive for a better life – together?

"My lady." To her surprise and secret delight, he strode to her and knelt at her feet. Now he looked up and a quiver of laughter furred his deep voice. "It will be my pleasure."
            Clare bit her lip, aware that at this moment, birthmark or no, every maid in the village envied her. Impulsively, she brushed his broad shoulders with the oxlips she carried. "A lady's blessing," she said aloud and knew she had done right when she heard a sigh from the older matrons. She tucked a bloom behind his right ear, realizing that his color was suddenly more than the devil's mark: he was blushing.
            At once she felt her own cheeks begin to burn. Had she been too bold?
            "Thank you," he said softly and lifted her straight off her feet into his arms, sweeping her into the carrying chair an instant later. Clare closed her eyes at the giddy speed, feeling like a tumbling swift but also very safe, and then was sorry again once his warm, strong hands had left her.
            He bowed and turned to Father Peter. "I shall walk with you, father."
            "That is as it should be," the priest began. A loud cry made him break off, and the priest frowned at the vulgar interruption.
            Squire Edwin and a group of young men-at-arms rode into the churchyard, whooping and yelling. One, a lusty youth with a thatch of badly-cut hair, lunged at one of the village girls, tearing at her headdress, but Edwin rode at Clare.
            "Fetch me the little nut-brown dairy maid!" the young man bawled, spurring his horse closer.  "She will do well for our revels!"
            Clare stood, her heart pounding, ready to scold the brutes roundly, to shame and scald them with her tongue. What else could she and a few unarmed villagers do against trained men on horseback?
            But Haakon was already before her, a living shield between Clare and the surging mass of riders. "Stop!" he shouted, throwing his arms wide. "Would you defile a holy place and a holy day? This is the eve of the festival of Saint John, and this maiden is his!"
            Still Edwin plunged on, intent, it seemed, on riding him down, but Haakon seized the reins with one hand and with the other grabbed the squire. Bracing himself against the wheeling horse, he yanked Edwin out of his saddle and pitched him face down into the dust.
            "Off with you!" he roared at the others, planting his booted foot into the middle of Edwin's back. Then he whispered softly to the whickering horse, holding the beast steady until it snorted, and pranced, and began to calm.
            Down in the dirt at his feet, the squire cursed in Norman French and writhed like an adder, but he could not throw him off.
            "I…will…have you!" He panted, trying to sneer, though he was pallid and wide-eyed with fear.
            "Not today," replied Haakon, keeping his boot resting firmly on his captive, "and you shall not take any maid here for your wenching."
            Clare felt a sickening chill as he spoke. If Edwin had seized her, she knew, he and all his companions would certainly have "enjoyed" her. She had encountered him before, in the castle bailey: a lanky, pox-marked youth with slimey, too-eager eyes and a thin slash of a mouth.
            They might have killed me with their wenching!
            "Peasants!" Edwin tried to lift his head, clearly incensed that none of his companions had stirred to help him. "Dirt-shifters!"
            "We are all dust," Haakon agreed, "and equal before the saints with you." He must have pressed harder with his foot, for Edwin's sweating, sallow face smacked into the dirt again, and his sneering mouth was stopped with earth.
            The other squires fled, Clare realized, and she told Haakon so. "But they may return," she warned, "and with more of their kind."
            "Let them." Haakon gave Edwin a final shove with his foot, pushing him aside, released the horse and walked to the poles of her carrying chair. "As for others, none of those fancy knights-to-be will want to admit they were bested by a woodsman."
            As he passed her again, Haakon winked at her with a sparkling green-blue eye, and Clare felt warmed by it. She heard the murmuring of the villagers but as if at a distance. In that moment, it was as though only she and Haakon were present in the world—like Adam and Eve, before their fall from grace, she thought, and then was startled by her own feeling.

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