Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mistletoe and Magick by Ruth A. Casie : Interview and Giveaway

1.     How did you come up with the idea for Mistletoe and Magick?
The story is a prequel to Knight of Runes. It is the story of Rebeka’s parents, how they met and fell in love.
2.     How long did it take you to write Mistletoe and Magick?
This is a short story which is very different than a full length novel. My anthology partners and I studied short story writing. After that it took me about 8 weeks to write the story.

3.     What was the most difficult aspect of writing Mistletoe and Magick?
Short stories are about 15,000 words. With that limited word count, you have space to write the main story. There is no room for secondary characters or subplots. My full length novels are rich with secondary characters and subplots making short story writing a challenge for me.

4.     How much research did you conduct for Mistletoe and Magick?
I really enjoy research. I always find something to add to my stories to add some realism. I spend about twenty-five percent of my time researching. In this story I researched the folklore around mistletoe and druid ceremonies.
5.     Why did you decide to write historical fantasy?
I’ve always been drawn to the past. I find it intriguing, enlightening, and oh so romantic. The brutality of the ancients’ raiding villages to capture wives, the sub servant treatment of women, and the custom of arranged marriages for property, monetary and political alliances are all historically noted. Put that against the code of chivalry and you get a great conflict.
Today’s courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry and it was the medieval area that saw the rise of romance in literature and stage productions. Even people who lived in the Middle Ages had their fantasies. I choose to build my stories on their interpretations.   
6.     What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantzer? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?
I proudly say, I am a linear plotzer! I start with page one and write sequentially. If a scene pops into my head I have learned to jot it down and tuck it away for later. I used to think I’d remember them but quickly learned I forgot more than I remembered.
I start with a story idea and then my characters. I do write out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I do a rough outline of the story to make certain I know where key points should go, more of a direction rather than a hard and fast roadmap. Sometimes the side trips I take are really worth it. Sometimes my characters actually amaze me with how they develop the story.  
7.     Do you use any techniques, tools, or aids to help you write?
While I research I pull out pictures of areas, things, and people, just about anything that can give me some inspiration. I also develop a playlist on my iPod as I go along. Sometimes I play the music for inspiration or help with a difficult section. I find it most difficult when I’m not in sync with my characters. If I’m not in their head, I can’t move the story forward. Getting into their music helps me along.
I know Jennifer Cruise uses collages. I’ve been tempted but haven’t tried that yet.
8.     Have you had any "ah ha" moments as a writer?
When I started to review my writing and could see the POV changes. I let out a loud whoop that brought my husband running. Head hopping? I can see it! He had no idea what I was talking about. He just shook his head and went back to his office.
The point is I got it. I realized that I see the story as a movie. There a multiple points of view in a movie. Once I really understood POV I found it a challenge to figure out ways to make the point of view work and I enjoyed writing more.
I also found that I can’t worry about POV when I write the first draft. I needed to get the story all down first. Once it’s written I go over the story for plot and pacing. Then I read it for POV. I love it when a plan comes together!
9.     What advice do you have for other writers?
•       First and foremost, keep writing. It’s like anything else, practice, practice, practice.
•       Read your genre and others for inspiration, understanding craft, and just the joy of a good story.
•       Learn all you can about your craft from multiple sources. No one person has the ‘the way’ for POV, showing vs telling, or any other craft issue. What works for one writer doesn’t always work for another.
•       Join a writing group. I belong to several RWA chapters. Some are geographical and others are special interest. When called upon, the members are eager to help. I’ve made deep friendships with all levels of authors around the world. Even when I’ve been heads down with edits or writing I’ve been able to stay connected.
•       Get a critique partner and help each other. Truthfully, I love to brainstorm an idea or scene. It really makes my creative juices flow.
•       Don’t take rejections too seriously. You’ll be among some of the greatest authors, Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), and James Joyce (Ulysses) to name just a few.  Rejects (actually I call them passes) are only one person’s opinion. Many times it’s not the story but rather they have no place in their lineup.     
Timeless Keepsakes:
A Collection of Christmas Stories

Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris,
Emma Kaye, Nicole S. Patrick, Julie Rowe

Genre: Historical, Contemporary, Time Travel,
Military, Medical Romances

Publisher: Timeless Scribes Publishing
Date of Publication: November 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-09910520-0-4

Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 65,000

Cover Artist: Alchemy Book Covers and Design

Book Description:

The magic of Christmas is in the memories we hold dear and those precious treasures that remind us of the past. Join us as our Timeless Keepsakes take us on five remarkable journeys that heal old wounds, remind us of days gone by, play matchmaker, sweep us back in time and prove that love can conquer all.
Mistletoe and Magick ~ Ruth A. Casie

She would give her last breath for him. He would give up everything to guard her well and love her more.

Excerpt Mistletoe and Magic:
Chapter One
Dead. Maximilian glared at the wilted mistletoe in disbelief. He poked and prodded the plant. It lay there tired and limp. He had cared for the sacred plant for a year. The Ancestors had trusted him to follow their orders. Find a wife—a soul mate. How difficult could it be? All he needed to do was visit the eligible women and choose one. He slammed his fist onto the rough oak table and bellowed his anger to the empty room. Dishes skidded and crashed to the floor. The lifeless shrub didn’t move. It didn’t change. It sat where he’d put it—robust and healthy—the night before. Now the crumpled brown leaves and withered white berries silently screamed his failure.
He could think of no reason why it hadn’t survived. He kept staring at the shriveled plant expecting—no, commanding—it to spring to life. It didn’t. He raked his hand through his hair. Everything he’d worked and trained for over the years was lost. He closed his eyes and traveled to that quiet place deep in his mind where he drew his inner strength. One deep breath, then another. His pounding heart took on a more natural rhythm. The reality of his situation hung on his shoulders like an oxen’s yoke.
“What’s happened? I heard a loud crash.” Doward rushed into the cottage and scanned the debris on the floor.
Max didn’t trust his voice. He shot the druid councilman a look and pointed to the plant on the table. He registered Doward’s unreadable expression and let out a quiet snort. Perhaps that was best. He was grateful his mentor didn’t show his disappointment. Doward, too, had warned him.
“One year.” Max tipped up his chin and struck a congenial tone. “I’ll wager no other Grand Master was forced to relinquish his position after only one year.” He turned away, not wanting to see his close friend’s disappointment.
“Well,” said Doward. “There was Elgon in the year sixty.”
Max’s head popped up. He hadn’t expected Doward to respond. The question had been rhetorical.
“You appear to have forgotten your elementary history lessons.” Doward stood shaking an old, crooked finger at him.
Max’s mouth opened and closed like a beached fish gasping for air. Only Doward had the nerve, the audacity, to reprimand him. Doward and the Ancestors. He couldn’t forget the Ancestors. They had the ultimate power over him.
“Yes, but the Roman invaders killed Elgon at Anglesey.” Max’s distraction was momentary. He leaned on the table and looked Doward in the eye. “They did not depose him because he couldn’t find his soul mate and give her the sacred mistletoe before it died.” He straightened, stepped to the cottage door, and stared out at the day but didn’t appreciate its sunshine or enjoy the invigorating coolness of the December morning. He turned to Doward. “It simply proves the council made the wrong choice.”
“Nonsense.” Doward picked up the stray crockery from the floor and set it back on the table. “The council did not make an error. You, my boy,” he strode over to Max and clapped him soundly on the back, “were by far the right choice.”
“It isn’t that I haven’t been searching for the woman.” He saw the compassion in Doward’s eyes. “Surely the Ancestors know I’ve done that.” Even he detected the pleading in his voice and groaned at his weakness.
“Yes, yes.” Doward waved his hand as if swatting a fly. “Every eligible woman in the village has gone under your scrutiny.”
“Every eligible woman in the village treated me kindly but none were interested in getting close.” He rubbed the nape of his neck. “Even when speaking simple pleasantries they avoided looking at me and stepped away.” He tried to conceal his frustration but his throat tightened and his voice rose the more he spoke of the women’s reactions.
“Perhaps you should have cast a wider net.” Doward’s tone had turned serious.
Max seethed, having to explain his actions to Doward. “You of all people should know there were more important things that needed to be done.”
“But I don’t think—”
“Yes, I know,” Max interrupted. “You don’t think the woman is someone I know or is even amongst the villagers.” He glanced at his teacher and softened his voice. “What was I to do? Go from village to village and give every available maiden the mistletoe and see if it thrived?”
“And now? What now?” asked Doward in a gentle tone.
Max turned from the door and sat next to the warm hearth. He rested his elbows on his knees and held his head in his hands as if he sought to overcome a night of too much drink. “I don’t know,” he whispered. He did know that while he found some of the women beautiful and even enticing, none was his soul mate.
“The ritual of Alban Arthan is tomorrow. You are the Grand Master.” Doward stood at Max’s shoulder. “It’s time for you to travel and meet with the Ancestors in the Otherworld. Only you can carry back their guidance and inspiration for the coming year. And you will have to tell them you haven’t found your mate.”
“I’m aware,” he snapped and regretted his outburst. “Yes,” he softened his tone. “I know what I must do.” Of course he did. He’d been responsible for the annual ritual for the past five years—four years when he was a high druid and this past year as the Grand Master. Every year was the same. Except last year, they’d presented him with the sacred mistletoe and charged him with finding his soul mate.
“I will go and gather what we need for our journey,” offered Doward. “We’ve delayed as long as we can. I’ve asked one of the families who set off yesterday to prepare our campsite. But we must leave today.”
Max lifted his head and flashed the man a weak smile. “Aye, you go on. I have a few more things to gather. I’ll join you shortly.”
Doward regarded him thoroughly. After a few seconds he squeezed Max’s shoulder. “We will get through this.” His mentor took his leave.
He glanced again at the shriveled plant. It had the power to heal everything but itself, it seemed. Doward was right, of course. He would get through this. But would he still be the Grand Master, or reduced to a druid councilman, a priest, or, worse—exiled? He had delayed in order to search his vast library to prepare himself for the consequences and realized he would have the distinction of being the only Grand Master to fail when tasked by the Ancestors. He shuddered inwardly at the idea of failure. It was something he had no practice in.
“Well.” He slapped his hands on his knees and rose. He must see this through. He doused the fire, grabbed his half-full pack, and filled it with provisions.

He picked up his warding stones. Perhaps the Ancestors would allow him to train his successor. His chest tightened at the thought. He held the warding stones over the opening of the pouch. But what if the Ancestors had been wrong? He threw the small bundle into his kit and stared at the plant. Somewhere deep inside, a different answer sought light. He turned the problem over in his mind until the solution finally burst through the haze. He smiled at its simplicity and truth. He would go to the Otherworld. Give the Ancestors the withered mistletoe. And tell them he passed their test. There was no soul mate for him.

About Ruth A. Casie:

Ruth started reading romance books while traveling the world for business. Traveling alone can be daunting but she found a book in hand could see her through long waits at the airport as well as being good company at dinner for one. For some of her longer treks, she pared down what she packed to make room for books. Her favorite genres are romance and adventure.

A seasoned professional with more than twenty-five years of writing experience in communications and marketing for a large financial institution, she gave way to her inner muse and began writing a series of historical fantasy romance novels. Ruth is published by Carina Press and Harlequin Books.

When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, New Jersey, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross-stitch. Together with her husband, Paul, they enjoy ballroom dancing and going to the theater. Ruth and Paul have three grown children and two grandchildren. They all thrive on spending time together. It’s certainly a lively dinner table and they wouldn’t change it for the world.

You can read more about Ruth online at , on Twitter at, or on Facebook at  

Christmas Spirits ~ Lita Harris

A widow's everlasting love is renewed by the memories of the holiday season.

About Lita Harris:

Lita Harris spends her time between New Jersey and the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania, where she writes most of her books. She also lived in Alaska for a short time just for fun. An avid crafter, unused supplies clutter her basement and attempts at making pottery, jewelry, and stained glass are proudly displayed in her house, usually behind a picture or holding a door open. She also makes candles and homemade soap. With enough books to stock a small library she may need to construct a building to store her literary obsessions.

She writes in multiple genres, including women’s fiction, contemporary romance, paranormal, and cozy mysteries. For more information about Lita, please visit her website at or at and

Granting Her Wish ~ Emma Kaye

She doesn't belong in his time and he doesn't belong back home. Could they belong to each other?

About Emma Kaye:

Emma Kaye is married to her high school sweetheart and has two beautiful kids that she spends an insane amount of time driving around central New Jersey. Before ballet classes and tennis entered her life, she decided to try writing one of those romances she loved to read and discovered a new passion. She has been writing ever since. Add in a playful puppy and an extremely patient cat and she’s living her own happily ever after while making her characters work hard to reach theirs.

For more information on Emma, please visit her online at, on Facebook at, or on Twitter at

Letter from St. Nick ~ Nicole S. Patrick

She’s trying to save her home and he’s never had one until now. Can an unexpected gift lead their hearts to the same place?

About Nicole S. Patrick:

Nicole S. Patrick has always loved to read, and in her teenage years, she “borrowed” her mom’s books to sneak away and become lost in the world of romance. After more than ten years in the corporate world of tech recruiting and HR management, she decided to stay home and raise children. But with so many romantic stories and characters floating around in her head, when the kids napped, she was compelled to put those words on a page and pursue this crazy dream of becoming published. Nicole writes romantic suspense and her heroes are those alpha males in uniform. She lives in New Jersey with her real-life hero, her husband, and her two sons.

For more information about Nicole, please visit her website at

Secret Santa ~ Julie Rowe

A nurse grieving the death of her twin brother receives an usual gift at the staff secret Santa party: the bullet that killed him along with a message of hope and love.

About Julie Rowe:

Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!” In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has a short story in The Mammoth Book of ER Romance (September 2013). Her book Saving the Rifleman (book one of the War Girls series) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest (Canada), Canadian Living, and Romantic Times Magazine.

For more information about Julie, please visit her online at, on Twitter @julieroweauthor, or at her Facebook page:

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November 11 Group Day Focus on Entire Anthology

November 11 Spotlight
Beverly @ The Wormhole

November 11 Spotlight
Musings and Ramblings   

November 11 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

November 11 Spotlight
The Simple Things in Life

November 11 Spotlight
Fang-tastic Books

November 11 Spotlight 
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

Nov 12 and 19 Mistletoe and Magick ~ Ruth A. Casie

November 12 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

November 12 Spotlight (review later)
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

November 19 review
Beverly @ The Wormhole

November 19 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

Nov 13 and 20 Christmas Spirits ~ Lita Harris

November 13 Spotlight
Roxanne’s Realm

November 13 Spotlight (review later)
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

November 20 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair  

November 20 Spotlight
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Nov 14 and 21 Granting Her Wish ~ Emma Kaye

November 14 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

November 14 review
Beverly @ The Wormhole

November 21 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

November 21 Spotlight (review later)
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

Nov 15 and 22 Letter from St. Nick ~ Nicole S. Patrick

November 15 Spotlight (review later)
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

November 15 Review
My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

November 22 review
Beverly @ The Wormhole

November 22 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

Nov 18 and 25 Secret Santa ~ Julie Rowe

November 18 Guest Blog 
The Divas of Desire

November 18 review
Beverly @ The Wormhole

November 25 Spotlight
Reviewing in Chaos

November 25 Spotlight (review later)
Adrienne Woods books and reviews

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