Welcome to my home on the web. You may have noted the mountains in the banner are the misty Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Did you know time traveling Highlanders live there? Read about them in the Highland Gardens series. Curious about the big cat? Florida panther~from the Crimson Storm paranormal novel, Sea Panther.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Viking Encampment at a Celtic Festival and Highland Gathering? Hrafnvik Herlith

This past weekend was the 36th Southern Maryland Celtic Festival and Highland Gathering at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum on the Patuxent River.

Preparing Camp

Since my husband has been working with the Longship Company to get the Viking longship, Sae Hrafn (Sea Raven), ready for the season, we volunteered to help out at the Hrafnvik Herlith encampment.

Wrapping the wool
after spinning.

Hrafnvik Herlith is a living history group specializing in 800-1066 Norse culture and is a subgroup of the Longship Company who operates two reproduction Viking ships in Southern Maryland--the 20ft Grylfalcon and 40ft Sae Hrafn.

Gyrlfalcon - 20ft faring boat based on
the Gokstrad faring burial ship. 

Why a Viking encampment at a Celtic festival? The Viking age in Ireland lasted for nearly two centuries. It began with raids on Irish monasteries and ended with the Norse melding into Irish culture. Viking settlers also colonised parts of Scotland.

Is that a wolf skin on your shoulder?

Traveling blacksmith
mending helmets.


Ready for battle.

Next Year's Southern MD Celtic Festival and Highland Gathering: April 25th, 2015
Sponsored by The Celtic Society of Southern Maryland

Looking for a romantic read for the period? Consider Renee Vincent's The Emerald Isle Trilogy -- Raeliksen, Mac Liam, and The Fall of Rain.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fantastic Forty Interview at Jane Wakely's Blog

I'm visiting Jane Wakely's blog today with answers to the Fantastic Forty. A fast paced interview. Stop by if you have a free moment. While there, be sure to check out Jane's Chestnut Rock Shifters series.

~Dawn Marie

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review, Interview & Giveaway w/ Sea Panther at The Reading Cafe

A nice review of Sea Panther at The Reading Cafe. Thank you, Erin! I've been interviewed. Thank you, Barb! And there is a giveaway for an e-copy of Sea Panther going on through May 1st. Stop by if you have a spare moment.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday (#SPeekSunday): Sea Panther

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday. Kimberly has gone to the address mentioned in an ad for a crew position on the 90-ft yacht—Sea Panther...

E-book available from Amazon,
Amazon UK
  SmashwordsAppleand Barnes&Noble.
Trade paperback available
at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
The sign over the door hung from one hook. There were two, fifty-dollar pickups parked in the gravel lot. Not exactly encouraging.

A chill breeze tickled her cheeks, and she shoved her hands into deep coat pockets. The sun sat high in the cloudless sky. If there was a better time to get this over with, she didn’t know it. The last thing she wanted was to be here after dark.

Kimberly stiffened her spine and marched to the door, the crunch of frozen gravel overloud, then pulled the index card out of the pocket and stared at the masculine penned block letters. Rusty Scupper.

This is the place. Layers of chipped black paint and battered hinges. Looked as if the door had been kicked in dozens of times. The owner of the B&B had hinted this section of town had a seedy reputation. Guess he got that right.

Maybe it would be better not—

Get a grip, Kimberly. You can do this. She grabbed the grimy knob and twisted.

Thanks for stopping by!

For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below.

Click here
to join in the fun
and hop along
with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday. As a follow up to last weeks excerpt: although early December, Kimberly has gone to the beach to watch the sunrise and surfers...

E-book available from Amazon,
Amazon UK
  SmashwordsAppleand Barnes&Noble.
Trade paperback available
at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
Watching the sunrise had been a soothing distraction, but it was time to head back. She strolled across the street to the Victorian B&B and the hot breakfast hopefully waiting. After slipping into the foyer, she hurried past the noisy dining room and ran up the stairs to drop off the blanket and coat. With most of the guests already downstairs, the empty hall seemed too quiet.

Kimberly slid the card key into the slot, opened the door and—froze.

The curtains performed a macabre dance, billowing in the breeze from the open sliding glass door.

No! God, no.

Denial screamed in her mind, turning to fear as her gaze frantically darted around the room. Closet doors hung ajar. Drawers from the dresser sat on the floor in disarray. Clothing lay scattered on every surface.

She stumbled back and ran along the hall and down the stairs. The rapid pounding of her heart made her stomach churn. Panting, she rushed through the parlor to the office.

Thanks for stopping by!

For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below.

Click here
to join in the fun
and hop along
with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Friday, April 18, 2014

Visiting Two Blogs w/ Sea Panther Giveaways

Busy day...

Sea Panther is in the spotlight at Books a la Mode. Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to snag a print copy and a beaded book thong with a handsome sterling silver Florida panther charm created by Nicole Laverdure (US only).

I'm visiting with Nancy Lee Badger at Where Happily Ever After Takes the Road Less Traveled, where I'm talking about what sailing has to do with Sea Panther. Stop by for a chance on a gift e-book copy.

~Dawn Marie

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why I Write What I Do

My friend, Ashley York, author of The Bruised Thistle, asked me to participate in a blog tour about our writing processes. Perhaps you might enjoy learning a wee about why I write what I do.

What am I working on?

My current work-in-process is Just Wait For Me, the third novel in the Highland Gardens series of Scottish historical time travel romances spiced with scheming faeries, mischievous brownies, and other fae creatures. The story begins as King James IV dies during the Battle of Flodden. The hero is the ever loyal Stephen MacEwen, cousin to the MacLachlans, who we met in the first two books. He's been a bit glum and lost emotionally since Patrick (Book 1) left Scotland.

Wounded during the battle, he is whisked away by the fae before the English can kill him, for they have other plans for the blond warrior. We met the heroine, Jillian O'Donnell, at the end of the first book, Just Beyond the Garden Gate, and she played a minor, secondary role in the second book, Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. She's suffering from unrequited love, and joins her brother on a bicycling vacation to get away from all the happy-happy between Finn and Elspeth (Book 2).

She ends up falling through time and becomes a fae target for a matchmaking scheme. After meeting Jillian, Stephen regrets making a rash decision to handfast with a lass he barely remembers before leaving to fight for his king. How can he not fall in love with Jillian—a woman from the future? I hope readers will have fun untangling the web of deceit weaved by the fae.

Blurb for Just Wait For Me:
In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a bargain with a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises that if the lass will help him get home, he'll find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that a promise he'll want to keep? And after spending time with Stephen, will Jillian O'Donnell want to go?

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My books tend to bend traditional genre lines. The Highland Gardens series combines Scottish historical, time travel and fantasy elements. Magic is weaved throughout. My new Crimson Storm paranormal series blends vampires, shifters, Scottish history, and timetravel with voodoo magic. My goal is to build a world where a reader believes anything is possible.

Why do I write what I do?

I've always had a vivid imagination. As a child I had an imaginary playmate named Michael. I can't help making up stories in my head. During the midst of a corporate career, while traveling 80% of the time, I made up stories about people in airports and hotel lobbies. It was inevitable that I would start writing novels. Since all things Scottish fascinate me, inspire me—the people, the land—my books have a heavy Scottish influence. Fantasy art has inspired me to incorporate elements of magic. The TV series Dark Shadows is probably the root of my paranormal influence. Most important, though, I'm inspired by romance. Why wouldn't I want to write about lovers overcoming all obstacles to find a happily-ever-after?

How does my writing process work?

The process for writing each story is different, but all begin with the seed of an idea—perhaps a character, a setting, or a plot thread. I might start writing and research along the way or begin with research and move on to the writing. I start with a rough outline and use a storyboard to expand on the plot as I write. After a very rough draft is written, I go back and layer in more detail. The story gets passed off to critique partners then I edit, edit, and edit, before sending the manuscript to a professional editor for two passes.

Hope you enjoyed learning about my writing process.

Sea Panther is my newest release:

After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

For another fascinating glimpse into an author's writing process, visit Cate Parke and the Tuesday's Child blog. Cate is one of my fabulous critique partners and author of the Dreams of Oakhurst series set in pre-Revolutionary War, Charleston, South Carolina.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday (#SPeekSunday): Sea Panther

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday. Kimberly can't stop thinking about the stranger who'd approached her on the street...

E-book available from Amazon,
Amazon UK
  SmashwordsAppleand Barnes&Noble.
Trade paperback available
at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
Neptune was throwing a temper tantrum, and the early morning light enhanced the display from where she sat on a blanket in the sand. The sea had always drawn Kimberly, especially when at its fiercest. Her father used to joke that she’d been washed up on shore—the long-lost daughter of the sea god.

She tried to ignore the familiar tug in her chest.

Another white-capped wave crashed on the beach, thundering in her ears. She covered them with the tartan scarf to muffle the sound. The wool smelled of male musk, coffee, and cinnamon.

The scent of the man who’d returned the scarf.

A thrill caught her unaware. Something about him had connected with her on a unique level. Silly, really, she’d never see the man again. Shrugging off the tingling chills, she snuggled deeper into the warmth of her coat and returned the wave of a wetsuit-clad surfer.

He grabbed his board and plunged into the churning sea. The guy must be crazy to brave the water on such a cold morning. Moments later, he became a silhouette against the pink and gold colors of the sunrise as he rode a curl to shore.

Thanks for stopping by!

For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below.

Click here
to join in the fun
and hop along
with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Celtic Rose: The Scottish History Behind Sea Panther

Hope you're having a terrific Thursday! I'm a guest at The Celtic Rose today, where I'm discussing  the Scottish history behind my paranormal novel, Sea Panther. Stop by if you have a free moment. Click here to hop on over.

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Golden Claddagh Contest: Deadline May 10th


Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh!

We have four categories for unpublished authors and published authors with unpublished  manuscripts.
* Historical
* Fantasy-Futuristic-Paranormal
* Contemporary
* Young Adult/New Adult
Our contest due date is May 10th. Finalists will be notified by June 15th and winners notified by August 1st–Winners will be announced at the CHRW Annual General Meeting at RWA National Convention in San Antonio, TX in July 2014.
The competition is open to RWA members ONLY.
Manuscripts must be unpublished and un-contracted in any form, including self-publishing. The manuscript rights must belong to the author and be available to contract, should a final judge wish to offer publication.
The GC entry must be a full-length novel (more than 40K). Novellas or Short stories will not be accepted.
Manuscripts must be completed by the time results are returned. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline.
If your manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (dates will be specified) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.
Please Note:
  • Previously entered manuscripts may be entered again, but no previous winningmanuscript shall be re-entered, even if revised.
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category. *Entry fee per entry: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
CHRW reserves the right to discard all electronic entries and return fees if a minimum number of three (3) entries are not received in any category. Entrants will be contacted before the entries are returned and given the option to place their entry in another category if it is eligible. We may also refuse an entry that does not follow the rules stated here in the guidelines.
All Payments are Electronic through PayPal. The easy link is here:
If you wish to go directly to PayPal, please use Paypal address: treasurer@celtichearts.org
Entry fee: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
All entries will be read and scored for the first round by two trained judges and one published author, and the lowest score dropped. The three entries with the highest total scores in each category will move to the final round. An editor/agent will judge the final round and select a winner from the finalists in each category.
Future, Fantasy & Paranormal: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).
Contemporary: Includes, single title, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
Historical: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location. Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.
Young Adult/New Adult:  Romance novels in which young adult or new adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. *Romance subplot not required*
Entry Composition: No Synopsis required! Your entry must have the following:
1.     An email “cover page” which includes the author’s real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category, manuscript word count and PayPal confirmation # should be submitted in text of the e-mail. Do not include the cover page in the same attachment as your manuscript.
2.     The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed thirty (30) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed:
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced in a standard font and size 12-point.
  • The TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right side of the entry.
  • We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
3. Manuscript must be in a .doc or .rtf file format.
NOTE: Your entry must not exceed thirty (30) pages total.
Contemporary Category - contempcat@celtichearts.org
FFP Category - ffpcat@celtichearts.org
Historical Category - historicalcat@celtichearts.org
Young Adult/New Adult Category - yacat@celtichearts.org
Final Round Judges
Angela James - Carina Press
Kerry Buckley - Carina Press
Laurie McLean - Forward Literary, Inc
Beth Miller - Writers House
Leis Pederson - Berkley Publishing
Julie Mianecki - Penguin Books
Alissa Davis - Carina Press
Elizabeth Bistrow - Penguin Books
Young Adult/New Adult
Nicole Fischer - Avon Press
The FIRST PLACE winners in each category will receive a $50 dollar cash prize and a commemorative pin.
The SECOND and THIRD PLACE winners in each category will receive free workshops through Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

For questions please contact the contest chair, Alisa Walker at: contests@celtichearts.org

Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview and #Giveaway at Heart of Romance


Happy Monday! I'm visiting with Sarah Hoss, author of Dreams of the Highlander, today at her blog: Heart of Romance. Interview and Giveaway. I'm gifting an e-book copy of Sea Panther to a lucky commenter. Stop by if you have a free moment. Click here to hop on over.

~Dawn Marie

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday (#SPeekSunday): Sea Panther

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday. If you've stopped by for the Spring Fling Blog Hop, you can click here. But I hope you'll check out the Sneak Peek below first.

Robert's reaction to meeting Kimberly...

E-book available from Amazon,
Amazon UK
  SmashwordsAppleand Barnes&Noble.
Trade paperback available
at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
The simple act of returning the woman’s scarf had taken a dangerous turn when their fingers touched. Robert managed to control the vampire by sheer will alone. Nonetheless, the power surge coursing through his veins from the brief contact with the lass awakened the panther. He barely made it to the tall grass on the outskirts of town before being claimed by the transformation.

He chose not to fight the change. He welcomed it with every fiber of his being.

Heart raced. Blood throbbed at his temples and a tortured curse escaped his lips. He discarded his garments and clenched his teeth. Muscles ripped and tendons snapped and bones distorted to conform to the panther’s shape. Coarse golden fur tipped with a reddish tinge rippled over bare skin, making him quiver with urgency.

Nostrils flared, he sniffed the salty breeze. There would be precious few moments for his pleasure before the beast seized complete control.

He darted through the salt marsh, paws sinking into moist earth. His growl sounded out a soul-wrenching lament on the injustice of his life. Robert couldn’t shake the feminine image of the tall graceful woman with brown curls and haunted chocolate eyes. The desire to mate shook him to the core.

Far from the trappings of civilization, he slowed to a rhythmic lope. He hoped no one found the tracks. The headlines would be sensational.

Thanks for stopping by!

For more Sneak Peek fun, check out the other participating authors by clicking the link below.

Click here
to join in the fun
and hop along
with Sneak Peek Sunday.

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Fling Blog Hop and #Giveaway

It's that time of year. Spring is in the air. Much needed after such an intense winter.

For me and my husband, we're longing to head to the mountains and go hiking. Our favorite haunt of late is Shenandoah National Park. We enjoy hiking to some of the many waterfalls and love checking out the wildflowers along the way.

What is your favorite springtime activity?

Sea Panther Giveaway

In celebration of spring and my recently released paranormal romance, I'm giving away one of the cute Sea Panther key chains created by Nicole Laverdure. The little Florida panther charm is sterling silver. Isn't he handsome? Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the Sea Panther giveaway then scroll down and enter the Grand Prize giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Hop Grand Prize Giveaway
$70.00 Gift Card

a Rafflecopter

For more fun and prizes, hop along to the other participants blogs:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NOR Spring Fling Scavenger Hunt

Find great authors and books in the

STARTING APR 1, 2014 - ENDING MAY 15, 2014

Fill in missing word(s) from book blurbs
for chances to win author created gift baskets.
Sounds like fun. Right?

I'm giving away a Coffee and Highlanders Gift Basket:
 Autographed copy of Book 1 in the Highland Gardens series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate, a special Herself coffee mug, specialty coffee, and yummy chocolates. (USA Shipping Only)

~Dawn Marie