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.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Five Favorite Books From My 2017 Reading List

I enjoy writing stories, but I love to read. So I thought it would be fun to start a new blogging tradition with a year-end post about the five books I enjoyed reading most during the year. Since I started this writing journey, the number of books per year has lessened considerably, which makes each read that much more special.
This year, I read books from several different categories: romance, of course, from sweet to steamy, historical fiction, and literary fiction. Here are the books I enjoyed most...

Rough & Tumble by Rhenna Morgan


Live hard, f*ck harder and make their own rules. Those are the cornerstones the six Men of Haven bleed by: taking what they want, always watching each other's backs, and loving the women they claim with unyielding tenderness and fierce passion.
A self-made man with his fingers in a variety of successful businesses, Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge. From the start, he sees Vivienne Moore's hidden wild side and knows she's his perfect match, if only he can break it free. Earning this woman's trust is a task unlike any he's faced so far, but Jace didn't get where he is by giving up.

Vivienne's determined to ditch the rough lifestyle she grew up in, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she's built for herself as fast as humanly possible. But Viv's plans are derailed when she meets the club's seriously sexy owner.

Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to see that he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He can walk society's walk and talk society's talk, but when he wants something, he finds a way to get it. He's proud of who he is and where he came from, and he'll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in his arms.

Find Rough & Tumble at Amazon.

Skin Deep by Marissa Doyle

After a painful divorce, Garland Durrell looks forward to settling into her home on Cape Cod to make the quilts that are her passion. On the first morning of her new life she finds a man and a small boy washed up on the beach, both badly wounded. Since the town chief of police is strangely reluctant to help, Garland takes on the care of the mysterious pair who don't seem to remember what happened to them--and feels her own heart begin to heal.

Alasdair does remember. He and his son Conn are the last of the ruling family of selkies from the waters around the Cape, locked in a decades-long struggle with an evil that threatens all, selkie and human. He’s not sure if he can trust the lovely, blue-eyed woman who takes them in until he touches one of her quilts and feels the magic she’s sewn into it...and the emotions that he never thought he’d feel again.

But the evil entity that stole Alasdair’s sealskin and left him for dead quickly senses both his presence and Garland’s magic, and is determined to destroy one and possess the other. Only Garland and her quilts, made with a power she barely believes she has, can save them all from destruction—if she can avoid being destroyed first.

Find Skin Deep at Amazon.

Camino Island by John Grisham

A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.

Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.

But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.

Find Camino Island at Amazon.

The Highlander's Crusader Bride by Cathy & DD MacRae

Born in the Holy Land only a few years after the Third Crusade, half-Armenian, half-Scot Arbela MacLean is a true daughter of the desert, beautiful and untamed. Trained to be a warrior to avoid her gentle mother’s fate, Arbela has honed her skills with Turkish bow and arrow, sword and throwing darts—and dreads the day her father choses a man for her to marry.

After more than thirty years in the Holy Land, Donal MacLean, Baron of Batroun, is recalled to Scotland, the last son available to take up leadership of clan MacLean. He brings with him knights, treasure, trade—and a daughter of marriageable age.
Caelen MacKern, known as the Bull of the Highlands, is cynical about women. His first marriage formed an alliance, and he did not grieve when his spoiled, immature bride passed away. He has agreed to marry again—against his better judgement—for the men, means and coin to recover from a devastating pestilence that all but wiped out his clan.

Though more than a little resentful at finding himself forced to remarry, Caelen’s proposal to Donal MacLean’s headstrong daughter nevertheless piques her interest. Each will receive what they want most from life—the ability to live as they please without interference from a meddling spouse. But their marriage of indifference will soon change to one of passion that neither Arbela nor Caelen could have predicted.

Find The Highlander's Crusader Bride at Amazon.

Alex Campbell by Cate Parke

Alex Campbell is a physician, the youngest pediatric oncologist anywhere. She’s brilliant and driven to succeed. Work fulfills her—until she meets Richard Wales and he becomes the dream she believed might never come true.

Richard Wales is the spare, not the heir, with a Navy career to develop. But when he meets Alex Campbell in Heatherton’s bookshop, he discovers he must defy far more than social convention—or risk losing the only woman who ever mattered.

Find Alex Campbell at Amazon.

Wishing you a magical 2018!

~Dawn Marie

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy First Day of Winter, Winter Solstice 2017 & Excerpt from Twelvetide by Dawn Marie Hamilton

The Winter Solstice is the day during the year with the fewest hours of sunlight. In 2017, in the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs on December 21 at 11:28 AM EST.

There are many myths about the Winter Solstice and its importance to ancient cultures, especially to the Druids. In the Enchanted Highlands stories, we used one of these myths to weave a collection of three time travel romance tales.

From the Enchanted Highlands comes the first of three tales of time travel romance intertwined with the magic of the season and forever love—Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic.

Excerpt From Chapter Four...


“What do you seek?”

The sensation of one’s heart plummeting to the bottom of one’s stomach caused Ashley to spin around, hand clutched over her chest. Psshh. She released a sharp breath. It was only the woman she’d met in the garden as a child. The one who’d looked like the tour guide, yet not. The one who claimed to be a light-bearer. The one who went by the name Aileen.

Though it seemed foolish even to Ashley, she felt compelled to answer the woman’s question. “My destiny.”

“Tall order. Do you ken where that may lead?”

“If I knew, would I be standing here hours before the solstice, in the freezing rain, trying to find a ghost that may or may not exist?”

Too antsy, Ashley hadn’t been able to wait until the morning solstice. Instead of walking to the manor house for dinner, she’d taken a lantern from the cottage and cut across the car park. With fumbling hands, she’d used the key Cael gave her years ago to gain entrance to the locked ancient garden. Not a key to his heart—a key to the garden. The gate had probably been thusly secured since she’d sneaked in as a child.

Not moments after entering the garden, sleety rain began. Omen?

“Probably not.” Aileen rubbed her chin. “Then again…” The woman frowned. “I’m afraid the veil is rather thick this year. So few believers.”

“Believers? What do you mean?”

“Those who embrace magic.”

“What does magic have to do with Cael?”

“Ah, so it’s Caelan you seek. He is braw, is he not?”

Ashley had dreamed of Cael since the age of seven. First as a playmate, then as a co-conspirator, and more recently as a lover. If memory—and dreams—served, he was hot, sexy, and to live for. Long blond hair framed emerald eyes, gorgeous hair tumbled over broad shoulders. Tall. At least, he’d towered over the child she’d been. He stood tall in her fantasies. Her nipples hardened in response to the recollection of the last steamy dream featuring Cael as hero.

“You must believe in magic, in all its forms, to save Caelan from an undeserved fate within the in-between.”

She snapped attention back to Aileen. “Tell me what I must do.”

“Do you believe? Truly believe?”

“In magic? I think I do.”

“Your heart, your soul, your mind must be dedicated. Especially your heart.”

She’d lost her heart to Cael a long time ago. She’d do whatever it took to find him and learn what he meant when he claimed to be her destiny. She prayed he spoke the truth.

“There will be dangers.” Aileen’s earnest features put a knot in Ashley’s already churning stomach.

Ashley nodded. “I must find Cael. I promised.”

“Ach, well, then collect nine leaves from the holly tree.” She pointed to a berry-laden tree at the garden’s edge. “Prick your finger on one of the leaves, leaving behind a droplet of blood. Wrap the leaves in linen and add a teardrop. Tie the cloth with nine knots and tie the ends together in a lover’s knot. Place the packet beneath your pillow tonight and your dreams will come true within this ancient garden at the hour of the solstice.”


Hope you enjoyed the excerpt from the novella Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic.

Twelvetide at Amazon.



Other books from the Enchanted Highlands Holiday Collection:

Stars and Stones
By April Holthaus
Once Upon a Winter Solstice
By Victoria Zak

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Saint Nicholas' Day Giveaway

Since today is Saint Nicholas' Day, I have a giveaway going on over on my FB Author page. Click on the picture below to enter...

~Dawn Marie

Friday, December 1, 2017

Planner Hop and Fairy Inspired Bullet Coloring Journal Giveaway

Hi! I haven't participated in a blog hop in ages and this one is somewhat different from the book related hops and giveaways I've joined in the past. This blog hop is all about using planners to help manage your time, tasks, and appointments whether it be a traditional day/week/month planner, a bullet journal, or some other such planning system.

During a lengthy corporate career I was addicted to using a Franklin Planner.

Love the *feel* of leather.

Wait! Get your mind off the image of the hot Fae warrior with the butt-hugging leather pants, muscled thighs gripping the saddle of a magnificent black steed. That's a character from my next book. Although that sexy image increases my heart rate in the best of ways, I'm referring to the leather binder protecting my planner pages.

This binder and its contents traveled across the US, to Europe, and to Asia, helping me juggle the details of my professional and personal life. My life was in that binder! Heaven forbid it had ever been stolen. Although, that was probably less likely to have happened than having your deets stolen from the internet.

Always keep your planner/journal secure.

I used the monthly calendar tabs for an overview of my schedule and the daily planner to manage tasks and record notes.

Image from franklinplanner.fcorgp.com

Notes from meetings, conversations, inspiration.

Each morning began with a few moments to prioritize tasks for the day and review notes from the previous day. In the evening, I reviewed accomplishments and posted forward incomplete tasks.
I also maintained a projects section. Each tab for a different project containing notes specific to that project. In the back of the binder, I kept a business card holder and a contacts' phone/email list for easy access. With a grueling travel schedule, the planner kept both my corporate and personal life organized.
Now, some planners use all sorts of extras (stickers, washi tape, etc.) to personalize their planners. Other than using either the seasonal or botanical pages, I didn't have time for embellishment, or so I believed... 

Fast forward.

In 2013, I released my first Indie published romance novel, Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first in a time travel series rife with fae creatures. I've been managing things using a regular calendar and a composition notebook. Things like blog tours, appearances, giveaways, etc. Unfortunately my work space has also become cluttered with lists and sticky notes.

Although this method has seemed to work over the last several years, juggling details has become more difficult with the continually changing nature of the industry.

I've recently tried something new to me and more creative. A bullet journal. As a bonus, the one I found incorporates the joy of coloring (some believe coloring reduces stress) and the inspiration of faeries into the management of thoughts and ideas and time management.

The Fairy Inspiration Coloring Journal designed by fantasy artist Selina Fenech.

With the dot grid,  the pages can be designed as needed...

For example a grid to track the progress of my next book. Or the dots can be used to create a monthly calendar, write task lists and other lists, and make notes.

To learn more about bullet journaling, do an internet search. There is a lot of information out there on the internet.

In the end, I may go back to using the Franklin Planner for the business end of my writing career and the bullet journal for the creative side of writing a book. Only time will tell.

Giveaway (US Addresses Only):

**Giveaway is closed to entries.**

Thank you for stopping by the blog and checking out my post. If you would like a chance to win a paperback version of the Fairy Inspired bullet style coloring journal designed by fantasy artist Selina Fenech, leave a comment below along with an email address. Winner must have a US address due to the cost of shipping out of country. If you are uncomfortable leaving an email address here on the blog, email your comment(s) to author@DawnMarieHamilton.com. Giveaway runs from December 1st through December 15th. Winner will be announced on or around December 19th.

What are your thoughts on traditional planners and bullet journals? Do you use one or the other? How do you use them?

Thank you to Anna at Herding Cats & Burning Soup and Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag for hosting this blog hop.  Be sure to visit their blogs, and check out the links below for other planner posts offering inspiration and more giveaways.

Hop along to see other bloggers' posts:

~Dawn Marie