The Dragon Slayer Releases Today, June 13, 2017!

Yes, this time I got it right *still cringing with embarrassment about my faux pas last week*. Here’s the cover, link, and the blurb:https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Slayer-Viking-Warriors-Book-ebook/dp/B071FQQN76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497351755&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dragon+slayer+by+jianne+carlo

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Ruard, the Viking warrior known as The Dragon Slayer, hopes for a biddable wife who has all her teeth and doesn’t drool – a plain, humble woman. He has no use for a luscious siren who draws every man’s attention.
Catriona hopes for a cruel warrior, a man ’twill be easy to poison. Not a Thor God come to life with golden hair, sky blue eyes, and a laughing smile.How can she kill Ruard? But she must to save her sister.

 

 

 

 

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Since I was born on the thirteenth, albeit not in June, and The Dragon Slayer releases on June 13, 2017, I’m taking this as a good omen (did I mention I’m superstitious?). Cross your fingers for me. I really love this version of Ruard and Catriona’s tale and I hope you do too!

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Cheers,

Jianne

The Dragon Slayer, Viking Warriors #2, Now Available for Pre-order!

Okay, okay, I had the release date for Viking Warriors Book #2, The Dragon Slayer, totally wrong. It actually releases on June 13, 2017, but you can pre-order it now by clicking on the cover.

Be forewarned – I must apologize to anyone who pre-orders The Dragon Slayer as there is a glaring error, which I didn’t catch in the Author Notes. The error will be corrected once the book goes live, but I’m horribly embarrassed that I didn’t catch this mistake. It’s in the last line of the author notes, where I give the date that William invaded England as 1065 instead of – as everyone and myself even more so knows should be – September 28, 1066. My bad.

This version of The Dragon Slayer is more than twice the length of the previously published novella coming in at 166 pages versus 64. Here’s the cover, tag line, and a short excerpt:

To save her sister Catriona must kill her new husband, Ruard, the Viking warrior known as The Dragon Slayer.

Excerpt from The Dragon Slayer:

Dunsmuir Castle, Scottish and Northumbrian Border AD 1029
Ruard’s first sight of Dunsmuir Castle, the new holding awarded to him by King Canute of Britain for his years of service, near blinded him with pride. ’Twas an enormous and magnificent holding; four stone towers, defense walls nigh a score ells high, and a forged drawbridge wide enough to accommodate four steeds simultaneously.

An iron bridge could not be fired.

Few strongholds boasted such richness of defense.

He estimated the distance between the two guard towers facing him to be half-a-dozen furlongs in length. His chest swelled with gratification. All the battles and the wounds and scars had been worth this splendid reward.

“A fine holding,” Njal, Ruard’s second-oldest brother, reined his ebony destrier, Veðr, to a halt beside him. Veðr, so named as the steed was swift and fierce as a gale, stamped a foreleg and snuffled billowy puffs. “Stone, not wood. ’Tis unusual in this land. ’Twill be difficult for an enemy to seize.”

A satisfied grin curled Ruard’s lips. Aye, King Canute’s recompense went beyond his wildest expectations. In the dawn’s gloaming the faint rays of the sun winked silvery ribbon streams over the rippling waters of the wide moat fronting the castle’s walls.

Sluggish movement to the right of the woods captured Ruard’s attention.

He frowned at the shadowy outlines of foot, horse, and cart traffic lining the path leading to the castle’s gatehouse. His jaw went slack when he realized that the drawbridge had been lowered afore dawn fully broke. “By Loki’s toes, what madness is this?”

“Mayhap ’tis market day?” Njal offered the excuse for the unusual pre-dawn activity and the vulnerability of the keep.

“The drawbridge is down and ’tis not yet dawn. I will punish the fool who ordered this idiocy.” Ruard had participated in numerous castle seizures and knew well that twilight and an open drawbridge left a demesne defenseless.

“By Loki’s toes. Look anon, brother. See you guards at the gatehouse? Or on the towers?” Njal stabbed a finger at each structure in turn.

Ruard stared at the ramparts and peered ’tween the crenellations.

Not a single warrior could he spy on either side of the drawbridge. No armed men prowled the bastions. Worse, assorted carts drawn by mules and, in one case, by two men hauling ropes, clanged over the metal planks, and none challenged them entry.

“Somewhat is amiss.” Ruard studied the wide ramparts near the East tower, and spied a couple of scraggly-clad men conferring with each other, their spears loosely clutched in their arms. None of his warriors would dare be so lax while on duty.

“Aye. Earl Duggal is only dead a moon past. Did not King Canute say he had a cadre of o’er fifty warriors? Where are they now? Why is your keep wide open and nigh completely undefended? I like this not, brother. This screams of bait and ambush.”

*****

Scalling Castle, Carlisle
Catriona examined her reflection in the small mirror attached to her chamber’s wall. Her hair was secured in tight braids to the side of her head. Around her neck she wore the gold locket she had inherited from her mother.

How she wished Mama was still alive to guide her tonight.

Or Papa to counsel her.

But Mama had trained her from birth to her ten and sixth year, and she would do her proud this eve.

Composed and determined, she threaded her way to the staircase connecting the third floor to the great hall. As she descended, Catriona scanned the enormous chamber and noted Sir Rolf speaking with three men dressed in the raiments of the nobility, two of them attired alike in green doublets, gray hose, and knee-high boots. The other knight looked up and met her gaze when she reached the first landing.

She held her breath, stunned by the warrior’s handsome countenance, his inky curls, the noble slope of his broad forehead, his perfectly arched sable brows, the stormy blue of his eyes, and the sensuous pout of his ruby lips. Dressed in the finest navy velvet doublet and matching hose, he brought to mind all the stories she had heard of noble knights who rescued damsels in distress. Then his lip curled, and he raked his glance from her slippered feet to the wisps escaping her braids. Nervous, she smoothed a hand over her hair and missed the edge of the step. Panicked, she grabbed the bannister and righted herself.

The alluring knight’s mouth hitched at the corners into a full sneer.

She felt the veriest country bumpkin in her plain gown and worn slippers.

He eyed her with disdainful contempt.

What had she done to earn his displeasure?

And who was he?

“Ah, Lady Catriona.” Sir Rolf, Scalling Castle’s Captain of the Guards, rushed to her side and assisted her down the last few steps. She placed her hand on his forearm, and he escorted her to the three waiting gentlemen. She curtsied, keeping her gaze on their dusty and scuffed boots. “My lords.”

When she stood, one of the knights dressed in green executed a courtier’s low bow. “Lady Catriona, I am Captain DeGrecy, ordered to your side by the King Máel Coluim’s command.”

“My step-uncle received the message of my father’s death?” Catriona blurted. A lash of fiery heat scalded her cheeks at her blunder. By all dictates, she should have greeted the other two men first before daring her question.

“The king was most distressed to hear the news of his step-brother’s demise. Permit me, milady, I am Lord Ulfric, son of the Earl of Tees, commanded by King Canute to accompany you to Dunsmuir Castle to witness your marriage to the newly knighted Norseman, Lord Ruard.”

She was to marry?

A Norseman? A Viking? A marauder?

Hope you enjoyed!

Have a fabulous Friday!

Cheers,

Jianne

Denmark Day 7, Roskilde Ship Museum and Copenhagen!

It’s our last day in Denmark. Sigh. I will be sad to finish our amazing Scandinavian vacation, and I’m trying hard not to think about the work pile that’ll greet me upon opening my email for the first time in twenty days. But, I am determined to get the most out of today.

Once again, it’s a brilliant day. We check out and drive to the ferry terminal where we’ll boat to a tiny town on the north-west tip of the island of Zealand. As you can imagine, ferries play a huge part in Denmark’s transportation system, and this trip runs like clockwork. Here are a few pics of the ferry terminal and the scenery around Odden.

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We drive to Viking Ship Museum located in Rosklide, a city about an hour out of Copenhagen. The museum’s located on the water and this is the place where you can actually sail in a Viking longship!!! Unfortunately, they’re all booked up, and there’s no room for me L. But, it’s a fascinating experience, and we are able to board a docked longship—yay!

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From Rosklide we head back to Copenhagen and the Radisson Blu hotel, and collect our luggage. A quick shower and then it’s time for our last dinner. We find this quaint French restaurant, and have a wonderful meal. Not only is the food scrumptious, but there’s a folk singer with a guitar playing French ballads.

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Great way to end our vacation!

Denmark Day 6, Fyrak Viking Castle Ring Circle and Aarhus!

Yet another Viking settlement to visit today, the Fyrkat Viking Center, which is located near to the city of Hobro on the north-east top of Jutland. Fyrkat is a former Viking Ring Castle dating back to around 980 AD. This is an aerial view of what the ring would’ve looked like.

FYRKAT AERIAL VIEW

Fyrkat is organized like the Ribe center in that there are actual people who work there demonstrating ancient Norse crafts and explaining traditions. In the first longhouse, we found a woman who was actually mixing the dough for baking bread. This bread was cooked over the open fire pits in the middle of the structure. Here are some shots:

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The unique characteristic of Fyrkat is, of course the ring circle. The site on which the castle was located was excavated and stones were placed to indicate what would have been there and where. But, the stones are lame compared to the actual reconstruction picture above.

From Fyrkat we headed south to Denmark’s second largest urban center, the port city of Aarhus. We checked into the hotel (neat exterior) and went straight to the museum of the ‘Old Town’ of Aarhus. Hans Christian Anderson, the famous Danish fairy-tale author, (think The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, just to name two) lived in Aarhus’s Old Town for a while.

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After wandering around the Old Town, we decided to explore the ‘New Town’, and ended up having dinner at our second ‘Danish’ restaurant called Frederiksgade 42. The hostess sat next to us and began by saying, “So the concept is sharing food.” The meal turned out to be a very different, but interesting and tasty experience. Everything’s absolutely fresh and the menu consists of 7 courses, which we share. We ate ingredients we’d never heard of before, like moss and wild herbs, and enjoyed every morsel. Nice way to end our day. Here are some pics of the ‘New Town’:

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Denmark, Day 5, The Jelling Museum and Silkeborg!

Uffe, our Radisson Blu concierge from Copenhagen grew up in Silkeborg, and he recommended three sites as ‘must see’ in the area;

1. The Kongernes Jelling Museum

2. Hotel Himmelbjerget, which sits on top of the highest ‘mountain’ in Denmark

3. Svostrup Kro, a family owned inn and restaurant that’s been in business since 1280, and owned and run by the same family since 1834

Today, we set out to visit each of the above. Our first stop is the Jelling museum, which is located inland and south of Silkeborg. Once again, we’re surprised and delighted by the rolling hills, verdant farms, and lush countryside. Everywhere we drive there are farms of every sort, dairy, vegetable, and even horses.
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Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth created the monuments at Jelling, the first of which is enormous, ship-shaped, and built of stone. There are also several stone runes, but two depict the reigns of King Gorm and King Harald. The Jelling church was constructed after Harald Bluetooth converted to Christianity and this is also depicted on a rune stone called ‘Denmark’s Certificate of Baptism’. There are also two huge burial mounds. The museum is unique in that it’s all digital and interactive. A very interesting experience.

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From Jelling we drive through the countryside to Hotel Himmelbjerget. We can’t get over how densely forested the area is and we’re both amazed that we don’t see a single car on the hour-long drive. The view is amazing. From the cafeteria we can see clear to the lake on which Silkeborg is situated.

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It’s straight downhill to Svostrup Kro. The history of this little inn and restaurant dates back to 1280 when a traveler by the name of Erik Klipping records in his diary; “Tomorrow we are going north and will be crossing the Gudenå at Svostrup, there is a little resthouse.”

Talk about quaint and charming. We have lunch here and the food is scrumptious. The Viking orders a ‘Thor’ beer, which has a faint lemony aftertaste. Afterwards, we stroll the grounds, and enjoy the sunshine before heading back to Silkeborg.

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When we take the elevator to our floor in the Silkeborg Radisson Blu, a new poster is hanging on the wall. I burst out laughing when I saw this as two of my sons are seriously into Crossfit. Who knew that it’s now worldwide?

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For our last meal in Silkeborg, we head downtown, and eventually end up at Café Safran. OMG. First of all, a blond giant who could’ve been a SEAL he was so built sat right opposite me. It was so hard to not drool over his tanned, hard-as-rock body. Second, the ambiance, the food, and the service was nothing short of superb.

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Sigh, a fabulous way to end our time in Denmark’s ‘Lake District’.

Cheers,