What do you think? A Twitter poll.

twitter poll Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay copy

So, I wrote a twitter thread looking for opinions on whether it would be worth opening Sadie’s Spotlight up for more self-submissions from authors. I’d love to hear your opinion.

Spotlight & Excerpt: Grace by Contract + Giveaway

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Grace by Contract
Once Upon a Duchy Book 1
by Rachel Rossano
Genre: Fairytale-Inspired Romance


After her father uproots the family to the northern duchy of Brackenhurst, Grace Eldon and her four younger sisters struggle with a new life of hardship. Desperate to keep a roof over their heads amid mounting debts, she and her youngest sister seek employment in the Duke of Brackenhurst’s household despite fearsome rumors.
Scarred and maimed from a terrible fire Silas Isling, Duke of Brackenhurst, buries himself in his work to avoid the stares of pity and fear. When one of the new maids shows no fear at his appearance, he is intrigued. That is until his meddling steward gives her the task of cleaning Silas’ bookroom. It is a most unwelcome disruption since he prefers to be alone.
While a thief plagues his castle, an old nemesis reappears, and enemies invade in the guise of guests. Amidst the distractions and chaos, Grace brings some unexpected order. Once convinced his scars had stolen all hope for love, Silas finds his life forever changed by the quiet maid. Could she love a scarred Duke?
Inspired by Beauty and the Beast

Grace By Contract

Taking advantage of the interruption, I took my leave of the great hall. The main staircase to the upper apartments lay close, but the distant sound of a woman humming reminded me that Melly usually scrubbed the widest stair at about this time of the morning. As the largest job, I suspected she planned it so she would get a break during the meal before taking on the back stairs and my personal stairs, which went directly from behind the dais to the landing in the corridor outside my chambers in the southern wing.

I made for my private stair. Once I stepped away from the warmth of the blaze, I immediately felt the beginnings of a chill. The heat of my exercise had begun to wear off, and I needed to add layers soon or risk getting ill. Circumventing the high table, I ducked behind the tapestry below the windows.

I started up the stairs without looking ahead. Unbuttoning my collar in preparation for pulling the whole, linen and wool, over my head upon reaching my rooms, I didn’t realize that someone was in my path until my foot didn’t connect with the stone.

She let out a soft sound of distress as I hastily removed my clumsy booted foot from whatever part of her I had stepped on in the dark. Bracing myself against the stone walls, elbow on one side and hand on the other, I peered down into the murky shadows near the floor. My eyes failed me often enough in the best of light that I rarely expected much of them in the dim shadows. The steps near the bottom of my stair had no lanterns lit yet. It was the darkest of places to hide aside from my dungeon.

“Are you well?” I asked.

She had withdrawn by the distance of three steps. I gained a rough impression of dark hair and a pale face when she glanced up at me briefly before lowering her attention again to her offended limb. To my horror, even I could see that I had stepped on her hand.

“Is it broken?”

“I know not.” Her voice indicated tears and no hysterics, but I couldn’t trust that.

“Follow me.” I stepped toward her.

She scrambled backward as she cradled her hand to her chest. Even with my hindered vision, I recognized the clear demeanor of fear as she hunched her shoulders to protect her injured limb.

“Peace. I have no intention of hurting you.”

“I have no way of knowing that, my lord.”

“If you let me pass, we can go where I can help you. My former squire is quite skilled in the healing arts. He should be able to clarify what is needed.”

She looked up at me. Her face was a blur in the dim light. I couldn’t read her expression. If she could just step back two more steps, perhaps I would be able to see her features better.

“Your words say one thing and your face says another, my lord.”

“Pardon, how?”

“You glare as though it were my fault you tripped over me.”

“You were on the stair and crouched down.”

“It is hard to scrub the floor in any other position, my lord.”

I scanned the dim space for a bucket before spotting it at my feet. If I had stepped only a few inches to the right, I would have kicked that as well as injured her. “Where is the brush?”

“Here.” She picked it up from the step next to her. “I didn’t want you to step on it, too.”

“How kind of you.” Sarcasm crept into my tone despite my best efforts to remain pleasant. “If you would collect your things and climb the stair, I would like my squire to have a look at your hand.”

“Yes, my lord.” She complied with a swiftness that startled me. As she bent down to drop her brush into the pail, the scent of something filled my nose. I couldn’t place the smell. I was tempted to lean down and breathe deeper of it, but she moved away, climbing the stair, pail in hand.

At the top, she shied away from me like a frightened horse compelled by training to stay but wary of sudden movements.

In an effort to calm her with my lack of interest, I led the way through the door directly opposite the stair. We stepped into the corridor leading to my apartments.

She stopped in her tracks. “Where are you taking me?”

“My apartments.”

“I prefer to stay here, my lord.”

I stopped and turned. “Pardon?”

“In fact, I wish to leave.”

“Why?” I had hurt her hand. Surely, she didn’t wish to remain in pain.

“The pain has improved; in fact, it is almost gone now.”

“Show me.” I intended to call her bluff.

She hid her hands behind her. “It isn’t proper.”

“What? Last I knew there is no rule against you showing your hand to me.”
She shook her head. “No, it isn’t that. I was told to never enter your apartments. If I did, I would be immediately dismissed and my family evicted.”
I defended my privacy with more vehemence than most, but I wasn’t a complete beast or an unreasonable tyrant. “What if I personally pledge that you will be safe and not punished for entering my apartments?”

“No, thank you, my lord.” She curtsied and slipped back through the door to the passage. Before I could follow her, she was gone.

Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.
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Spotlight & Excerpt: Sunder of Time + Giveaway

Sunder of Time

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Sunder of Time
(The Mason Timeline #1)
By Kristin McTiernan
Time Travel/Alternate History
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
May 12, 2015

Isabella Jaramillo is accustomed to getting what she wants.

Living a comfortable life as the daughter of the world’s sole time travel magnate, Isabella has never suffered the irritation of being told no.

Only now she has gone too far and her soon-to-be ex-husband tells her no in the most vengeful way possible—by sabotaging her trip to the past, sending her to a distant land where the locals do not speak her language and are far from impressed by her haughty demeanor.

Now a slave, Isabella makes some surprising allies and discovers the truth behind her father’s rise to power and the terrible price the entire world paid for it. Somehow, she must break free and find a way home, not only to save herself, but to restore history to its rightful direction.

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She allowed herself a shudder as the icy morning wind kicked up a gust. Though she had awoken this morning frightened of being whipped, she had at least been relieved that it would all be over after this. But as she wrapped her arms around the rough-hewn wood, she knew it would never be over. This whipping was just the beginning, and she had to squeeze her eyes to stop the frustrated tears.

Never cry when you’re afraid, Mija. Never. The voice seemed to rise out of the breeze, brushing her hair across her forehead like Mama used to do at bedtime.

The memory of her mother’s voice had been the first thing Isabella had banished from her mind. Only months after Monica’s death, Isabella could no longer remember the barest hint of it. But now it came back to her, as clearly as if she had heard it yesterday.

So what do I do, Mama?

Smile, Isabella. Smile while they stab you.

She’d been eleven when Mama had surprised her with that unusually bleak advice. She remembered thinking it was a silly thing for her mother to say. After all, Isabella’s chosen defense had always been not to let them stab you in the first place.

Looking over her shoulder at Annis, she finally understood the helplessness that must have driven Mama to say that to her. Isabella was too young to understand it then. Perhaps she was even too young to have understood it last week. But she understood it now, and with one last breath to expel her fear, she smiled at Redwald.

Surprised, he cocked an eyebrow at her, but then he smiled broadly back, followed by a meaningful nod as if to ask, you ready?

Instead of nodding back, Isabella turned back toward the post and gripped it tightly as she lowered her head.


Other Books in the Series

Fissure of Worlds
(The Mason Timeline #2)
By Kristin McTiernan
Time Travel/Alternate History
Paperback & ebook, 323 Pages
October 9, 2017

Knowledge isn’t power. It’s dangerous.

At first, she thought they’d do the right thing. A new timeline created by a misbehaving time traveler, a whole society crushed under theocratic oppression. Surely, the council would see reason. Surely, they’d help her fix the timeline.

They didn’t.

Now jailed and under the constant, unblinking eye of her own personal guard, Shannan must fight not only for her freedom, but for her own sanity.

Her one ally is Paul Canaan, a member of the Council but not truly one of them. Living a life of secrets and lies, Paul works in the shadows to free Shannan, and himself, from the artificially created timeline oppressing them both.

Together, Shannan and Paul will have to escape their watchers—before they, and the world, are trapped in a history that should never have been.

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About the Author

Kristin McTiernan was born the daughter of a career military man and spent her childhood bouncing from one country to another. Her love of writing surfaced early, and upon discovering the double threat of comic books and Star Trek in middle school, Kristin spent the majority of her spare time creating new worlds and interesting people to populate them. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Kristin enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 and, upon her discharge three years later, settled into a life pursuing her love of words. She achieved her bachelor’s degree in English from Emporia State University in her home state of Kansas and works as an editor to support her writing addiction. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and dog.

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Giveaway - Sunder of Time

One winner will win a Kindle gifted copy (gifted directly through Amazon) of Kristin McTiernan’s supernatural mystery trilogy: Black Magic Omnibus: Books 1 – 3 of the Siren Song Series (US only)

Ends February 24, 2021

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