Monday, 30 June 2014

New Website

Hi everyone!

Just a quick note to say that my new website is up and running – Yay!!!

Here’s the link –


Hope you will drop by and check it out.


Nicóle  xx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Medieval Women Artists

Hi everyone!

So the release date of Seizing Heaven is getting closer – 3rd July. Yay!!!! Yes, you can tell I’m excited by my liberal use of exclamation marks.

As I have said before, Seizing Heaven is the follow up story to Capturing Bliss. It is the same family, the same house but about a century later.


Capturing Bliss first introduced Sir William Reynard who can be seen as the founder of the dynasty. For his loyalty to the crown and his valour on the battlefield he was given the estate of Foxwoods Hall and the heiress Lady Ivetta de Woodville in marriage.

However, Ivetta is in love with another. To protect her younger beloved sister, Blissot agrees to take Ivetta’s place and marry Lord Reynard in her stead.

But as the days go by and Bliss begins to fall in love with her husband, her new found happiness is threatened by her secret. How can she ever tell Lord Reynard that she lied and tricked him into marriage?


In Seizing Heaven the Reynard family has continued on along with their home, Foxwoods Hall. Lord Savaric Reynard is pragmatic and doesn’t believe in true love or that the family betrothal ring will always choose the right bride. He is about to arrange a marriage with the wealthy widow from the neighbouring estate when he is intercepted by a travelling artist, Rosamund.

While researching, finding copious amounts of information on medieval women artists was a little challenging. Much of the arts and crafts of the time were largely anonymous.

Medieval art was produced in many media, and the works that remain in large numbers include sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork and mosaics, all of which have had a higher survival rate than other media such as fresco wall-paintings, work in precious metals or textiles, including tapestry.
Especially in the early part of the period, works in the so-called "minor arts" or decorative arts, such as metalwork, ivory carving, enamel and embroidery using precious metals, were probably more highly valued than paintings or monumental sculpture.

Of course this is a huge area of study and one in which it is very easy to become lost in. However I did come across an interesting book by Daniel V. Thompson called – The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting. It discusses the carriers and ground, binding media, pigments, colouring materials and metals used during that period.


There was also the rise of craft and merchant guilds during this period. Here’s a link to’s paper on it.

Middle Ages women artists are difficult to research. Medieval women during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages were dominated by men. Medieval women had few options in relation to their lives. They basically either married or entered a religious institution as a nun in a convent.
Early Middle Ages Art was initially restricted to the production of Pietistic painting (religious art) in the form of illuminated manuscripts, mosaics and fresco paintings in churches. Both Monks and Nuns were the main artists during the Medieval times and era. The women who became nuns were responsible for many illuminated manuscripts.

The known names of Middle Ages women artists are included on the following list who were manuscript illuminators:
Claricia - German female artist and nun who illuminated manuscripts in the 12th century
Herrad of Landsberg (1125-1195) Abbess of Hohenburg
Ende - 11th century nun and illuminator
Guda or Guta - German 12th century nun and illuminator
Diemud or Diemudis (1057-1130) - 12th century Bavarian nun and illuminator
Abbess Hitda
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Embroidery and Tapestry Art
Embroidery and tapestry art such as the Bayeux Tapestry was an accepted art form of Middle Ages women artist.
The names of the women who created the Bayeux tapestry are unknown but are believed to have worked in English convents or nunneries.
Where this may be true, there were women artists and crafts women working outside holy orders.

Snippet from Capturing Bliss
As Bliss lay on the soft bed with William surrounding her, she inhaled a breath
and wondered if her heart would ever beat at its normal rate again. She could still feel
him within her, their legs were tangled and his weight pressed her deeply into the
mattress, yet she did not want to move.
The room was still except for the muted crackling of the fire. A soft peacefulness enfolded them; it felt like the calm that comes after a great storm. And she for one did not want to break the spell, the connection she had just experienced with William. Ignoring his heaviness, she slowly rubbed his back. Yet all too soon he stirred by her side. Lifting his head, his eyes met hers, they were green and fathomless. He smiled and dropped a kiss upon her lips before rolling on his side and pulling Bliss into hard embrace.
Bliss laid her head on William’s shoulder, her hand lay over his heart and as the
minutes slipped she found herself being lulled to sleep. His heart beat beneath her
hand as she felt the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, his body heat warmed her and
as she drifted off she felt safe within his embrace.
I must tell him the truth she thought as she snuggled closer to William. I must tell
him that I am Blissot and not Ivetta. This falsehood cannot continue another day. Tomorrow, I’ll tell him tomorrow. She reasoned as her eyes shut and she let out a sigh.  Aye tomorrow.
Just a little note – I’m redesigning my website so it will be off line for a few days – sorry for any inconvenience.

Thanks for stopping by.
 Nicóle  xx



Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bewitching Blurbs - Feature

Hi everyone and welcome to another Bewitching Blurbs.

Today I was at Paramoor Winery at Carlsruhe, in the Macedon Rangers to celebrate the book launches of Lord Somerton’s Heir by Alison Stuart and The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli. The afternoon was a great success and a lot of fun.

It was an afternoon celebrating the new releases, listening to a string quartet, chatting about books, standing too close to the chocolate table and mingling with a heap of interesting people. I caught up with the lovely Sasha Cottman, the uber cool Kate Cuthbert and met Fiona Lowe.

So drawing on the talented ladies I had the pleasure of chatting with today, I decided to feature some of their books. This week’s Bewitching Blurbs mainly consists of books I have added before but they are so good they’re worth another mention. J

Lord Somerton’s Heir
By Alison Stuart
From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams — only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. Except, her dreams are soon shattered from beyond the grave when she is not only left penniless, but once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?
Alison’s website -

The Maid of Milan
By Beverley Eikli
Adelaide Leeson wants to prove herself worthy of her husband, a man of noble aspirations who married her when she was at her lowest ebb.

Lord Tristan Leeson is a model of diplomacy and self-control, even curbing the fiery impulses of his youth to preserve the calm relations deemed essential by his mother-in-law to preserve his wife s health.

A visit from his boyhood friend, feted poet Lord James Dewhurst, author of the sensational Maid of Milan, persuades Tristan that leaving the countryside behind for a London season will be in everyone's interests.

But as Tristan's political career rises, and Adelaide revels in society's adulation, the secrets of the past are uncovered. And there's a high price to pay for a life of deception
Here’s a link to Beverley’s website -

Letter from a Rake
By Sasha Cottman
The unconventional Miss Millie Ashton, recently arrived from India, finds England a cold and dismal place. The fashionable ladies of London society look down their noses at her and it isn't long before Millie is planning her return to the country she considers home.

When Millie befriends the high-spirited Lucy Radley, she also meets Lucy's handsome brother, 'Alex the Great' and things take a turn for the better. Alex, the Marquess of Brooke, is considered the most eligible bachelor in London, yet he appears fascinated by the independent Millie.

Against the odds, their unlikely friendship deepens. But Alex has a secret and when a love letter goes astray, it threatens to destroy all their happiness...

Can Millie and Alex overcome the obstacles in their path to find true love? Or will one miscommunication ruin everything?
Letter from a Rake is a finalist in the Romantic Book of the Year award (RWA Australia)
You can check out Sasha’s website here –

Boomerang Bride
By Fiona Lowe
Matilda Geoffrey had risked it all for love.

She'd left Australia to be with Barry—the man who had swept her off her virtual feet. Now, wearing a wedding dress, she's alone on Main Street in small-town Wisconsin, and things aren't working out exactly as planned….

In town for his annual family visit, Marc Olsen had never seen a bride quite like Matilda—staring into a storefront window, holding a tottering wedding cake and looking desperately in need of a groom. He doesn't have many warm feelings for his hometown, but meeting Matilda just as she discovers she's been scammed by her online "fiancé" stirs something in him.

Matilda is not the kind of woman Marc imagined himself with, and Marc is anything but the romantic hero that Matilda has always dreamed of. But as unlikely circumstances throw them together, can they let go of their misconceptions and risk their hearts for love?
Fiona won the RITA for Boomerang Bride last year.
Here’s a link to her website -
Thanks for stopping by.
Nicóle  xx



Monday, 16 June 2014

Spotlight - M.S Kaye

Hi everyone,

Today M.S Kaye is dropping by to say hello. This is one of the stops on her ‘Publishing Tip Blog Tour’.

M.S is talking about how to effectively use the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Digest.

Thanks for having me!

Welcome to my Publishing Tips Blog Tour. I’ve put together ten short, easy tips that have been invaluable on my journey to publication. Follow my tour to see them all. Tour stops will be posted on my website:


Stop 5: How to Use the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market

If you don’t know what this book is: published by Writer’s Digest, it’s the go-to guide for agents, publishers, literary journals, contests, online markets, etc. And there are great articles about the writing business. When you’re trying to get your work out there, start here.

However, Writer’s Digest does not endorse the entries, so you have to be careful (see my next blog tour stop about this).

Here’s my method for using this book:

·         Make notes in the margins for the genres they take. Example: YA for young adult, RS for romantic suspense, W for women’s. Or if they don’t take any of my genres, I mark the entry with an X so I know not to waste time looking at this entry again.

·         Note if they do not take email queries. Most do, so I only mark the ones that don’t with “no E.”

·         Mark if they’re recommended or not recommended by (more on this site in the next blog tour stop). If I see anything negative about this agent/publisher/magazine online, I mark the entry with an X.

·         When I send a query, I write the book title (or initials of the book title) and the date.

·         When (if) I receive a response, I write that underneath the book title: “5/19/14 partial requested” or “5/19/14 No.”

Now I have all the information about my interactions with this agent/publisher/magazine easily accessible, and it’ll make the submissions process for the next article/story/book much quicker.

Strong as Death

Book one of the Born from Death series

by M.S. Kaye

Ilona runs from her sheltering mother in order to find the truth, why she’s seeing people who are invisible to everyone else. A mysterious boy named Archer guides her through Brooklyn and introduces her to Hendrick, the man who claims to be her father—though he died in 1890. Ilona must discover not only what she must do to rid the city of Soll, a sadistic and powerful spirit, but also what it means to be half ghost. She proves what her mother told her—love is stronger than death.



Another twenty yards and she’d be out of the darkness of the trees and almost to the sidewalk, within reach of the light from the streetlamps.

A figure stepped out from behind a large oak, directly into Ilona’s path.

Ilona stopped and searched for a way around.

“What are you doing?” a rough voice growled.

Ilona recognized it immediately, even before she registered Archer’s face.

“It’s none of your business what I’m doing,” she said.

He moved closer. “You’re making it goddamned impossible to protect you.”

“You can’t protect me.”

His jaw tightened, and he glared. “What in the hell do you think I’ve been doing?”

“I’m honestly not sure.”

His voice rose. “You’d be lying frozen dead in a gutter right now if it wasn’t for me. You saw what happened in the shelter—you’d have been attacked by now if I hadn’t been around.”

Her tone was quiet, calm. “I know how you scared them away.”

“I told you I have a talent for creating fear. It comes in useful.”

“But you don’t like it.”

He said nothing.

“And I know you’ve been around,” she said.

He raised his eyebrows as if she was being slow.

“Before you asked me if I was lost,” she said. “You were there—when the car hit me.”

His expression sobered.

She waited for a response.

Finally, he said, “I’ve been around.”

“Will you answer one question? And be honest?”

“I give as much honesty as I can.”

Her lips curved a little. That was perhaps the most honest response he had yet given.

She moved closer, and he backed away.

“No,” she said.

He stopped.

“When you turned the corner and asked if I was lost,” she said, “you leaned your shoulder on the wall. How did you do that?”

His eyebrows pulled together.

“You’re really good at it,” she said. “It took me awhile to realize you never actually touch anything, that you stay out of the light, that you don’t get cold, your breath doesn’t come out in puffs in the cold like everyone else’s, you never let anyone close, near enough to realize you have no scent, to feel the static when you get too close.”

He took a step back, as if in self-defense.

“Don’t try to lie anymore,” she said. “I know what you are.”


Buy Links:


Author Bio:

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at

Contact M. S. Kaye at:   (Yes, that’s my real last name. See why I use a pen name?)


Thanks so much for stopping by!


Nicóle xx

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Spotlight - Margo Bond Collins

Hi everyone,

Today I have a snippet from Legally UnDead by Margo Bond Collins. It sounds like a lot of fun, so here it is –

Legally Undead

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.


Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.


But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs--not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.


As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.



Legally UndeadSnippet.


The worst thing about vampires is that they're dead. That whole wanting to suck your blood business runs a close second, but for sheer creepiness, it's the dead bit that gets me every time. They're up and walking around and talking and sucking blood, but they're dead. And then there's the whole terminology problem--how can you kill something that's already dead? It's just wrong.

I was twenty-four the first time I . . . destroyed? dispatched? . . . a vampire. That's when I found out that all the books and movies are wrong. When you stick a wooden stake into their hearts, vampires don't disintegrate into dust. They don't explode. They don't spew blood everywhere. They just look surprised, groan, and collapse into a pile of corpse. But at least they lie still then, like corpses are supposed to.

Since that first kill (I might as well use the word--there really isn’t a better one), I've discovered that only if you're lucky do vampires look surprised before they groan and fall down. If you're unlucky and miss the heart, they look angry. And then they fight.

There are the other usual ways to kill vampires, of course, but these other ways can get a bit complicated. Vampires are notoriously difficult to trick into sunlight. They have an uncanny ability to sense when there's any sunlight within miles of them, and they're awfully good at hiding from it. Holy water doesn't kill them; it just distracts them for a while, and then they get that angry look again. And it takes a pretty big blade to cut off someone's head--even an already dead someone--and carrying a great big knife around New York City, even the Bronx, is a sure way to get arrested. Nope, pointy sticks are the best way to go, all the way around.

My own pointy stick is actually more of a little knife with wood inlay on the blade--the metal makes it slide in easier. I had the knife specially made by an old Italian guy in just about the only ratty part of Westchester, north of the city. I tried to order one off the internet, but it turns out that while it’s easy to find wood-inlay handles, the blades themselves tend to be metal. Fat lot those people know.

But I wasn’t thinking any of this when I pulled the knife out of the body on the ground. I was thinking something more along the lines of "Oh, bloody hell. Not again".

Here’s the Amazon link –


About the Author


Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming May 27, 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.


Connect with Margo

Twitter:  @MargoBondCollin

Goodreads Author Page:


Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves:


Thanks for stopping by.

Nicóle  xx