Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Excerpt from Knight of Rapture – NJRW 2015 Golden Leaf Finalist

BadgeSunday morning calls from friends are always nice. My husband and I were on our way to a friend’s barbeque when Nancy Herkness called and told me my book, KNIGHT OF RAPTURE, finaled in the NJRW 2015 Golden Leaf contest for Paranormal Romance. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I was so excited, and an hour away, I texted my friends. (Paul was driving.) Wine was poured and waiting when we walked in. The people at the party are my critique partners, the people who (along with my editor Mallory Braus) swooned over the good parts and helped my make the not-so-good-parts great.

This story was long in coming. It’s a follow-up story to KNIGHT OF RUNES, which finaled in the same contest in 2011. I love Lord Arik and his Rebeka. They have an undying love. They struggle to be with each other and continually demonstrate they are for each other. Even our villain is story-worthy. Could KNIGHT OF REDEMPTION be far behind?

I’ve included the back cover copy and an excerpt from KNIGHT OF RAPTURE for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Knight of Rapture Final Cover RACasie 400x600He crossed the centuries to find her…

For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the right combination of runes to create the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is only the beginning of his quest. He arrives in the 21st century to find her memory of him erased, his legacy on the brink of destruction, and traces of dark magick at every turn.

A threat has followed…

Bran, the dark druid, is more determined than ever to get his revenge. His evil has spread across the centuries. Arik will lose all. Time is his weapon, and he’s made sure his plan leaves no one dear to Arik, in past or present, safe from the destruction.

But their enemy has overlooked the strongest magick of all…

Professor Rebeka Tyler is dealing with more than just a faulty memory. Ownership of Fayne Manor, her home, has been called into question. Convenient accidents begin happening putting those she cares for in the line of fire. And then there’s the unexpected arrival of a strange man dressed like he belonged in a medieval fair—a man who somehow is always around when needed, and always on her mind. She doesn’t know who to trust. But one thing is certain. Her family line and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall, not on her watch… in any century.

“A thrillilng and emotionally evocative tale filled with adventure, love and hope. Casie’s weaved an exciting medieval fantasy romance that I can’t get enough of.”   …Eliza Knight, USA Today bestselling author

Excerpt:

GLBadgeFinalist_2015She took another step and past the stone marker.

The air chilled and the sky turned an array of colors. Everything around her began to swirl. She realized her mistake too late. The portal, she was in the portal.

Arik. Close to him now, she reached for him but her hand passed through the form. She examined her hand turning it over then spotted the shadow of the man.

An illusion?

The shadow turned towards her. She watched as the wind washed over his face and it changed. “Bran,” she whispered in disbelief. Her head swiveled while she searched for something, anything to grab on to. The portal had one use and she had no intention of leaving.

Get out, her brain shouted.

His lips twisted into a cynical sneer. He tilted his head in jaunty satisfaction, snapped his fingers and vanished.

“No,” she yelled. “Arik,” she closed her eyes and screamed in her head trying to mind touch him while the wind tore at her.

“Beka,” he boomed.

Her eyes snapped open. She shielded them from the dust and debris and stared at Arik on the other side of the opening. He stood at the high plateau, miles away. His hands were braced on the opening’s edges, which were nothing more than solid streams of whirling wind. He struggled to keep the portal from closing.

“Come.” His voice didn’t allow for any argument.

The wind whipped at her, pushed her back. She tried again. “I can’t. The wind. Keeps. Pushing. Me. Away.” She shoved her staff in front of her and anchored it in the ground. Against the gusting wind, pulled herself towards him.

“A little more, Beka.” He gripped the edge of the portal with one hand and stretched the other out to her. She shoved her hand towards him as far as she could. The tips of their fingers brushed. In a burst of effort he caught the top of her hand, a precarious hold. With a tight grasp she wrapped her fingers around his thumb.

Safe, she wasn’t far now.

She concentrated on his face. The corners of his mouth turned up as he pulled her towards safety. The wind grew stronger buffeting around them then changed its path.

Before she could brace herself for the new direction, the gust blasted them. Without a firm grip, her hand began to slip. She pushed through the building panic. His smile slipped. The expression on his face turned to determination. Again her hand slipped until he held her by her fingertips.

He held them fast—crushing them but that didn’t matter. He had to hold on to her. Every muscle strained. Inch by inch he brought her closer to him. She tried to help him the best way she could. Anchored to the edge of the portal, Arik encouraged her on. But his alternatives were limited. The closer she got to him, the stronger the gale blew. Just a little closer, that’s all she needed for Arik to grab her and get her out of the portal.

The wind exploded from another direction.

The blasting gale pushed her staff away from the opening, across the dirt, cutting an ugly scar in the ground and dragging her away with her staff.

Away from Arik.

© 2015 Ruth A. Casie

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Where you can find KNIGHT OF RAPTURE:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CtC7ad

Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1EN0Hhk

BN: http://bit.ly/1McK4oC

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1NaqW7Q

iBook:  http://apple.co/1M5o92x

Happy Beltane!

beltane 5May 1st, Beltane (bright fire), is an ancient pagan festival marking the end of the winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere. With the winter over, the lengthening of the days, and the first planting completed, farmers celebrated with great bonfires of purification and transition into the new growing season, all in hopes for a good harvest.

Beltane provides a gateway between our own Earth and the magical Earth of Faerie. The true inner powers of the Earth reveal themselves and the curtain between the worlds is especially thin during Beltane.

The pagan rites, led by druids, the priests for their time, centered on protecting people, livestock and the land from the spirit world which they felt was particularly close at hand during this season and encouraging fertility. It was a call to awaken the body from its winter hibernation.

The turning points of the Celtic year were marked by four great “fire festivals, Beltane, along with Samhain (Nov. 1), Imbolc (Feb. 1), and Lughnassadh (Aug. 1). Ancient records tell us that all hearth fires, throughout the country, would be put out on Beltane eve. One by one the druid would re-ignite them from the “need fire,” one of a pair of bonfires on top of a hill lit on Beltane eve. The villagers would drive their cattle between the fires to purify them and bring good luck.  The villagers also passed between the two fires for purification and to ensure their own good fortune and fertility.

beltane4Another custom associated with Beltane is the “bringing in the May.” Here the young people would gather in the neighboring fields and forests Beltane eve and gather flowers to adorn themselves, their families and their houses. They would proceed through the village and stop at each house leaving flowers in exchange for the best food and wine. As they went along, they would bless the flocks and fields of those who were generous and wish ill on those who did not.

Later on, the May Pole was added to the bringing in the May. It was a phallic symbol that represented fertility. The village revelers who went out in the fields and forest would cut down a tree, bring it back into the village, decorate it with flowers, and dance around the May Pole.

Over time the holiday, first associated with the farm laborers, became synonymous with International Worker’s Day and took on a political meaning with demonstrations and celebration of union workers and other groups. The May 1st demonstrations in Australia led by the Stonemasons Society in 1856 and the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, eventually led to the adoption of the 8 hour work day. In addition, May 1st has long been associated with various socialist, communist and anarchist groups. May Day celebrations in communist countries feature elaborate military parades.

Today, to Wiccans and those in other Pagan circles, Beltane is a happy time filled with laughter that includes the May Pole, bringing in the May, and other activities symbolic of fertility.

Druid Heroes

Misty standing stonesThe beauty of nature, whether it’s an awesome sunset, the color of the fall leaves or the striking beauty of lightning is breathtaking, mysterious and has a power all its own.

To the druid, the sentry of the world, nature was the driving force and was dependent on the precarious balance of air, earth, fire and water. Their beliefs were strong and drawn from the spiritual unity of the natural forces. Druids were not masters but rather servants of nature.  In addition, they were the philosophers, judges, mathematicians, and scientists of the day. Druids did not codify their story but rather believed in the oral history. Nothing was written down. The only accounts that do survive are from the early Greeks and Romans who had first-hand knowledge. Druids were the caretakers of the lore and also great healers who were respected and considered the keepers of the ‘Old Faith.

Followers of the ‘Old Faith’ didn’t worship a deity although they did have the concept of a Mother Goddess which symbolized the earth and the fertility of nature.

When the Romans came to Britain the druids, and the deep respect people had for them, was a threat that needed to be eliminated. It began with character assassination and ended with eradication. To justify the slaughter, the Romans went on a smear campaign. But that’s another story.

Why are fantasy writers drawn to druids? I can’t speak for other authors but I can tell you why I was drawn to druids in my story. The deep beliefs, the devotion to his land and his people, are the underpinnings of my hero’s personality. I challenged my hero and made him face the worse decision of his life. He will have to choose between his duty to his beloved manor and people and his own desires—protect his wife at the risk of his manor and people’s survival.

Knight of Rapture Final Cover RACasieThe twist is that no man, not even the greatest druid, can do it alone. In my new story, KNIGHT OF RAPTURE, our druid hero will need the strength of his wife, his soul mate, to bring this story to a happy ever after. For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is the easiest part of his quest.

Bran, the dark druid, follows Arik across the centuries, tireless in his quest for revenge. He’ll force Arik to make a choice, return to save his beloved family and home or stay in the 21st century and save Rebeka. He can’t save them both.

Rebeka Tyler has no recollection of where she’s been the past five months. On top of that, ownership of her home, Fayne Manor, is called into question. When accidents begin to happen it looks more and more like she is the target. Further complicating things is the strange man who conveniently appears wherever trouble brews—watching her, perhaps even….protecting her? Or is he a deliberate attempt to distract her? Rebeka can only be sure of one thing—her family name and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall… in any century.