Thanks so much to everyone who took part in the giveaway to celebrate the launch of Oxford Shadows. Unfortunately you could not ALL win, sorry…
So here are the lucky ones:
1st PRIZE: Leanne Goon ~ A signed copy of Oxford Shadows and an Oxford University t-shirt
2nd PRIZE: Meghan Stith ~ A signed copy of Oxford Shadows and a $10 Amazon gift card
3rd PRIZE: Whitney Martin, Denise Fick, Melinda Dartmann ~ An e-copy of Oxford Shadows
I have contacted all the winners but if you haven’t heard from me, then please get in touch with me.
Lots of love,
Okay first and foremost I want to say thank you to all the bloggers who have taken part so far in the Oxford Shadows tour and all the lovely readers who have contacted me.
So, if you have already read OS, you know that this ends with a cliffhanger. I know, I know, some of you got quite frustrated with it, especially because I haven’t shared any information about when the next book is out and what will be the last episode in the Oxford trilogy. The next few months are quite busy for me since I’m releasing No Reverse, a NA contemporary romance, in August. I have another contemp romance scheduled for December (I’ve started writing it) and on top of all that I’m also having a baby some time in June
So here is what I can promise: there will be a cover and blurb reveal for the third book in the trilogy in September. I’m planning to release the last book early 2014.
Please believe me when I say that I’m hard at work. I want for all of us to find out how Madison and Rupert find their Happy Ever After! They will, I promise, BUT it ain’t gonna be easy.
As part of the blog tour for Oxford Shadows, I’ve been interviewed by the amazing blog Literati Literature Lovers. Want to check it out directly, click here.
To get the gist of it…
INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN CROSLYDON
Q: Do you remember how/when your interest in writing started?
MC: Nope. I’ve always told my family since a very early age that I would be a writer when I grew up. Other kids wanted to be a fireman or a nurse or a lawyer… and I wanted to write love stories. Because I never fancied myself as one of those very eye-brow intellectuals who wrote deep stories about serious stuff. I’ve always wanted to entertain, make people dream, laugh, cry, fall in love… and maybe while doing that I could actually challenge them.
Q: What were the challenges (research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this series or characters to life?
MC: Lots of readers came back to me telling me how well-researched the first book (Oxford Whispers) was. The Oxford trilogy does have a historical element to it. In Oxford Whispers it was the English Civil Wars (seventeenth century). In Oxford Shadows, it’s the Tudors (sixteenth century). So yes I spent quite a lot of time locked behind the doors of the British Library. Quite frankly there are worst places to be
But the real challenge for me has been to interweave all the different structural components that characterize this series: there’s the historical component (i.e. the story within the story that the reader discovers through Madison’s visions), the paranormal element (i.e. Madison’s Voodoo background and her powers, which get a front seat in the second book), and the romance.
On top of that, Oxford Whispers and Oxford Shadows are New Adult books, and that’s very important for me to keep the story consistent and meaningful for characters of that age, i.e. early twenties.
Q: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
MC: Not really. I have this calendar on my desk where I write how many words I’ve written every day. That way I can keep track of my progress. That said there are weeks when I write very little either because I’m deep in editing or because I’m launching a book, or because my daughter is sick and she can’t go to school… But whatever happens, I always write down in this calendar what I have achieved day after day, however little it is. I’ve found it a great way to keep myself accountable.
Q: Do you have any writing quirks or superstitions?
MC: I don’t think so. I always light up a scented candle when I start writing.
Q: What authors or books have influenced you as a reader and/or a writer?
MC: As a reader:
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
North and South by John Jakes
As a writer:
Breaking Into Fiction by Mary Buckham
Q: What’s next for you writing wise that you can share with us?
MC: I will release a New Adult contemporary romance in August. It’s titled No Reverse. I’m very excited about it as it is the most personal story I’ve written so far.oxford
So, here we are. These are the two ladies who won the prizes after the cover reveal for No Reverse…
Jessica Elkins won a No Reverse poster. It’s been sent to her, so Jessica if you don’t get anything by mid-may, please get in touch with me. It’s mailed from the UK so it might take a little bit of time.
MBragg won the eARC for No Reverse. I should be bale to send it early July. If you don’t get it please give me shout.
Again thank you to everyone who took part in the giveaway and the great bloggers who took part in the cover reveal.
The pale material of Liliana’s nightgown clung to her body as if gusts of wind were blowing in the night. But there was no wind. The air was still.
Madison shut her eyes and rapidly opened them again. The woman hadn’t moved and her gaze kept drilling through the mental defenses Madison had erected around herself. She wasn’t ready to see this, to meet her. Not tonight.
The thought of Camilla and the baby sprang in front of her. They were running out of time. And there, ten feet away from her, Madison had the answers to all her questions.
“Who are you?”
“You already know.” Liliana’s voice was clear of any Italian accent. She spoke in plain English.
“Your name, yes. But I don’t understand what happened to you. He never came back for you? Henry?”
Her question hit the olive-skinned woman harshly because she startled. “He didn’t. In that lifetime. He married another, the only one he really loved.”
“But then you found each other again. You had a child together.” Hope seeped through Madison’s question.
“We did … but that wasn’t meant to be. Again.”
“You got married. I know that. In Oxford, not that long ago.”
The ghost joined her hands tightly in front of herself, while the nonexistent wind kept ruffling the dark mass of her hair. She looked exactly like the young Florentine girl Madison had seen in her visions of Henry. Not one day older. How Liliana had looked in her other lifetime, Madison couldn’t say. And in her vision of the couple in twentieth-century Oxford, Madison had only seen the blurred features of Henry.
“You must not get involved, child.”
The order unsettled Madison. Surely Liliana would want to keep Henry from hurting another woman. “I have no choice,” she said. “He threatened people I know, an unborn child, a baby girl. I’ve ignored warnings like that in the past. I won’t make that mistake again.”
“Don’t you value your own life?” Liliana’s words fell harshly between them.
The woman didn’t understand. “Please help me. They’re innocent.”
A thick fog rose and whirled around Liliana. Madison smelled the putrid stench of tepid waters, and disgust made her nostrils flare. Liliana rotated her body slightly as if to start retreating.
“There are so many questions I want to ask you. Please stay,” Madison pleaded.
“Save yourself while you still can. That is not your story.” Liliana turned her back on Madison and vanished into the heavy mist.
A cry of despair erupted from Madison. “Liliana,” she begged.
Desperation burst out of her heart and propelled her toward where the woman had stood. Madison rushed into the fog, her sight blurred. Fear replaced anger and her mouth turned dry. Ignoring her weakness, Madison ran forward, calling after the ghost again.
“Come back. Please, come back.”
She hurried forward, breaking into a run to reach the place where Liliana had stood, struggling with the hem of the dress dangling at her feet. She tripped on it and collapsed forward. She expected to crash against the surface of the ground. She didn’t. The freezing waters of the lake swallowed her instead
Her study appeared to shrink once Rupert started marching across it, back and forth, back and forth. Madison ordered herself to stay put and not give up a single inch of ground. However, the hollowness that had built up since their argument at Blenheim spilled out of her heart and welled up in her eyes. A betraying tear fell over her cheek. She bit her lower lip to wrest control and lowered her head to hide her weakness. The hatchet of rejection—rejection by Rupert—always hung over her head. The fear of losing him—his love or whatever he was ready to give her—dragged her down.
Too late. Rupert was already camping in front of her. His fingers cradled her face and forced her to stare up and meet his gaze. “I can’t stand you crying. Forgive me.”
Trusting her towel to stay put, Madison laid her hands on his and shook her head. “No, it’s me. I’m a sissy with all my insecurities.” A sniffle punctuated her confession.
“I must be a sissy too because I’m rotten with insecurities. You know that better than anyone else.”
“Come on. You’re the king of the jungle. You don’t talk, you roar, and everyone bows down before you.”
His response was a muffled laugh. “I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me. I only want you to look up to me, to be proud of me.”
He locked his words with a kiss. A fierce, devouring kiss. One that radiated his need for her and smashed her self-doubts into a thousand irrelevant pieces. His hands shifted from her face down along her neck to settle in the nook by her collarbone. His fingertips tickled the tips of her shoulders. His kiss deepened, and she had to step closer to him and let her head tilt backward for him to explore her mouth. Rupert teased her tongue with his, challenging her to let go, to open herself to him.
All hell broke loose when her towel slid to the floor and the air brushed over her naked flesh. Her nipples hardened. She wrapped her arms around Rupert’s neck while his hand took hold of her ass and pulled it so her hips crashed against him. His other hand twisted her damp hair into a ponytail and pulled her deeper into his kiss.
Madison almost lost her balance when Rupert knelt at her feet. On his way down, he traced a path with his lips from between her breasts to her navel. He circled her waist, and the heat of his gaze burnt at her naked body.
“I dream of you, Maddie … I dream of being inside you.”
They made it to her tiny bed, but only later.
Florence ~ June 1533
The River Arno swallows my body. I float, I fly, I fall. I do not try to move or fight. The stream engulfs the pleats of my billowing dress and drags me closer to the darkness. My arms are spread wide; my eyes stare at the unknown.
Whatever—whoever—awaits me on the other side, I will bow and curtsy. I will bid farewell to the despair that has wrecked my hopes, trampled on my love. The wait has been so long, so lonely, and in vain.
He did not come back for me but wedded another. A prettier one, a younger one, a luckier one. With fading strength, I unclench my fingers and let the lily drift away. The flower vanishes in the tumultuous waters. My sight has become blurred, and my chest burns until the pain disappears.
Death is an escape.
Death will be my new beginning.
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford ~ Today
Madison stared at the man, her eyes glued to the blood smeared across his face. His lips mouthed words that the music of the orchestra rendered silent. Dread wrapped a heavy blanket around her heart and numbed her brain. Her fingers dug into her thighs. She forced herself to swallow, only for her mouth to turn bone dry.
He wasn’t real. He couldn’t be.
Rupert, by her side, hadn’t reacted to the apparition. His stepmother, Camilla, over whom the bloodied man hovered, didn’t even twitch at his proximity.
Camilla sat beside Rupert’s father Hugo, opposite Madison and Rupert, on the other side of the chancel, The Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket spread across the window above them. Camilla paid attention only to the musicians and singers who performed in front of the High Altar. She caressed the curve of her swollen belly, pregnancy giving her a contented glow.
The melody—a Renaissance ballad—had faded from Madison’s consciousness. She couldn’t distinguish the lute from the harp or the violin. They meshed into a distant noise. She registered only the details of the man’s ancient clothing. A reddish hat with two golden buttons topped hair that he wore chin length. A jeweled collar of roses crowned his purple overcoat, trimmed with dark fur.
To break the spell the vision had cast, Madison shifted her gaze upwards to the vaulted ceiling from which lantern-shaped pendants appeared to hang in midair. Ribs and stone met at the center of the vault to form pointed stars, a tease of heaven for the faithful.
Rupert’s fingers were intertwined with hers. The warm contact gave her strength. Madison turned her face and studied his profile. Her heartbeat stalled, then restarted. Rupert Vance was her boyfriend, confidant, and unofficial bodyguard.
Suddenly darkness collapsed around her. Shapes and forms blurred, although the ballad kept resonating through Christ Church Cathedral. A chilled rush of air brushed over her face, and the short hair on the nape of her neck rose in apprehension. Candlelight flickered instead of the electric lamps that had illuminated the room seconds earlier.
And then, silence.
Someone—the ghost, for that was what her vision had shown—had pressed the mute button. Madison was the only audience for his show. He shook his head. Was it in anger or frustration? Madison didn’t know. He leaned forward, his head now above Camilla’s shoulder. He stared at her from the corner of his eyes. His gaze slowly moved across the chancel, from the pregnant woman to Madison.
Air was trapped in Madison’s lungs. She let out a lungful of oxygen. Fear played havoc with her breathing.
The man opened his mouth and started talking. His words came like the delayed echo of thunder across a summer sky. “The girl will die before she is born. So will her mother.”
The threat punched Madison in the stomach. She bent under the shock and let out a moan. A woman sitting in front of her threw a frown back at her. Rupert’s hold on her hand tightened. Her eyes shut, she blocked out the world around her, even him. She had to. Survival mode. When her eyelids lifted again, she checked the spot where the ghost had been.
He was gone.
Camilla wasn’t her friend, but she didn’t deserve to die at the hands of a homicidal ghost. Nor did her unborn daughter: Rupert’s sister. Rupert’s blood.
So now I can share the stops for the Oxford Shadows blog tour! It has all been masterminded by ATOMR.
Monday, May 6, 2013:
- Pink Fluffy Hearts: Diary of a Coffee Addict: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Literati Literature Lovers : Author Interview
- Peace, Love, Books: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Buried Under Books: Review – Oxford Shadows
- All in One Place: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Bookworm Dreams: Review – Oxford Shadows
Tuesday, May 7, 2013:
- Young Adult Book Reviews: Review – Oxford Whispers
- Bound by Words: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Not Just a One Night Stand: Review – Oxford Shadows
Wednesday, May 8, 2013:
- A Diary of a Book Addict: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Beauty but a Funny Girl: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Ever and Ever Sight: Review – Oxford Shadows
Thursday, May 9, 2013:
- Books, Bones, & Buffy: Review – Oxford Shadows
- The Reading Vixens: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Nomi’s Paranormal Palace: Review – Oxford Shadows
- Teen Blurb: Review – Oxford Whispers
Friday, May 10, 2013:
- Once Upon a Book: Review – Oxford Shadows
Saturday, May 11, 2013: