Alexis: Hi Melissa. Thank you for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts :-) What made you decide to add the paranormal element to your historical romances or was it the other way around?
Melissa: I never really considered it adding one or the other. They just sort of came as a package deal. :-) I’ve always loved to read fantasies and happy ever afters and time travel romances and I particularly enjoyed stories set in medieval Scotland with a hunky Highlander as the hero. Combine that with the knowledge that I made the decision to write that first book sitting in a place called The Fairy Glen, and the faeries were just a given! :-)
Alexis: Of course, they were. Those faeries love to be in romance novels. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your latest release, WARRIOR"S REDEMPTION?
Melissa: WARRIOR’S REDEMPTION is an off-shoot from the original Daughters of the Glen Series. The Faeries are still there, but now we’re adding in the magic and mystery of the Norse Gods and bringing the two together. This first story in the WARRIOR’S series centers on Malcolm MacDowylt, a character first introduced in A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING. In this story we get to learn about Malcolm’s family and the consequences of his having gotten what he wanted after he married Isabella MacGahan in order to become the laird of the MacGahan in that book.
Alexis: That sounds intriguing. Where did you get the idea for this story?
Melissa: Malcolm was originally created to be a bad guy in HOMECOMING. But with every scene I wrote, he refused to fall into that role. [He’s not the first character who’s challenged me in that way!]. And the more scenes I wrote for him, the more interesting I found him; the more I knew he was a man with a troubled background and a sense of honor fitting a hero! I’d given him a Viking ancestry originally on a whim, based on an article I’d recently read in an archaeology magazine about Vikings having settled in the north of Scotland. From there, I began to research Norse mythology and… well, one thing led to another and the WARRIOR series was off and running.
Alexis: What a great way to start a new series, a current character and Viking mythology.What are your favorite character traits of Danielle and Malcolm?
Melissa: I love that Dani never gives up. Not as a child and not as an adult. Once she believes in something or someone, she’ll do anything for them. As for Malcolm, well, he wormed his way into my heart back in A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING. The minute I started writing the scene where he plotted to let Isabella and Robert “escape” I knew he was one of the most honorable, forward-thinking secondary characters to creep out of my imagination!!
Alexis: This book starts your Warrior series, but you said it started with a book from the Daughter's of the Glen series. Can you tell our readers about that series?
Melissa: Daughters of the Glen is a paranormal time-travel series set in our world with a twist… Faeries exist. And these aren’t your basic Disney Faeries, by any stretch. The underlying premise of the world is that long ago Mortal and Fae coexisted in one place but when their worlds were split, Magic was stripped from the Mortal world. In the ages since, the Fae have used Man’s world as a penal dumping ground for their rejects and more or less a playground for everyone else. In the beginning of the series, Magic has returned, but not to the Fae stranded in the Mortal world. Instead, it’s in the hands of their half mortal descendents.
Alexis: How fun! What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
Melissa: I’m finishing up the next in the WARRIOR series right now, WARRIOR’S REBIRTH, which follows Malcolm’s sister, Christiana and introduces a whole new group of characters!
Alexis: Excellent. I just love a good series where I can keep coming back to the world an author has already built. Thank you so much for sharing your romances with us. It's a pleasure having you visit.
Melissa: Thank you, Alexis. I very much appreciate the opportunity to visit with your readers and I’d love to invite them to stop by my website for a peek at excerpts from all the books. www.MelissaMayhue.com – They can also find me on Facebook [where I actually spend way more time visiting than I probably should!] http://www.facebook.com/Melissa.Mayhue.Author
Alexis: For a chance to win Melissa’s WARRIOR'S REDEMPTION, be sure to leave a comment for her. If I have contact information I will let you know when you win, otherwise, check the side column for your name on Wednesday under WINNERS :-)
For more information on Melissa’s Romances go to http://www.melissamayhue.com/index.html
Check out this excerpt from WARRIOR'S REDEMPTION.
Tom Green County, Texas
Fifteen Years Ago
Fairies absolutely were real. Dani didn’t care what her Aunt Jean claimed.
After Mrs. Palmer down at the new library had loaned her those wonderful books this past summer, she’d known it wasn’t just her imagination. Lots of people believed in them. She’d spent the entire vacation between fourth and fifth grades reading all about Faeries.
“Dani?” Aunt Jean’s voice carried all the way down to the chicken coops. “Dani! You better hurry up with those eggs, little girl, if you expect to get breakfast in you before the school bus gets here.”
Dani grabbed the one egg that had been laid already, dodging the grumpy old brown hen’s beak, and hurried back toward the farmhouse. She’d have to gather again when she got home from school, but at least Emma Hen had come through early, as usual.
A furtive glance to the empty corner next to the steps as she approached the house warned her of what was to come.
“Get your hands washed and sit yourself down.”
Aunt Jean’s no-nonsense expression was firmly in place and Dani quickly did as she was told, slipping into her spot at the old kitchen table as her aunt slid a warm plate in front of her.
“What did I tell you about setting a saucer of milk out by the steps?” Aunt Jean waited, arms folded in front of her.
“Not to,” Dani mumbled around her first bite of thick toast. “Draws snakes.”
“So it’s not that you forgot. You’ve just decided you’re not going to mind me, is that it? You’re just trying to be bad?”
“No ma’am, I’m not trying to be bad. I promise.” The Faeries liked milk and bread. It encouraged them to stay. “My book said --”
“Nuh-uh,” Aunt Jean turned back to the stove, scrambling Dani’s egg, her gray curls swaying with the stubborn shaking of her head. “I don’t want another word of that fairy nonsense, you hear me? There’s no such thing as a fairy, but rattlers are real enough. Those damn snakes will smell that milk a mile off and next thing you know, you or me one will be getting ourselves snake bit. And then what?”
“The Faeries would keep us safe, if you’d let me feed them,” Dani muttered, tearing a corner off her toast and dropping it into her lap. If her aunt would just believe, the Faeries would hear all their wishes and make them come true. “I read that in one of my books.”
“Danielle Faye Dearmon!” Aunt Jean turned around from the stove and leaned across the table. “I’ve had just about enough of this nonsense from you. Not everything in books is true just because somebody wrote it down. I’m serious as a heart attack about this, little girl. I want your promise right now that you won’t put any more milk out by the steps for these damned imaginary fairies of yours or else I’m going to have to paddle your butt, you understand me? I want your promise on it, Dani. I want it now.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Dani didn’t hesitate with her response. She had no choice. Her aunt was really serious this time. She almost never pulled out the ‘paddle your butt’ threat. “I promise.”
She meant to keep the promise, too. No more milk by the porch steps. But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t hunt down a new spot to feed the Faeries when she got home from school this afternoon. A better spot. One that Aunt Jean wouldn’t find.
Because no matter that Aunt Jean was the best substitute mama on the face of the planet, in this one thing, she was completely wrong.
Faeries were absolutely real and Dani meant to make sure she stayed on their good side.
Land of the Faerie
1294 [as calculated by Mortals]
Howls echoed through the forest of Wyddecol, so protracted and pain-ridden they tortured Elesyria’s eardrums. Like some animal in its death throes, the screams pitched from fury to terror and back again.
She ran faster through the trees, seeking in vain to escape the torment of those sounds. Knowing she could never outrun that which came from her own throat.
It was her agony, her torment that tore the screams from her lungs as if the pain were a living creature eating at her innards.
Her daughter, her only child, her beautiful Isabella had disappeared from the World of Man.
On she ran, unseeing, dodging by instinct the low-hanging branches and fallen limbs. On, deeper into the forest until at last she broke through into a clearing. Ahead lay the Temple of Danu, golden in its perpetual shaft of sunlight, encircled by its ring of massive stones.
Elesyria pushed herself harder, maintaining her pace up the long marble staircase. Not even at the doorway did she slow. No stopping to shed her sandals, no washing her feet, no bending low to show reverence at the doorway to the inner sanctum. Not this time. This time, for the first time ever, she simply didn’t care.
Her precious Isabella was gone from the World of Man.
“Show yourself, I demand it! How could you allow this to happen?” she accused, ignoring the hysterical echo of her own words in the cavernous rounded room. “You promised. She was to be cared for if I would but leave her with the Mortals and return to your service. You promised!”
She screamed the final words, her voice cracking as she sank to her knees. The until-now strangely absent tears at last found their release, rolling down her cheeks to splatter on the white stone floor at her knees. “You promised,” she accused one final time, her words no more than a whisper against the canvas of her grief.
“You would demand my presence in your world, Daughter of Danu?”
The words echoed off the arc of the room’s high ceiling, bouncing, tumbling in a harmonious melody of sound.
“I do,” Elesyria answered without hesitation. She had no care for the ancient protocols. No time to travel to the trance world. No desire to honor the bitch-Goddess who had betrayed her.
In front of her a pale green mist coalesced, writhing and bubbling, shifting from one form to another until at last a tall, beautiful woman emerged. The Goddess, the Earth Mother, had arrived.
“Then I can only assume these are the direst of times. What troubles you, my child?”
“The loss of my child.” Elesyria rose to her feet, well aware she breeched all acceptable behavior in doing so. Eye contact with the Goddess was too painful, so she fixed her gaze on the other woman’s chin. “Isabella is dead. You’ve broken your promise to me.”
The Goddess lifted her hand as if to catch a handful of air in the room before rubbing her thumb against her fingers, much in the way a merchant might sample the feel of a fine silk.
“Impossible!” Elesyria had been to the curtain between the worlds this very morning. She’d stood there as so often she did, stretching out her magic to caress the essence of the daughter she’d left behind. Only this time, there had been nothing. “She’s not in the World of Man. I felt for her myself. That which had been her is gone.”
“Nevertheless, Isabella’s soul has not returned to the Fountain. She lives.”
“How can that be?” Elesyria’s legs buckled, too weak to hold her weight and she dropped to her knees. “The place where I felt for her is as empty as my heart.”
The Goddess lifted both arms and the mist returned, swirling in a sphere between her hands. It moved as if alive, frantic with a billion life forms, its color shifting from the palest green to a brilliant emerald and back again. Then the Goddess clapped her hands together and the mist disappeared as quickly as it had formed.
“Not only does she live, she has joined with her SoulMate. Though, as you say, she is not in the time and place where you left her.”
“What does that mean?”
The Goddess shrugged, palms held upward. “I cannot yet say. I know only what I feel when I search the Myst.”
Elesyria’s mind reeled in confusion. Isabella’s space on the Mortal Plain was empty. She’d felt that for herself. And yet, the Goddess claimed her daughter lived. Lived and had found the one happiness every Fae sought: her own SoulMate!
“I need answers,” she whispered, as much to herself as to the Goddess standing nearby.
“Indeed you do. Go with my blessings.”
Her blessings? Not enough. Not by half.
Elesyria raised her head, coming as close to meeting the Earth Mother’s eyes as she dared. “After all the years I’ve dedicated to your service, Goddess, I want more than your blessings. I want to travel through the curtain with the power to punish any who harmed my child.”
“Crossing over with your Magic intact is forbidden by your High Council.”
If the Goddess thought to dissuade her with something so trivial, she was seriously mistaken.
“I’ve no more care for the politics of Fae than I have for those of Man. I care only for the child grown to woman who I left behind when I returned to my service in your temple. I must know the truth of her fate. I want to travel through the curtain. With my Magic.”
“And if you find your daughter has not been harmed? If you find it is as I have indicated?”
If, pray the Goddess, Isabella lived happily joined to her SoulMate as the Goddess insisted? “Then I want the power to reward those who aided her.”
The visage in front of her shimmered from green to gold and back again.
“In offering reward as freely as you threaten punishment, Elesyria, you demonstrate your wisdom. So be it. You may retain your powers to use for this purpose and this purpose only. Your years of faithful service watching over my followers have earned at least this much from me. As you go forth, I will set in motion what I can to assist. Travel to the place where your daughter should be. Seek out the Tinklers when you arrive. They are my eyes and ears in the World of Man. If any can guide you to the truth, surely it will be they.”
“Thank you, Earth Mother.”
Elesyria bowed her head, honoring the Goddess before her. When she lifted her eyes once again, she was alone.
Rising to her feet, she squared her shoulders and hurried from the chamber, already seeing the spot she would cross over in her mind’s eye.
She would find the Tinklers the Goddess had spoken of and she would know the truth. She prayed the result would require her to use her Magic for the benefit of one who had helped her daughter, but if not?
Woe be unto any who had lifted a hand to bring harm down upon Isabella. They would feel her wrath even if it should shake the very foundations of the Mortals’ world.
Alexis: Don't forget. For a chance to win WARRIOR'S REDEMPTION, leave a comment for Melissa.