Guest Authors,  Tule Publishing,  Writer's moments

Author Spotlight: Leigh Ann Edwards (And There’s a Giveaway!)

Leigh Ann’s giveaway winner is Christine Grissom! Congratulations, Christine! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented. Chris, Leigh Ann will be in touch.

I love it when Leigh Ann Edwards stops by the blog–she always brings such wonderful stories for us! Today, it’s the fourth and final book in her Witches of Time series with Tule Publishing, The Witch’s Reckoning. Leigh Ann’s fascination with history, romance, magic, fantasy, time-travel and Ireland sparked her interest in creating the Irish Witch Series and her growing collection of published novels. Growing up in a very small Manitoban village on the Canadian prairies left a lot of time to create stories and let her imagination soar.

An author for over twenty-five years, Leigh Ann is now completing her third series with Tule Publishing and soon to start another. Besides writing, Leigh Ann loves spending time with her four grandchildren, reading, traveling, doing intuitive readings and reiki. Leigh Ann and her husband, their two large dogs and two cats live near Edmonton Alberta, Canada.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom–Leigh Ann has a fun giveaway question! Also find here at any of the links below:

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I’m really excited to be back on your blog today, Nan. Thanks so much for having me here and helping me celebrate the release of The Witch’s Reckoning, the fourth and final book in my Witches of Time series. I always love a chance to talk about my writing and promote my series.

This book was one of the most rewarding and satisfying I’ve ever written, but also without a doubt the most difficult and emotional. I had to bring so many storylines to a close. Although I completed my Norse series a couple of years ago, those characters had only been a part life for about two years. Some of the characters in my Witches of Time series are from several books I wrote nearly thirty years ago but never published.

This series also includes Alainn and Killian O’Brien and major characters from my Irish Witch series that have been with me since early 2008. They’ve all  become a huge part of  my life. I spent several hours a day with them in their world and their time, so actually having to end the series was like saying goodbye to very close friends knowing I’ll never see them again. This book ties up both the Irish Witch series and The Witches of Time series so there were a lot of characters to create a fitting farewell for.

It was interesting having the four heroines and heroes together in one book as well as several important secondary characters from both series. I had to make sure their personalities were distinctive enough they’d be recognizable in a large group.

This book also features the hugely anticipated battle between light and dark magic that’s been building for a very long time. I knew the battle had to be powerful––not just a short scene or even one chapter. I was also well aware not everyone would live through it. The stakes were incredibly high and even with the heroines having many magical abilities, saving everyone would’ve been completely unrealistic. Although this is fantasy, it had to be believable. It would’ve been too easy to have the witches use their supernatural powers to solve all problems, save everyone and have it turn out happy.

I actually changed my mind several times on who would survive. One person, whom I’d always intended to have die in battle, lived…because when it came down to it, I just couldn’t kill off that much-loved character. I know happily ever afters are really important to romance novels and at the heart of all my books, through all the adventures, fantasy and dealing with terrible demons, evil lusting witches and the despicable Dark Lord Odhran, friendships, relationships and love are predominantly the theme. There are long awaited births, lovely weddings and devastating deaths in The Witch’s Reckoning. I enjoyed writing the joyful, happy times but even the struggles and heartache because it forged stronger relationships and bonded the characters even more.

I kept the first half of the book relatively light because I knew the second half would be heavier. I tried to include a lot of humor. There are many magical creatures in the story––dragons, faeries, giants and more. My elgnorf from book three is back and there are also several frightening beasts who fight on the side of darkness.

I wanted to really emphasize the powerful connection between the four witches and how they grow love and rely on each other like devoted sisters and best friends. I also showed how close the heroes and the secondary characters became throughout the series and how profound the ending was for all of them… as it was for me. I admit I shed a lot of tears writing the last few chapters.

Since the last book in The Irish Witch series was released in April 2018, I’ve had many fans contacting me needing/demanding to know how it would finally end. I was absolutely thrilled when Tule agreed to continue the story in The Witches of Time, a spin-off/sequel to The Irish Witch. (My developmental editor and several other readers have never read The Irish Witch so it isn’t necessary to have done so to enjoy and understand The Witches of Time.) I include necessary information from the first series but didn’t bog it down with backstory.

I hope readers love this story and are happy with how the series ends. I’ve had some feedback from a few people who received ARCs and they let me know they were terribly sad to see the series end but that they laughed and cried a lot throughout the book. To me that’s the greatest compliment as an author, to know my writing evokes emotions and readers are so invested in my characters that they feel they’re sharing their joys, celebrating their victories and mourning their losses.

It took me about a month to get over knowing the series was really over. I kind of mourned the ending and equated it to how it must’ve been back in historical times when dear friends or family members moved far away, maybe to another country or crossed the ocean knowing you’d never see them again. Cherished memories would be all you’d have. Without even letters to keep in touch, you’d be sending them off with prayers and the hope they’d be safe and happy always.

I’ll share an excerpt now. To set it up, Alainn and Killian have just returned to their time––the sixteenth century after living in the future. They’ve brought back the other heroes and heroines from different centuries (Arianna and Darius, Ainsley and Cal and Angelique and Faolan from the first three books in the series, as well as other key secondary characters.) They’re going to start training and preparing for the important battle that will hopefully ensure the human world will be saved from the evil darkness threatening it.

These characters from several different time periods are trying to adjust to living in Alainn and Killian’s castle where several people from the sixteenth century also reside. Some are fitting in better than others. Here are a few snippets from some of the first scenes in The Witch’s Reckoning.

Alainn O’Brien gazed out the bedchamber’s large arched window. With the beloved rolling green hills dotted with sheep and dry stone walls to the west, the rising sun glistening on the beautiful Irish Sea to the east, she felt undeniably blessed. Listening to the seagulls, terns and puffins, she inhaled the misty morning air, content to be in their castle––back in their time. They’d be here a week and her very soul rejoiced.

Alainn smiled when her husband, Killian’s, strong arms encircled her. His firm, warm muscular body rested against her back and she smiled contentedly.

“You’re glad to be home, Lainna?” Killian said moving her long golden-blonde hair and kissing her neck.

“Happy to be home and back to our time. I see your joy, too. This is where we belong, Killian.”

“I can’t deny that. I’d never rue our unusual experience livin’ five centuries in the future, but I agree, this is where we’re meant to be, my Lainna. Although I don’t mind tellin’ you I’m already missin’ those glorious hot showers.”

“We have returned to sharin’ our very enjoyable baths,” Alainn said glancing at the bathtub and remembering their recent ardent encounter. Although they’d been married for over five years, they maintained a powerful love and profoundly passionate relationship.

“Bathin’ with you is always most enjoyable,” Killian replied, still kissing her neck.

(They now have a  lengthy conversation which I won’t include as it’s too long.)

He placed kisses down her shoulder and she sighed at the tingling sensation of heightening arousal. Alainn turned to look up into his alluring green eyes filled with love and desire. She caressed his impressive chest and taut rippled stomach.

They shared a knowing smile and Killian glanced longingly at her unclothed body then leaned in for a fervent kiss. He lifted her into his arms and carried her to their large canopied bed. They lay together sharing lingering kisses and intimate caresses when they were interrupted by a loud scream and the sound of shattering glass from the kitchen several floors below. They looked at each other uncertainly and Killian’s eyebrow rose in question.

“That’s Lily,” Alainn said.

“Do you suppose it’s Arianna or Angelique who’s maybe caused Lily’s displeased scream? I did wonder if all three women bein’ with child and sometimes temperamental might cause unrest.”

Alainn closed her eyes and concentrated, using her magical perception.

“It’s Angelique. I suppose I must go to see what’s caused the calamity.”

“I’ll come, too, if for nothin’ more than male support for Cookson.”

They hurriedly donned their garments and Alainn pulled a brush through her waist-length hair before they made their way down the many castle steps to the large bustling kitchen.

The kitchen servants kept away from the fray, but cast curious glances at what was occurring. Cookson, typically jovial, looked like he could use support. He’d been Alainn and Killian’s friend since childhood. His father was head cook at Castle O’Brien and Cookson was proud to take on that position here. Alainn and Killian brought Lily to Ireland from England after her parents had been killed by a demon pursuing Alainn. Lily and Cookson had fallen in love and married soon after.

Lily’s hands now rested on her hips; her very pregnant belly strained her gown. Angelique stood nearby, shattered dishes at her feet.

“What’s the reason for this early mornin’ commotion? Killian asked.

“Your friend’s been telling my husband how to run his kitchen, she has!” Lilly’s English accent was more enunciated when perturbed. “Down here before the sun’s even risen making unreasonable demands!”

Angelique smirked. Alainn met her eyes, barely able to hide her smile. There was something about Angelique, the witch from the twenty-first century, that caused Alainn to feel a strong kinship with her as soon as they met.

“What were these unreasonable demands, Cookson?” Alainn asked.

“I didn’t find them entirely unreasonable,” Cookson admitted, which brought a fiercer scowl from Lily.

“I asked the kitchen staff to wash their hands before food preparation and that the well water be boiled, especially since I’ve seen several unsanitary looking people drinking from the same dipper. I requested dishes be washed in very hot water. I’ve offered to assist, which is why I’m here. I don’t think that’s something to freak out about.”

Lily’s face flushed further at that.

“Your New World accent’s rife with superiority,” Lily snapped.

“It’s an American accent. But did a Londoner actually say I sound like I’m superior? Can’t even blame the long-standing grudge over the Revolutionary War for your dislike of me,” Angelique laughed with a snort.

“I think you’re not quite right in the head. That unmannerly sound doesn’t make you seem a lady, though the servants are ever so quick to address you as such,” Lily grumbled.

“Hey, I never asked for that title––certainly never professed to be a lady.”

“Why aren’t you attired in those unladylike trews today,” Lily said.

“They’re called jeans and I only packed a couple of pairs,” Angelique replied.

“You still haven’t told Alainn and Killian what you did,” Lily fumed.

“I would like to know why that crockery lies smashed upon the floor,” Killian said.

“The broken dishes are kinda my fault, but Lily did urge me to show her. I didn’t anticipate she’d react so adversely.”

“What did Angelique show you?” Alainn asked.

“Your sorceress friend made the dishes crawl with repulsive beasties. It’s fortunate I haven’t yet eaten or I would’ve spewed,” Lily complained.

“I just gave Lily a glimpse at bacteria and what she’d be eating if the dishes aren’t washed thoroughly and the water isn’t boiled.”

“Would you show me, too?” Killian asked.

Angelique picked up a mostly still-intact plate, waved her hand and it soon squirmed with tiny unfavorable worm-like creatures.

“That is disturbing,” Killian agreed even as he grinned, then glanced at Lily trying to be serious. “Perhaps you might apologize, Angelique.”

“Sorry I’ve caused problems, Cookson…distressed you, Lily and likely woken half the castle including our chieftain and his lady.” She curtsied exaggeratedly to Killian and Alainn. “But Lily could be a bit thankful I didn’t throw the dishes back at her. Baseball is…or will be America’s national sport and I have a really good arm.”

Lily sneered.

“Now, I’d better clean up this mess before somebody steps on glass and I piss off someone else.”

“That isn’t necessary, Angelique,” Killian said, “I’ll have someone tend to it.”

“I’m not accustomed to anyone waiting on me. I’ll sweep it up now if that pleases Lady Lily.”

Lily glared at Angelique and stormed from the kitchen. Alainn would speak with her when she cooled off.

“Sorry, Cookson,” Angelique said.

“It’s not all your fault,” Cookson said. “Lily’s extra emotional just now.”

“I think Lily might also be jealous of yours and my friendship, Angelique,” Alainn said as Angelique went to the alcove and located a straw broom and began sweeping.

I’m now deeply engrossed in the next historical fantasy/romance series I’m writing for the fabulous Tule Publishing. I did worry I might not become as attached to these characters or as connected to the story, but I didn’t have to be concerned for I’m spending most of my days in medieval England now in a small village near Stonehenge and living a new heroine’s life.

The series is called Maidens of the Mystical Stones. It includes a magical pact made within the mystical standing stones between four women of very different stations–– a healer, a castle servant, a harlot and a princess. The series will mostly follow Rhianwyn Albray, the half English/ half Welsh beautiful young healer, but the three other women and a tall, gorgeous Irishman who’s inherited a manor house near their village, will all play a huge part, too. The four titles and release dates will coincide with the seasons beginning with Autumn’s Magical Pact, releasing September 26, 2022.

Thank you, again for having me on your blog, Nan. I appreciate it very much.

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My giveaway today is a signed print copy of your choice of one of my books in my Witches of Time series. The Witch’s Awakening, The Witch’s Compromise, The Witch’s Journey or The Witch’s Reckoning.

For a chance to win, tell me–– if you could live in or even visit any one of the different eras where my books in this series take place, which would you choose?

Colonial Massachusetts in the late 1600s (During the infamous witch hunts)

Gettysburg Pennsylvania in the 1860s (Civil War era)

Boston in the 21st century (Beautiful but not a magical journey although this couple do also go to the late seventeen hundreds Ireland during the time of the pirates)

Ireland in the 1530s (The time of castles and chieftains)