Friday, May 31, 2013

Today only: Get your Free copy of this brand new Sci-Fi Adventure for YA readers: Corr Syl the Warrior by Garry Rogers plus an Author Interview

Introduction by Interviewer:
I am pleased to discuss a debut novel, “Corr Syl the Warrior” with its author Dr. Garry Rogers.
Garry grew up on a farm in the Midwest. He has a PhD in Physical Geography and he taught at Columbia University in New York, and at UCLA.
Dr. Rogers has one surviving son, one daughter, and three left-behind cats. One son died after a long battle with diabetes. Garry owns a farm in central Arizona that he manages for wildlife. The farm is home to many species of amphibians, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, fish, mammals, and reptiles.

Corr Syl the Warrior is a science fiction adventure for young readers. It uses science, possible science, and experience to define its characters and the conflicts that drive its plot. Garry says the story is speculative science delivered with a soft coating.
The novel is the story of a young Tsaeb warrior facing the new demands of adult responsibility amidst the confusion of sexual attraction and the danger of war. The story takes place on an Earth on which intelligence evolved long before humans appeared. It tells of the conflict between the peaceful but powerful Tsaeb civilization and a new species, the ambitious Danog.

Buy Links

Free for today only
Print from Createspace 

Q. Is your new novel available now?
A. Yes. The eBook for Kindle is available on Amazon.

Q. What is your book’s genre?
A. It is EcoFiction for young readers.

Q: Tell our audience what EcoFiction is.
A: It is Science Fiction with an ecology or nature conservation theme.

Q: Garry, tell us what Corr Syl the Warrior is about.
A: "The setting is an Earth on which intelligence evolved long before humans appeared. The story follows a young warrior named Corr Syl into a conflict between humans and the ancient multi-species Tsaeb civilization. Corr is forced to take responsibility for making decisions that could have global consequences."

Q. What gave you the idea for this book?
A. One day, as I finished exercising, I was mulling over a blog post about the decline of native animals when I realized that a pattern in the ceiling texture looked just like an angry rabbit with a very large tail. Peculiar. I thought about how a rabbit might have so large a tail, and a new world began to crystalize.

Q. Do you mean you saw the plot for the novel?
A. Not exactly. Lying there thinking about the rabbit's tail, I decided that a rabbit might grow a large tail if it were intelligent and had learned to control its genetics and chemistry. I wondered why rabbits weren’t intelligent, and I remembered that science does not yet understand the origin or mechanisms of intelligence. What would happen if all animals were intelligent? Over the half billion years that large complex animals have existed, natural selection would have taken intelligence much farther than it has in the young human species. Even with limited intelligence, humans are learning to control genetics. Older and smarter species would have mastered genetics long ago. Then I thought about how humans are damaging the planet, and, I realized it was unlikely that Earth would have survived half a billion years of intelligent life. Then I imagined how it might, and I conceived the multi-species Tsaeb civilization to which Corr Syl belongs, and the EcoFiction theme that could drive a story.

Q: The Tsaeb sound brilliant. Are they cold intellects, do they have normal emotions?
A: Tsaeb desire friendship, truth, and beauty just as we do. Perhaps it is a bit strange, but most of them consider a knack for humour a most desirable talent. Many strive to improve their comedic abilities. They do have one powerful trait that is rare among humans; they have a compulsion created by millions of years of natural selection that drives them to try to understand their surroundings and the full consequences of their actions. This appears in their intense concern for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Q. You mean Tsaeb have evolved instincts?
A. Yes. In the same way that humans are born with built-in tendencies such as fear of snakes and spiders, the Tsaeb are instinctively protective of their environment.

Q. Is this why you label your book EcoFiction?
A. Yes.

About Writing
Q. Garry, this is your first novel. Do you plan to write others?
A. Yes. I have started the sequel to Corr Syl the Warrior that I will probably title Corr Syl the Terrible.

Q. Starting and writing a novel can be difficult. Tell us about your method.
A. I have not developed a method. For Corr Syl, I had a theme and a backstory for the setting and the conflict. I began the story with an action scene, and let the plot take shape as I wrote.

Q. What is your greatest writing challenge?
A. Characters. I must work harder to give my characters their own theme and backstory, and then let them interact as the plot develops.

Other Books
Q: Have you written other books?
A: Yes, academic works quite unlike the novel.

Q: What are they about?
A: Two are about historical landscape changes, and one is about Arizona wildlife.

Q: Are these books available?
A: Yes. The University of Utah Press published the first two, and I published the third. They are available on Amazon.

Q: Have you written other books?
A: Yes. I am making final edits on a book about the weed invasion of the western U. S., and I am working on a second volume about Arizona wildlife.

Q: Does your new novel have any connection with your other books?
A: Yes. Natural landscapes are deteriorating and wildlife species are disappearing. Many things that people do are causing the changes. My previous books warn that problems are developing, but I wrote them for an academic audience and they have had small circulation. I wrote Corr Syl the Warrior to reach more people.

Q. What was your best moment as a writer?
A. Two so far. One was when a very difficult article that required two years of fieldwork and intensive quantitative analysis was accepted without revisions by the Journal of Arid Environments (volume 17, pages 319-326). The other was when the Professional Writers of Prescott gave my first short story a first place award in their 2011 writing contest.

Q. Do you get writer’s block?
A. No. I have several projects underway. Switching from one to another renews enthusiasm.

Q. Do you have a special workspace?
A. I have a home office, and I take my laptop along when I travel.

Q. What do you do when you are not writing or reading?
A. I follow an exercise routine that includes yoga, resistance training, and aerobics. I camp with my children, and I work on maintaining a friendly place for wildlife. I like to photograph wildlife, read, and go to movies.


Grab your copy, I know I will 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Give away and Review for Shore Leave by Anastasia McKellan

Shore Leave
by Anastasia McKellan
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Chances Press, LLC
Release Date: March 20, 2013
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 31,000

Available at:


Eighteen months ago, Navy pilot Greg Marsters was banished from Wyndham Shores, Massachusetts after his marriage fell apart. Now he’s returned to spend his shore leave restoring antique schooners for his old mentor so that he can buy a boat of his own. After making the biggest mistake of his life, Greg has vowed to steer clear of romantic entanglements, but he soon finds himself drawn to an old friend from high school.

Melanie Grantham is the only person in town interested in hearing Greg’s side of the story, and despite his promise to sail away alone the first second he can, Greg takes her up on her offer for the sexual healing they’re both in desperate need of. Their hot nights throw him for a loop, and the sex is out of this world. But Greg can’t forgive himself for the mistakes of his past. Will he leave Melanie behind again before he realizes he’s been given another chance for true love?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

Melanie leaned toward him. Greg moved closer but hesitated, as if unsure whether he should bring his mouth to hers. She pressed her lips to his, testing him out, seeing if he’d respond. He did. They kissed, their mouths melding into one another. She parted her lips and felt his mouth open against hers in response. Then he sank his tongue into her mouth and shifted closer to her.

He deepened the kiss further. She felt a twinge between her thighs and moaned softly in her throat when his tongue rubbed against hers. Then he pulled away.

“Mel, what’s going on here?” he asked.

“Kissing. Do you like it?”

He looked at her. “Yeah. I like it a lot.”

“Me, too. No one would guess you’re out of practice.”

He laughed quietly.

She grew serious, her smile fading. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to kiss you.”

“And now—”

“You’ve exceeded my expectations.”

He smiled. “Is that right?”

She nodded. Melanie leaned in and kissed him some more, and Greg placed one hand on her hip and explored the curve of her. His other hand went to her breast, touching her lightly through her T-shirt.
She slid her lips over his throat, exploring the rough texture where the stubble was beginning to come in. Even after their long day he smelled like aftershave. It mixed with his unique masculine scent and she couldn’t get enough. She licked the five-o’clock shadow on his neck and explored the texture of the softer skin below. She ran her hand down his chest, feeling the hard muscles draw in beneath her hands.

Then she placed her hand over the bulge in his crotch, rubbing lightly while they kissed. She felt him harden through his jeans.
Greg touched her hand. “What’s happening here, Mel?”

She licked her lips, her breath coming fast, her heart pounding. “I want you. But you’re not feeling it.”

“I’m feeling it, but I haven’t even taken you out on a real date.”

“I’d like you to take me out,” she said.

“Tomorrow night. Eight o’clock.”


“Mel, whether we go out or not, I can’t give you what you need,” Greg said. “A meaningful relationship is the last thing I’m after right now.”

“Who said anything about a meaningful relationship?”

“What are you saying?” Greg asked.

“I’m saying we could have this for now. If you’ll let me.”

“I’ve got nothing to give you.”

“I have nothing to give you, either.” She kissed him again. “Take off your shirt,” she murmured in his ear.

He did. She slowly kissed her way down his bare chest, then his stomach, as she went. Then she slid to her knees on the carpet and reached for the zipper of his jeans.

About the Author:
Anastasia McKellan has always loved losing herself between the pages of a book, and she enjoys writing stories about redemption and love that lasts forever. Her hobbies include taking long walks, studying film history, and hanging out with her two dogs. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. Wherever she is, she’d rather be by the sea. For more information about Anastasia and her books, feel free to contact her at

My 3.5 Star review

An erotic contemporary story that would sizzle your blood. With heated pages the story line was at times rushed as if the author was in a hurry to get to the good parts and it left the story lacking. 
Two young people both hurt because of failed marriages get to know each other when Greg Masters came to the little town of Wyndlam Shores. With dreams of a certain future he helped an old friend restoring an old boat.
But at the end  restoration took place not only to the boat but to them as well.
Both characters Greg and Melanie learned to trust their feelings again and allow each other to work their healing balm on each other. Being the black sheep of the town Greg faced his share of turmoil and learned to accept his past for what it was, his past.
A quick read for a relaxing afternoon when you are looking for something quick to read, not to heavy on the plot with enough heat to warm you up and romance to believe in happy endings. 

Prize is 10 eBook copies (1 each to 10 winners) 
of “Shore Leave” from Anastasia McKellan. 
Contest is tour-wide and ends June 15. 
Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Press Release about the Author Lynelle Clark - 99 cents Sale

I thought it a good idea to post about it again for those who does not know me, author of 'A Pirate's Wife'

GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA, April 10, 2013 /South Africa Business Network/ -- 

An accomplished author and financial manager with a diverse range of professional experience in various industries, Lynelle Clark has consistently demonstrated the passion, vision, dedication and diligence necessary to be considered among the elite.
As a result of her sensational body of work as well as the tremendous amount of success she has experienced throughout her entire occupational history, Lynelle Clark has earned acceptance in the exclusive network of prominent professionals with the South Africa Business Network, the world's largest premiere networking resource for South African career professionals.
Employing her exceptional creative abilities and proficiency with the written word as well as her extraordinary work ethic, Lynelle is a self-employed author who published her first book in August of 2012, entitled A Pirate’s Wife. The historical romance novel tells the story of Rosa Lee Almaida who was abducted from her parent’s castle in Portugal by a brutal band of pirates intent on holding her for ransom in exchange for the life of her brother Pedro. Filled with action, adventure, pirates, and romance, A Pirate’s Wife is a must read for anyone over the age of 17 who is looking for an action-packed adventure.
At the current time, Lynelle is in the process of working on three more romantic and inspirational books. Still in production, the books are entitled, Life ChangesSource of Joy, and Master of Her Heart, and all three are sure to bring readers on adventurous journeys of the heart, mind, and soul. Lynelle, who still considers herself to be learning on the job in an endless quest for improvement, also presently runs a blog where she works on reviews and the promotion of other writers.

To visit Lynelle’s blog site click here

Celebrating one complete year of blogging Lynelle has started another blog hosting the authors whose books she has reviewed over the past year in interesting interviews and promotions for their new books. 

Visit In the Limelight with…

To learn more about A Pirate’s Wife and purchase the book click here

Keywords: South Africa Business Network, Lynelle Clark, author, publishing, A Pirate’s Wife, romance novels, historical novels, pirates, self-published author, entrepreneur, Gauteng, South Africa, Aspired Writer, Author, Blogger, South African Business Network, SheWrites, BookBlogs, AuthorsdB, South Africa, Reviewer, Promoter, Interviews, Inspirational, Romance

Contact her at

You can also vote for my book on Goodreads

Historical Fiction Released 2012

The best Romance with a stolen/captive character

Romantic Ebooks Must reads

Historical Pirate Romance Books

On Sale till May 31 for only 99 cents




Picture the scene - my first taste of success as a writer. I'm sat in a fancy restaurant by which I mean there isn’t a chicken nugget in sight. My publisher sits at the head of the table. A grand dame of the industry weighed down by precious metals and with hair that has no-way been blow dried by herself. I glow with pride as I sign a copy of my book despite the fact I can't read a word of it. Here I am celebrating seeing my novel in print for the very first time in ... Milan, Italy. I've spent all day trailing bookshops, taking pictures of my book, trying to convince shop owners that I am the author and not some eccentric English lady who can't speak Italian and yet convinced she's written an entire book in their language. This is not how I expected things to be.
I guess it’s fitting that I didn’t begin writing in my native England. Marriage, a baby and a husband sent to work in the USA for three years slung me out of my previous career developing theme park rides and attractions and into potential desperate housewife territory. As I gazed around the leafy suburbs of Connecticut I remembered I had a dream to write a book. And so I did. Armed with ideas and a very British sense of humour I joined a creative writing class and so NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY began to take shape. The tale of childhood sweethearts having a one-night stand when they meet years later at a school reunion seemed to strike a chord. When two classmates had a row about whether my lead character should stick with her younger boyfriend or rekindle her teenage romance having discovered either could be the father of her baby, I knew I had something.  
Eventually it was finished and I skipped class to sweat over letters to potential agents in London. Not that I thought I’d get one, I just fancied getting some transatlantic mail.  As it turned out one wanted me and my book. Champagne corks popped.  It was a dream come true. I didn’t realise that dreams rarely materialise how you imagine them.
My agent (I will never get used to saying that) took my book to Frankfurt Book Fair and I waiting impatiently to hear when I would be able to buy my book in Waterstones. Then the news came that it had sold to the highest bidder in a German auction and a pre-empted bid had secured it a home in Italy. Not long after Brazil grabbed hold of it followed by Poland. Initially I was crushed that I wouldn’t be seeing my book on home territory until the reality of being published abroad sunk in. Someone in Brazil, a country I had never even visited, thought I was funny, thought I could write and wanted other Brazilians to read my story.  That, I decided, was pretty cool.
One after another my book appeared in print in languages I couldn’t read with covers so diverse it was hard to reconcile it was the same book. It was as though I had given my book up for adoption and it was having this whole fantastic life without me that I was unable to participate in.  
Until this year.  The massive changes driving uncertainty in the publishing industry had been blamed for my book not finding a home in the UK. However as a new era in publishing emerges, those changes have provided the opportunity for me to finally get published here.  With the support of my agent who also represents Sophie Kinsella, my novel is now available in English on Amazon.  Finally I can tell people to go read my tale of a one-night stand that leads to utter chaos. Best of all  I can understand the reviews and comments for NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY without having to resort to Google Translate!

Book Description

Never has a one-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.

So all is forgotten... until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew's highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.
Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot. How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?

Available on and

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Pirate's Wife: Character Interview with Cisco and Qonchita Almaida - 99 cents Book Sale now on.

Buy Link Smashwords

I met the characters Cisco and Qonchita Almaida in 2008 when reading another book. Their story impressed me so much that I felt it had to continue. Of course I gave them some new identities but the essential characters are still the same. With changes here and there in the story line I tried to hold true to what brought them together in the first place. Creating my own story with new characters they were the foundation of the whole plot that influenced the main characters.
I thought it a good idea to have an Interview with them and see what they have to say. In my minds-eye they are inseparable, their journey and how they meet the essences of the book and why it was born.
Yesterday you read about them through the diary entries they have written and the effect it had on them in their own words. If you missed it you can read more about it HERE.
A hopeless romantic myself it seems fitting to talk with them and understand the impact they had on each other and Rosa_Lee, the main character from 'A Pirate's Wife'

Good morning Senor and Senhora Almaida and welcome.
Your life's story had a huge impact on your daughter Rosa-Lee and her decision marrying Roberto du Val, how do you feel about that?
Cisco: Good morning Senhora, it was a shock to learn that our daughter married a pirate but knowing our daughter we knew she had her reasons for doing so. That we are the reason I am not sure about that.
Qonchita: Rosa-Lee adored Cisco from the moment she laid her eyes on him when she was only four years old. She never knew what a father was before she met him. My first husband was absent from the day she was born and when he did make an appearance he was cruel and always drunk. He never had time for her and she feared him greatly. When she met Cisco she clung to him and followed him every where he would go on the ship, later in Africa she was always around him. Poor Cisco he tried everything to keep her away but she refused to listen and yes it caused much sorrow to my Cisco.
Cisco: No my dear it is not that, it is because of you she chose to marry Roberto. (The man actually blushed, oh how sweet)
Qonchita: Oh my darling of course you were her hero. You were so kind to her those days even when she caused problems for you, just remembering the flogging still cause me pain. The continues bantering from the other sailors and the cruelty of the Captain but yet you remained the same. Years later Rosa-Lee confined in me that she witnessed the flogging from a safe place, and yet after that she was always first on your mind when we were in danger. You saved her more than I can count, giving her food when there was none, being a friend, protecting her from the elements.
When I met Roberto and later got to know him better I could understand why she married him. He had the same qualities you had. He protected her at all times even if she did those foolish things. He loved her from the moment he laid his eyes on her. In fact he told me once he loved her from the stories Pedro told him and he always knew that she would be his wife no matter what.

"You have no problem with Roberto being a pirate previously?"
Cisco: That was the way of the seas during those years Senhora. Not all pirates were bad people it was just circumstances that got them in and once you tasted the bounty it was difficult to walk away after so much freedom. The bounty of the seas had away to draw you in and keep you in her power.

But yet you remained a sailor, surely the life of a pirate had to be alluring to you?
Cisco: Yes I met a few, their lives were definitely more adventurous than mine. But the captains were often very cruel. Greed overshadowed everything else and the life of a pirate had no worth. His word was law on the ship. There was no human rights or unions to come to your aid as today. You were all alone and it cost you dearly. The price was simply too high and I had dreams.

You mentioned the dreams in the diary, tell us a bit more please?
Cisco: I come from a long line of farmers. Farming was in my blood from the day I was born. But life was difficult and my father told me to find work on a ship. He had many mouths to feed and the farm simply could not keep up with the demand of growing children. My parents had fourteen children. My brother and I was in the middle. Father thought it best if we would go since the eldest brothers already worked on the farm. We found a good Captain that taught us everything we knew. My brother died months later, breaking his neck when he fell from the big mast during a heavy storm. Through all the years I spend on the seas the dream remained. When other sailors went to the Inns and visit all the women I would visit the country side and inspect the fields. Sometimes taking odd jobs just to be close to the earth and the animals.

Then you met the Senhora?
Cisco: Yes, she changed my whole life. She gave me a daughter, two strapping sons and a huge estate. Without her nothing would be possible and I would have died a bitter old man.
Qonchita: No my darling you deserved all what you received, you are a hard worker and a compassionate man with so much love to give, without you my life would have been meaningless and my inheritance worthless. You changed all that the moment I laid my eyes on you.

What stood out the most?
Qonchita: His friendliness and kindness. Not to mention he was very handsome. The way that he cared for us during those months in the heart of Africa. Protecting us from the beasts and humans that meant us harm. Being the voice of reason when the Captain lost his mind shooting at will anything that moved. I became jealous when other women talked with him or when he helped them. But that was his nature, to help. The one thing that saved us all during those hard times.

Rosa-Lee had to witness the exchange between you two?
Qonhita: Oh yes dear. She was there twenty four hours a day. She caused us to be in each others company many times and the way he treated her did soften my heart as well.

What was the hardest thing you remember on your journey all those years ago?
Qonchita: There were so many things. We witnessed so many devastating things. Friends were captured by lions, eaten while we stood and watch. Sickness and the lack of food killed many of the group and you felt helpless at times. The cruelty of my husband and captain towards Cisco was unfairly but yet Cisco remained the same. The long trek through the wilderness I think must have been the hardest though. We had no idea where we were. Went without food for days, ate the bark of trees or leaves just to get something in. My feet was bloodied and infected often because of the walk. Shoes just did not survive the grueling march. Being exposed to the elements, the heat, the rain, biting insects. It was difficult times.

But yet you survived?
Cisco: Yes, pure determination. That is all I can say. Just the thought of Qonchita and Rosa-Lee dying in that place made me more determent to get them out. I did not rest until I knew they were safe.
Qonchita: Oh my darling (tears rolled down her face. Even after all these years you could still feel the effect of that experience on their lives)

What would you say to the young people when faced with obstacles in their lives?
Cisco: Do not give up so easily. Be determined saving those you love. It is the simplest things that often makes the biggest impact. Take it day by day even when the odds are against you.
Qonchita: Trust, it can be so easily shattered but when you trust the right person your life can change for the better. Do not look at the circumstances but lift your eyes and believe there will be a better day.
Rosa_Lee trusted her knowledge and what she learned from her father to get her through the time in captivity. Yes she did some foolish things. Getting on another pirate ship, she can be glad that Roberto came after her. Just to think!
Knowledge is power. Learn what you can that will propel you in the best direction.
Cisco: Enjoy life!

Thank you Senor and Senhora Almaida for talking with us on this fine day.

On sale now for only 99 cents till May 31.
A Pirate's Wife

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Diary Excerpts from 'A Pirate's Wife' On SALE for 99 cents

Buy Link: Smashwords

If it was a movie I would have chosen Bo Johnson for Cisco Almaida and Courtney Cox for Qonchita.

From the Diary of Cisco Almaida
September 12, 1621
New people boarded the ship today: a man and his wife and their young child. The chatter of the little girl was interesting to say the least. I never thought I would love this so much. What would the fellows say if they hear about this? Big Cisco Almaida falling for a little girl like that.
She stood next to her mother, a stunning woman with dark hair and dark smouldering eyes. The eyes were shadowed as if to hide something deeper. She was not happy, even if she was married to the rich merchant. Faro Iago’s reputation preceded him. How could she be married to that scoundrel, who was so far beneath her? The man clearly did not appreciate her or his daughter.
How many times have I wished for a wife and child of my own? Like this man had. After nineteen years on this ship it was only a dream, but the little girl did something today. She touched a very deep desire for a family of my own. Maybe even a piece of land where I could retire. An impossible dream for any hardened sailor.
Can I be so bold to continue this dream?
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida

Mother of Rosa-Lee 
September 13, 1621
Again we spent time with Cisco today. Rosa-Lee simply cannot leave him alone. At first he was reluctant to encourage her, tending to his work at hand. But her constant chatter put a smile on his face and by lunch he talked to her softly. I could see his eyes were always seeking the captain.
I found Faro with some of the sailors gambling and it made me uneasy but I said nothing to him and spent my time with Rosa-Lee.
There are quite a number of people on the ship. I understand we are three hundred and forty eight people in all, with slaves numbering two hundred. The Captain told me it was quite a large number but bragged his vessel was capable of carrying the load.
With the slaves in confinement in the hold of the ship the deck is not overcrowded but I wonder how they fair down there in this heat.
I can only hope that we will be well and that the Lord’s protection will be with us daily.
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida

September 14, 1621
The little girl’s continuous chatter and seeking me out are getting me in trouble. The Captain warned me today for the final time. He is within his rights of course. As a sailor I know this. But how can I ignore her? She is a pleasure to have around. And her mother is gorgeous but I have to keep my distance. I can see she is interested as well but this could never be. She is married, a lady of good means. I am just a sailor. I can offer her nothing.
But I can dream, even if it is futile. I know it is silly but the feelings she invokes in me make me feel worthy to love and to dream of a family of my own.
Alfonso warned me that the men are talking, that they have seen the looks we give each other. I don’t want to bring her trouble. She is too much of a lady for riff-raff to speak of her in that fashion.
I will have to keep my distance. I should work on the mast where the little girl cannot find me. I will have to speak to Tanur tomorrow.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 15, 1621
Cisco was on the mast today. Never once did he come down from there to speak with Rosa-Lee. Even when she called out to him he did not look at her. I could see that it hurt her but I had to explain to her that he has to do his work. He is a sailor and cannot spend time with her.
But I do miss him.
Faro tried to talk to us today, but he was drinking and Rosa-Lee was scared of him. He swayed on his feet, his eyes bloodshot. I heard there was trouble with the game and the Captain warned him to be careful around the sailors.
I saw some of the slaves today. Met a young Indian girl. Her name is Kayla. We got to talk for a while before she had to go back into the hold. Rosa-Lee also liked her. She was very beautiful and several sailors looked at her. I was uneasy at her common flirting with them while we talked. In the future I will be careful of her and the company she keeps.
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida

September 16, 1621
I bumped into the lady today. It was by pure accident since I keep my distance, but when I touched her I could not let her go. After the initial shock passed and she realized who held her she relaxed in my arms. For a few seconds I could only enjoy the lady in my arms. She fits perfectly. She is more beautiful up close. I had to struggle not to kiss her and I could see she wanted me to. That would be a mistake.
I know it is wrong but I cannot help myself. The feelings I have for her are growing daily. I will have to work harder to avoid her as much as possible. A sailor and a lady are absolutely unsuited. It can never happen.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 16, 1621
I cannot believe I was in his arms today. He smelled of the ocean, clean and fresh. He was strong and enormous in size but I fit perfectly. Those seconds were wonderful, I wish I could have more. It felt so right, although it was wrong.
My heart nearly beat out of my chest and I wished he had kissed me but he was right. It could never happen. I am a married woman.
There is no future for us.
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida

September 17, 1621
What is that woman up to? Today I walked hand in hand with Rosa-Lee on the upper deck and Kayla was there. She spoke with Cisco. My Cisco, her hand on his arm. Did he welcome it? Oh Please God. Don’t let him turn out to be just another man who wants to bed me, only to run off again. I cannot take that.
Rosa-Lee wrapped herself around his leg the moment she saw him. The Captain was not pleased. I saw the fury raging in his eyes. Then I saw the pleading in Cisco’s eyes before he looked away.
I removed her from him immediately, but that left him in the presence of Kayla and for some reason the woman laughed at me. I am a lady of noble birth, my upbringing beyond reproach. Am I now in contest with a slave?
For the love of a sailor.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 18, 1621
This day started so well and ended in disaster.
The look in the Captain’s eyes said so much. And then there is the lady. She found me talking to that slave girl. She merely walked up to me and started to introduce herself to me while she placed her hand on my arm. She looked at me as if I were her last hope.
I saw the disappointment, the hurt on the lady’s face. But I could not talk to her. To make matters worse the little girl refused to let go of me and cried when the mother took her away. Captain Breno saw everything and his eyes spit fire.
I have been warned. What will happen tomorrow?
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida

September 19, 1621
Today was an unpleasant day on the ship. The Captain worked Cisco almost to death. I heard the men talking. He received no water or food for the day and under the scorching sun it had to be unbearable. I wanted to offer him water at least but another sailor stopped me.
Cisco avoided me and Rosa-Lee cried.
The Captain and Faro sneered down at him while they talked about me, as if I am a common whore. How could Faro do this to me? I felt so ashamed. Some of the sailors laughed at me. The man who stopped me asked me to leave the deck because I would make matters worse for Cisco. It was hard to leave him there. Tired, thirsty and lonely.
Rosa-Lee cried once again when I took her below and when I passed the compartment in the hull where the slaves were held Kayla laughed openly at me.
I felt betrayed at her actions.
It is all my fault. I cannot give in and make matters worse for him.
I explained to my four-year-old daughter but I doubt she understood. She missed Cisco. That was all there was to it. But I will have to watch her.
I cannot allow him to suffer on account of us.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 21, 1621
Today Alfonso, Cisco’s friend, the man who stopped me when I wanted to offer him water, helped us to have a few minutes of privacy on the deck.
It was short but worth it. I simply had to see him. I had to know if he was okay. The last two days the captain made him slave away while everyone snickered behind his back. How could they do this to this man?
He is a gentle, kind and loving man. How could they treat him like that? But I had to make sure he was okay. I had to, before I would finally let go of him.
I begged him to kiss me and at first he was hesitant. I pressed myself against him and turned my face upward, stretching as high as I could. He was so tall that even if I stood on my tiptoes I could not reach his face. For a long minute he fought it. I saw the hesitation, the fight for control, but eventually he lowered his head and we kissed for the first time. It was everything I hoped it would be. That one kiss held promises of a future we both knew was futile to hope for. But that kiss told me what he felt.
He felt the same. His breath was warm on my face as his eyes raked over mine. He did not conceal the look of love as he whispered my name. It all told me that he felt the same way.
In that few minutes we allowed ourselves the time to dream, to hope, to love.
I love him. The emotion swept me from my feet, but I was not startled about it. It was a peace that settled deep within me and I know that this is the man I have lost my heart to.
I have no remorse in loving Cisco Almaida.
From the Diary of Cisco Almaida

September 21, 1621
It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have kissed her. But how can I resist the one woman I truly love? She loves me. That was the most pleasurable wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. This lady, a woman of noble birth, loves me, an ordinary sailor man.
She was worried about me. She kept on repeating that she would do whatever she could to make my life easier. But we both know it was a not to be.
Captain Breno is a stern and vicious man. He seldom listens to anyone. Nor does he take advice from a woman, even one as highborn as Qonchita.
What a beautiful name. It suits her. In my arms today she was far from the “ice queen” others have called her.
I love her.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 22, 1621
Rosa-Lee was hard to control today and with all the strength she had she fought against me to be with Cisco. I could not blame her. That is where I want to be. In his arms. I can still feel them around me; still feel the touch of his lips.
When she got away from me she ran up to him and held him as if her life depended on it. She refused to let go, even with gentle urging from him. She cried so loud that it drew everyone’s attention. Captain Breno made it plain he was not impressed with her innocent display. When I finally did get her away I pleaded for Cisco’s life. I was sure the vicious man was going to do something to him. But he said he would not harm his own crew.
I really hoped that was the case. But when I tried to get Cisco’s attention he refused to look at me. I am afraid for him.
Faro made an attempt after that to console Rosa-Lee, but she was so scared of him that she sobbed and panicked to get away. He was not pleased about her open disdain towards him. He slapped her and dropped her on the deck. Every eye was on us. I felt so ashamed.
Alfonso came and helped me with her and led me to our cabin. Cisco disappeared and Faro went back to the Captain’s cabin, no doubt.
The next day I heard the rumours that some of the slave girls entertained them during the night. One woman, robust and ample in her curves, sneered at me today. High and mighty, she looked down at me as if I am beneath her.
Her dress revealed everything. Her yellow teeth were a sharp contrast against her pale skin. She reeked of alcohol and tobacco, Faro’s favorite vices besides women. No doubt she was one of the favorites.
How could he embarrass me like this? He has no respect for me or Rosa-Lee.
I saw Kayla again, briefly. She looked down at me and refused to speak to me. What I did to her I don’t know.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 22, 1621
I cannot believe what I saw today. The captain flogged Cisco like an animal. My heart was
ripped in pieces as I watched in horror, that giant of a man sprawled out against the ropes and flogged like a common criminal.
They all laughed and joked about him, and like the man I know he is, he took it silently. His skin split open as blood seeped from his wounds. He was covered in his own blood from the shoulders down. How could he endure it?
I tried to run to him but someone held me back.
Sobs wracked through me as he arched in pain when the salt water splashed over him. He roared in agony and four men carried him away. He was limp between them. He had to be unconscious. When I wanted to go to him the captain refused my request.
How can I sit here and know that he is in pain? I must do something.
I need to find away.
I am just glad that Rosa-Lee did not witness this brutality.
My heart aches for her and for him. She searched for him all day but I simply had no heart to tell her the truth. It would break her heart.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 23, 1621
Finally Alfonso managed to get me to Cisco. When I reached him he had a high fever. I brought some ointment and tended his wounds. He was delirious, calling out my name. I made him as comfortable as I could. For a long time I sat next to him and watched as he slept. Several times I calmed him down when the fever-induced dreams made him want to get out of the bed. The moment I spoke to him and told him how much I love him he was peaceful and slept. I wanted to stay but Alfonso convinced me it would not be wise for the captain to find me there.
At least I know he will be all right tonight. Alfonso promised me he will stay close and let me know if anything changes.
I miss Cisco.
From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

September 26, 1621
Today the sea was stormy. The clouds formed over us, dark and menacing. But at least Cisco is better. He had his first meal in three days. Alfonso assured me he would be all right. I could only see him for short intervals in the last few days. Alfonso guarded the door at all times.
Cisco is strong. I know that. But I cleaned and tended the wounds the best I could.
Soon he will be up. I actually loved this time. I could attend to him and touch him often. I know I love him. Somehow I will find a way to be with him always.
But I must admit the weather has me worried. Even the captain is not his usual confident self. I really hope the ship will hold up.
It took a while to get Rosa-Lee to sleep. The motion of the ship where more fierce than what we are used to. It rolls from side to side, the upper decks swaying into the waves. My stomach churns with every motion.
Oh Lord, keep us safe. Help us to find a way to be together.

From the Diary of Qonchita Alamida
Mother of Rosa-Lee 

December 25, 1623
It has been two years since our journey of survival began in Africa. Two years since I have written anything down in my diary, the only book I was able to save on that hopeless night of September 29, 1621.
But before I capture those terrible events, I want to pen down my love’s reaction to the estate we will be living in for the rest of our lives.
In the end it became possible for us to be together. The price was high but we have survived and I know with Cisco at my side I can face anything else.
As a Christmas gift I gave him full ownership of my estate. It has been handed down from generation to generation of Artiagas. I knew he would be the perfect land owner to continue the legacy my family started, and that my inheritance was safe.
When Rosa-Lee climbed on his lap to give him a big wet kiss he smiled down at her and gave her a bear hug. The last few days he had been extremely emotional. We both felt a deep compassion for him. I feel proud to know this man, my husband, Cisco Almaida. When I handed him the papers he was shocked. Disbelief shone clear in the blue depths of his eyes. He had the same expression when we first arrived two days ago.
He could not believe the large estate or the castle, built by my great-great grandfather all those years ago.
When we arrived Cisco only stared at the estate, the manicured gardens and lawns only yellow due to the cold weather, and I had to encourage him to step into the castle as man of the house. This was more than he ever dreamed of. His mind was stunned and dumbfounded at the magnitude of the riches he faced.
I had told him about the place, to prepare him, but I knew he would only appreciate it fully when he saw it.
He stood in the enormous foyer of the castle and gaped in awe. The magnificent wooden staircase spiralled to the upper levels. The black and white marble tiles gleamed in the late sunlight. Fires were already laid all through the house, for which we were grateful. The staff had done a magnificent work in maintaining the place while we were gone.
He felt overwhelmed by it all until Rosa-Lee reached for his hand and walked with him to the parlour with its exquisite furniture, tapestries and golden framed paintings of past generations. She chattered nonstop, even if it was her first visit. But the difference was she is used to these riches and he was not.
After we settled in, he walked the estate over the next two days, and I showed him the inheritance. Surrounded with a rapid-flowing river with tree lines on both sides, the castle looked impressive, built out of stones and brick, standing three stories tall in the Portugal sun. Each room was filled with generations worth of treasures; heavy hand crafted furniture, art, and family portraits, tapestries bought in India, China, Spain and Africa, rich in colour, hung on the walls.
At first, he could not comprehend the papers, or his new title as land owner. He struggled for words this morning, but accepted the responsibilities as property owner. This was a difficult time for Portugal. The country was in a transitional phase and landowners were often unfair dictators. But I knew he was wise and would treat his people with respect and kindness. He would give them what was fair, distributing our wealth for the benefit of all.
Cisco is willing to learn. His good, kind heart draws people closer. Already he and Franco, the manager of the estate, have a close friendship. His first lesson was to learn to ride his horse, another present from Rosa-Lee. She was so excited when the horse was presented to him that she giggled with pure joy. His face lit up in childlike wonder at the powerfully-muscled black stallion. When he approached the animal the horse responded in like fashion. It took us a while to get him back in the house.
What a delight the day has been. Alfonso will leave soon on the ship Cisco received from the D.E.I.C. for his brave efforts during the last two years. Kayla and Derek will leave for their new home in Spain and the house will become ours alone. There are so many things I still want to show him. I can hardly wait.
But tonight I will give him his greatest gift when I reveal my pregnancy to him. I just know this will leave him speechless.