Let's hear it for medieval romance! What I enjoy about reading medieval romance is the ultimate ability to fall into another time and place when so many things mattered: fashion, manners, societal roles, speech and more. Award-winning romance writer Laurel O'Donnell does that with her books, especially the title featured today. This Saturday we are hosting Angel's Assassin Blog Tour. We have our interview with the author and she is also sharing an excerpt from her book. This tour is presented by ABG Read Book Tours.
Angel’s Assassin by Laurel O’Donnell
Number of Pages: 274
Damien is an assassin, a man with no home and a tortured past. Sold into slavery as a young boy, he is trained to kill with cold calculation, without remorse. As a reward for his ruthless success, he is given a chance to earn his freedom from his cruel master. One last mission. One final person to slay…
Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness, beloved by all her people. She lives her life trying to atone for her mother’s cruelty by being a fair and just ruler. Secretly she fears that one day her mother’s murderer will return for her. When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.
Thanks for letting me give your readers a sneak peek at my medieval romance Angel’s Assassin! Enjoy!
Harold rode his horse to the fence before them where Helen waved a red scarf in the air. As each step of Harold’s horse brought him closer, tension clenched the muscles along the length of Damien’s shoulders.
Harold eased his jousting pole over the top of the fence, moving the tip past Helen and pointing it directly toward Aurora.
A keen sense of anger unexpectedly speared through Damien.
Helen yanked back her favor with a thinning of her lips and narrowing of her eyes.
“Lady Helen offers you her favor, Sir Harold,” Aurora said kindly.
“Your favor is the only one I seek,” Harold replied.
Damien wanted to take his proffered lance and shove it down the arrogant knight’s throat.
“I have no favors to offer this day,” Aurora replied.
Sir Harold clutched at his heart with his free hand. “You wound me, m’lady.”
Damien remained motionless, forcing his fists to keep from clenching.
“Perhaps another show of strength would impress you enough to win your favor,” Harold said playfully. “Perhaps your bodyguard would care to go a length with me.”
Aurora cast a quick glance at Damien, then looked back to Harold. “He has no horse, no lance. Surely--”
“There are plenty of horses here for him to use. And lances are many.”
Damien read the unease in the depths of Aurora’s eyes.
Helen clapped her hands in encouragement. “Yes! Let Damien joust Sir Harold.”
Damien forced the tension to abate from his shoulders, relaxing his muscles. So this was their plan, he realized. A clumsy attempt to draw him into a fight. His dark eyes trained on Harold. “I am here to protect Lady Aurora, not to entertain you with a joust.”
“Then a quick sword play,” Harold countered. “Every good bodyguard needs to keep his skills fresh.” Contempt dripped from every one of Harold’s words.
They were beginning to draw a crowd as more and more knights gathered around them, making Damien even more uncomfortable with such concentrated attention. This was not the place for him. He did not relish being the center of attention to a growing mob. He kept his face impassive.
Aurora interposed herself before Damien, almost as if protecting him. “Damien’s skills are very adequate. I have seen them in action.”
“But the rest of us have not,” Harold exclaimed. He opened his arms to the group of knights who stood about them now, the armored men looking like the bars of a cage, intent on keeping Damien confined within their perimeter. “Isn’t that right? How many would like to see Damien’s sword skills?”
The crowd around them exploded with applause and “ayes.”
Harold slid from his horse with an easy dismount. He ducked the fence to stand before Damien. “After all, you are protecting Acquitaine’s greatest treasure. I would be betraying my oath to Acquitaine if I demanded any less. I would like to know your skills are impeccable. What do you say, bodyguard? Care to share your secrets with the rest of us?”
The men around them mumbled in agreement; some sneered with open hostility.
Every one of Damien’s senses demanded he attack. His self-preservation instincts told him this knight was a threat. The beast inside him burned through his veins, demanding release, demanding action. But Damien had learned long ago when to keep the beast reined. Now was not the time, nor the place. He placed his hand on Aurora’s back and began to steer her away, moving through the crowd.
The crowd opened grudgingly before them.
Harold dogged their steps, taunting, “Coward. What kind of bodyguard are you to turn your back on a good fight?”
Aurora stopped and spun on Harold. “That is quite enough, Sir Harold.”
“My apologies, my lady,” he said, bowing. His judgmental stare remained fixed with acrimony on Damien. “But I believe we do not need an outsider to protect you. We are able knights, worthy of first consideration.” He stepped past her to Damien. “Tell me why he is afraid to fight me, if he is so good. Tell me why he will not raise a sword to prove his worth.”
Aurora opened her mouth to reply, but Damien answered instead, “Because I would kill you.”
Interview with Laurel O’Donnell
1) When did you know you were a writer?
I started writing in Junior High School. I’d carry around a notebook and pen wherever I went. I liked to make up stories. When did I know I was a writer? Shrug.
My first real experience at being “official” was when I got the phone call from Romance Writers of America saying that my first novel, The Angel and The Prince, was nominated for a Golden Heart award.
It’s funny. I’ve always wrote, for as long as I can remember. But I never considered being a writer. I just always was one…
2) What attracts you to write romance?
The thrill of being in love. That moment when my characters know that this person is the right person.
The Happily Ever After. That my readers know that my characters will spend the rest of their lives together, happy.
Both, I guess.
3) You've been writing and publishing books for many years. Has the writing process changed for you?
No. It still takes me about a year to write a quality medieval romance. One that I think my readers will enjoy. I won’t put out a book unless I believe it to be a quality romance, well written, satisfactory ending, strong characters, etc. I’ve tried other ways to write, but it never works. I always go back to my original way. Just writing.
4) What are some of your thoughts on the publishing industry today?
It’s amazing. The changing landscape is wonderful! I love that I can put out books that will be out forever. I remember the days when my books would go out of print and my readers where unable to get my backlist. Now, they can get and enjoy all of my novels. That is so exciting.
5) Angel's Assassin features two tortured souls in Damien and Lady Aurora. Which character did you create first? Do you have any favorite scenes between them?
I created Damien first. He was easier to torture, I guess. J I liked the idea of a hero who was not so noble, yet wanted to be. A hero who saw himself as beyond redemption. There was a challenge there for me to save him.
My favorite scene between Damien and Aurora is the climax – and I won’t tell your readers about that scene, it will ruin the surprise. Also, I like the scene where Damien confronts Aurora about being too good, about being too willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of others. I like that he can see that about her, but she couldn’t.
6) How long did it take to write Angel's Assassin?
It took me a year to write Angel’s Assassin. But I was unhappy with the ending and rewrote it four times. I started writing Angel’s Assassin in 2004. I took breaks after I finished, entered some contests, rewrote the ending. Finally, I finished in 2007. But the writing market was different then. When I self published my back list in 2011, I knew that the time was right. I released Angel’s Assassin to readers in 2012.
7) How do you go about with your worldbuilding?
I do a lot of research on medieval times. Then I kind of plunk characters into that time frame. On a piece of paper or separate file, I keep track of who is who (after writing a novel for a year, you forget things, like what color hair they have, eye color, etc). Sometimes I do a rough drawing of the castle.
8) What are you working on next?
Right now, I’m finishing up the 3rd episode in my Lost Souls series, Deception. After that, I’m planning on going back to my medieval roots and working on another romance entitled Cursed With A Kiss.
Thanks so much for hosting me! I hope everyone enjoys Angel’s Assassin!
About the author:
Laurel O'Donnell has won numerous awards for her works, including the Holt Medallion for A Knight of Honor, the Happily Ever After contest for Angel's Assassin, and the Indiana's Golden Opportunity contest for Immortal Death. The Angel and the Prince was nominated by the Romance Writers of America for their prestigious Golden Heart award. O'Donnell lives in Illinois with her four cherished children, her beloved husband and her five cats. She finds precious time every day to escape into the medieval world and bring her characters to life in her writing.
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November 26 My Cozy Corner
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November 29 My Devotional Thoughts
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