deniseAuthor Denise Domning’s first Medieval novel, Winter’s Heat, received the Romantic Times award for Best First Historical Novel of 1994, and it tops today’s Buffet.

Winter’s Heat led Denise to write a series of books set in the 12th Century, the time of Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart. Those books follow the lives of the five FitzHenry brothers.

This is how Denise describes Winter’s Heat and the rest of the series in her own words:

[It] all started in 1978 when I had a dream about two people, Rannulf and Rowena, in Medieval England, a time in history I didn’t know at all. In the dream they conveyed to me some of their complicated relationship. As I woke up I caught myself saying “I have to write this book!” But I also knew I wanted to write an accurate novel because I believe wrapping historical facts up in a good fictional story will teach you more about history and the way people lived than any textbook. Twelve years of research ensued before I felt capable of recreating this amazing time period. In Winter’s Heat I intended to explore life in a Medieval Castle, or how a mid-level baron might have lived, someone affected deeply by the actions of those holding the true reins of power.

Then I started writing.  A few years, several marriages and an international move followed before I one day sent the first seven chapters to Denise Marcil of the Denise Marcil Literary Agency. Much to my surprise, she requested more chapters to read. I sent the next five finished chapters to her.  A few weeks later she requested more chapters. Yipes! They weren’t done. With that I got serious and plowed my way through the rest of the book and got them off to her.

She responded with, “This is the first book in seven years to knock me off my chair.” Wow! She went on to sell Winter to what was then the new Topaz Line of books. We were all astonished at how well it was received and I was honored and thrilled that Winter’s Heat won the coveted Romantic Times award for “Best First Historical” of 1994.

And that, as they say, is history.

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Winter’s Heat

Author: Denise Domning
Winter's Heat

A powerful baron forced to marry for want of an heir.  A woman’s expectation to rule an abbey torn from her.  Now, a tide of treachery rises around them and their only hope is to trust, to cherish and to love unconditionally.

When Rowena of Benfield is forcibly abducted from the convent by her father and forced to marry Lord Rannulf of Graiston, she is convinced the life she has come to know and love is gone forever. However, Rowena is soon pleased to find that her duties as Lady Graiston will allow her to utilize all the leadership and administrative skills she learned from the abbess. She soon earns the respect and love of the servants and family – except, it seems, for her husband.

Tragic family secrets keep Rannulf from believing in the rare love his parents shared. Although he loves his half brothers dearly, and would do anything for them, his past experiences with women have left him bitter and suspicious of their actions. Rannulf is certain that Rowena’s devotion to Graiston stems from personal gain and not love. Only when his beliefs are proven false by the evils of another woman, and his brothers make clear their disapproval of his mistreatment of his wife, is Rannulf free to tell Rowena that he needs and desires her, and truly accepts her as his lady. It still takes a fierce battle, however, and many deaths before Rannulf can truly believe in Rowena’s love and acknowledge his in return.

Ms. Domning’s first novel brings to light the harsh realities of life in medieval England, but also the passion and tenderness of which these hearty people were capable. From the hardness of the knights to the softness of the ladies, this well-written first novel gives us the flavor of the time without overpowering the real story of a family’s battle to find peace and happiness with themselves and each other.

Cold Fear

Author: Rick Mofina
Cold Fear

In the remote, rugged corner of Montana’s Glacier National Park known as the Devil’s Grasp, little Paige Baker of San Francisco disappears with her dog, Kobee, while on a camping trip with her family; or so her mother and father have told authorities.

A multi-agency task force launches a massive search as Paige fights to survive in the wilderness. Time hammers against her and soon the nation is gripped by the life-and-death drama.

Secretly, behind the scenes, the FBI grows suspicious of Paige’s parents. Their recent history and disturbing evidence links them to a horrible secret from the past.

Waiting for Summer’s Return (Heart of the Prairie Book #1)

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Waiting for Summer's Return (Heart of the Prairie Book #1)

All alone on the Kansas prairie, Summer Steadman has few options. With her husband and children lost to illness, she has no desire to continue on farther west to where she and her husband planned to build their future. Instead, she seeks employment in a small Mennonite community in order to be near the graves of her family.

Widower Peter Ollenburger, the local gristmill owner, needs someone to teach his young son. When he hears of a “learned woman” in town, he believes she is the answer to his prayers. He soon discovers, however, that helping this outsider may have troublesome consequences.

There is little this father will not do for his son, but as the boy begins to look at Summer as more than a teacher, Peter must make a choice. Does he marry this woman to give his son a new mother, or does he marry only for love?

Will Summer’s broken heart ever be able to love again?

Luxury of Less: The Five Rings of Minimalism

Author: Karol Gajda
Luxury of Less: The Five Rings of Minimalism

Luxury of Less is about how to live an extraordinary life without the physical and mental excess pervasive in our society today. It’s my story of deep depression and incredible happiness. It’s about true minimalism; mindset instead of the number of things you own.

The title and contents are very loosely based on The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.

The Freedom Star

Author: Jeff Andrews
The Freedom Star

Isaac risks his life shepherding runaways along the Underground Railroad, all the while dreaming of the day when he too can escape the tobacco fields of South Boston, Virginia and begin a new life up north. He yearns for the freedom that Henry McConnell, his owner’s son, takes for granted.

Isaac and Henry grew up together on the tobacco farm owned by Henry’s father, but what drew them together in the innocence of their youth now drives a deep wedge between them. At the onset of the Civil War, Henry joins the Confederates. Soon after, his father suffers a devastating stroke and his older brother exploits the family crisis to seize control of the farm. Suddenly, McConnell slaves come under the whip, Isaac’s family is torn apart, and the atmosphere in the slave quarters becomes as oppressive as the August heat.

Henry returns from the battlefield to find Isaac angry, distant, and defiant. What follows is a bitter and fiery exchange—a confrontation that finally reveals a harsh truth they had never before shared. “The problem ain’t how you white folks is managing your property,” Isaac says. “The problem is that we is your property.”

Shadows of Glory

Author: Owen Parry, Ralph Peters
Shadows of Glory

In a snow-swept Northern town, Union officer Major Abel Jones struggles to solve the riddle of Federal agents tortured to death. From the drama of Civil War Washington and a divided home front, to the hardship and triumph of Grant’s capture, this novel conjures up an American past and brings it to life with authenticity and storytelling power. An Owen Parry novel of the Civil War.

Death Will Save Your Life (A Bruce Kohler Mystery) (The Bruce Kohler Series)

Author: Elizabeth Zelvin
Death Will Save Your Life (A Bruce Kohler Mystery) (The Bruce Kohler Series)

Recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler and his good friends Jimmy and Barbara decide to escape the big city for a wellness and couples workshop outside of Sedona. The joint is called The Aquarius, a New Age community the locals have taken to calling The Woo-Woo Farm. But the serene retreat has much more in store than yoga mats, didgeridoos, ecstatic dancing and aboriginal tracking.

During an early morning hike, the trio encounters America’s bestselling relationship guru, Melvin Markowitz, posed for meditation and strangled to death with a luggage strap. The race is on for the three friends to find the murderer. Bruce falls for the victim’s widow, Jimmy longs for the city, and Barbara minds everybody’s business as usual.

But when Melvin’s baby sister’s volatile husband “Madhouse” is also found dead, it seems everyone at the Woo-Woo Farm is suddenly in danger from more than just a handful of holistic loonies…

Meniere Man And The Butterfly The Meniere Effect. How To Minimize The Effect Of Meniere

Author: Meniere Man
Meniere Man And The Butterfly The Meniere Effect. How To Minimize The Effect Of Meniere's On Family, Money, Lifestyle, Dreams And You.

There is more to Meniere’s disease than you think. The effects of Meniere’s disease on your life happen not just to you but the people you share your life with are affected too. This ripple on effect of Meniere’s disease, is part of the cause and effect of having a long term condition or illness.

Whether you worry about your own situation with Meniere’s or someone you care about, this book about how Meniere’s disease goes to the part of what we most neglect when suffering with Meniere’s disease and yet what is the most important to us…our personal lives and the relationships.

Meniere’s disease is physically hard enough to cope with. But once you are aware of the Meniere’s effect, you understand that Meniere’s disease can affect you not only on a physiological medical textbook disease level, but an emotional and financial level too. You can minimize the devastating effect Meniere’s disease has on your life. Put specific plans and measures in place and you’ll counter the Meniere effect.

Extinction Level (Secret Apocalypse Book 2)

Author: James Harden
Extinction Level (Secret Apocalypse Book 2)

Book 2 in the Secret Apocalypse series. Rebecca Robinson survived the deadly Oz virus and escaped from Australia. She was the only one to get out. She was forced to leave her friends behind. She thought she had left them for dead.

She was wrong. Two days ago Rebecca heard an SOS from her friends. Kenji, Jack, Maria. They are alive. They are hiding in the middle of Sydney. They are surrounded by the infected.

Now Rebecca must find the courage to go back into hell and rescue her friends.

Battalion

Author: Adam Hamdy
Battalion

The world of the future is short of oil and riven by strife. Scott Pierce is hunting a man known as the Spider – a man intent on destroying the foundations of American democracy. Pierce discovers a terrifying plot to strike at the institutions that safeguard the United States. The Spider has audacious plans to plunge America into anarchy. Isolated, hunted and facing impossible odds, Pierce races to prevent the unfolding attack.

Port Casper (Cladespace)

Author: Corey Ostman, Justin Pecot, Vanessa Phin
Port Casper (Cladespace)

Grace Donner longs to work as a protector outside of her Cloister. But when forbidden technology results in her expulsion, Grace learns that upholding the law is anything but simple.

Port Casper is a technological megalopolis, its corporations clashing in a patent war. Inventions are commodities, inventors traded like currency. Holding a patent can make you a fortune, or make you a target. The latest rumors have traced a bullseye around Grace’s oldest friend, Raj Chanho, and it’s her boss with a hand on the trigger.

As Grace sinks into a world of vendettas, espionage, and forced modification, she will have to use all of her Academy-trained abilities to survive. She will have to choose between her contracts and her friends, underground technology and the law she is paid to enforce.

How much of her Cloister ethics is she willing to abandon?

Leashed (Going to the Dogs)

Author: Zoe Dawson
Leashed (Going to the Dogs)

Jack has some ‘splainin’ to do!

That’s right! Callie Lassiter’s normally well-behaved Great Dane Jack has run off and done the wild thing with the neighbor’s dog. It must be puppy love! It’s doubly embarrassing since she’s a professional dog trainer. Of course, the neighbor would have to be hot, hot nightclub owner bad boy Owen McKay, just the kind of man Callie is determined to avoid.

Owen’s comfortable with his playboy status and the hype in the media. But the ground moves beneath his feet when he gets an eyeful of the girl next door. The Dog Whisperer never looked this good! How can he convince this wholesome honey that his player days are behind him? Maybe Jill, his Great Dane can help him with this dilemma now that she’s pregnant and Callie’s dog is to blame.

Is this bad boy a bad bet?

The Concert Killer (Rock & Roll Mystery Series)

Author: RJ McDonnell
The Concert Killer (Rock & Roll Mystery Series)

San Diego private investigator Jason Duffy is hired by a group of concert promoters after a serial killer leaves a note near a 17-year-old girl who was beaten and drowned in a toilet during one of their shows. The note informs the police that she is his fourth victim and suggests that he’ll continue to kill until he shuts down the concert industry because he believes that “concerts are evil.”

Jason meets with the detectives heading the investigations in four major California cities, but is quickly stymied by a bureaucratic state task force leader with selfish priorities. Before being shut out, Jason learns that the killer not only changed cities for each attack, but also his method of murder and physical appearance.

As a former club musician, Jason is forced to work the case from a unique angle. Aided by the concert promoters and an SDPD detective, he narrows the killer’s options. But a story in the San Diego free press brings Jason into the killer’s sights and puts at risk everyone he holds near and dear.

Cicada

Author: Laing J. Eric
Cicada

A family and community become swept-up in a tempest of violence and tragedy.

After John Sayre starts slipping off at odd hours from the family farm, his wife Frances begins to suspect that he’s joined a newly-revived chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. By the time their young son discovers the corpse of a lynched black man along the side of a nearby dirt road, Frances Sayre has had enough. But John hasn’t joined the ranks of the murderous KKK as his wife fears. Just the same, John’s secret has the potential to destroy their marriage, if not so much more.

What comes to pass over those heated days of summer, none on any side could have imagined, or wanted.

Chasing Paris

Author: Jen Carter
Chasing Paris

Amy Winthrow is shocked when her grandmother dies–not because Elizabeth Hathaway’s death is unexpected but because her existence had always been hidden. Ever-inquisitive and prone to letting her imagination get the best of her, Amy embarks upon a journey with an unlikely friend to unravel the mysteries of the elusive Lizzie Hathaway. As she follows the trail of broken dreams and promises of her grandmother’s life, Amy finds herself on a path of accidental self-discovery–a path that she chases all the way to Paris where Lizzie’s story ends and Amy’s begins. (Contemporary/Young Adult Fiction)

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks and the Kindle Daily Deal here on page 2