Amanda Armitage plays a vital role in her family’s international investigations agency. Great job, great salary, great heartache, as she lives her life, eyes on the computer screen, fingers on the keyboard. When she loses an agent, a friend, on her watch, she is forced to examine the joylessness of her narrow existence.
Mandy’s resistance is minimal when her bosses—her parents—send her on a special assignment as research assistant to a best-selling author in Florida. Acknowledging her burnout, she agrees to spend the winter season in paradise, working for Peter Pennington, who is writing a book about international trafficking in women and children. The same trafficking that just got her friend killed. The job will give her an opportunity to unwind while enjoying a season in paradise and still work against the scourge of trafficking. There is, however, a slight glitch. Peter Pennington is the husband she hasn’t seen in five years.
When Mandy arrives in Florida, trafficking becomes more up close and personal than anyone planned. Peter involves her in his research of local “working girls,” while Mandy accidentally stumbles on a houseful of captive women in the Florida outback. A house where a dark, and unlikely, romance is creeping reluctantly into life in the midst of an evil as old as time.
As Mandy and Peter juggle a rekindling romance with the dangers of international trafficking, the girl once known as Mandy Mouse metamorphoses into a dynamic, independent woman. Perhaps too much so, as the world around them literally goes up in flames, and Mandy, discovering how easily black and white can dissolve into shades of gray, is forced to make the second most difficult decision of her life.
Author’s Note: Although Paradise Burning, which features several cross-over characters from Shadowed Paradise, is a stand-alone story, I recommend reading Shadowed Paradise first.
Special Note: In the course of preparing these two books for indie publishing, I discovered it's much easier to update historicals than books set in the present day. I originally wrote these books in the mid-90s when cell phones were just coming in and recordings were done on tape, to mention only a couple of things which had to be updated. I can only hope I caught all the anachronisms!
Both books can be found on Kindle & Smashwords and will soon be available for Nook, Sony, Palm, and other e-readers. Link to Kindle:
Thanks for stopping by. Coming in October: The Sometime Bride
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
When Claire Langdon’s affluent, near-fairytale life in New York is shattered by scandal, she and her eight-year-old son Jamie take refuge with her grandmother in Florida. Once a bright, confident young woman, Claire has been so badly hurt that when she stumbles onto a genuine downhome hero, learning to trust, to love again, seem beyond her reach. She is also forced to deal with the discovery that there are more serious dangers in Florida than alligators, snakes, spiders, and macho males. Like a serial killer, with her name on his list.
Brad Blue is the son of a Russian defector (from Cold War days); his mother, the daughter of one of Florida’s wealthiest cattle barons. (And, yes, Florida is the largest cattle-producing state east of the Mississippi.) Still under forty, Brad is retired from one of Uncle Sam’s many secretive “alphabet” agencies. He’s tough and lonely and more than ready to settle down to family life, but convincing Claire Langdon to marry him is one of his most difficult assignments. Almost as difficult as discovering the identity of the killer who is stalking female real estate agents in Calusa County, Florida.
From the moment Claire and Brad meet in the midst of a flooded bridge, cultural shock wars with romantic attraction. On top of that, they both have pasts that don’t bear close scrutiny. But when Brad offers Claire the job of “sitting” one of his model homes out back of beyond, she accepts. Which is just fine with the killer.
The killer plays a prominent, if anonymous, role throughout the book, gloating over his kills, attempting to justify them. And finally meeting Claire, face to face.
“Marvelously versatile, wondrously creative, intelligently written and sensuously inventive, Bancroft’s Shadowed Paradise adds new meaning to the term ‘romantic suspense.’ . . .as fresh as tomorrow and seriously scary. I loved it.”
Celia Merenyi, A Romance Review
“Shadowed Paradise contains all the elements I so enjoy in a book, excellent dialogue, great character development and fine descriptive scenes. The romance is steamy, the suspense is taut and exciting, and the result is a supremely satisfying, well-developed read, guaranteed to keep you glued throughout.”
Astrid Kinn, Romance Reviews Today
* * *Grace Note: Shadowed Paradise is the first of my Romantic Suspense backlist to be uploaded to Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, Sony, and other e-readers. The sequel, Paradise Burning, should follow by the end of August. And please remember that free reads of 20% of each of my books is available at Smashwords. www.smashwords.com
Thanks for stopping by!
Grace, who writes as Blair Bancroft
Friday, August 12, 2011
My guest blogger today is Hailey. She is eight years old and will be entering third grade later this month. When Hailey and her younger sisters returned home from a weekend at Nickolodeon Suites Resort, her mother, fearing the three girls might be too spoiled by living in the Orlando area to appreciate this rare treat, asked Hailey, the oldest, to write about their trip. This is what she wrote—unedited, except for an occasional bit of paragraphing.
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What I did this weekind was . . .
We went to the car and we’re driving to a suprise place and we have no idea were we’re going. We were driving for 20 minuts. Before that I said “How much longer.”
Mommy said “it’s eather 10 hrs or 10 mins. But she was trying to trick us. 5 sec later we were there. I said in my head what is this place when we were at the sign. When we were parking I said, “Were at the Nickhotel. I said “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
So we get out of the car and get our suitecace and we go to this place so we can get our wristbands and spend money to get a room. When all that was done, we were walking to the elevater but befor that we passed this amasing place. It was a waterpark, with a pool. Awsom slides, Jaccuzi, miny golf, Basketball, and slime. I said I want to go there.
We got to the elavater floor number 4. When we got up there are room number was 1240. We get the card and waved it around for 1 second. And then a green light went on and then we could open the door then we went inside and we ran into our room. There was a Spongebob room. But there were only 2 beds. So we all had to sleep sideways. [the three girls, ages 5, 6 & 8 in one bedroom of a 2-bedroom suite] We quick got our bathing suits on. And our shoes, and went to floor 1.
And we had to walk a long time around. Like 5 minuts. And then we found the entrance. So we put on sunscreen. And I went on the slide. They were water slides, and were so fun. I started going on every slide. I even get slimed. And we went into the pool. After the water part we took a bath. We got dry. We went to the Nickalodean Mall. I was in a show called Slimetime live. It’s a show where you are on eather the Red team or the Blue team. I was on the Red team with Mommy. We did trivea and games. The Blue team lost so the kids had to put pie on there face. My team won so I got slimed. There was a bunch of slime. One of the games I did was I had to get marshmellows into the cup. But you couldnt use your hands. Just your mouth. It was easy.
And after the show we sat in the lounge/Bar while mommy played video games. Then we walked a long time to the room and watched TV while mommy and daddy watched their TV show. Then they came to our room to turn off the TV so we could go to bed and we played a little bit of “Baby.”
The next day in the morning we got our bathing suits on and went straight to the waterpark like 12.00 in the morning. We played, and played at the waterpark. Then at 5.00 we got hungry so we ate a SlimJim.
[Grace note: At this point Hailey got tired of writing, as happens to us all. She finished the story by dictating it to me.]
And then Daddy came and he bought us burgers, and Cassidy got grilled cheese. And then we went back into the pool. Cassidy learned how to a dog paddle in the pool. And I wanted to go on the slides, and then after a few rides I went back in the pool with mommy and daddy and Riley and Cassidy.
We went to the Jacuzzi,* and right before we left we went into the mini golf area. After that we went back to our room to take a bath. We did a quick bath because we wanted to see the show that I was in, but I really wasn’t in it this time, I just saw it. We played at the arcade and got our tickets from the booth that has the prizes. We went into the bar again so mommy could play games, and daddy taught me a different kind of math. When mommy was done with her game, we left into the room, and we watched a couple of shows before bed, and we were packing a little bit. While we were packing, mommy and daddy were watching their show while they were packing. We went to bed for the last night.
The next morning we finished our packing and we were walking to the parking lot and we left. Then we were driving home, and we sat on the couch at our house and watched TV.
It was a great treat, and it was very fun.
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[*I typed Jacuzzi with a small j and Hailey asked why it had a red line under it. We spell-checked it and discovered it should be capitalized, something she’d actually done when writing “Jaccuzi” above.]
As you probably guessed, Hailey is my granddaughter, and I suspect someday she may walk in the footsteps of both Gramma and Great-gramma (Wilma Pitchford Hays) who wrote children’s books.
Thanks for stopping by. Next blog: the cover and blurb for my Romantic Suspense, Shadowed Paradise, which I plan to put online sometime in the next week.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Alecyn de Beauclaire, an orphaned heiress, is taken captive at age nine by the Earl of Rocheford who wants to enjoy the income from her estates. Her first friend in the strange new world at Castle Rocheford is Ranulf Mort à Mer, a descendant of Vikings and a penniless squire with no hope of ever being able to afford a horse and armor so he can become a knight. As the years go by, their friendship is unwavering, even when tested by the preaching of monks who declare that all women are evil and should be shunned.
When Alecyn is almost fourteen (a marriageable age in Medieval times) King Henry II makes Alecyn his ward. She is thrilled because she knows the king will want to keep her money for himself and, therefore, will not marry her off for several more years. Perhaps there is still time for Ranulf to become a knight and distinguish himself in battle.
In her position as companion/entertainer to the royal children and songstress to the royal court, Alecyn learns not only the epic romance of chivalry, but the dark side of romance as she witnesses the love/hate relationship between the king and queen. Ranulf, meanwhile, learns to fight side by side with a new friend, William Marshall. But even Ranulf’s eventual elevation to knighthood is not sufficient to qualify for the hand of an heiress to four fine estates.
Until, one day, Queen Eleanor goes for a hunt on her lands in the Aquitaine, and Ranulf and his friend, William Marshall, are among her escorts. Perhaps, just perhaps, if the three young people survive captivity by Eleanor’s rebellious knights, they may have a future after all. But which young knight will King Henry choose for Alecyn?
The Captive Heiress was written as a painless way for people from nine to ninety to learn about Medieval times, particularly the tumultuous twelfth century. In addition to a look at the dramatic lives of King Henry and Eleanor, readers will catch a glimpse of the early days of their many children, including Richard and John who became famous through the Robin Hood legend. Another very important character is William Marshall, often called the greatest knight who ever lived. Please see the “Whatever Happened to . . .” section at the back of the book for the rest of the story of the many real characters in The Captive Heiress.
Warning: marriages were often contracted at birth, and girls commonly married at age fourteen, so modern sensibilities need to be set aside. This is the way it was.
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My 8-year-old guest blogger - in a move reminiscent of some of her older counterparts! - has not yet finished her blog entry, so here's my latest DIY pub entry. (Some of you may remember the original, Roses in the Mist.) The Captive Heiress is available on Amazon's Kindle and in various formats on Smashwords. It should be available directly from Nook and Sony in the near future. Coming in late August: Shadowed Paradise & Paradise Burning, both contemporary romantic suspense from my backlist.
Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, young Hailey's tale will be available soon . . .
Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, young Hailey's tale will be available soon . . .