Thursday, December 3, 2015

Author Spotlight: Kim Iverson Headlee

Author Bio:
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels. She has been a published novelist since 1999, beginning with the original editions of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0671020412) and Liberty (writing as Kimberly Iverson, HQN Books, Harlequin, ISBN 0373771347).


King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court
Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels. 

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise. 

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball… and the human heart.

Winner of the BooksGoSocial Best Book Award 2015. 

They hailed her "Liberty," but she was free only to obey—or die. 

Betrayed by her father and sold as payment of a Roman tax debt to fight in Londinium's arena, gladiatrix-slave Rhyddes feels like a wild beast in a gilded cage. Celtic warrior blood flows in her veins, but Roman masters own her body. She clings to her vow that no man shall claim her soul, though Marcus Calpurnius Aquila, son of the Roman governor, makes her yearn for a love she believes impossible. 

Groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and trapped in a politically advantageous betrothal, Aquila prefers the purity of combat on the amphitheater sands to the sinister intrigues of imperial politics, and the raw power and athletic grace of the flame-haired Libertas to the adoring deference of Rome's noblewomen. 

When a plot to overthrow Caesar ensnares them as pawns in the dark design, Aquila must choose between the Celtic slave who has won his heart and the empire to which they both owe allegiance. Knowing the opposite of obedience is death, the only liberty offered to any slave, Rhyddes must embrace her arena name—and the love of a man willing to sacrifice everything to forge a future with her.

Snow in July
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady. 

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July. 

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court
“Is—is this you?” Sandy whispered.

“What is this book?” I asked.

He left his finger to mark the page and with the other hand flipped over the cover, upon which I read, A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and, beneath a fanciful yet ridiculous coat of arms, “Mark Twain.”

Ah. This must be the tome to which Clarice had alluded when we first met, when at the fair in Crownsville I was treated to a reenactment of events straight off a page of my ancient life. True to her promise, Clarice had procured me a copy—though not as old as this one—yet I had been too deeply engaged with Malory’s campaigns to have a go at reading it.

I said, “’Tis a reasonable likeness, do you not agree?”

He nodded, but his pallor increased a shade or two.

“Be reasonable, Jamil.” Marcus couldn’t bear the thought of another performer dying because of him and forced Jamil’s blade away from the gladiatrix’s throat.

Her vehemence yielded to surprise.

“Reasonable?” Jamil leveled his glare at Marcus. “I want to know why this barbarian bitch attacked you.”

“This barbarian bitch cost you more than any twenty of those men combined.” Marcus swept an arm toward the gladiators, all of whom had resumed their drills.

“Don’t I know it.” Jamil spat. “She is yours, Aquila, for two hundred thousand.” Marcus rolled his eyes. “What? I am allowed to recoup my losses, am I not?”

“Recoup your loss, yes,” Marcus said. “Double your investment in two weeks’ time, no.”

No longer in the mood to spar, he stalked toward the training enclosure’s guarded gate.

“You sure you wouldn’t be interested,” Jamil called, “after I have whipped her into submission for you?”

Marcus halted and spun. Guards were hauling her, unresisting, toward the post where the dirt was stained red from the many floggings.

His heart clenched. Better to feel the whip’s bite himself than allow her to suffer more pain on his account.

He pelted across the sand, dodging startled gladiator pairs, and caught Jamil with his arm cocked.

“The lash is not necessary. She did not hurt me.”

The gladiators’ owner relaxed his arm but not his stance. “I shall be the judge of what is and isn’t necessary regarding my property.”

“For me, then.” He grinned as a reason presented itself that Jamil couldn’t argue with. “As a favor for someone whose performances helped fill your coffers many times over.”

“You have me there, you whelp. Very well.” To the guards he said, “Take her to an isolation chamber.”

Snow in July
As she reached for the packet again, fear froze her hand.

The Glastonbury thorn’s Cristes-mæsse flowers were reputed to work miracles for the pure of heart. Yet how could she be “pure of heart” when she harbored venomous hatred for the man who had murdered her brother? How could she look her Norman bridegroom in the eye and proclaim her fidelity to him while she felt herself succumbing to this squire’s forbidden allure? How could she reconcile the months of despising England’s new king for what he had done to her people, her family, and her very existence?

“I can’t!” Sobbing, she buried her face in her hands. “I just can’t. The thorn won’t work for me. I am not worthy.”

Power does not come without sacrifice. But for Alain’s sake, and yours, you must endure the thorn.

For Alain’s sake.

Raising her head and drying her face on the sleeve of her gown, she gazed at the man—the Norman—who’d already sacrificed God alone knew how much for her sake. His chilled, waxy face convinced her that whether she was betrothed to another man or not, and whether Alain was kin to Del’s murderer or not, she didn’t want him to pay the ultimate price.

She had no right to permit him to make such a sacrifice.

The very least she could do for him was sacrifice a small piece of herself.

She drew a deep, shuddering breath, released her hatred as best she could, and pressed the packet between her palms.

(Note: Cristes-mæsse is the ancient Saxon word for Christmas)

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court


Snow in July

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting my books on your blog today!
    Kim Headlee
    Stories make us greater.