Friday, 29 October 2010

Guest Blogger Jerri Hines

Because I am procrastinating (quarterly reports breathing down my neck), and I think this is a fabulous book (and I love the cover!), I invited Wild Child author Jerri Hines to tell us a little bit about her new release Patriot Secrets. So without further ado, here's Jerri.

I first wrote Patriot Secrets well over ten years ago. After Dream Walker was published in 2008, I went back to it and decided to revise it. Soon, I realized there was no way to finish the story in one book. So I decided to make a series out of the manuscript. During my research for Patriot Secrets, I discovered the Culper Spy Ring. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. Inspired, you could say. Within Patriot Secrets, more so in the sequel Winds of Betrayal, I have a spy ring loosely based on the Culper Spy Ring. The whole of the story holds everything one could wish to write a thriller- action, intrigue, danger, romance...

When the British occupied New York in August 1776 after the Battle of Long Island, New York became a British stronghold and a major naval base for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Information on British troop movements and other plans was critical to General George Washington. Any intelligence that had been set in New York was extinguished with the British occupation. Then all changed in 1778 when Major Benjamin Tallmadge established a small group of men and woman from his hometown of Setauket, Long Island. This group became known as the Culper Spy Ring. Tallmadge's homegrown network became the most effective of any intelligence-gathering operation on either side during the Revolutionary War.

During the years of occupation, these people lived with the constant fear of discovery. The danger of living the life of a spy was enormous. And if discovered they faced the hangman's noose as was seen with the death of Nathan Hale. During occupation of New York, Nathan Hale was caught by the British authorities and was hanged without trial in New York City. In mid-1778, General George Washington appointed Tallmadge the head of the Continental Army's secret service. With that, Tallmadge established the Culper Spy Ring. Secrecy was of the utmost importance. Washington didn't even know the names of those in the ring. He knew them only by numbers or an alias.

Tallmadge recruited childhood acquaintances starting with Abraham Woodhull. He asked only those he could absolutely trust. One of the most colorful and daring was Caleb Brewster. He commanded a fleet of whaleboats against British and Tory shipping on Long Island Sound. Brewster was also the only member whom the British had definitely identified as a spy. Tallmadge went by the code name John Bolton, while Woodhull went by the name of Samuel Culper. The ring was well organized with each knowing their task. Robert Townsend was set in New York, posing as a Loyalist. Austin Roe and Anna Smith Strong rounded out the ring.

Within the Culper spy ring there was a mysterious woman spy known only as #355. To this day no one knows her true identity or if there was truly a 355. There is no solid information about her. Rumors abound that she was romantically involved with Robert Townsend. Some downplay this rumor. About the only thing that they agree on is that she died on board the Jersey, the notorious British prison ship (another rumor has it that she gave birth before she died). So much information that my little mind could imagine happening.

Patriots Secrets only leds up to the Culper ring. I love putting my heriones into these situation because I believe in this time period it could have happened. Men in general back then, British and American both, didn't believe that women were capable of deception. I believe they were and would have been efficient in their efforts. The women seemed to have been just as passionate for their cause as the men of that time. Did you know that it was even thought that General Thomas Gage's, the first British Commander in Boston, wife, Margaret Kemble Gage, was sympathic to the Patriot cause? Not so surprising because she came from a prominent American family from New Jersey, but it was suspected that she aided the Patriots in Boston by giving information about British movements. (Remember Paul Revere's famous ride?) Afterwards, her husband sent her out of the country to his country estate in England.

Times were different during the American Revolution. The war was fought on our own soil. Turmoil boiled. Emotions ran deep. People loved with an urgency not knowing what tomorrow would bring. Sacrifices given and lives lost, all for a deep rooted belief in a cause. From these embers a country emerged. It is this passion that I tried to capture within the pages of Patriot Secrets.

It’s a dangerous game you set to play, Miss Corbett. One that can have far worse than deadly consequences!

In the midst of the struggle for America’s bid for Independence, Hannah Corbett makes a fateful decision, descending into a world of deceit. Spurred by revenge, she heads to New York, setting in motion a dangerous game for which there is no return. Searching desperately for the man who betrayed her family, she faces the cold and brutal reality of the life of a spy. Caught in a web of lies, living with betrayal, she is trapped. She has nowhere to turn except to a man it would be treasonous to love, setting duty and desire at war . Her heart is ripped apart when she must choose between the man who risks his career and life to protect her and the only thing that has remained constant in her life…her belief in her cause.


Within the early November morning air, Hannah had set to plant tulip bulbs outside her grandmother’s window. She wanted to surprise her grandmother in the spring with the emergence of flowers that had bloomed beautifully around her home in Williamsburg. She wondered how her home looked now. Her heart pained and with her manner in dealing with that pain, she pushed all it back within her. No, she told herself, she had a mission and had no time to grieve or her heart would rip apart.

Sitting upon the ground, she looked up. In front of her Marcus stood, dressed in clothing similar to when she had first met him. Was he going out again to deceive others into betraying their cause?

He smiled at her, a charming, disarming smile. He extended his hand to her. She pulled her gloves off, accepting his assistance. With ease, he pulled her up to him, much too close. She wanted to back away, but he held firm. His eyes lay intent upon her.

“I was looking for you. I didn’t mean to catch you off guard, but wanted a minute of your time.”

She dusted her skirt off and pushed back her unruly hair. “Of course not, but I’m sorry about my appearance, Marcus. I wasn’t expecting anyone this morning."

He didn’t reply. His fingers wiped her cheek where a streak of dirt lay. His hand lingered on her arm. She glanced up at him. He stared into her eyes. She wanted desperately to turn from his gaze, but wouldn’t show a sign of weakness. Her heart beat rapidly, but he said nothing.

“You’ve a purpose to this visit, Marcus,” she asked. “Or do you want to see Grandfather? I’m sure he’s within his study.”

“No, it’s you I wanted to see,” he answered under his breath. Suddenly, his hands went securely around her waist.

“Marcus,” she protested her hands against his chest. “Pray, what do you think you’re doing?”

“I find that I must once more depart. And I have only one question for you Hannah. Are you going to be here upon my return?” He drew her closer. His hand touched her cheek, easing behind her neck. “I wonder. I wonder if you will remember what it is like to have my arms around you as they are now. I wonder if you will dream of me while I’m gone.”

“Please release me, you arrogant man!” she pleaded. “Someone will see.”

“That’s no answer,” he whispered. She wanted to be able to jerk away and run, run far away from him, but she found she couldn’t move. His hand caressed her cheek, running down her neck. “You’re a strange one, Hannah Corbett. Why are you really here?”

“I have told you, my grandmother,” she murmured, finding it difficult to find her words.

He gently held her, but firmly. “I know what you told me, Hannah. How you wanted to leave before the invasion and would do so now if you could. It’s just…I imagine if you really wanted to leave, you would do so. I find it hard to leave you. I can imagine all sorts of trouble you could find yourself in.”

“I don’t believe it’s your concern, Marcus. I wish you well in your journey.” Her tone emotionless, she twisted, but his gripped only tightened. He pulled her to him. Her protests drowned as his lips came down hard upon hers. His mouth settled upon hers. She could feel a fire within him as his mouth claimed hers. And to her horror she found herself responding to him.

Her hands, which once pushed against him, trying to resist, opened freely and she pulled him to her. Her body betrayed her mind, melting into his, his touch, his kiss. His mouth kissed her cheeks, her neck, and back up to her lips again.
She couldn’t breathe. Her chest heaving, she finally broke away. Ashamed she responded so; she found she had no words. Oh what was she going to say that her body had so willfully denied with his touch. He caressed her cheek again.

“You make it hard to leave, Hannah Corbett,” he said softly. He gave her no opportunity to utter a response. He quickly kissed her lips once more. Then without another word, he departed.

Where to buy Patriot Secrets:

Where to find Jerri Hines:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Happy Halloween and all that stuff

It’s my turn. Yeah, mine. And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I agreed when Faith asked me if I’d like to resurrect this blog. I know I have a few more days. Well, not really. You see, Wednesday, I drive up to my mother’s and come home Thursday. On top of this seven-hour marathon of driving in less than two days with a six year old in tow, I have quarterly reports to finish by the 31st. AND we have our annual Blocktoberfest this Saturday, not mention to Halloween. (I live in insanity central, if any of you are wondering. Grin)

And it’s that time of year again. Candy, candy everywhere. The problem is that I still have to clean my cupboards out from (peering into the cupboard)—gasp—Christmas? There’s candy in there from Christmas? Good God Almighty! That can’t be good. (Scooping out the candy.) And here’s some Easter candy. Hm… do you think that’s still good? Me neither. So, now that the cupboards are finally clean of old candy, I get to stock up on more candy that will soon become old candy, rotting in my cupboards yet again. No, it doesn’t get eaten. My daughter is too picky of an eater for me to let her have more than a few pieces. Besides which, a piece a candy turns my sweet, precious child into Demon Seed. And me? Well, that’s another story. (Can’t turn into something you are already on your way to becoming, right? Just kidding… Right?)

I have nothing against candy. I like candy. And that’s the problem. So I try to make sure I buy candy that I don’t really like. You know, like Almond Joy, jelly beans, Peeps, candy corn, and I bury the candy in the cupboards where it’s such a pain in the ass to pull out that I won’t eat it…unless I’m really, really having a sugar craving. But, in the midst of a homicidal sugar craving, nothing is safe.

But this time I am screwed. You see, one of Charlie’s friends (Charlie’s my husband) kindly sent us an entire box of Wonka chocolate bars for Halloween. An entire box. We are halfway through it. A week or so ago, in one of my PMS moments, I snagged a bar and brought it into the living room where I could eat the entire thing in peace, except I didn’t. Instead, thinking Charlie would say “no,” I stupidly asked if he wanted half. And because he still hasn’t learned that getting between a PMSing woman and her chocolate is about as advisable as getting between a shark and its chum, he said, “Yes.” Lucky for him, I love him and refrained from chewing his arm off…this time. Next time, I’m not promising anything.

Despite the candy, I love this time of year. I love Halloween. (Another excuse to wear a costume. Okay, nowadays, the only excuse I’ve got to wear a costume.) This year, I wanted a new Halloween costume (it’s been a good ten or more years since I’ve gotten one), but leave it to me to check out the parking lot sale on a rainy day. And I happened to pick a place that sold old costumes from TV and film sets. Being a normal size woman, I couldn’t even pull them up past my thighs or over my shoulders. (sigh) So, I’m going to be a witch. Not a sexy witch and not even that much of a stretch, I know, but I already have a black faux velvet dress, a black wig, which I may or may not wear, black boots, and a borrowed witch’s hat. I’ll be a scary witch or a not so scary one, depending on whether I decide to wear make up and how much sleep I’ve had.

So, what do you love about this time of year? And what are you going to be for Halloween? Have you decided? If you come to our block party, I highly recommend that you wear a costume. If you don’t, it’s into the dunk tank for you. Now, that I think about, scratch the costume. Come as you are. (Evil cackle)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

We're Baaaccckkkkk!

Sara Pictures, Images and PhotosHappy October to all our followers and visitors!

We’ve been bad, bad girls. We admit it. Life tends to throw us curve balls (unexpected grandchildren), illnesses (whine-ass husbands), too much work (procrastination at its height), and so many other distractions (say it with me: Shiny Object Syndrome) that we often let things fall to the wayside like our cute li’l blog.

But, due to my persistent prodding, I got the four of us back on track blogging here at Four Strong Women. Sarah was inspired to revamp the site, and wow did she ever do an amazing job! New header, new template, cool sigs and some of our recent releases over on the side bar and many more sparkly Shiny Object Syndrome watzits! The woman is a marvel, that’s for sure!

With that said, take a few minutes to click on the links on our sidebar. Sarah worked hard on them!

What we’ll be doing here at FSW is posting at least once a week. Each one of us will take a week. Mine is the third Friday of each month (although I’ve posted this early), and I believe Marci’s is the fourth Friday. Tess and Sarah can squabble over the other weeks of the month, lol! However, if one of us feels like blogging on any other day, we’ll do that, too, as the mood strikes (ouch! Damn it, Sarah, I was talking about the mood striking, not you!).

Anyhoo, {rubs back of skull} we’ll blog about whatever we like. We’ll bitch, moan, groan, laugh, share news, post reviews of books we’ve read for our own personal pleasure, movies, recipes, websites, and so on. And yes, you’ll get more of our zany, off-beat humor too!

So, we hope you’ll subscribe to our blog. Also, whenever you read something humorous, wickedly bitchy, or interesting here at Four Strong Women, please share the link on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and all those other numerous social network sites out there. We’ll be doing our best to keep up with our blogging days!
bullshit Pictures, Images and Photos
Next time I blog, it will be either a book review of a novel I’m nearly finished with or something based on my new motto my oldest daughter gave me: If people are talking shit about me then I must be famous!

Uh, oh. I feel a snarky blog post coming. Yeah, it’s down in there deep brewing, bubbling, gurgling ready to…uh, no. Sorry. That’s the chili I had for lunch.

Never mind.