Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guest Blog, Book Review & Giveaway: Her Wicked Sin by Sarah Ballance

Her Wicked Sin
by Sarah Ballance

Release Date: September 9, 2013

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Guest Post:

We are happy to welcome Sarah Ballance to our blog today. We hope you enjoy her post.

5 Fascinating Facts about the Salem Witch Trials

Even though I count myself a bit of a fanatic over dark history—Salem witch trials included—quite a bit of what I discovered while researching my new historical romance, HER WICKED SIN, came as a surprise to me. Here are five facts that I found, well, bewitching. J
(    1. The Old Salem Witch Jail, where many of the accused awaited execution, doubled as a tavern and social gathering place. It was filthy, rat infested, and disgusting, but they served stiff drinks, so…um, no, I still wouldn’t go, lol. By the way, after the trials ended the jail was closed and sold, later becoming a private residence. (ERMAGERD, I would SO not sleep there!)
2    2. If you were accused and found guilty of witchcraft and denied it, you were jailed and—in at least 25 known cases—met an unpleasant fate. If you confessed, you were forgiven. Forgiven. So why didn’t more of the Puritans ‘fess up to avoid death? It was a matter of principal: they simply would not confess to sins they did not commit.
(     3. Puritans didn’t tend to lock up their prisoners—rather, they were simply trusted not to walk out. Certainly some tried, and those who did were caught and killed. A much better option of “escape” was to buy one’s freedom for a day, but the prisoner had to return each night…or else.
(    4. Spectral evidence was responsible for quite a few convictions. Basically, this means it doesn’t matter if you had an alibi. Your ghost, or spirit, simply flew away from your body, did witchy things, and wandered back of its own accord—all while you were having dinner with the minister or baking bread with the goodwives. It didn’t matter how many witnessed your innocence...people were HANGED because someone else dreamed they were somewhere they weren’t!
(    5. The beginning of the end of the hysteria came about when the Governor’s own wife was accused. One could easily wonder how the course of history might have changed if this guy didn’t really, really like his wife. (Thank goodness this predates sitcom husbands, right? LOL!)
Thank y’all so much for hanging out with me today! If you’d like to check out HER WICKED SIN, you’ll find a smexy excerpt at Entangled and buy links @  Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo iTunes Goodreads. And if you like haunted asylums, my supernatural novella RUBY HILL is now available from Entangled Publishing for just 99 cents. Go scare yourself up a copy!
 PS: I'm probably hiking with grizzly bears as you read this, so bear (ha!) with me if I don't respond immediately to your comments. I do look forward to your replies--and I have been promised nightly wifi--so if I'm not mauled, eaten, or otherwise incapacitated, I will SO come back for you. :) 

Excerpt:
She seemed nowhere as flustered as he as she extracted his shirt from his breeches, but the very act of this woman undressing him sent desire coursing astray. Though new to her acquaintance, he found her innately appealing. Never before had he been so taken with a woman, even as he’d entertained a long parade of those pushed to claim access to his fortune through the transaction of marriage.
None had been like Lydia.
When her hands fell to his bare abdomen, the air crackled like the fire upon the hearth. Even she seemed startled as she drew breath and froze, save for her eyes seeking his, but she quickly pushed aside her hesitation and worked her soft ministrations against his skin. Her innocence only increased her appeal, though she was no untried girl. She was a widow who had surely known the pleasures of the marital bed.
His thoughts in cooperation with her touch roused his manhood, and his breeches did little to hide the evidence. For perhaps the first time in his twenty-four years, he cursed his need. He would do nothing willingly to alienate himself from the lovely physician’s company, but he could not stop that for which he 
ached. 
She had dismissed her hesitance, no longer seeking permission to explore him. He sought in her a trace of the desire he cultivated, but she did not meet his eye. Not until she found his flustered groin did she speak. “You are not yet incapacitated, are you now?”
He blinked his surprise. Oh, how her quick tongue captured him! “Forgive me. You must know how you provoke desire.”
“I know the reputation of man,” she said. “Desire need not be provoked by much.”

Our Review:
While not strictly a paranormal story, Her Wicked Sin does involve the fear, evil, and accusations of witchcraft that permeated Salem, MA. It is difficult to imagine, from our modern perspective, how those events could ever have gotten started, let alone why they got so out of control, but Sarah Balance does a good job explaining at least one possible angle – a 17th century version of “mean girls” and pure, bullying intimidation. Whatever their reasons, this story brings all the terror to light, while deftly weaving in a tender love story chock full of mystery. The writing is excellent and straightforward, which makes this a book well worth reading. Oh, and horse lovers will definitely find something to love as well. 
Well done.

-Cary Morgan Frates

About the Book:

Salem, MA 1692
On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight...
Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.
Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply... away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse... and claiming her bed.
Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

Amazon | BN


About the Author:

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.
She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids).
When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.
She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

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Author Contacts:
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