This week’s guest is Alice Renaud telling us about her new book A Merman’s Choice and some tips on spring planting. Hello Alice!
Hi Cathy and thank you for welcoming back to your bog to talk about something special to me and my new book! Spring is the season of love. It’s such a cliché, I know, but it’s true. As I’m writing these words a February storm is battering the garden, and it would be easy to believe that winter will last forever. But it comes early in London, UK, where I live. By the time you read these lines, it will be in full, scented bloom. I love everything about spring. The birds courting and building their nests. The leaves on the trees, green and translucent like living emeralds. The sweet sunshine on my face. Best of all, the flowers, as bright as jewels but far more precious, because they give life to bees, butterflies and other insects. Living as I do in a big city, I have a tiny garden (I’ve seen blankets bigger than my garden) but I try to make it as welcoming as possible for wildlife. See my tips below!
Tips for a wildlife garden/area/balcony! The tips are based on UK plants and animals because it’s what I know, but can be applied I think pretty much anywhere.
- Choose plants rich in nectar. Buddleia is one of my favorites, insects love it (we call it the “butterfly bush”) and it’s as tough as old boots, perfect for an urban environment. If you have more space, plant a small tree such as hawthorn, rowan (mountain ash) or holly. Their berries will feed birds and their leaves give them shelter.
- Ivy is your friend. Ivy is a lifesaver for insects and birds, because here it blooms in autumn and produces fruit in late autumn, when few sources of food are available. Its glossy evergreen leaves provide shelter in winter.
- Feed birds in winter but also spring. In spring there still isn’t that much food available, and birds have to use a lot of energy to build nests, lay eggs, and look after the chicks. Bread isn’t very nutritious; cake and biscuit crumbs, nuts, seeds and grated cheese are better.
- Don’t be too tidy! Leave areas of long grass, fallen logs and branches for insects to hide in, and don’t cut flowering “weeds” such as dandelions – they’re a vital early food source for bumblebees.
The birds and bees will thank you and will reward you by brightening up your day!
My Sea of Love series, which was a winner in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award 2019, is about shape shifting merfolk and is inspired by Welsh myths and legends. The seasons and the natural world play a big part in all my novels. I set the first book, A Merman’s Choice, in spring. It fitted the story of two young people falling in love for the first time. He’s a shape shifting merman and a sailor, she’s a girl with a phobia of water, and they have to overcome his Clan’s opposition and their own fears to be together. They spend a lot of time outdoors, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Wales and the wonders of spring. Read on to find out more!
Title: A Merman’s Choice
Series: Sea of Love
Author: Alice Renaud
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions
Release date: 4 January 2019
Cover Artist: Jessica Greeley
Genre: Fantasy Romance
For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.
Alex is determined to fulfil a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!
Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?
Excerpt: (Heat Rating PG)
Alex stopped to admire the view. Thousands of wildflowers waved their colorful heads in the breeze, kissed by squadrons of butterflies and fat, furry bumblebees. The standing stones and wall sheltered the little paradise from the strong breeze, and from any prying eyes.
Her eyes shone with delight. “This is magical!”
Yann led her to the middle of the meadow, where a small spring bubbled over rocks covered in iridescent green moss.
She crouched to photograph a dragonfly. “Nain told me about this place, or a place just like this. Perhaps she came here as a girl.”
“Maybe.” Yann doubted it, but he kept that thought to himself. The meadow was a hallowed place for the sea people, reserved for them alone. If any humans on Newrock knew of it, they had the good sense to stay away.
But Yann didn’t care if humans were not supposed to come here. He was enjoying breaking the rules for Alex. She’d asked him to show her his island, this was the most beautiful part of it. And only the most beautiful things were good enough for her.
The dragonfly took off, and Alex followed it to the nearest standing stone, where it perched like a miniature, jeweled helicopter. She knelt to study it, her face glowing with wonder.
Caltha’s warning buzzed in Yann’s mind: “You have a couple of days to get her off the island.” That had been two days ago.
Caltha had also asked him to take Alex to the wild, unsuitable areas. He let his gaze roam over the lush, tall grass, the blue dome overhead, the gannets and gulls that bounced on the wind and plunged into the sea. This place was wild and unsuitable, as wild and unsuitable as his feelings for Alex. He couldn’t even blame the kiss. Ever since he’d seen her on the mainland, haloed by the street light like a frightened angel, the mad attraction had been pulling at him. Maybe the insanity had begun even earlier. Eight months earlier to be precise, when he’d stolen her from the sea.
She was tracing the worn sculptures on the stone. “This looks like a dolphin, with human hands. Do you think it’s the magical dolphin Nain told me about, the one that rescues children?”
“If that’s what you want it to be, it’s fine by me.” Yann smiled to himself. He’d broken every law for her, and he’d do so again in a heartbeat, just to watch her drift around the stones with the sunlight in her hair. Freed from the straightjacket of her anxiety, her movements were as fluid as those of the birds that wheeled overhead. She was at home here. She belonged on his island, with the gulls and the grass, the sky and stones. With him.
She stepped away from a slab to take a picture. “This stone shows a woman with a baby. She’s got webbed hands and feet. Do you think she’s some sort of goddess?”
This was dangerous territory, and yet Yann didn’t care. He walked across the grass to join her. She wanted legends? He’d give her legends. Maybe he could tell her the legend of the fated mates, this myth that every Morvanner had a predestined lover somewhere, who was the other half of his soul. He’d never believed it, but then he’d never believed he would yearn for a woman the way he yearned for Alex. He leaned against the huge rock carved with the secrets of his ancestors.
Maybe the Lady of the sea had placed the missing part of his soul in the body of a human. If so, what a trick to play on him.
Alex turned her lovely face towards him. “Who is this lady in the stone?”
She was the Lady, the spirit of the sea, who watched over her merfolk. The sentence sat on his lips, ready to tumble out. Alex waited, transparent eyes wide open.
Human eyes, in a human face.
He swallowed the words that would have betrayed his people, replaced them with innocuous ones. “She might be a goddess, a saint, or a local woman, who knows. These stones are very old.”
Alex didn’t look convinced. She peered at the image, frowning. “What about the webbed feet?”
Sadness closed in on him, like fog rolling in from the sea. He could never tell her, never show himself to her as he truly was. He could only press his nose against the invisible wall that separated their two species. “I don’t think these are webbed hands. Perhaps the sculptor wasn’t very good, or the wind has eroded the sculpture until it’s barely recognizable.”
Meet Alice Renaud
Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
You can stalk Alice Renaud here:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B
Music for a Merman, book 2 in the Sea of Love series (books can be read independently).
Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble… especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob – when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely?
Mermaids Marry in Green, book 3 in the Sea of Love series.
Caltha Dooran is the toughest, feistiest shape-shifting mermaid in the western seas. She has three Clans to rule, and no time for romance. But when warlock Jonty turns up and asks her to come with him to London, to capture a water monster, she can’t say no. In London, away from her people and her duties, her attraction to Jonty grows… and they soon fall under each other’s spell. But will his past and her responsibilities pull them apart, or will they find the only true magic, the one that binds two souls together?