Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over Kimbra Kasch, author of Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking, Book One in The Viking Series.
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Crimson Frost
Date of Publication: August 26, 2016
Number of pages: 274
Word Count: 65,000
Cover Artist: Gin Kiser
Giveaway! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Travel across oceans, continents and countries to discover the story of legendary Viking hero, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with King Arthur’s half-sister in Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking.
This is the story of two warriors who never thought they’d find love, especially on the battlefield, yet standing poised against each other Morgaine and Holger face an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.
EXCERPT OF MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING
This is an old story told from a totally different perspective. This is a Viking’s tale.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a legendary romance filled with honorable Knights from King Arthur’s Round Table, Salacious Pirates, and Brutal Vikings. This is the retelling of the romance between King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine Le Fay, and her epic lover, the Viking Prince of Denmark and heir to King Geoffrey’s throne, Holger Danske. And though you might think you know these characters from the British stories, this tale comes from an entirely different point of view. The Viking perspective.
Everyone knows of Excalibur and King Arthur but few know of his brother-in-law, the Danish Viking Prince and warrior Holger Danske or his sword Cortana. MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a mature Young Adult retelling of folk-lore legend and Danish leader, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with the sorceress Princess Morgaine Le Fay.
They met on a battlefield, poised against each other, but their attraction was more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than Merlin, yet theirs is a tale more tragic than Romeo and Juliet.
Weaving the stories from English, French and Danish together this is one slice from the rich tapestry of tales that have come together throughout time and history.
While most everyone who searches for tales of the middle ages and seeks out stories of Knights and battles, castles and magical swords, they will only find the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet, it is only with the help of the Viking warrior Holger Danske of Denmark and Charles the Great (a.k.a Charlemagne of France) that King Arthur beat back the Saxons and retained leadership of Camelot.
Amidst these battles and legends, Morgaine Le Fay is worthy of her own stand-alone stories for she was such a strong woman everyone believed her to be a sorceress or more than human. Some said she was half fairy because she rode with the men in battle and was more than willing to take enormous risks for the men she loved.
Some believe she was the most powerful sorceress in all of history, having tutored under the guidance of Merlin and quickly surpassing his abilities. But it is her tragic love story with the Danish Prince that forms this first story in the Viking Series: MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING.
Morgaine’s true love, the Viking Norse leader and legendary warrior, is immortalized in stone in the dungeons of Hamlet’s Castle on the shore that sits between the sound of Denmark and Sweden.
But there is much more to this tale than a simple love story.
King Arthur received his magical sword, Excalibur, from the Norse Goddess, also known as The Lady of the Lake but Excalibur was not the only magical sword she ever relinquished to mortal hands. She gave just such a magical sword to the Danish Prince, Holger, and one to the French King, Charlemagne. Together these three heroic men joined forces to fight side by side. Britain, France and Scandinavia battled back the invading Saxons.
I am married to a Dane who was born and raised in Denmark, and have visited the Castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, Denmark and viewed the statue Holger Danske in the casemates. I have also visited both England and France and tried to stay true to the themes of all three legends, (from Denmark-Holger Danske, England-King Arthur, and France-Charlemagne), while weaving them together. However, I have taken artistic liberties with language and in dramatizing the tale of The Viking Princess.
There is an entire world full of rich stories about epic battles that go far beyond King Arthur’s realm and other countries hold their legendary heroes in this same high regard. This is one such story.
What inspired you to write this book?
My first trip to Hamlet’s Castle in Elsinore, Denmark. My husband was born and raised in Denmark so when he took me to meet his Danish family, he took me to visit one of his country’s most fantastic sites. It was there that I first learned of the legend of Holger Danske, a Viking Warrior and heir to the throne. But that wasn’t even the most fascinating thing to me. I found out Holger was married to King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine Le Fay. And the legend got more interesting with every word.
King Arthur was given Excalibur by The Lady of the Lake (a Norse Goddess) but he wasn’t the first or the last to be given such a gift…
Holger was given the sister sword to Excalibur – “CORTANA”.
I couldn’t forget about this Viking. When I went home I read all I could find about him…and Morgaine. The legends cross countries: France, Denmark, England, Ireland… I was mesmerized.
How did you come up with the title?
Morgaine (who is found in many legends, under many different names in many different countries: (e.g. Morgaine Le Fay, Morgan le Fay, Morgaine le Fey, Morgen, Morgain, Morganna, Morgant, Morgane, Morgne, Morge, and more) fascinated me most of all. In some legends she was a shield maiden who rode out in the front of King Arthur’s army. In other legends she was a sorceress and in some a Fairy. I had to read more about her. But when you put the legends of Morgaine together with the legends of Holger…I felt their story had to be told. It seemed so strange that people in America had only heard the portion of the tale that included King Arthur…maybe because that part of the story was all in English. But, if you could read French, Danish and English, you could hear the rest of the story.
What made you choose the main setting for your book?
My story travels from Britain to Denmark to France and back again. I couldn’t choose only one location when the story travels across continents, countries and an ocean. ;D
If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I think I would want to talk with Morgaine the most. I would like to see why people thought she was a Fairy and a sorceress but mostly I would like to hear about her life as a shield maiden. For a woman to ride into battle and actually defend the men she loved is fascinating to me, a woman who sits behind a desk and types… ;D I mean, the worst thing that could happen to me is a hangnail or maybe a paper cut ;D
Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
The conflict in my story involves Holger and Morgaine riding into battle against each other. The Vikings were not a friend to the Brits. Yet, somehow these two epic characters fell in love. It was not an easy journey or path to choose. King Arthur did not welcome a Viking to his table.
Tell us about your book cover and how it relates to your story.
I wanted my cover to show the love between these two characters but to also show strength and courage. I think Gin Kiser did a great job.
Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
I am working on the third book in the Viking Series, which tells the true tale of Mordred, Morgaine’s son. Or at least the Viking perspective ;D
What sort of personality does your hero have?
Both characters Morgaine and Holger are strong personalities, warriors and royalty…a strange mixture.
What sort of personality does your heroine have?
Above all else she is loyal to the men she loves and willing to sacrifice everything for them.
Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
I write upstairs in my bedroom…a romantic setting ;D
What sources do you use for research?
I gathered all the information I could about my story, including visiting many of the sites in my story. I traveled from Denmark to France to England and Ireland. I also pulled from the library and grabbed everything I could when I was in Denmark.
It’s time to promo. What is your favorite marketing tool?
I am horrible at marketing. I am an introvert at heart…as many writers are. But I enjoy Pinterest, I have a Viking board where I pin pictures. Plus I love to post pictures to Instagram too.
Are your book/books available in audio? In other languages? If so, give us more details about where we can get them and what languages they’re in.
I have an audio chapter and am working on getting this story put into audio format.
How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?
I have been writing since I was a little girl. I was a page editor for my high school paper and then I wrote magazine articles for years. Finally, I couldn’t forget these two characters and had to write an entire book.
Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?
I just love to write. I write short stories, novels and even articles for magazines. If I hear a story I can’t forget about or something about a character I fall in love with, I can’t let it go.
Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
I hate to say goodbye to characters I love. I keep thinking about them and writing about them.
This is the first book in a series of three… It starts with Morgaine and travels through time to tell more of the story.
Morgaine’s head was held high, her back straight, with her chin jutted forward, as she rode like a warrior into battle. Covered in shiny mail, she sat upon her lively white steed, much like a nobleman, but no one could be mistaken. One glance and anyone could see simply by looking at her, this was a fine lady, with skin as smooth as silk and clear as a summer day, her russet curls plaited and twined around her head, forming a crown of braids befitting a high-born princess.
Raising her hand to shield her eyes from the harsh morning light, she turned toward the mountains, searching for a sign. Something. Anything.
Nothing was there. Still she sat, waiting.
It was after sunset when the shadows finally shifted across the horizon. That’s when she noticed the dark silhouettes of men. Not peasants. These were broad-backed warriors on horseback, sitting outlined against the blood-red moon. They were moving closer, nearer to battle.
Arthur did not want his sister on the front lines. “You should be in the background working your magic,” he insisted, hoping she would heed his pleas.
She threw her head up in defiance and gave a little snort. “Never,” she insisted.
His voice took on an authoritative tone. “I am the King,” he reminded her with a frown etched over his face. She turned to grin at him, “Did you think I could forget?”
With a heavy sigh, he went on, “It is not as a King that I am asking, but as your brother. I cannot bear the thought of you being hurt for me. I want you in the background, not on the forefront of battle.”
She shook her head, and then reached across the gap between them. She ran her palm over his cheek. “Do not waste your worry. You know, death holds no fear for me.”
“Perhaps,” he nodded. “But there are worse things than death. Please sister, if only for my sake, move to the back and do not separate yourself from us—I beg of you.” He tried to convince her not to ride forward from the front lines, but she wouldn’t listen.
“Do not even think of it,” she said, with that familiar look of determination in her eyes and the stubborn tone Arthur had become so acquainted with. Pulling back on her reins, she danced her horse around him. “I am a symbol for the men to look upon. I must move about for all to see.”
And no matter how much he wanted to deny it, they both knew she was right. Sitting out in front of the knights, she made an unforgettable impression.
“But you can inspire from anywhere, it need not be the frontline,” he insisted.
She shook her head, disregarding his warning as she rode ahead to act as the King’s guard over her brother. Sitting proud and tall, she fully intended to protect him from the onslaught that was about to begin. Arthur was transfixed. She was more beautiful than ever. An angel blanketed in shadows but edged in starlight, no man on the battlefield would ever forget her face.
She felt the fire burning inside her belly. The cry of war rising up into her heart, she wanted nothing more than to ride.
As the men moved nearer, she raised her hand, stopping Arthur’s men—holding them back, “Wait for my signal,” she called out, “Steady!” Finally reaching up over her head, she dropped her sword across her body as the moonlight glistened on the shiny steel, blinding the men riding toward them into battle.
Morgaine let out a laugh that echoed over the field as she galloped forward, and then immediately she swung her mare away from the men. Standing out alone and off to the side, she was a vision…
Suddenly time stood still. She was frozen, as a warrior on their frontline came into view. His arm raised up over his head, sword in hand, he led the charge against her, against Arthur, and against all the people of Camelot. He was a brute of a man and her attention was riveted.
There was no turning away; he was all she saw, all she noticed. Opening his mouth, he let out a roar as he rode straight toward her, this man with the golden mane.
The moonlight shimmered down on him. His browned skin glistened and his hair gleamed like an autumn jewel beneath the starlight. Suddenly she was reminded of hot summer days and amber pebbles washed up on the white sandy shores. Fascinated, she was spellbound by his glowing skin beneath the fading evening sun.
She was mesmerized.
Shaking her head to clear the fog inside her mind, she readied herself for his blow. Raising her shield, she steeled herself.
He was a giant among men, with ten times the form of any god she could imagine.
Was it possible? Was this an illusion? Could he be real?
His sapphire eyes found hers, locking on her lilac orbs, and a blinding heat struck her like a bolt of lightning. She could not turn away. His sword raised high in the air, his shield barely covering his broad chest, she stared at his form. A rush of fire raced through her, as she sat still watching this man ride with such a majestic carriage.
Giddy and out of breath, her heart beat faster than she could ever recall.
What was happening here? What magic was this? She wondered at her own body, feeling dizzy as a young maiden at her first games. Someone must have cast a spell. She turned her head, searching for the Viking sorcerer performing this magic.
There was none.
She had never had this reaction to any man. No. Morgaine had never had this reaction to anyone.
Her breath caught in her chest, and she could barely breathe. The air was trapped inside her throat, choking her. She had to cough to force the air back into her lungs.
This man could not be human. He was either a devil or a demon, she was sure of it and yet he had signaled his men into the battle before he veered off to the side, riding straight toward the sorceress with the flaming locks. His mouth was open as he let out a warrior chant she had never heard before.
Another spell, she told herself, an incantation—perhaps the same one he cast upon the knights and warriors.
She turned to her side, to see how her men were holding up under this magic.
It could not be.
His words had no effect on them. They were not under his spell. Their swords were unsheathed, raised, and ready to do battle. The knight beside her let out a thunderous cry, spurring his horse faster, as they rode past her into the throng of bare-chested men with the horns upon their heads.
Her steed moved forward, but she did nothing more than hold on to the reins as her mare carried her into the field of battle and straight toward the magic man. She was unprepared, mesmerized, and out of control…
Opposite each other they rode, one toward the other. She saw him motion to his men to continue riding forward as he veered further off to the side…to make his way straight toward her.
In a matter of moments, he was upon her. Sweeping up beside her like the blast of a storm, he stole her breath away. His thickly muscled arm snaked out away from his body, striking before she could do a thing or even before she realized what had happened. But there was no pain. It was not with a thrust of his sword that he struck, it was only his arm. Quickly twisting, he shifted his weight to make room for her. His powerful arm wrapped around her waist, grabbing her with the strength of the ocean’s tide, he pulled her toward him.
Morgaine sat motionless as a statue in the garden; she offered no resistance. Instead, she simply slid sideways from her horse onto his. It happened in one swift motion.
Pressing his palm flat against her belly, he held her in place, tightly nestled in front of him. She felt the warmth of his breath on her neck, caressing her face. Her hands fell limp to her side, accidently brushing against the hot flesh of his thigh. His skin burned beneath her fingertips.
The heat rose from her hands to her chest, and a small gasp escaped her lips as she let her hands rest upon his thickly muscled leg. He chuckled low in his throat and she knew he understood the effect he was having on her senses.
Pressing his firm rippled chest into her back, she felt something she had never felt before…lust.
She could do nothing to resist him. Leaning back, she drank in the strong, musky scent of him and felt her head spin. He held her steady and still.
Another mesmerizing potion, she thought, his spicy scent must be the mixture of a wizard’s tonic, worn to hypnotize his enemies.
Unable to fight the strength of his powerful magic, she succumbed. His tantalizing aroma made her want nothing more than to be with him, alone
THREE reasons to read a Viking Romance:
2) Lagertha; and,
But seriously, during the dark ages, the Vikings were more than merely heathen marauders. In truth, they were brave explorers. Men and women who took the original Captain’s Oath, vowing to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man (or woman) had gone before.
They were not the pillagers that the British portrayed them to be but people searching for new lands and new civilizations and along the way, they faced gripping family sagas that questioned more than their strength, agility and patience. These journeys brought into question alliances and loyal friendships, while testing their faith. And, there was nothing more important than family relationships. If a Viking couldn’t count on his family to help him survive, he perished.
But it wasn’t only the men, these warriors were women as well as men, who stood side by side on the battlefield. Perhaps that is the reason and the truth behind the tales of the Valkyrie and Valhalla, which still haunt the stories of the Vikings.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is one such tale of the extraordinary lives and epic adventures of two people: Holger Danske and Morgaine LeFey.
And Holger Danske was not the first Danish Prince to appear on the printed page or to share a well-known castle as his home. Hamlet’s story is set in the same structure that stands on the sound between Denmark and Sweden. Holger’s home is in Kronborg Castle, known to most English speaking people as Hamlet’s Castle.
It was there, inside this Castle that I first was introduced to Holger Danske and the legends surrounding his iconic life. He was a warrior, a Prince destined to become King of all the Norse lands during the time of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table.
I found it odd that everyone had heard of King Arthur and his magical sword, Excalibur, which he received from the Lade of the Lake (a Norse Goddess) who had also given such a sword to Holger Danske. Holger’s sword was named “Cortana”, and was made from the same metal and magic as Excalibur. Yet no one I talked to outside of Denmark had ever heard of Holger or his sword.
And, even more interesting was the fact that Holger and the Vikings invaded England, yet somehow, even as enemies, Holger and King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine LeFey, were able to share a forbidden love.
Theirs was a romance that threatened two kingdoms.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is the secret Denmark never shares...until now. Morgaine and Holger faced an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.
About the Author
Kimbra Kasch is a romance writer who grew up in a family with 9 kids and only 1 t.v. So instead of fighting with her brothers and sisters about which shows to watch, she’d spend her days reading and, later, writing, which explains why she love books so much.
Kimbra’s favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games, the Divergent Series and, yes, even the Twilight books. She loves something with a hint of danger and/or paranormal.
You can find her pinning on pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimkasch/
Or tweeting: https://twitter.com/kimkasch
And sharing photos on Instagram: @kaschkim
And read more about her here: http://kimbrakasch.com/
You can friend her on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimKaschAuthor/
Or stop by Amazon and check out a few of her other books: