Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview & GIVEAWAY with author Gina Conkle

Interview & GIVEAWAY with author Gina Conkle

Good Morning everyone and Happy Monday! What better way to start out a week than by hosting not only a GIVEAWAY, but also a brand-spanking-new author. Gina Conkle has just published her first book with Entangled. I love Entangled and have discovered some fabulous authors through them. And she has a bunch of other WIPs that sounds great. She also has another coming out with Sourcebooks very soon. I am hoping I will have a chance to tell you all about that when the time comes. A also have found some great authors with Sourcebooks. All in all, she seems to be off to a fabulous start. It will be fun to watch her progress as time goes on. I wish her the best of luck with the new release and hope that you soon add her to your TBR lists! Please allow me to welcome to the blog:



Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer. Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations. Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll. When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.

You can find out more about Ms. Conkle in the following places:

Genre: Historical/Viking Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: June 10, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-223-4
Number of pages: 262
Word Count: 70,000
Cover Artist: Liz Pelletire


A stolen woman of rare qualities…

AD 1022…Helena longs for freedom. The Frankish maid wasn’t born a slave but marauding Danes have taken her. She’s desperate to escape their camp. Her savior comes as a fierce Norse chieftain, Hakan, who takes her to the far, icy north.
A powerful warrior who’s lived by the sword…

Hakan wants to lay down his sword and live a peaceful farmer’s life. Betrayal has left him cold to other women, yet his heart thaws to clever Helena. Her tender ways lure him, weaving kindness into his hard life. But, happiness is short lived. Old loyalties and deceit vex the warrior, calling upon his sword arm.

A clash of cultures amidst a kingdom in transition…

War erupts…a kingdom’s in the balance. Can Hakan defend his homeland and keep the woman he loves?

Buy Links

By reading any further you are stating you are at least 18 years of age.
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary for you to exit this site.

He saw wetness on her lashes. She turned her face to the fields, and another piece of the riddle that made Helena fell into place.
Hakan cupped her chin. His thumb stroked her scarred jaw. “Your pouch, the stone is the reason for this. Magnuson said as much.”
She nodded, sniffling and swiping at tears that rolled down her cheeks.
His thumb brushed a tender stroke over her cheek’s curving pink scar. “The stone almost cost you your life. Why?”
Hakan, with great tenderness, stroked her face. The salve had done its work: smooth, touchable skin remained. But the salve only healed skin deep wounds. Some wounds lurked deeper than the Dane’s cut. What ached beneath the surface? More fat tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I am a peasant maid.” Her voice quivered. “When Guerin wanted me, I felt…” Helena sniffed and chewed her lower lip. “I was suddenly important. A woman of value. Without it…”
Her vulnerable admission was a tender spot for her. Couldn’t she see her worth was higher than any stone?
His thumbs wiped away her tears. “Keep the pendant. It came at a great price. Wear it for all to see.”
Hakan took her hand in his and set the necklace in her palm. He curled her fingers over jewel and chain.
“Aye, Helena, the stone could buy more thralls. But ‘tis metal and stone. They do nothing for me.”
Her lashes, spiked with wetness, fluttered at him. Bewilderment writ on her face, he soothed his voice as if calming a babe.
He shook his head. “I’ll not trade you for that.”
“I don’t understand.” Her eyebrows knit together.
How could he explain what he didn’t fully understand? He was on shaky ground. From the corner of his eye, part of a red sail caught a strong breeze and fluttered. Selig replaced the rocks that tamped down the sail before the whole cloth blew free. The vibrant red waved at him, a banner by which he could escape explaining why he would not let her go. Hakan waved his arm at the sails drying in the meadow.
“Look what you’ve accomplished in so short a time. You promised me great talent weaving fine linens…to expand my wealth.” Hakan’s arms folded across his chest. “Strong sails for my ships. This I understand.” Tilting his hand toward the jewelry in her own, the corners of his turned down. “Stones do nothing for me.”
A thousand glittering stones couldn’t equal her worth. He stared into the depths of her blue eyes and called himself a coward for not admitting this to her.
Helena sniffed again and clutched the pendant, returning it to the leather pouch. “Is there no custom? No means to gain my freedom?” she asked, her voice hoarse with emotion.
Hakan sighed. “There are ways.”
“Mardred told me a thrall can earn her freedom after some years of service. Is this true?”
“Aye.” His arms stayed crossed, unmoving. He’d give no more.
“Then, may I strike such an agreement with you?”
“Such as?”
“I want to earn my freedom.” Her eyes pleaded with him.
Hakan shifted his stance, cagey about giving an inch. His neck and shoulders knotted.
True, many a valuable thrall gained freedom after years of service. Most stayed.
“Serve me well for seven years, Helena, and you’ll be a freewoman.”
“The time cannot be shortened?” She clasped her hands together. “Seven years,” she groaned. “So long.”
“I will not be swayed on this.”
She canted her head at him, doubt clouding her features. “But, will you keep your word, my lord?”
“What makes you doubt me? The way I’ve mistreated you?”
Helena flinched at his sarcasm. She was not satisfied. Seven years must feel like one hundred to her. Her fingers plucked at her apron, and she kept silent. A stab, like a hot brand, hit him. This was rejection. An arm’s length from her, Hakan shut himself away as if in a distant fortress. “I require your respect. For seven years.”
Pain flashed from her eyes. She dabbed at their corners and nodded.
Hakan needed to move. He needed something to ease the itch that plagued him. He needed to keep a good distance from her. His ax leaned against the barn. He grabbed it and swung the heavy tool over his shoulder.
“I have to clear some trees,” he announced. The field did need widening, and he needed wood.
The tree line would keep him a safe distance from her, yet he could keep an eye on the longhouse. And the loom where she would sit. Hakan walked to the edge of the yard and something pushed him to needle her.
“I expect fresh bread at my table tonight. See to it.”
Her eyebrows shot up at his harsh command. He hadn’t spoken to her that way since the journey to Svea. Her body visibly bristled at his tone. He waited, and Helena bowed her head in exaggerated servitude. Hakan whistled on his way to chop wood, pleased at gaining the upper hand.
Much could happen in seven years.


How has your life changed since becoming published?
Sometimes I work seven days a week, but I love it. Also, this summer too much is going on so we nixed family vacation plans.

That stinks, but I know exactly what you mean. What is your typical day like?
Now that it’s summer, life’s a little different without the school shuttle, but I get up around 6:00 AM. I’ve spent more time this summer on plotting (2 books and writing some scenes) and a lot of promotional work.

I’ll go until time to start dinner around 4:30 or so. Sometimes I go back in the evening, but I’m often brain-fried by 8:00 PM.

You mean that time at the end of the day when you are no longer capable of coherent thought? Yeah. I know that time. LOL Tell us a little about your current release Norse Jewel.
Norse Jewel is my “first ever” book…first written and first published. I love Vikings and the movie “Gladiator.” This story sprang from reading the Smithsonian’s book Vikings: the North Atlantic Saga and from Maximus at the beginning of the “Gladiator” telling the emperor that he wanted to go home (to his farm in Spain).

What would happen if you had a Viking chieftain who wanted to lay down his sword and live a peaceful farmer’s life?

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
I balance out the Norse hammers in my head by also writing Georgian romance. I have a 3 book series with Sourcebooks coming out next year “Midnight Meetings” (tentative series name). The first book, Meet the Earl at Midnight, comes out next summer. The other books are partly written with more in depth plotting being done now. At the same time, I’m working on Norse Fire, the follow-up to Norse Jewel.

Wow! Busy, busy. I would love to know more about the Georgian romance. *whispers* Come back again for that one. How do you keep in contact with your readers?
My website’s pretty dynamic. I tweak things every few weeks plus bogging. I also have a once a month newsletter where I share first peek items (if interested, you can sign up here: (See the links above)

Active authors make me happy. What is your favorite thing about this book?
Ahhh! To pick one thing?? I love the build of sensual tension where you get to see the softer side of a hard Viking warrior. When you dig into Viking history and read the Sagas, you learn they are so much more than the stereotypes people think about them.

Interesting point. And very true. What’s next for the Norse series with Entangled?
I have Norse Fire in process.

What is one thing you cut from the book that either you wish you had left in, or readers would like to hear about?
You know you left out something important when your mom calls you on it! I trimmed down a river scene (a favorite of hers from the longer manuscript) and had to shorten the ending.

This is what happened: Norse Jewel was originally 95,000 words but I had to cut it down to 70,000 words. There was a big battle scene and sensual scene toward the end. I had to trim down the story and move things around.

The “river scene” was originally more sensual.

Your MOM? What is that like having her read “sensual” scenes? I can't even imagine. I would probably have a pen name and NEVER reveal my true identity just so my mom wouldn't read them and know I did it. Any special quirks or habits when writing?
I have a routine where I keep hearing and picturing scenes and characters in my head. I write those scenes down. If the story persists, I dig more. That includes backtracking and doing research, loose plotting, and doing more character backgrounds. Then, I start writing again.

I think a lot of us tend to (rather easily) overlook the work that goes into research prior to writing for historical accuracy. I am not super picky like some people are on historical details, but at the same time I want the period of the book to seem plausible. How do you celebrate when you finish a novel?
I take a few days off and reward myself with a “spa” day (more like a facial or pedicure…something pampering).

Nice. I should start doing that too. Sounds divine! What about (the hero) and (the heroine) made you want to put them together?
I learned about a great king (Olof Skotkonung of Sweden) who tried to make genuinely good changes in Sweden in the early 1000s. He came across as such an honorable leader. Then I imagined him raising a friend’s son with similar ideals.

So, Hakan, while a tough, lower chieftain, has this gentle side to him. His own father was more farmer than raider. Then, I began to think about a peasant maid, not born a slave, who has talents of her own. That mix of a young woman who’s been nowhere falling for the hard man who’s weary of being everywhere.

I love how the minds of writers work. Any advice you’d like to share for aspiring writers?
Work on your platform now! Don’t fall into the thinking: “I’ll wait ‘til I get published and then I’ll start a website or get on twitter.” The best thing is figure out the “why do I write what I write” and let some of those guiding principles be your foundation. Then, join 1 or 2 social media sites and start to mingle.

Great advice! What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?
I would’ve been more disciplined about what I wanted…more scheduled. I still work on that.

I would say that is probably one of those constant things in the life of a writer that is a continual work in progress. Salty or Sweet?

Alcoholic or Non-alcoholic?

What is your favorite drink?
Diet coke

Question: How do people drink Diet anything? All I can taste is the aftertaste. *shudders* What is your favorite holiday?

That is definitely a favorite of mine as well. Favorite place you have ever visited? Colmar, France

Cool. I would love to leave the states someday. Favorite childhood memory?
Water skiing in Minnesota

Really? All I think is Brrrrrr … My brother lives there and I am an AZ girl. I was freezing the whole time. Boxers or briefs?

M&M’s or Skittles?

Yes! E-reader or Paperback?

Absolutely! Flowers or chocolate?
Flowers (especially tulips or gerbera daisies)

I almost think you are the first to say flowers. Well done, you. Now how about a little taste of NORSE JEWEL? I know I had an excerpt prior to the interview, but Ms. Conkle has provided us with just a bit more of a taste. I am sure I will have to twist your arm to make you continue with your reading, right? LOL

By reading any further you are stating you are at least 18 years of age.
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary for you to exit this site.

“Why the tether? What harm can one woman do?”
His eyes widened at her show of courage, or so she guessed from the way he tipped his head in acknowledgment.
Aye, one woman.” His mouth made a grim line and bitterness threaded his voice. “I have seen the destruction one woman can do.” He knotted the leather. “The bindings stay.”
Helena licked her lips, choosing silence. The chieftain’s nostrils flared like some predatory beast scenting prey. Was this anger barely restrained? Or something else?
He touched the wet rope of hair that hung over her shoulder, letting his fingers slip between tangled strands. His thumb and forefinger found a single lock and stroked the hair down to the curling tip. Goose bumps skittered across her flesh from the intimate touch.
What is your name, thrall?” He asked in the gentlest voice.
Helena,” she whispered.
Helena.” He repeated her name softly. The corner of his mouth twitched. He seemed pleased to know her name, but the pleasure was fleeting, replaced by fierceness. “I care not about trust, but I require obedience.”
Helena swallowed the hard lump in her throat.
“Serve me, as well as Agnar—” His teeth gleamed wolf-like in the darkness. “—and you’ll be rewarded.” Rising, he towered over her. “Fail in your purpose, and you will suffer the consequences.”


What’s your favorite hero/heroine types? (Such as alpha male with wallflower, brooding hero with kick butt heroine, tough warrior with quiet peasant girl, etc.) Why is this your favorite pairing?

So what did you think? Pretty great for a first-timer, yes? I really, really want your feedback on this one, so be sure to leave a comment below telling me what you think of what you read here today as well as the likelihood that you will read this book. And don't forget to answer Ms. Conkle's question. What are YOUR favorite hero/heroine types?

I want to thank Ms. Conkle for taking the time to answer my interview questions as well as taking the time to spend with us today. I hope that you all enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. If you were hooked by what you experienced today, please consider supporting this author as she launches her published career and buy a copy of this book for yourself. Be sure to enter the giveaway before you leave today. You have nothing to lose except a chance to win. I wish everyone who enters the best of luck. Have a truly fabulous day and I will be seeing you all very soon! I also have another interview on the blog today, so check it out. Until next time ...


  1. Thanks for the fun review on your blog. Have a great rest of the summer and I appreciate you taking the time to open up your blog to me.
    Gina Conkle

    1. No thanks necessary, Ms. Conkle. The pleasure was mine.


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