Okay Swagger fans! It’s Thanksgiving Eve and time, not only to give our thanks here in America for the freedom and privileges we are accustomed to, but a time to learn a bit about history and the ‘what if’s’ of American culture from our co-conspirator chick and author; Jo Grafford!
Now, history to me, as proven by the plethora of new discoveries (like marking good old Chris Columbus as nothing but a pirate heathen), is a dynamic entity. What was written in history books twenty years ago is now being slated for the fable shelf! Scarey…I know. But how awesomely interesting and intriguing!!!
So today, it is with great pleasure, and excitement, that I introduce a visiting ‘Chick’ who puts the swagger into a must-read novel, giving the old ‘what-if’ question a new life in our country’s history books.
Welcome author and great friend to all ‘us chicks’, Jo Grafford, who has just published her breakout novel, Breaking Ties, an historical sassy romance about America’s lost colonists of 1587. Much of Jo’s story is based on fact! A stunning read!
Hey, y’all. Jo here. Couldn’t resist greeting you with a bit of GRITS (Girls Raised in the South) swagger right up front. Actually, I’m a current transplant to Bavaria – compliments of Armed Forces Europe – a fabulous career move and a superlicious sightseeing and shopping opportunity. Still, it’s a lo-o-ong way from home for a Georgia gal.
I’m sure Rose Payne felt the same way when she sailed the opposite direction from me across the Atlantic in 1587. She’s the main character (by the way) in my debut historical romance, Breaking Ties, first book in the Lost Colony series. She was a Chick with loads of swagger, and she needed every ounce of it the moment she landed in the Colonies. Roanoke Island, to be exact. Not your typical luxury resort, with the only running water being the Atlantic that rolled past her. Hostile natives. An ancient conspiracy. You get the idea.
Enter Manteo, one amazing hunk of alpha male. He just happened to be traveling home from a diplomatic tour in London. Soon to be chief of the Croatoans on a neighboring island, his people were described in Elizabethan sailing journals as “taller and more built than the average Englishman.” Oh, yeah, he caught Rose’s eye, and she caught his for an entirely different reason. No spoiler alerts today, but it had something to do with a wet T-shirt. No contest. Actually it was a wet bodice.
So…let’s test your level of Elizabethan-era swagger: Do you have what it takes to survive the Lost Colony Challenge? Imagine yourself in Rose’s shoes (and wet bodice) and answer the five questions below with blatant honesty. At the end, your score will be ranked against the other contestants. Each question will enlighten you with a little history factoid after you answer!
Lost Colony Challenge http://www.quizrevolution.com/act185643/mini/go/lost_colony_challenge
One last thing: November proceeds from Breaking Ties will help fund an upcoming archeological dig of the newly discovered Lost Colony fort site in NC. Also, I’m running a Rafflecopter drawing for three Amazon and BN gift cards at www.JoGrafford.com. Winners will be announced tomorrow – Thanksgiving Day! Best wishes to each of you for winning and a big thank you to all the Chicks – Misty, Josie, Angela, Renee, Rachael, Vonnie, and Susannah – for celebrating this book release with me!
Thanks Jo! But not so fast…I’m so interested in this historical event that you have such a passion for and I want to know more!
What made you decide to write the story? This may sound crazy, but ever since I was a kiddo in school the story of the Lost Colonists has saddened me. All my life, I wanted to find them. Think of how much it tugs our sympathies every time an amber alert hits the evening news. Those of us who are parents – man! Our hearts all but stop beating when the faces of those missing children flash across the screen. Picture this. When the Lost Colonists disappeared, over 100 missing persons were listed on the report: 17 women, at least 90 men, and 11 amber alerts (including two newborns). My hope is that Breaking Ties will draw a wave of renewed interest in their fate.
What is the link between your story and the archeological dig? I started writing Breaking Ties on blind faith that there was more to their story (other than a missing persons report) and that these amazing first American heroes would eventually be found. Imagine how I felt when a new clue to their whereabouts was discovered while I was still writing! Last October, the British Museum discovered the sketch of a previously unknown fort beneath a patch on one of the original Lost Colony maps in their collection. It will be an expensive archeological dig to verify the location of this fort beneath a luxury golf course at Scotch Hall Preserve in NC, so I am donating proceeds from the November sales of Breaking Ties to this worthy cause through a fundraiser called A Thanksgiving Wish. Visit www.JoGrafford.com for more details.
Manteo is certainly no gentleman but an influential diplomat with deep pockets, and that’s enough for Rose to keep her distance. Weary from the jaded intrigues of Court, the whiskey-eyed Native yearns for the shores of his island home on the outer banks of Virginia. A man of surprisingly few words, he sheds his English suit and stalks about the ship in nothing but his buckskins, earning the title of heathen and savage from the straight-laced colonists.
Manteo is soon bewitched by the fiery-haired Rose with her quick wit and fierce loyalty to her friends; in turn, she cannot help but admire the courageous leader beneath his unpolished speech and attire.
While Rose fights falling in love with a man of wealth and power all over again, their enemies are closing in. She wonders if perhaps the wrong kind of man for her is exactly the right sort of warrior to help her combat a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in Breaking Ties.
“You want my help.” ‘Twas an accusation.
“You give nothing in return,” he snarled. “You only ask for more.”
“I would had I something to offer,” I whispered. “But I have nothing. I am nothing.”
“Then what use are you to me?” He wheeled away.
I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.
Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. I was unprepared when he swooped down upon me.
“I know our location.” His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. “I could swim ashore from here.”
“Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?”
“Governor White gave his word to deliver me home.”
“We are going to starve, Manteo. ‘Tis only a matter of days now.”
“Nay. You alone starve. The others eat.”
“I have no appetite.”
“You act as one already dead.”
I straightened my back. “I accept what I cannot change.”
“And I change what I cannot accept.” He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.
I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. “‘Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you.”
My eyes flew open. “Ye will do this for us.”
“For you.” His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.
I smiled tremulously. “I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is.” The new title felt strange on my lips.
“I have yet to name my price.”
I stared, confused.
He grunted in disgust. “You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services.”
I worried my lower lip between my teeth. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.
“I will entreat the Dares for payment.”
“Nay. You are the one in my debt.”
I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.
“You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too.”
“Ye would hire me as clerk?” Hope leaped in my chest. I would not have to part from him so soon.
“My people have no clerks.” His eyes narrowed. “We have slaves.”
Keeping Jo’s heroine, Rose, in mind;
When was the last time you stretched your boundaries and took a risk?
If you had absolutely nothing holding you back, what is a risk you’ve always wanted to take? A move? A job change? An event?
Jo Grafford’s, Breaking Ties is a sassy, informative, romantic read. Hmmm…sassy, informative…romantic? Sounds like SWAGGER to me!
A great many blessings wished to our Chick Swagger family for this Thanksgiving. We give thanks to you for your love and support.