Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guest Post and Giveaway with HARCOURT'S MOUNTAIN Author, Elaine Dodge

Not married; sold. The reality of the situation bore down on her. The constable had said this was a legally binding marriage certificate. But the receipt didn’t say that anywhere. It said she was simply purchased goods. Just like the sacks of flour and beans in the back of the wagon.

Elaine Dodge joins us today from South Africa to share a bit about her historical romance novel, Harcourt's Mountain, which is set in 1867 British Columbia. Please join me in welcoming her to Books & Benches! Scroll down to the end for a giveaway and flash fiction by the author.

Harcourt's Mountain
Spring, 1867

The western frontier of British Columbia hardly seems a likely place for romance. Filthy, terrified and confused, Hope Booker is waiting to be sold off the ‘bride’ ship. Luke Harcourt happens upon the sale. It’s not love at first sight, but he feels compelled to save her from a life of slavery and prostitution. To allay her fears of being raped by him, Luke promises never to touch her. Being a man of his word, this is a pledge he quickly finds almost impossible to keep.

Battling their growing attraction to each other, they must learn to live together in the forests of the wild and almost unexplored mountains. They face white water, Indians, wolves, as well as a dangerous man from Hope’s past.

No longer able to deny their feelings, their ‘happy-ever-after’ is shattered when a corrupt land baron forces Luke’s hand. Enraged at the man’s actions, Luke rides into town—and disappears.

Alone and pregnant, Hope faces the prospect of the worst winter in ten years. The trauma of fighting off a hungry grizzly brings on labor, but the baby is stuck. Luke meanwhile wakes up on a ship bound for South America, captained by a revengeful sadist who plans to murder him. Luke’s chances of survival are slim. Can he stay alive and make it back to Hope in time?

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Heat Rating: Level 2 - Sensual (kissing and at least one sexual encounter – there but not described in detail) 

Excerpt from Harcourt's Mountain

At the top was the date, 1st March, 1867, and the three signatures. There was his name—Luke Harcourt. It was an educated hand. That was a small measure of comfort. At least she hadn’t been married to a complete barbarian.
Not married; sold. The reality of the situation bore down on her. The constable had said this was a legally binding marriage certificate. But the receipt didn’t say that anywhere. It said she was simply purchased goods. Just like the sacks of flour and beans in the back of the wagon.

What did the man who’d bought her think? This Luke Harcourt? Did he see her as a wife or purchased goods? Was he expecting her to be a wife in the fullest sense of the word? She blushed even thinking about it. What would she do if he did? They weren’t married, not really. Being his “wife” would make her his mistress. His whore.
She took a deep breath and decided she would worry about that only if, or when, she had to. Maybe he just wanted a housekeeper. It was a small measure of comfort and she didn’t put much faith in it, but she clung to it all the same.
He’d been gone about ten minutes when a white haired, plump, Chinese lady flew out the door and rushed over to Hope. She grabbed Hope’s hands and tugged at her, all the time chattering away. Hope didn’t understand a word.
An elderly Chinese man, clearly the lady’s husband, hurried out of the shop behind her. He tried to get the old lady to let Hope’s hands go but she refused. His eyes twinkled with affection when he turned to Hope. “Please, you will have to come inside. My wife will not be denied.”
Hope climbed from the wagon and allowed herself to be whisked into a new and unexpected world. The immense structure was filled with large wooden vats of boiling water. Clothes were either lying in large, dirty piles beside them, being stirred around inside, or being pulled out and hung up over lines that criss-crossed the shop in a bewildering fashion. Felt-shod Chinese in plain dark blue suits bustled around. In one section of the store some young women ironed the clean clothes.
Were all these people related? At the back of the warehouse, large fireplaces held large kettles of boiling water. The heat inside the building was enormous, steam rising from all the vats in great clouds.
Perspiration ran down her face and back, making her feel more uncomfortable than ever. She wiped it off her forehead with the back of one hand. The old lady still had hold of her other one, patting it and chattering away.
A young woman came up and spoke to the old lady who looked sharply at Hope. She nodded to the young woman. They both fingered Hope’s dress, shaking their heads. Could this be more humiliating?
They took hold of her arms and hustled her up a set of stairs. Hope was alarmed. What did they want?


An e-book edition of Harcourt’s Mountain to the first person who can tell me the name of one of the men who ran the bride ships in real-life. Post the answer on my Facebook page with the heading MK McClintock Guest Blog competition.

Meet Elaine Dodge

I was born in Zambia, grew up in Zimbabwe and am currently living in South Africa. I say currently because I did my first round-the-world trip when I was four years old. So who knows where I'll end up! I trained as a designer and worked in that field for a number of years, even running my own company. A long stint in advertising followed. In the last few years I've been toiling away in the TV industry, winning an odd international award. Writing was an aspect of each part of my career. But I realised this wasn't enough. I love "telling stories". I'm passionate about it, so in November 2011 I decided to "wrestle the Rottweiler" and put those stories on paper. I feel most alive when I'm writing and delight in letting my imagination run riot.

My first book, Harcourt's Mountain signed by Tirgearr Publishing, was launched 15 August 2013. The reviews have been marvellous! Mostly five stars. It's so exciting! I have been featured as a guest blogger on other authors' sites, have done a radio interview about the book. AND Harcourt's Mountain was nominated for the 2014 RONE Awards!

Right now, I'm in the throes of editing my second novel, The Device Hunter, which is an altogether different animal to
Harcourt's Mountain, both in genre and temperament! I am also plotting out and have begun my third novel The Raging of Christopher Sly, which is completely different to either of the other two. Because so many readers have asked for it I've also begun the plotting for a sequel to Harcourt's Mountain.

Flash Fiction by Elaine Dodge
"I Lie for A Reason"

“The difference is, I lie for a reason.”
“Sir,” Brian Coxley sighed, “I’m sure your reason is excellent, but you still can’t lie on the smoked salmon. Please get up.”
I snuggled deeper down into the ice. “No.”
“Sir, am I going to have to call security, again?”
“Call whoever you like, I’m not leaving!” A small crowd had gathered. Which was hardly surprising, I was after all, an unusual occupant in the fresh fish display. There was the slam of a door in the distance.
“Simmons!” A loud and, I could already tell, obnoxious voice boomed out. I could tell because I’d heard it before. Yesterday, in fact, when I’d attempted a lie-in over the imported cheese section. That had been a mistake. My clothes smelled horribly of mouldand haddock, for some bizarre reason. Perhaps it was that which had caused me to seek out the salmon.
“Oh great, now Mr Silverton’s coming. You’re going to cost me my job, you know!”
I did sympathise. It wasn’t his fault. But really, if you’re going to have such delicious fish in such nice, cold, crunchy ice you must expect to get liers. I didn’t plan on being there long. Just ten minutes or so, until my toes got all tingly. Then I’d pop off home, put the kettle on for a nice hot cup of tea and listen to tonight’s episode of The Archers. Perhaps some Bovril toast for supper.  Toast…all nice and golden and dripping in butter and tangy Bovril.
You know, he was right. The salmon wasn’t a good idea. Pumpkins now. Perhaps I should try the pumpkins. It was nearly Halloween after all. I needed to get into the spirit of the season.
“Right then,” I said, “I’m off.” I could see the relief on Coxley’s face.  Poor man. “Ta-ra!” I nipped out of the display, grabbed a decidedly shocked Mrs Thompson round her ample middle and planted a big, wet kiss on her cheek. Leaping on my motorised mobility scooter, I raced at a heady eighteen kilometres an hour for the supermarket entrance, scattering tins of baked beans as I took a corner on, what I’d like to think, was two wheels. One could only dream of such displays of motorised prowess.
Today was not a good day. I’d been moved on, and, not only was it raining outside, which made the fact that I was already cold and a tad moist a possible precursor to double pneumonia, but Constable Clod was just coming through the big glass door. Well, when I say he was coming through it I mean, unfortunately, that he waited, like a good, law-abiding citizen, for the wide doors to slide gracefully open before, as he would say, proceeding onto the premises.  Bounding through, shoulder to the glass, shattering it, doing a swift duck and roll would have been far more exciting. But old Cloddy did everything by the book. He’d no more dream of crashing through glass doors, ducking and rolling than he would peeing sitting down!
The glass was probably the ‘this-will-need-an-armoured-vehicle-to-crack-it’ variety anyway.  Grief, life was dull in Ditchling.
Ditchling! What a name. Lying dead in Ditchling. Hardly an improvement on ‘lying dead in a ditch’ now is it? Hence the quest behind my lie-ins!
Speaking of which, tomorrow’s another day.
Brrrr. Very cold now. My fingers are quite benumbed, as they say. Or rather, as anyone who has access to OED Online would say. Most folk these days couldn’t spell ‘numb’, let alone ‘benumbed’! Yes, I know I’ve changed tenses. Who’s telling this story? I’m ninety-three, I can change tenses if I want. Can’t change my underwear without help, but I can change tenses without anyone’s permission or assistance!
Where was I? Oh yes, the cold. With any luck I will get that double pneumonia. Ha! There won’t be any lying dead in Ditchling for me! When they talk about me down at the pub it’ll be, “That Joe Simmons! What a nutter. Did you hear? They found him lying dead in the Brussel sprouts!”
Now there’s a thought!  I always did like sweet, little Brussel sprouts. Forward Ho!


  1. Welcome to Books & Benches, Elaine!

  2. Thank you so much for having me on your blog, MK! I really enjoyed meeting you and chatting over email!