Maria-Claire Payne

Making his way to Camelot with his two closest friends in the stifling heat to participate in a weeks -- long Midsummer celebration, the talented blacksmith Bryce and his companions hope to win a place at King Arthur’s court by demonstrating Bryce’s expertise at the anvil even as the King’s knights demonstrate their skills in the scheduled tourneys. Along the way, a decidedly unscheduled chance encounter between Bryce and a sultry water nymph, however, puts his feet on another path altogether -- and that road curves more sharply when Bryce learns that his chance encounter was not chance at all -- and his water nymph no magical sprite but a Lady in Queen Guinevere’s court.

When the innocent Lady Adelaide turns to the Old Religion in a desperate attempt to ensure she will conceive a child this sultry Midsummer Day, she is unaware of the malevolent forces at work in Camelot that oppose her. A pawn in King Arthur’s bastard son’s vile and increasingly bold plans to discredit the Queen and undermine the King’s own justice, a betrothed noblewoman caught in an impossible love affair with a common blacksmith, will Adelaide be consumed by the very flames she unwittingly helps fan, caught in a twisted web of distrust, dishonour and betrayal by those to whom she swears her fealty -- or will the commoner whose heart she ensnares turn out to be her knight in shining armour, after all?


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Read an excerpt from Aflame in Camelot

Visit Maria-Claire web site

 

About Maria-Claire Payne

Maria-Claire Payne is the alter-ego of another Claire who holds multiple professional credentials related to the field of radiation oncology and a graduate degree in psychology. Both personalities share a love of taking classes in English literature and reading in many genres as well as getting inked and admiring biker dudes from afar. When no new reading material is readily at hand for whatever reason, her children have caught her reading cereal box-tops to fill the void. Maria-Claire lives in Southern Florida with her two rather conservative (how did that happen?) teenagers, the ghost of her soul-mate (her muse), and a crew of Himalayan and Persian cats affectionately referred to as the “Pussy Posse.” She loves to hear from fellow romance readers!

 

Also by Maria-Claire Payne

from Total-E-Bound: Sounding the Depths
http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1660

from Total-E-Bound: Bending Tyme
http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1420

from Pink Petal Books: Unstrung
http://pinkpetalbooks.com/Unstrung-by-Maria-Claire-Payne.html

 

An Interview with Maria-Claire Payne
By Holly Hewson for The Romance Studio

HH: Thank you for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Aflame in Camelot. Where did you get the idea for this emotionally-engaging story?

MCP: My fabulous editor at the time, Becca, suggested I write a story to submit for Total-E-Bound’s erotic historical collection, Bodices & Boudoirs. The story had to be set during a sultry summer and, of course, be a historical. I love medieval history and have a particular fondness for all things related to Arthur and his Round Table, so I kicked around -- and, alas, rejected -- a couple of ideas. I was actually in the shower when I finally had that “aha!” moment and my blacksmith Bryce emerged by the time I had dried off enough to sit down at my computer and start writing. Lucky me! Aflame in Camelot was accepted for the collection!

HH: What do you like best about Adelaide and why do you think readers will relate to her?

MCP: The Lady Adelaide is a smart, strong woman making the best of her options during an era that didn’t allow for many choices for women. Resigned to a marriage she does not want, she takes matters into her own hands. That decision puts her on the path to finding her true love, Bryce. She also discovers she possesses quite a healthy sexual appetite and a wicked sense of humor. Addie knows what she wants and does what she feels is necessary to ensure her own happiness. She’s responsible for her own orgasm, so to speak ;)

HH: What do you like best about Bryce and why will readers love him?

MCP: A hot blacksmith who knows how to handle his spear and his sword, not to mention his anvil... yep, Bryce attracts the ladies (in Adelaide’s case, a literal Lady). Bryce’s best quality to me is his absolute determination to have Adelaide as his bride, in spite of the many obstacles they face, not the least of which is the difference in their stations in life and at court. Bryce has a true heart, and that heart belongs to no one but his Adelaide. That’s hot!

HH: What makes your characters unique?

MCP: Using a midsummer’s tourney at Camelot as the broad setting for this story was key to creating a unique couple embroiled in a legendary love triangle -- among Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot that most readers already know and love. I was able to weave bits of magic into this story as well since Avalon plays a role in Bryce and Addie’s romance. Bryce and the Lady Adelaide, above all, are a fun, hopeful couple amidst the tragedy of Camelot.

HH: What makes you story stand out amongst fierce competition?

MCP: Humor! While we all know that Guinevere, her King, and her Knight will endure the pain of love gone wrong, Bryce and Adelaide are a refreshing counter-point to that loss. I had great fun with Lancelot’s contribution to Bryce and Addie’s romance as well.

HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?

MCP: Let’s see... my current WIPS include a M/M fantasy, a F/M/F contemporary firefighter ménage, and a F/M/M/M/M/M (yes, you’re reading that right! Not all at once!) that will make perfect sense when it’s published ;)

HH: How long have you been a writer and what keeps you writing?

MCP: The erotic romance bug bit me about a year and a half ago. My first submission was accepted and I’ve been hooked since!

HH: What goals have you set for yourself at this point in your career?

MCP: Clean less. Write more. My new mantra: “I love dust bunnies!”

HH: What do you enjoy reading?

MCP: Currently, I’m working my way through Total-E-Bound’s available Clandestine Classics titles. These are wildly imaginative and sooooo hot! Love ‘em all!

HH: What are you most looking forward to before the year's end?

MCP: Another contract or two!

HH: Thank you!

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