Start Your Week with HELEN HENDERSON

Monday, June 6, 2011

A cleric in the long brown robes of the Oracle of Givneh plodded down the steps into her line of vision. Ellspeth’s breath caught in her throat. He was the same man who had tried to take the Sea Falcon—to kill her crew.

"Dal," she hissed, "he’s the one from the dock."

Ellspeth’s thoughts raced. If she stayed, the cleric would recognize her. If she tried to leave, it would bring his attention to her even faster.

Dal’s strong arms wrapped around her waist. Ellspeth’s squeal as he pulled her onto his lap pierced the buzz of conversation and bounced off the rafters. His strength rendered her struggles useless. One of the men with his arms around a disheveled woman called out encouragement. Before she could object,Dal’s mouth covered hers. His right hand held the back of her head in a steel grip. Before her lungs were

depleted of air, he released her just enough to catch a breath. The whiff of oxygen helped clear Ellspeth’s mind—and focus her thoughts. The cleric couldn’t recognize her if he couldn’t see her face. Ellspeth tightened her leg muscles so her weight was supported by the edge of the bench rather than Dal’s knees. His exhalation was warm on her neck when he whispered "Good girl," into her hair. She entwined her fingers into his thick curls. A pull signaled her cooperation, and she threw herself into the deception. Three quick tugs loosened the laces of his shirt exposing his chest. With a shrug, she inched her gown further down her shoulders. The iron links of Dal’s vest were cold on her skin as her caresses moved down his back.

"M’lord," she moaned.

Calls of approval interspersed with offers of varying degrees of suggestiveness came from every "I’m next," one called.

"Ten coppers for the night," yelled another.

"Fifty silver coins to buy her."

Ellspeth couldn’t tell which of the women said it, but a voice more screech than seductive made a counter offer. "You can buy me for fifty silver."

The bass voice which belonged to the bearded tradesman in the corner, answered. "Who are youkidding, darling? Everyone has already had you, and we didn’t even pay a single copper."

The proposals ended in an abrupt silence broken only by the crackle of logs in the fireplace. Ellspeth knew the cleric had stopped at their table. Dal’s leg pressed against her thighs as he braced hisright foot on the table leg. His wrist slid down her side to loosen the dirk in his boot under the cover of the "You there."

Without moving her head from where she nuzzled Dal’s neck, Ellspeth pictured the arrogance on the cleric’s face.

"I am talking to you. Pay attention to a bishop of the Oracle of Givneh."

Dal’s hands hadn’t stopped roaming, when she felt his back suddenly stiffen beneath her fingers. "Wha d’ya wan?" his snarl sounded loud in her ears.

"I require the service of this woman for the night, and you and your troop to escort me to Givneh."

Ellspeth’s eyes narrowed at the thought of what services she might provide to the Oracle. She gasped as the image of a stone altar filled her mind. The strength of Dal’s caresses forced a moan of pain from her. She knew he had pictured the flash of a knife and blood streaming from white skin.

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Helen Henderson

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Linda Kage: Please welcome Helen Henderson! Why don't you tell us a little about you and what you write please.

Helen: A feature-story writer and correspondent, I've also written fiction as long as I can remember.

However, it was just for myself. In my earlier stories, I solved cases with Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin (the men from Uncle), travelled outer space, drove a jeep in the sands of Africa with the Rat Patrol, and flew Corsairs with the black sheep of VMF-214. At the time I wanted to be a pilot. Not surprising since I learned to read by keeping a flight engineer's manuals up to date.

Although writing eventually became my profession, and I added correspondent and feature story writer to my technical writing resume, it was only recently my pen returned to fiction. My current writing reflects the contrasts of my heritage and Gemini sign. I cross genres from historical
adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. Among my shorter works is Ambush Luck, a western written under the pen name of my ancestress, Jessie Treon.

To paraphrase a popular commercial, I've been told my writing has enough action for a man and romance for a woman.

Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Helen: What I consider my first work as an author, Around Matawan and Aberdeen, was a local history
written for husband's hometown. I was director of the local history musem at the time. Currently out of print, Around Matawan and Aberdeen, along with the documentary I produced to promote the book are currently part of the research material at the Burrowes MansionMuseum in Matawan,
N.J. Of Town and Field, the comprehensive history I wrote of Matawan Borough and Aberdeen Township, can trace its existence back to that first book.

Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?

Helen: Although I have hundreds of writing credits to my name, my fiction backlist is short and comprised of short stories in several anthologies released in 2010 and early 2011: Recov in Romance of My Dreams 2 from L&L Dreamspell and Pirates Reprise in Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 9 by Sam's Dot Publishing. A total change of pace from the romance-loaded science fiction and fantasy I usually write was a sweet holiday story Night Wolf Publications.included in their 2010 holiday release, Yuletide Wishes: Poems and Stories for the Extended Holiday Season.

Scheduled for a 2011 release by L&L Dreamspell is Ambush Luck in the Dreamspell Goddess Anthology. Not quite in the category of coming soon, but I am pleased to announce that Windmaster Legacy, the sequel to Windmaster is now under contract with Champagne Books.

Kage: Which story are we going to talk about today?

Helen: My first novel, Windmaster, is a romance fantasy being released as an ebook tomorrow, June 7th, by Champagne Books.

Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?

Helen: Although the intimate moments are not explicit and the door is closed enough I did not feeluncomfortable letting my mother read the book, my final reader rated Windmaster as a PG-13..

Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?

Helen: Windmaster encompasses too many aspects for it to be placed in just forbidden love or a Save-the-world adventure. Ellspeth cannot embrace Dal without taking everything he comes with--including
magic. But magic means losing her first love the sea, her command, and her ship. Dal has his own reasons for Ellspeth to embrace her powers--to save the future of magic--and the world.

Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit WINDMASTER under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?

Helen: I believe that whenever an author makes a world come alive for their readers, when the words take the readers to another land and time, that work becomes unique. In the case of Windmaster, although it is a fantasy, the world does not encompass castles (although there is a dungeon), but a wide range of settings including a cave sanctuary and a maze deep beneath the earth that challenges Ellspeth's resolve and future.

A secret hint to a special scene that was a favorite of my preliminary readers. After the dark-haired archmage Dal finishes his task milling grain for a friend, he cools off in a traditional manner--in the millstream.

Kage:What was the easiest part to write?

Helen: The easiest way to answer this is to give the reverse answer. Unlike some modern writers who believe the main point of a story is to show how the main character changes, I have always
felt an author's first obligation is to their readers, to entertain them. Which made the character development the part of the story I was least comfortable with. I knew the characters so the dialog was easy. Storyboarding laid out the bulk of the plot; although after the mid-point, the voices took over and the journey took some unexpected side trails. During the writing of Windmaster, framed pictures, many of which I took over the years, hung on my walls and took me to the land of Captain Ellspeth and Lord Dal.

Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?

Helen: Ellspeth and Dal's sense of responsibility to their kin, their world, and to something greater than themselves resonated with me. Especially since part of their tale was written while I sat in hospital rooms and doctor's offices as part of my own responsibilities of caring for family.

Not fond of deep water, I never knew much about ships and sailing. Ellspeth taught me about the love of the sea. Of course, to make up for my gaps of knowledge about things naval and nautical, the assistance of a career Navy man was invaluable and greatly appreciated.

Kage: Helen, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?

Helen: Once the dam broke and the muses whispers permeated my soul, the pen flew faster. Two more novels, Dragon Destiny and Imprisoned, have come into existence and are looking for homes.

If you're still curious about Helen, here are other places to find her on the web:


Amazon Aughor Page


  1. WRITING CONTEST......My blog Amish Stories is having its first ever contest this week. The First prize winner will win 2 tickets to tour the farm where the 1985 move "Witness" staring Harrison Ford and Kelly Mcgillis was made in Strasburg,Pa . This farm is now Amish owned, and the family has given permission for folks to tour their farm. This may be the last time anyone will be able to walk and see the same things that Harrison Ford and the other actors saw during the making of "Witness". The Witness tour should last about 2.5 hours. In addition to the Witness farm tour tickets, 1st prize winner will also receive 2 tickets for Jacobs choice. There will also be a 2nd place prize, which will be 2 tickets for the Amish Homestead. Please go to My blog for contest details, and more information on the prizes. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

  2. Great interview. Good luck on your novel, Helen!

  3. Congrats on your new novel, Helen!


  4. Thanks for the opportunity to visit. Helen

    Helen Henderson
    Stories that take you to the stars, the Old West, or worlds of imagination

    Steer a course to adventure and magic with Windmaster--Now Available at Champagne Books and All Romance. Ellspeth, Captain of the Sea Falcon, is determined to make her own destiny, but it isn't easy when she has to decide between the sea, magic...or love.

    Tales of romance of today and tommorrow, Romance of My Dreams 2 from L&L Dreamspell.
    Available Now in Ebook at AllRomance/OmniLit. At in print and for the Kindle.

  5. Very interesting interview, Helen, and Windmaster sounds good - lovely cover too.

    I can identify with your comment about Napoleon and Ilya - I was mad about the Man from Uncle (especially Ilya)!

  6. What a pretty cover! Thanks for the excerpt and interview, ladies.

  7. Helen and her music are here to stay. Music belongs to the people. It always has, especially roots music. It offers up the truth, the myths, the legends... it is universal. Helen's songs are like that. She writes real songs about real people.

  8. It's always nice to learn how other authors work. I really enjoyed the interview but I was surprised that you went from non-fiction to fantasy. The early
    influence of the TV shows?