Monday, December 03, 2007

Vitual Book Tour: Jean Hackensmith-The Ultimate Passage

Join time travel romance author Jean Hackensmith, author of THE ULTIMATE PASSAGE (Port Town Publishing, Sept. '07), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in December on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours!

Jean Hackensmith has been writing since the age of 20. (That’s 30 years – and, yes, she’s giving away her age.) She is married to her biggest supporter, Ron, and has three grown children and ten grandchildren. Jean’s relationship with her co-author, Kathe Birch, began in 1987. Though Jean does all the actual writing, Kathe is invaluable when it comes to research and plotting. (The duo does their best writing after midnight , when Kathe gets a little “squirrelly”, but that’s another story…)
Jean and Kathe wrote “Charmed Passage” in just over a year and had about half of “Destined Passage” done when they had a falling out and did not see each other for over two years. Luckily they mended fences, though, and, after giving “Charmed Passage” a facelift, it was published in 2000. “Destined Passage” followed in 2001 and “Doomed Passage” in 2002. With the time travel romance trilogy complete, Jean and Kathe moved on to “The Gitche Gumee Saga”, an historical romance saga – that’s when the letters and emails started. Readers wanted another “Passage” book. Jean and Kathe put their heads together to try and figure out how in the heck they were going to write another book when the trilogy had been designed to make that impossible. Well, nothing is impossible if you’re determined, they found out, and after coming up with what they think was an “ultimate” idea, they got to work. “The Ultimate Passage” was released earlier this year. A labor of love, “The Ultimate Passage” revisits all of the characters seen in the trilogy – which has now become a saga.

You can visit their website at www.porttownpublish


Darius Calhoun is President of the U.S.—in the year 2320. Citizens of earth now live in domed cities, because pollution has reached the point where the air is no longer fit to breathe. They no longer feel hatred, jealousy, envy or love. They don’t have sex either, and haven’t for nearly two hundred years. Why? Because it’s messy, unsanitary and can transmit disease. Imagine Darius’ horror then, when he suddenly finds himself displaced in time at the whim of the goddess Aveena—the goddess of love.

His trek to 14th century Scotland is every man’s nightmare. He is forced to live in a cold, drafty castle, wear a kilt, and use the ghastly “privy” when it comes time to take care of nature’s call. Worst of all, he is expected to be an “advisor” to Robert the Bruce, the self-proclaimed King of Scotland. How is he to counsel the king on tactics of war when, where he came from, that barbaric institution, too, had been extinct for over two hundred years?

Only one thing in this godforsaken time period enables Darius to keep his sanity. Her name is Lara Macgregor. Her father is lord of the castle and its surrounding lands. Lara is beautiful, spunky—and looking for a mate. Of course, in this day and age, that means having sex and Darius wants no part of it. He feels nothing for Lara but friendship…at least he didn’t at first. Now though, strange things are happening to his mind and body and, with the war for independence in Scotland gaining momentum, so does Darius’ resolve that at some point in time, government leaders in his own world did something terribly wrong.


Lara descended to the lower room a few minutes later. She paused at the foot of the steps and stood quietly observing her “visitor” where he waited before the long, narrow window, his back to her. He was tall—a good six inches taller than her—but extremely thin. In fact, his body had yet to fill out, which was strange in itself since he appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties. Did he not tell Tony during the vision that he was in his fifty-seventh year?

She pushed the discrepancy aside for now and continued her perusal. His brown hair, cropped close to his head, framed an expressionless face and square jaw. He was good-looking in a boyish sort of way, but nowhere near as handsome as his nemesis.

Damn yeh, Aveena! Why did yeh have to send this poor excuse fer a man instead of me Adonis? This ingrate will do the king no good, and he is certainly not a proper mate for me.

As though sensing her presence, or worse, her thoughts, Darius turned. His clothing was even odder than his appearance. Loose-fitting leggings hung from his limbs, instead of clinging to them as did the garments worn by the men of the village and her father’s knights. Also, instead of a tunic that covered him from neck to mid-thigh, the upper garment extended only to his waist and was held together by a row of strange little discs. Another heavier garment, which matched the leggings in color and texture, covered the first, but was open in the front.

“This is quite a fortress you have here. No one on my staff reported such a structure when they performed fly-overs of the area outside the dome.”

Totally confused by his words, Lara did not even try to come up with a response. Instead, she swept her hair aside and sat in one of the massive oak chairs before the roaring fireplace. She indicated the padded leather seat beside her. “Come sit down. I told yeh I would try ta explain how yeh came ta be here, and I shall.”

Darius did as asked, then looked at her expectantly. His eyes were momentarily drawn to her knee-length copper hair, however, which hung over one shoulder now and shined in the dim light provided by the glowing fireplace. She was a beautiful woman and, despite the fact that his body was incapable of reacting to her physically, he still recognized her comeliness.

“Aveena brought yeh here, though I do not understand exactly how she did it.”

“Aveena,” he stated rather than asked.

“She be…a goddess. A very powerful goddess. In truth, she was me stepmother…”

“A goddess,” he interrupted, ignoring her last words. The flatness of his tone indicated his skepticism.

“Aye, and I know it be hard ta believe, but it is the truth. Yeh see, King Robert needs an advisor—”

“King Robert?”

“Robert the Bruce.”

“And what is he king of?”


Darius shook his dark head. “Scotland has not been a monarchy for over two hundred years, Lara. There is no king. You need to get your story straight.”

She stiffened at his inference that she was lying. “Alexander III died only a few years ago, sir, not two hundred years ago, and it was upon his death that the throne became vacant. Granted, there are a great number of people who do not recognize Robert the Bruce as king…like King Edward, for instance—”

“King Edward?”

“The King of England.”

“England no longer has a king, either. The monarchy was abolished there, too, in the year 2112.”

Lara’s eyes widened. Suddenly she understood—or at least she thought she did. “Did yeh say 2112?”’

He nodded. “Yes—more than two hundred years ago.”

Something akin to panic registered in Lara’s eyes now and she bounded from the chair. Her green gaze wildly swept the room. “Aveena! What have yeh done!” When no response was immediately forthcoming, she stomped her foot in frustration. “Aveena, answer me!”

Darius stood also, and took a hesitant step toward her. “Are you all right?”

Lara ignored him and continued her tirade. “Aveena, yeh must appear right this instant and fix what yeh’ve done! Aveena!”

“Please, madam, you have to calm down,” Darius tried again. “There is no need for hysterics.”

“No need fer hysterics!” she screeched. “Did yeh or did yeh not just tell me that it was the year 2312 yeh came from?”

“Actually, it’s the year 2320…where I come from, though that is rather a strange way to put it. It is the year 2320 everywhere—even here in your rather primitive…city. I’m assuming, based on your antiquated clothing—” his gaze scanned her long-sleeved, floor-length woolen dress, pausing on the chain-link belt of sorts that loosely circled her waist and trailed downward almost to her knees “—that you are one of the rebels.”

“Only ta King Edward,” she returned absently, her mind reeling with the ramifications of what Aveena had done.

“No, I mean…this place, this fortress, is outside of the dome, correct?”

“Aye, it is definitely outside of the dome—whatever that is. And it be called a castle, not a fortress…though I suppose it is a fortress, of sorts. With King Edward determined ta take Scotland, there is bound ta be a siege eventually—”

“Look, madam…Lara…” Darius interrupted her ramblings, “I met with your leader just a short time ago. In fact, he left my office within the last fifteen minutes. I don’t know how you came up with the technology to transport me to this location, nor can I fathom your reasons for doing so, but I demand that you return me to the White House at once.”

“The White House?” she repeated dumbly.

“The Presidential mansion in Washington D.C," Darius returned patiently. "Surely you’ve heard of it. You may be from outside of the dome, but you are certainly not ignorant.”

Lara’s chin came up a notch. “I have no idea what yer talking about, sir, but yer right on one count. I am not ignorant and, from where I’m standing, yer the one who’s confused. Aveena didn’t just transport yeh to a location outside yer…dome. She transported yeh to Scotland—in the year 1307.”

Darius looked at her as though she had gone mad. “1307?”

“Aye,” she replied weakly.

Any further reply was interrupted when the door to the chamber opened and Samantha, Lara’s lady in waiting, entered the room. The young woman’s mouth dropped open in horror upon seeing a strange man in her lady’s chambers. The small cry that jumped from her lips was squelched though, when Lara hastily grabbed the servant’s arm and hauled her further into the room, then slammed the portal.

“Not a word!” the mistress ordered. “Do yeh hear me? Yeh say not a word about him bein’ here!”

“Who is he?” the maid hissed close to Lara’s ear.

“He be …a friend.” The redhead glanced at the totally confused Darius. “I think.”

“But what be he doin’ in yer chamber, milady!” Samantha persisted, her appalled mind attempting to deal with the scandalous circumstance.

“I’ll explain later, Samantha. Right now, we need ta figure a way to get him out of here without anyone else seeing—”

A knock sounded on the door and, without waiting for admission, Colleen charged into the room.

“Da sent me to tell yeh that our supper will soon grow mold—”
The words froze on the young girl’s lips when her black eyes, too, settled on Darius. Strangely though, she did not seem in the least bit surprised to see the oddly clothed man in her sister’s chambers. Instead, the trace of a smile curved her lips. “Well, look who’s here. We’ve been expecting yeh…Mr. President.”

THE ULTIMATE PASSAGE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '07 will officially begin on Dec. 3, 2007. If you would like to follow Jean and Kathe's tour and become eligible to win a free copy of her book, visit www.virtualbooktour s.wordpress. com and comment on their tour stops. One lucky reader will win a free copy of THE ULTIMATE PASSAGE at the end of the tour. All winners will be announced on December 31!

Jean's and Kathe's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours at http://www.pumpupyo urbookpromotion. com/.

"Leave your tour in our hands!"

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