I love a great many things about romance, but I like the fantasy aspect the most. Daydreaming is such a wonderful pastime, isn’t it? And it’s free! I did get to indulge in a big way while writing SAVED BY THE MONARCH.
Since I’m scared to death of flying, I make a point to do it at least once a year. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my intrepid heroines, it’s that life is too short to let fear win. When I travel, I see as people wait for their loved ones at airports, or for strangers holding up signs with names. And since I’m a writer, I see book ideas everywhere…
What if someone went on vacation to Europe, to a small kingdom her parents had left behind when she’d been a very young child? And what if the surprise of a lifetime waited for her when she arrived?
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Recently Samhain Publishing released a true book of my heart, BUTTERFLY TATTOO. This edgy and genre-bending contemporary romance is my seventh published book although it was the very first one that my agent shopped on my behalf. The winding path this novel took before becoming published is a true study in how important relationships are, not only in publishing, but in all walks of life.
I thought it might be interesting for my friends and readers to learn the crazy relationship connections that are involved in my road to publication. The story begins with Louisa Edwards, the editor who ultimately bought my first book, PARALLEL ATTRACTION. Louisa is literally one of my favorite people in all of publishing. We’ve worn a lot of hats together, and it’s almost amusing as time goes on to see just how many caps and beanies we can swap.
While Louisa was still an editor at Penguin Putnam, I placed three authors with her, and we always felt that our tastes overlapped and blended almost mystically. So when my agent Pamela Harty—a super goddess among agents, by the way—shared BUTTERFLY TATTOO with her, Louisa fell in love. I mean, head-tripping-over-heels, crazy in love. She fought hard to acquire the novel, but ultimately the book was just too edgy and ahead of its time. Still, Louisa’s love for BUTTERFLY opened a critical door for me and just a few months later, it led to her snapping up my paranormal series that debuted with PARALLEL ATTRACTION.
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We’ve all got tropes we like – assassin heroes, marriage of convenience, small town romance, older man/younger woman (or vice versa), uber alpha heroes, beta heroes, certain historical periods (me? I love me some wallpaper regencies), friends to lovers, whatever your preferences may be – we’ve all got em.
Relentless is a story of opposites. In Abbie, we have a woman without political power. In the world I built for my Federation books, the haves are Ranked. As in they are members of the ruling Families who hold the reins of political and economic power across all the Federation Universes. Everyone else is unranked and therefore able to rise only so high.
So Abbie is unranked. She’s also a barrister, a public defender if you will and she has spent her adult life working to bring a more representative form of governance to her home ‘Verse. She’s small and fiery and full of passion and conviction.
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My mother and I don’t always see eye to eye, but the one thing we always have agreed on are romance novels. We absolutely love them. One of my main memories as a child was going to the library with my mother every Sunday, where she’d exchange her stack of hardcover romances for a new stack of books. As soon as I was old enough to have run through the Judy Blume books, I made my way over to romances. And was hooked. Little did I know that I would be writing them one day. (And that my mother would be reading them. But that’s another article, entirely!)
Like many writers, I took the long way around to becoming an erotic romance author. I graduated from Stanford with an Economics degree in 1994, but really, I knew I was never going to become a management consultant. No, I wanted to be a rock star. So I recorded 4 CDs, played 1,000+ shows throughout North America, had a turn at being a star in Brazil, and then said, “Okay, what’s next?” Somewhere along the way when my bank account was looking worse for the wear, I worked as a Director of Marketing for a dot com. No, I didn’t get rich, but I did decide that come hell or high water I was going to make a living with creative pursuits. So I wrote two books on the music business, sold them, joined a local writer’s group and uttered the words, “I could never write fiction. I can’t believe that characters just start having a conversation in people’s heads. How weird.”
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What is it about the topic of sisters that causes so much controversy? My new Regency-set historical, Mastering The Marquess, is partly a story about a pair of sisters, and the life-threatening situation they confront together. Meredith, my heroine, will do anything to keep her little sister Annabel out of harm’s way—even if it means putting her own life at risk. And she does that without blaming Annabel for their predicament, or feeling resentful that she must potentially sacrifice her own chance for happiness.
Meredith’s selflessness didn’t seem odd or out of character to me, likely because I have an older sister who has always been uber-protective of her siblings. She would take on a herd of charging elephants without a second thought if it meant keeping me or my brothers safe. But to my surprise, a few readers of Mastering The Marquess expressed discomfort with Meredith’s willingness to sacrifice herself for Annabel. They thought their relationship was too perfect—that real sisters fought more, and that Meredith should, at the very least, be resentful of Annabel. That took me aback since I can count the number of times I’ve fought with my sister on one hand, with a few fingers still left over. Maybe I’ve been lucky and I just happened to win the grand prize in the sister lottery, or it could be that we’re just a pair of really irritating goody two-shoes!
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The Heroes of Touch a Dark Wolf, Lure of the Wolf, Kiss of Darkness, and Bride of the Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles.
Looking over the four scowling, muscled men surrounding me at the picnic-style table, it seemed to me that their drop-dead sex appeal sucked all of the air from the ranger camp’s dining hall. I fought for a deep breath, started the recorder, and delved right into the interview. The sooner they realized I wasn’t here to steal something sacred from them like their sword or the TV remote, the better off I would be. Provided I could lie that well. The truth was I would have stolen any moment I could in a dark corner. It was my first assignment for Cosmos PQ and I’d felt like a lamb coming into a den of lions when I walked in the door, but now that I’d met them…well that was changing. Jared and Navarre were warriors from the spirit world and Sheriff Sam Sheridan along with Deputy Nick Sinclair were humans from Twilight’s Sheriff’s Department. Before today my closest encounter with the paranormal was hot romance novels, but I had an open mind and always believed where there was smoke there was fire. And boy was there some hot stuff blazing here.
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So my May book is the third in a four book series set in Georgian England. The series is The Legend of the Four Soldiers and the book is To Beguile a Beast. The other three books are about soldiers coming home from war. But To Beguile a Beast doesn’t have a soldier hero.
Sir Alistair Munroe is a civilian naturalist.
The other three soldier heroes were in the British army when their regiment was decimated by the French and their Indian allies. They volunteered for the army or bought a commission, but in any case, they chose to be there.
Sir Alistair just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And while the other heroines in The Legend of the Four Soldiers series are aristocratic heroines, Helen Fitzwilliam, the heroine of To Beguile a Beast is no aristocrat.
Nor is she a lady.
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I’m thrilled that on Tuesday, March 3, one of my favorite books will re-release in trade paperback: BOUND AND DETERMINED. Let me give you the 411…then a little story to go along with it.
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance
Re-release Date: March 3, 2009
WANTED FOR KIDNAPPING: A bubbly blonde with a penchant for trouble. May be armed (with good intentions) and dangerously seductive…
Kerry Sullivan is running out of time-and patience. With her brother wrongfully accused of embezzling millions, she can’t face one more humiliating hang-up from the man she’s begging for help. Rafael Dawson may be one of the top electronic security experts in the country — and the only man who can prove her brother’s innocence — but his phone manners are appalling. Damn Yankee. Too bad kidnapping the man isn’t an option. Or is it?
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First, thanks to Fresh Fiction for inviting me to be here to blog about Bride by Command, which will be officially released tomorrow. It’s always great to get out and “talk” to readers and other writers.
Bride by Command is the final book in “The Emperor’s Brides” trilogy, which has sent Emperor Jahn of Columbyana on a reluctant quest for an empress. There are two potential brides per book, and naturally, by the third book in the series many of the brides are spoken for by other heroes. At one point I joked with a friend, as we walked around the neighborhood and talked plots, that I should title this one Empress by Default. At the time, the working title was Unbreakable, and as you can see I ended up with a title somewhere in between.
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If anyone had told me in the early 1980s that it would take me over 20 years to be published, I probably wouldn’t have kept on writing. Perhaps. Back then the world was much smaller, and living in Australia it was smaller still and very isolated. There was no internet, no romance writer organisations, it took two weeks for a letter to get to a publisher before waiting months for a reply, and it took me weeks to type up a manuscript on a typewriter from longhand. Patience was something you had to have. And that was a good training ground for the next twenty years as I tried hard to get published.
In the early 1990s the fledgling internet began to trickle information through. Luckily I knew a computer guru who set me up with an internal modem with a speed that is laughable now but was sheer heaven back then, and I started to learn that there was a growing network of writers out there. It was fantastic. The world was coming into my home and suddenly Down Under wasn’t so far away.
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