Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!

About Me

My photo
I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Friday, November 28, 2008

History is sexy / Untamed Contest!

How important is historical accuracy to you in historical romance?

It's a question someone asked on an Amazon thread, and it's turned into quite the robust debate, with some readers saying they don't really care about it, while others say they don't respect books that are culturally or historically inaccurate.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I fall into the latter camp. I've always felt that romantic fiction can be as literarily sound as literary fiction in terms of the research, attention to writing and the quality of the stories. So I try very hard to provide all of those things, in addition to a story that focuses on love and romance. You can decide for yourselves whether I succeed at that or not. I also try to be very accurate to the non-European cultures I place in my stories, so that I avoid stereotypes and depict that culture as accurately as possible without coloring it with my own biases and cultural perceptions — not any easy thing to do.

There are some readers who feel there's too much violence or "gore" in my stories, and that's fine. I won't tell anyone what they're supposed to think. The only time I got involved in a discussion about one of my books was a time when someone accused me of being racist for my portrayal of certain Native tribes for burning people alive. It was an absurd accusation because the events were absolutely taken from history and nothing I made up at all. As someone who's reported on Native issues and has Cherokee ancestry, I know that many people view Indians through a romantic lens, lending them "sacred" and "spiritual" qualities that might or might not be there. News flash: Indians are people. But I digress...

I find history sexy. I love to watch documentaries, to read historical diaries and letters, and to do straight-up historical research, because what unfolds in my mind as I do this research are the daily struggles of people who really lived. Their tragedies and triumphs begin to feel real to me and inspire me to tell stories about them. I think of men who trudged league upon league through the forests that once blanketed this continent and I think, "Yum." There's something about the untamed wilderness, and the men and women who were willing to face it, that I find terribly romantic and exciting. It is "stirring to my blood," as Cora says in the movie.

If anyone doubts that history is sexy, she should watch the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans. I saw the movie when it came out, and I loved it. It describes — in not-so-accurate detail — the battle of Fort William-Henry, which I recently visited. Two strangers are brought together in the wilderness and find themselves in the midst of the battle that led to the destruction of the fort and the massacre of dozens — I'm not sure anyone has an accurate count of how many — of British soldiers and civilians. These victims of war are now interred beneath a parking lot — it's own tragedy. We drove through the site of the massacre on our way to Lake George last month, and it gave me chills.

(Editor's note: The author of this blog has just talked about the need for historical accuracy and is now praising a film which is not historically accurate. Think of this what you will...)

Though the film isn't accurate in its details about the battle and the French and Indian War — there are, for example, still Mohicans, as you will see in my MacKinnon's Rangers series — it gives you a sense of what it was like back then with great attention to costume and weaponry, etc. You get a real feel for the epic scale of everyday life and the struggles for the common person who tried to build a life on the frontier.

Though my MacKinnon's Rangers series and Ride the Fire are not based in any way on this film, it certainly helped to make this period of history one of my favorite by inspiring me to do my own research. It may also account for my decision to mix the Scottish and Indian cultures together in my heroes — something I didn't think about until just this moment. The soundtrack is fantastic, and I write to it all the time while working on a historical novel.

So in honor of that, and as part of my continued celebration of the release of Untamed, the second book in the series, I am giving away a DVD of the film together with the a signed copy of Untamed to one lucky person chosen at random from those who post to this blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Today's discussion topic: How important is historical accuracy to you in historical romance? But feel free to comment on the film Last of the Mohicans, as well.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends and lots of love. Thanks for your friendship and support!

All my best,
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Untamed is out!

Finally, finally, Untamed is out! It's been a long time since March 2006 when Surrender first introduced you to Iain, Morgan, Connor and the Rangers. And, believe me, sometimes it felt like I would never get the time to finish Morgan's story. But here we are. I hope you'll feel the story was worth the wait.

To celebrate, I am giving away a very special prize: a Colonial-style stoneware candleholder that I brought back from Rogers Island itself. That's Ranger Island for those of you know know the series. The Rogers Island Visitor Center stands probably a half a football field away from the site of the Ranger encampment, where Iain, Morgan, Connor and their men lived in wee cabins while not on scouting missions for the British. So this is a prize from Ranger Country.

The candle holder looks a lot like this but with a little loop for your finger.

And it comes with a signed copy of Untamed.

All you have to do is post a comment to this blog to be entered for the drawing.

But before go any further, I want to announce the winner of this weekend's contest: EVA won a signed copy of Untamed! Congrats, Eva! Email your snail address to [my name], and I'll get it in the mail to you!

If you're new to my blog, you'll find lots of excerpts from Untamed below and in the archives, together with extras from my trip to New York to the sites where the story is set. My website has downloadable wallpaper and "The Ballad of Morgan MacKinnon," which Dougie wrote in honor of Morgan.

Later this week we'll be giving away other prizes, including year-long memberships to The Friends of Rogers Island at the "camp follower" level, a copy of The Last of the Mohicans director's cut and so on...

So, tell me, if you've read either of the books in this series, did you like seeing Highlanders in the New World? If you haven't read the books yet, what interests you about about?
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Contest / Excerpt from Untamed

My author copies arrived last week. You all know what that means! I want to give books and other goodies away!

Post to this blog and have your name entered for a signed copy of Untamed! That's it. That's all you have to do.

Plus, everyone who posts will receive the special commemorative Untamed wallpaper made specially by Jenn J. I won't post it, but I guarantee that you will love it!

Next week the giveaways will include:

* More signed copies of the book
* A Colonial stoneware candlestick that I brought back from Rogers Island (Ranger Island) — yes, from the island itself!
* A copy of the film The Last of the Mohicans
* A copy of the documentary The War that Made America about the French and Indian war (one my favorites)
* And a few memberships to the The Friends of Rogers Island at the "camp follower" level. If you truly love those Rangers and are willing to do anything for them, this is the prize for you! I myself joined as a "camp follower." Can you blame me?

And because I love to torture you, I'm sharing a bit more of the story below. I posted this at RBL Romantica, intending to post it only for them, but I love this scene so much that I just had to share it here, too.


From Untamed...

“Wh-what are you doing?” Even as she asked the question, Amalie could see very well what Morgan was doing.

Wearing only his drawers, he sat at Bourlamaque’s writing table reading private correspondence by the light of the hall candle. And yet how could he, for he did not speak French. Unless…

“Non!” The word was a plea. She could not believe it, did not want to believe it. And, yet, the truth was there before her eyes.

The man she loved was a traitor.

Something shattered inside her chest, leaving her staggered, the pain of it almost unbearable. Blood rushed into her head, panic making her heart trip, her tongue stilled by shock, the drone of her pulse drowning out the silence.

“Go back to bed, Amalie.” His voice was hard, his hands quick as he stowed the letters away, clearly familiar with the contents of Bourlamaque’s writing table.

As if he’d done this many times before.

Candle in hand, he walked around the writing table toward her, his gaze hard upon her like that of some wild animal measuring its prey.

Her heart thudding against her ribs, she took a step backward into the hallway, then another and another, watching as if under some spell as he followed her, soundlessly shutting the door to Bourlamaque’s study and setting the flickering candle back on the console, his expression inscrutable.

Then she turned — and ran.

But she’d taken only a step or two when he caught her, one strong arm capturing her beneath her breasts and drawing her hard against his chest, a big hand covering her mouth, trapping her scream. Lifted off her feet, she kicked and thrashed as he carried her down the hallway to his room and shut the door behind them.

But he did not release her. Instead, he held her tighter, pressing his lips to her ear, his voice an angry whisper. “Quit your strugglin’ afore you harm yourself!”

But his words only inflamed her rage, and she fought harder, kicking, clawing, biting at the hand that covered her mouth. To think she had kissed him! To think she had let him touch her! To think she had loved him!

“Ouch, for Satan!”

She tasted blood—then found herself thrown roughly onto the bed and pinned beneath him, her arms stretched over her head, both of her wrists held captive in one of his big hands, the weight of his body holding her unmoving.

A stranger, the enemy once more, he glared down at her. “You should have kept to your own bed, lass. Now what shall I do wi’ you?”

But the pain in her chest was such that she did not hear the warning in his voice. “Bourlamaque gave you sanctuary, and you betrayed him! You betrayed me!”

“Aye, I deceived Bourlamaque, and I’ll regret it to the end of my days. But long afore I pledged my loyalty to him, I made another oath—to my brothers and my men! Would you have me break that vow and become a betrayer and slayer of my own kin? As you loved your father, so I love them!”

She heard his words, felt the conflict within him, but was too hurt, too outraged to care, hot tears pricking her eyes. “Then it was lies, all of it—your being forced to serve the British, your hatred for your commander, your admiration for Monsieur de Bourlamaque!”

“Nay, it was the truth, every word!” His brow was furrowed, his breath hot on her face. “I would much rather serve Bourlamaque than that bastard Wentworth, but I cannae forsake my brothers or the Rangers! I told Bourlamaque this when I lay in chains, but he chose to forget. He allowed himself to be deceived!”

“And what of your feelings for me?” The question was almost too painful to ask. “Have I let myself be deceived, as well?”

She should have known what was coming from the way his eyes darkened, but when his mouth claimed hers it took her by surprise.

It was a brutal kiss, rough and forceful, his lips pressing hard against hers, his tongue demanding entry, his body grinding over hers. She ought to have been furious, ought to have found his touch revolting, ought to have turned her head away, fought him, kicked. Instead, she felt a desperate surge of desire.

Never had she hated anyone as she hated him—Traitor! Deceiver!—and yet never had his kisses affected her so. Anger, carnal need, love—she could not tell where one emotion ended and the next began. She arched against him, returning his ferocity with her own, nipping his lips, biting down on his tongue, fighting to take control of the kiss from him. And yet even as she fought him, even as he freed her wrists, her body surrendered. Hands that should have struck him slid eagerly over the smooth skin and muscle of his chest, caressed the hard curve of his shoulders, fisted themselves in his thick hair—and she knew the battle was lost.

Morgan gave Amalie no quarter. Once again, she held his fate in her hands, a word from her enough to send him off to be roasted by the Abenaki. She had defied him, leaving her bed to seek his, uncovering his treason. But it was bed play she’d sought from him, and so, by God, she would have it!

He bared her breasts to his roving hands and hungry mouth, teasing and tasting her until she writhed. Then he drew up her nightgown in urgent fistfuls, forced her thighs apart, and began to press deep circles against her sex, his fingers delving down to tease her virgin entrance. She was already wet, proof of her need for him gathering like dew on his fingertips, her musky scent bidding him take her, her frantic whimpers driving him mad.

Never had Morgan forced himself on a woman, but his mother’s Viking blood burned in him now, ruthless and hot, urging him to claim Amalie without ceremony, to mark her in the most primal way a man could, to satisfy himself with her sweet body again and again, with or without her consent.

With a growl that sounded more animal than human even to his own ears, he shifted his mouth from one velvety nipple to the other, suckling her without mercy, his hand unrelenting. Then, ignoring her startled gasp, he slid one finger inside her, testing her maidenhead, stretching her, stroking that part of her no man had touched—and she shattered.

He captured her cry with a kiss, took her breath into his lungs, his hand keeping up the rhythm until her pleasure was spent, her slick inner muscles clenching tightly around his finger, making him wish for all the world it was his cock inside her.

And that was how Bourlamaque found them—Morgan on top of Amalie, her breasts bared, her head thrown back in ecstasy as she found release.

“What in the name of the Devil is happening here?” Bourlamaque’s voice filled the room like thunder.

Amalie shrieked, struggling to cover herself.

Instinctively, Morgan shielded her from the old man’s view, helping her to draw her nightgown over her shoulders. “Easy, lass. We’ll soon sort this out.”

But Morgan knew nothing could be further from the truth. Not only was Amalie facing Bourlamaque’s wrath, but she was also carrying a terrible secret, which, if revealed, would lead Morgan to his death.
Friday, November 21, 2008

An Interview with Nicholas Kenleigh (w/ 2nd update)

Today we hear from Nicholas Kenleigh, my hero from Ride the Fire. For very personal reasons, Ride the Fire remains very special to me. I don’t know that I can say it’s my favorite book, because that’s like being asked to choose which is my favorite child. But I do know that I’ve never felt as satisfied — or as devastated — when I finished a book as I did when I finished this one. When I finished writing, I started sobbing and cried for six weeks!

This book was the first that was written and published with no interference. The last book (to date) in the Kenleigh-Blakewell Family trilogy, it’s very historical, in that I used real soldiers’ diaries from Fort Pitt to recreate the siege of Fort Pitt that took place during the summer of 1763. And it’s on Kristie J’s all-time favorite romance novel list, which means a lot to me!

A warning to those of you who haven’t read this story: you might run into spoilers.

Without further ado, I give you Nicholas Kenleigh:

Q: Nicholas, you’re one of my all-time favorite heroes, partly because what you went through was so terrible. Are your dreams still haunted by what happened to Eben and Josiah?

I speak little of this, for it brings back my darkest hours. Aye, at times I can hear them screaming and cursing my name, though the dreams are few and far between. When I awake, I find Bethie beside me. Were it not for her love…

I will always wonder if I there was something I have said or done to save them. Could I have warned them of the peril sooner and kept them from being taken? Should I have attempted escape? Should I have slain them in their sleep?

I cannot fathom why Providence spared me and not them, yet I find some peace in believing that I survived so that I might one day find Bethie and be there for her at her time of greatest need. Had I not come across her when I did, Belle most certainly would have perished at birth and perhaps Bethie with her.

Father Owen, the priest my nephew, Jamie, brought from England, says that Eben and Josiah, who died innocent and in so horrible a fashion, were brought straight to the gates of Heaven and know now that I did not forsake them but sought with all my strength to spare them. I am not Catholic, but I pray with all my heart that what he says is true. If I could have died that day — not knowing what lay ahead of me — I would have gladly leapt into the flames to spare them.

I can speak of this no more.

Q: During your long years living in the forest, did you ever imagine you would return home again, take a wife or have children?

[Laughs] Nay. I wanted only to die. I never dreamed nor even hoped to return to my family. I kept chasing death, but it kept evading me. It wasn’t until I had reached Philadelphia and could not bring myself to leave Bethie that I began to consider returning home to Virginia.

Q: Have you forgiven yourself for turning your back on your mother and riding away?

She has forgiven me, and that is enough.

Q: What do you to do try to make up for the time you lost with your parents, your brothers and your sisters and nieces and nephews.

I strive ever to be of service to them, to withhold from them no aid nor any affection that is within my power to give.

Q: What is your favorite season and why?

I love autumn when the harvest is in and the hard labors of spring and summer give way to feasting and celebration. ’Tis a joy to sit before the fire with the larder full, a tankard of cider in one’s hand, and my lovely wife at my side. There is no greater blessing in life than that.

Q: What did you do with the necklace Atsan gave you? Do you know what became of him? Do you think of him?

Atsan and I reached a peace man to man before I left Fort Pitt. We each took lives; we each did what we had to do. He saw, as I did, that there was no future for his people if they did not learn to live with Europeans, but I do not think that peace was in his heart. I do not know what became of him, nor do I think of him except when my mind turns to the past. You ask about the talisman? That I gave to Takotah. For her, it holds strong medicine. For me, it holds only sorrowful memories of a past I have left long behind.

Q: Do you ever miss the frontier and want to visit the wilderness again?

[Laughs] Nay! Are you quite daft? I’ve had quite enough of the frontier to last me till the end of my days. I love the forest, but there is forest aplenty on my own lands. I doubt not but that Bethie much prefers civilization and its comforts to the rough-hewn life of the frontier. Wherever she is content, I am also.

Q: What do you think of the way you got your name?

[Smiles] ’Tis a bit strange is it not? I'm named after a convict whose place my father took after he was beaten and spirited away on a ship bound for the Colonies. I never understood the tales my mother and father told me of the time they fell in love and were married until after I'd met Bethie and understood what love was. Why my mother chose that name, I cannot say for certain, though I think it must represent to her the man my father was when she fell in love with him.


Mistress Kristie — I thank you for all you have done on my behalf. I hear that you are the most generous and kind of women. You are right that the thought of being bound and held against my will in such a fashion is repugnant to me. When I awoke tied to Bethie's bed, the panic it ignited inside me... I did not know her then. But when I offered myself to her later at Fort Pitt... ’Tis the truth that I understood Bethie's fears better than she knew, and so I knew what I could do to lessen them. And somehow giving myself to her by my own choice and helping her to heal also healed me.


Mistress Stephanie — Or do you prefer "mademoiselle"? I felt such joy at being home again and having my bride beside me that the confusion of so many new faces troubled me little. Still, I must admit that each sister- or brother-by-marriage I did not know, each nephew and niece, served to remind me of what i'd lost in my exile. To pick up a child and see your brother or sisters eyes and smile on his little face but to be a stranger to him... Aye, ’twas the price I paid for my selfishness. And yet I cannot condemn myself for having left. Though I regret the hurt it caused my mother and Elizabeth, who blamed herself, I would not have found Bethie, would not have been there at Belle's birth, would not have my own precious children, had I not. ’Tis enough to make one wonder what your countryman Candide truly thought of such matters. Is this the best of all possible worlds? I am content in my life, blessed with a wife and children whom I hold dearer than life itself.

You ask about my hair. ’Tis a matter of great debate still. Although Bethie cuts it at time to keep it from becoming too long, my hair is still as it was she met me — much to my father's consternation.


Feel free to jump in and ask Nicholas additional questions.

Only four days till Untamed is released!

Next up: The MacKinnon brothers. Due to the nature of your questions and the fact that they all think they have something to say, we're going to have to interview them as a group. I hope you don't mind.

And contests galore!
Monday, November 17, 2008

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Why is she inflicting this on us again? You might well ask yourself that question.

I'm just trying to see if it works...

So if you've seen these and want to skip them, I understand. I'm trying to get a version of the slideshow that I can put up on my Web site, and it's been a bit tricky.
Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Interview with Jamie Blakewell (w/update)

Here's the downloadable wallpaper that you can get off my Web site. You might be able to download it here, too, if you click on it. Not sure...

Thanks, Jenn!

So now we return to interviews with our heroes. Today we speak with Jamie Blakewell, the hero from Carnal Gift. You gave me the questions, and I passed them along to him. If you have anything you'd like to discuss with him, go ahead an post additional questions or statements and I'll make sure he gets them.

Without further ado...

An Interview with Jamie Blakewell

Q: What did you think when you realized that Sheff was giving you an innocent woman as a sexual gift?

At first, I could not believe that he would do such a thing. One hears stories, of course, of lords who use the maids of their households in such a fashion, but one hopes such tales are merely that — stories told to horrify and amuse. Of course, I was enraged for her sake, enraged that he could take a young and innocent woman from her kin and give her over to a stranger to be used so cruelly. I thank Providence that I was his guest that not, and not another.

Q: Did Sheff show any sign of the cruel man he would become when you were both studying at Oxford?

He was never a man to show pity for the sorrows of others. His compassion was given to those most like him — nobility, gentry and his friends. He debauched more than his share of young maids in that time, earning my disapprobation on that account. But he did not yet have the & etc., which later destroyed his mind, giving him over to his basest, most cruel nature. He was my friend but because of Bríghid, he became my greatest enemy.

Q: Jamie, do you have a hard time reigning in Brígid’s Irish temper even after several years of wedded bliss? And did the children inherit it and or their mother’s Irish Accent?

Aye, my wife has a temper, but she does not show it often. When she does, I know just the way to soothe her.

Those months in Ireland were long and hard. She feared for her brothers and for herself. So much was uncertain and ever obstacle against them. We’ve three sons — Ciarán, Nicholas, and Seamus — and two little girls — Maura and Catriona — all with my wife’s dark hair. The girls have their mother’s temper and are the very likeness of her. Ciarán, I fear, has his Uncle Ruaidhrí’s temper, while Nicholas much resembles his mild-mannered Uncle Fionn, and Seamus, the youngest and my namesake, takes after his father. My wife is young yet, so there will surely be more children.

Q: Was there ever a moment that you questioned, even if only for a moment, whether or not it was truly worth converting your religion just to be with Bríghid?

Nay. Once I realized that I loved her, I never doubted that a life with Bríghid would be worth any sacrifice or travail. I worried only what consequence there might be for my family. But Virginia is far removed from the Penal Laws of Britain, and though there are many who disdain Catholics, few would dare to say so to my face, given my family’s standing. If becoming Catholic made it possible for me to take Bríghid to wife, then I was willing to become the Pope’s most loyal subject.

Q: Does your family accept your new faith and your wife?

’Tis a family tradition to marry outside the confines set by society. Alec, my brother-by-marriage, took Cassie, my sister, to wife, though she, as the daughter of a middling plantation owner and not a wealthy one, was not, as the wags of London no doubt discussed at length, of his “quality.” To be sure, my marriage to Bríghid is more unconventional than his to Cassie, and certainly the question of religion is at the heart of it. But I would not allow my new faith to become my hindrance, nor would my family stand to see me suffer on that account. They have accepted me and my wife — and my wife’s family — with open arms.


Stef had some questions for you, Jamie. She lives in France.

Should i answer in French?

Er... Nay, English will suffice (thank goodness!)

Aye, I see that. ’Twas hard for Bríghid and her brother to leave their homeland. There is no place in the world like Ireland. We've not been back. ’Twas too treacherous at first, with the matter of Sheff's death and the fire hanging over us, and then Bríghid was with child. Though she wishes to see Eire again, I'll not risk her nor any one of our children on that perilous voyage. When the little ones are older, we shall make the long voyage so that they can see the land where their ancestors once reigned as kings. Bríghid speaks only Gaelic to them, so they know the language. With Fionn and Muirin nearby, they are able to share tales of the home they all miss. And then there's the music — Irish music that all of us have come to love. So although I know my wife is homesick, she also has a home she has come to love and kin when grows weary of her Sassanach husband.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Visit To Ranger Country — The Movie

We interrupt these hero interviews to bring you a short video look at Ranger Country.

My son, Ben, a film major at Ithaca College in NY, took a little hand-held cam-corder and did some "guerilla filmmaking" of the places we visited. He got very caught up in what we were seeing as well, so there wasn't a lot of footage in the end. We had intended to do a mini-documentary. But we didn't have enough time and Ben wouldn't have been able to enjoy himself.

So this is some edited footage set with a truly Benjy soundtrack. Enjoy! And watch till the end...

That's me without coffee!

Also, please forgive the truly hideous boat hair. You'll see what I mean.

If you want to see/learn more, find my Travel Diaries here in the archives.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Interview with Alec Kenleigh (w/ update)

We've less than two weeks before Untamed is released. I am so excited to have a second book to share with you this year. If only my author copies would arrive... I want to hold my new baby!

To pass the time between now and then, I invited some men — some very sexy alpha males, in fact — to stop by for quick interviews. You gave me the questions. They provided the answers. Up first, is Alec Kenleigh, the hero in my very first book, Sweet Release.

I spent seven years writing that book and spent more time with Alec than any one of my heroes. Naturally, it was wonderful to spend time with him again.

I've tried to avoid spoilers that might ruin the story for those of you who haven't read it yet. Still, I might have missed something...

Q: How did you really feel the very first time you saw Cassie?

A: I confess that the first time I saw her, I had just grabbed her ’round the throat and threatened to break her neck. Aye, ’tis the truth, though I lived to regret it! I’d been spirited from England and did not know whom to blame for my misfortune. When I awoke, I thought the young woman who’d come to tend me was part of the plot. ’Twas long ere I learnt the truth of the matter. But, though I at first thought her my foe and intended only to bend her to my will, it did not escape me that she was also quite lovely. I’ve always loved her hair.

Q: Did it bother you that she was your owner, or was there a deep part of you that liked the idea immensely?

A: ’Tis beneath any man’s dignity to be owned by another. It matters not whether the one who holds the chains is a man or a woman. That being so, I must confess that at times I found it almost… pleasurable… to be bound to her service. I say, are you certain this question is quite proper?

Q: You were brought to the Colonies against your will. How did it come to feel like home to you? Didn’t you miss England?

A: I was born the eldest son of a ship-building family and raised, as all eldest sons must, to follow my father. I attended the best schools, studied under the most learned tutors, but there was little time for joy in my life. ’Twas only after fate took me from England and carried me to Virginia that I came to see how stale that life had grown for me.

At first, I thought of nothing but returning home. Then, when at last my name had been restored, I found I no longer wished to do so, for compared to the cold, gray streets of London, Virginia was Eden. I do miss England, of course, but my wife is contented here. Her happiness is my greatest pleasure.

Of course, there are certain luxuries and refinements once cannot expect here, however that is quickly changing. I dare say our humble Colony is becoming more like the English countryside every day.

Q: When you learned who was behind your being kidnapped and sent to the Americas, how did you feel?

A: My grief was great, my guilt greater still. And yet had I not been beaten and spirited to these shores, I should never have met my wife. Out of my greatest trial has come my life’s great happiness — my beloved Cassie, our seven children, and our grandchildren.

Q: How did you make it through the six, or almost seven, years that Nicholas, your eldest on, was missing?

A: When we were told that he had perished… I’ve never known grief greater than believing I’d lost my eldest son. Worse even than my own anguish was watching my beloved wife suffer. Then, Nicholas came back to us, as one raised from the dead. But he was not as he had been, and we lost him again. Nearly seven long years had passed ere he returned to us, and I watched Cassie cling to hope, even when hope itself had become burdensome, her loss so great that a part of me wanted to curse my son, whom I believed dead. When against all hope he returned to us, whole and alive, I could have asked for no greater blessing. I shall never forget what — or shall I say who — brought him back to us. ’Twas Providence — and the love of our sweet Bethie, who is as a daughter to me and who can ask nothing of me that I would not give.


Feel free to jump in with additional questions for Alec. He'll answer them throughout the day as he is able. Running a large plantation and shipping company keeps him rather busy, even with all the modern conveniences that Virginia has to offer in 1764, as I'm sure you can imagine.


Okay, so Lucy requested a bit more. I sat down with Alec over lunch and have this to share with you:

Miss Lucy wants to know what you’ve been up to lately.

What I’ve “been up to?” ’Tis a most curious expression…

She’s from New South Wales. They have lots of curious expressions.

New South Wales? Where, pray tell, is that? She's Welsh, you say?

You’ll know in a few years… Can you fill her in?

Fill her in? I beg your pardon… Is that an idiom for something improper? As you know, I am a happily married man whose bed is kept warm by a wife he loves. I’ve no need to stray.

That’s not what that means. Let me rephrase the question: Can you tell us how you’ve spent your days of late?

As I am loyal to King and Country, so my mind has been troubled. The war has ended and peace returned to this land, and yet frontier families remain in peril, a plight I should know little of were it not for my son and his wife, whose travails were the worst that can be imagined. By the Grace of God they live, and yet Parliament in London has little thought to spare for those they consider rustics, the detritus of their nation from whom, they believe, it was best they were parted.

Our House of Burgesses cannot safeguard the entire frontier, and yet their appeals to Parliament go unheard. Meanwhile, Parliament for its part seeks to govern these colonies as if the House of Burgesses did not exist! If the Colonies are to be government from London, then they must be allowed to have representatives in the House of Commons.

I have written to my dear and true friend, William Pitt, whose sympathies have been to Colonists’ benefit. I believe he understands the desire of Colonists to have representation, and yet, he is but one voice. I fear that if London and the Colonies cannot find accord on this matter that the bonds of affection might grow strained. I should not like to see divisions grow between us.

But I'm afraid I grow wearisome. Ladies find politics dreadfully dull.
Saturday, November 08, 2008

New book vs. re-issues

Hmmm, have you read this book before?

Hey, all —

I just got an e-mail from a reader who was less than happy after having picked up Surrender, thinking it was a new book, only to realize that she'd read it before. D'oh!


Those of you who are new to this blog, please take note that Sweet Release (2003), Carnal Gift (2004), Ride the Fire (2005) and Surrender (2006) are reprints — re-issues of my backlist. If you need to read about them to see whether you've read them (or even care to), please go to my Web site and check out excerpts.

The new books for 2008 are Unlawful Contact (April) and Untamed (Nov. 25).

I've been very clear about this here, on my blog, as well as on my Web site and in my communication on the fan loop and in my newsletter. These are re-releases! But if someone isn't tapped into to that information, they might walk into a bookstore, see the book and mistake it for a new title. I feel very bad when that happens, but I'm not sure what to do about it, other than
post this information.

So there you go.

Only 16 days till Untamed comes out!

Here's a quick overview of the immediate future:

* There are a number of contests coming up. Prizes include:
* Signed copies of Surrender and Untamed
* A stoneware candlestick holder from ROGERS ISLAND (Ranger Island)
* A chance to get it on with the Rangers as a real, bona fide CAMP FOLLOWER
* Interviews with Alec, Jamie, Nicholas, Iain and finally Morgan MacKinnon

And some excerpt from Naked Edge...

Also, my website has been updated with downloadable wallpaper from UNTAMED,
as well as some reviews, including the starred review it received from
Publishers Weekly. (I'll post that in a minute...)

We'll have a "special edition Untamed wallpaper" for the book's release day.
It's secret and special. ;-)

Have a great rest of your weekend, everyone!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Contest winners / Surrender's sexy Spanish cover

I loved this cover!

Just a quickie..

I wanted to pop in and announce some winners. I few posts down, I announced a contest for lurkers, first-time posters or I-Team fans who've never read one of my historicals. The prize? A signed copy of one of my historicals, with an Untamed bookmark tossed in for good measure. And the winners are...

Tracy, Ann, Leslie, Kathy and Judy!

Congrats, ladies! I'll get your prizes in the mail this next week. I hope you enjoy the stories! And I hope you'll de-lurk and join us on a regular basis.

I also wanted to share the Spanish cover of Surrender. Oh, how I wish this had been the cover on the original release of the book in 2006! I wish it were the cover on the reissue. Yummy! The title, Rendición, actually means something like "surrender" in Spanish.

I can honestly say that if I ran into this man in the wilds of 18th-century Upstate New York, I would surrender without a fight... unless the fight made surrendering more fun.

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Favorite Writing Quotes

"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale