Top Five Author Moments
- My grandmother’s closet. I wouldn’t know about romance novels except for the brown paper sacks that lined the bottom of my grandmother’s walk-in closet. She and her sisters were constantly swapping Harlequins, and oh boy did I take advantage. But the best bit (after I got caught reading them) was our chats about feisty heroines and stubborn heroes. This was when I discovered that romances are journeys where readers share in the conflicts towards happily ever after.
- The RWA. Long ago, I attended a Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America conference because I placed in their writing contest (those pages are the prologue in In Debt to the Enemy Lord!). At that conference, I was lucky enough to chat with published authors: Adair, Cameron, Ivie, Macomber and Quinn. I learned aspects of the craft, but also, I shared in the wonderous romance writing community.
- The RNA. When I moved to London, the dream to write hadn’t left me and I joined The Romantic Novelist Association, which is a fabulous group of romance writers who share the passion of their craft. At midnight in January, I signed up for the New Writers Scheme. Soon afterward, at a RNA party I met Harlequin Historical senior editor, Linda Fildew. That meeting changed my life, and I never could take advantage of the New Writers Scheme. Three days later I received The Call.
- The Call. It was a series of emails and then a phone call that changed my life from a writer to an author. It was a dream I held for decades. It still seems like a dream though I have deadlines, and I can see my stories on bookshelves. I don’t know if that feeling will ever change.
- The Romance Community. I can’t describe the joy and support as a writer and reader that I get from the romance community. From attending the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, and making friends with other Harlequin Historical writers. To starting The Unlaced Book Club and meeting readers, bloggers, and even more fellow writers. It’s the camaraderie, friendship, and romance dialogue that I treasure the most. And I can’t wait to talk and share some more!
Excerpt for Her Christmas Knight:
This scene is between Hugh and Alice. They are in a dark private room where Alice snuck in to search for the Half-Thistle Seal. Hugh caught her there, and is just now realising that the love of his life, the woman he can never have, is spying for King Edward.
But that isn’t what terrifies him. It’s that the traitor she is to find, capture, and bring to King Edward to execute, is him. Hugh doesn’t know what to do so he….
‘I need to understand first,’ Hugh said. ‘The King sent you back to Swaffham to look for something in Lyman’s house?’
The King had sent him to look for the Half-Thistle Seal, to pay close attention to the Fenton family. Could it be that the King suspected Lyman as well as the Fentons? That might be the break he needed in this nightmare he was embroiled in. Him returning to Swaffham, facing his past, facing Alice. If he could place the blame on this man who stared at Alice too lasciviously then something good would come of it.
Except it didn’t matter if it was Lyman’s house or all the houses of Swaffham. The real trouble was if the King had sent her to look for the Seal, that only meant she looked for him.
‘It isn’t necessarily Lyman’s house I need to search,’ Alice continued. ‘It’s all the houses. After I played his game of finding a seal—’
Denying the truth didn’t stop the words. His body shook, shuddered, and he exhaled his held breath. The Seal. If the King had sent her to find it, that meant he didn’t trust Hugh. It was possible that the King suspected him. But that couldn’t be true. He’d been careful. Lives were at stake.
He’d been careful.
Before he knew what he was doing he took steps to be next to her, to touch her. By placing his hand on her arm he could solidify whatever words they would now exchange. Not the stuff of nightmares, but reality.
‘It was only a game—or so I thought.’
He didn’t want to discuss games. ‘What seal?’
‘The game at the Tower of London was a test to find a fake seal. When I was the winner the King deemed me worthy of finding a true seal.’
There would be no coming back from what she was about to say—no remedy. He wouldn’t be able to hide his thoughts or reactions from her. If she looked for the Seal she would find him. He couldn’t lie or hide the truth from her. Either way he would be found out for the traitor he was.
His past separated him from her; his present made it all the more unbearable. His lineage had been forced upon him, but the Seal was his own inspiration. His own blackened deed.
Alice, who was always so determined to right wrongs, to fix misdeeds, had been commanded—threatened—by the King to find a traitor. If she found the Seal—if she found him—she would know him as a traitor. And the only way for the King to right the wrong would be to execute him.
It wasn’t his death he worried about. It was the loss of that unreserved admiration in her eyes when she looked at him. She’d never tried to fix him before. Now she would see him as an enemy.
He had thought himself, if not safe, at least secure that the King had sent only him. But he hadn’t. And right now he didn’t want to think about the King not trusting him. He only wanted to think of what Alice was about to say and how he would react.
‘What seal?’ he repeated.
‘A small one with a half thistle,’ she said in the dark.
Hugh kissed her.
Excerpt for The Knight’s Scarred Maiden:
After rescuing Helissent, Rhain took her home. There’s a knock on the door from another mercenary, and Rhain takes care of it before returning his attention to Helissent.
Her stranger stepped back into the room and closed the door. ‘You won’t have to worry about those men. They’re gone.’ He turned to her and stopped. ‘Your dress.’
‘I took it off. I’m having trouble breathing and I know nothing about broken bones. But it’s sharp and stabbing me worse than their knife point. Will you be able to feel through my chemise?’
With the door closed, he was all in darkness. ‘Yes. Sit, but do not lie down.’ He grabbed the candlestick in one hand and the small table with the linens and water in the other.
The echoing scrape of the table as it was brought closer was unnaturally loud in the small room. Nervous, she ran her hands down her chemise and sat. It immediately constricted her breathing, but eased the shaking in her legs.
She wasn’t prepared at all when he stopped pulling the table. Wasn’t prepared as he lowered the candle so he could inspect her face…and revealed all of his. The lone candle flickered and dimmed with his movements, but she could see him and she was stunned.
Perfection. His hair was cut short on the sides and long on top. Blond, but with a gold tinge like honey in the sunlight, his brows were darker. His lowered lashes were darker yet and absurdly long and thick as he regarded the injuries to her lip and cheek.
His cheekbones elegantly framed the square jaw and slight cleft in his chin. And lips, light pink, almost full if not for the sardonic masculine curve to them. A man who knew humor…or at least once had.
His brow furrowed and there was a twitch to his lips before his eyes flashed to hers as if to determine something. She didn’t know what because it took all she had not to react to the further reveal.
There was no way not to react. Her eyes widened and watered from not blinking. Her lips parted, her breath hitched and she experienced every surprise reaction anybody would under the circumstances.
Beautiful? He wasn’t real. His eyes…they were amber colored. If his hair was light like the tips of a flame, his eyes were dark like honey heated by that fire.
As she watched, they darkened more, his chin tilting almost defiantly. It was the defiance that broke whatever spell he cast.
Defiance. As if he dared her to stare more. It was a look she had given many times when someone had gaped at her marred face. His made no sense to her. She forced people to look so they’d leave her alone.
Why defiance from him when he was perfection? He shouldn’t need to be left alone. She didn’t know the answer to that, but he had showed her only kindness and she was being rude. ‘I’m Helissent.’