An Anniversary, a Poem, and a GIVEAWAY

September is the month of my wedding anniversary. This month, my husband and I will have been married for three years though we have been together for almost 14 and a half.
Anyone who has read my earliest posts on this blog, may recall that my life as a writer began with sappy adolescent poetry (no, I will not subject you all to any of my attempts). As I gear up to celebrate my marriage to a man I love more and more every day, I have decided to revisit my writing roots. Poetry was what first made me fall in love with the written word and love poetry specifically has a way of capturing the depth and breadth of emotion possible in the human experience.
So…in the spirit of love and romance, I am posting one of my favorite love poems.
(Keep your eyes peeled after the poem for information on how to enter for a GIVEAWAY!)

UNENDING LOVE

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times,
In life after life, in age after age forever.
My spell-bound heart has made and re-made the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms
In life after life, in age after age forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together,
As Istare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time love of one for another.
We have played alongside millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell–
Old love, but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
Today it is heaped at your feet, it had found its end in you,
The love of a man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life,
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours–
And the songs of every poet past and forever.
BABINDRANATH TAGORE – Indian 1861-1941

Do you have a favorite love poem? 
Post a comment here for a chance to win a print copy of Reckless Viscount. Winner will be chosen September 17th via random.org.
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RECKLESS VISCOUNT

When this scoundrel abducts an innocent it’s his heart in danger of being stolen.

London society sees Leif Riley, Viscount Neville, as a reckless charmer of wealthy women. No one sees his silent desperation to restore his impoverished ancestral holdings to their once-formidable glory.

When he spies a fresh-faced Irish lass at court, something beyond her slim, feminine form and hefty dowry quickens his pulse. Which only makes the truth—that a love match will never be his—too much to bear.

Pursued across the Irish Sea by a secret that could shatter her dream of a loving husband and children to cherish, Abbigael Granger has no time for handsome rakes. Yet she can’t deny how Leif’s stolen kiss illuminates her innocent body.

Awakening from a despair-driven binge, Leif is horrified to find that his impulsive abduction of Abbigael was no drunken dream. Yet while Abbigael discovers there are certain pleasures to be found in a rake’s marriage bed, Leif wonders if he can ever leave his scandalous past far enough behind to be the man of her dreams. Or if he deserves the heart she offers.

Warning: Contains a sexy Viscount skilled in the twin arts of lovemaking and seduction, a fair Irish innocent desperate to break free from the misery of her past and rumors of madness. A hasty abduction involving silk stockings, a skull-splitting hangover, and a roadside inn interlude could steal your breath.

 

Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win!!

 

What a Summer…

Once again, I have let way too much time pass since my last post. *blushing with shame* Bad Blogger!

Summer has been a wonderfully busy time. With camping trips, family reunions, and lots of sun and fun in the backyard. My sister, who has lived across the country for seven years or so (and before that, across the state), spent the last several months less than a block away. We took advantage of living so close to each other and established a routine of yoga and brunch every Sunday. It was great to spend that time with her since she has now moved on…back to the beaches of Florida.

In the midst of all the continuous summer fun, I have been diligently working on my next series of books about a trio of sisters who find themselves thrust into the London’s underworld in three very different ways. I am very excited about this series and am just finishing up my last revisions on book 1, which leaves me with a bit of time to notice how neglectful I have been on my blog.

My reprieve will not last long, however, as I will be diving into book 2 within the next couple weeks. Though first, a family vacation to southern California. We leave in just a couple days and I have got all three kids and myself mostly packed up. Just a bit more laundry to do and some last minute details that have to be tucked into the luggage. I’ve got my DO NOT FORGET list which includes my computer since for me…it will be a working vacation, though writing never really feels like work.  ;)

Uh oh! Here comes my baby girl, climbing up onto my chair, reminding me its time to make some breakfast. So for now, signing off again, though I have the best intentions not be away for quite as long this time. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

(For cuteness’s sake, I decided to close this post with some summer pics of my youngest)

 

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in a little sunsuit I used to wear (yes, my mom saved everything!)

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the cuteness is too much!

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in the treehouse, playing with her carebears :)

A RECKLESS Release!

It is the last day of May and Summer has definitely come to the Northwoods. I am not convinced we didn’t just skip Spring altogether! The sun is shining bright and hot, the kids are spending most of their time outdoors(finally!), the days are getting long and the weekends between now and September are filling up fast with trips and activities.

Which reminds of one particular weekend fast approaching…the Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Conference. I cannot wait for this annual gathering of Romance Writers. From the moment one conference ends I start looking forward to the next one.

This year I will have copies of two books to bring to the book signing; ROGUE COUNTESS and RECKLESS VISCOUNT which comes out in print format on June 3! With all the excitement following the electronic release of REBEL MARQUESS I nearly forgot about this other important release. I received my copies several weeks ago and they are gorgeous!

 

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They’ve arrived!

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Just a little cheese ;)

 

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So beautiful.

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Together with ROGUE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The paperback version of RECKLESS VISCOUNT is available for pre-order from the Samhain website.

 

 

A Sneaky Little Peek into REBEL MARQUESS

With less than a month to go until the release of REBEL MARQUESS on April 22nd, I thought I would give a little peek into the romance of Eliza and Rutherford. 


RebelMarquess72lgEliza Terribury was in the wrong room.

She had been sent on an errand to fetch her mother’s favorite fan and recalled the directions clearly. “Left at the top of the stairs, sixth door on the right.”

Eliza was certain she’d counted the correct number of doors along the third-floor hallway to
find her mother’s room. She may have been a bit distracted, but  she wasn’t a featherbrain.

So why did she see a set of men’s clothing laid out on the grand four-poster bed?

A scowl narrowed her gaze. She glanced around for the vanity, looking for her mother’s vast collection of scented water bottles she brought with her everywhere. There was no vanity. Though there was a valet’s station all set up with shaving implements.

A frisson of fierce trepidation coursed through her. Oh, pray let it be her father’s room.

She looked again to the clothing on the bed. From the short distance, she could see the fawn-colored trousers             were of soft cotton as was the fine-stitched white shirt. Her father preferred linen for his shirts. The coat was  expertly tailored and far too broad of shoulder for her father’s modest frame.

As she stood in the center of the room, finally coming to terms with the fact she must have somehow gotten her mother’s directions wrong, a small door tucked unobtrusively into the corner of the room opened.

“Back so soon, Simmons?” a strong male voice inquired.

Panic flashed through Eliza in a hot arc and froze her in place on the plush carpet. Before she could gather her wits to command her body to move, a man strode through the inner door into the room.

But not just any man.

It was the Marquess of Rutherford, the most sought after and elusive bachelor in England. The prize feather that has so long eluded her mother’s match-making cap.

And he was completely naked.

The swift acknowledgment that her mother had really gone too far this time was overtaken by the shocking details of the sight before her. Heat flushed though her body in a wave. In all of her nineteen years, Eliza had not had a single opportunity to catch a glimpse of unclothed male anatomy.

And Lord Rutherford was an amazingly well-formed man.

Solid muscle defined the length of his arms and legs, which were liberally sprinkled with dark hair. Broad shoulders put to rest the rumor that he padded his coats. And his chest and narrow abdomen were cut with more ripples of muscle. A modest patch of damp curling hair covered his chest and a thin dark line extended from his navel downward.

Her curiosity was cut short by the towel he brought in front of his most masculine body part.

To Eliza, he looked more like a medieval warrior than the pampered lord of London he was. For a man who had reached his mid-thirties, an age when most gentlemen began to show evidence of their indulgent lifestyle, he was incredibly fit. Not what she would have expected by far.

“You are not my valet.”

His voice was low and curious, telling Eliza he did not yet realize who she was. Once he did, his manner would not be so relaxed or amiable.

She needed to get out of there. In fact, she wasn’t sure why she hadn’t turned tail and run already. Aside from the obvious reason that she couldn’t seem to keep her gaze from running rampant over the details of his body.

Shaking her head to unlock her gaze, Eliza managed to lift her focus to Rutherford’s face.

A bit of a mistake there.

She had only ever seen him once at a distance in Hyde Park two years ago. Her mother had been pointing him out to her sisters who were then at the start of their London season.RebelMarquess72lg

Impressive at a distance, the marquess was nearly devastating up close.

His was not a face one could call classically handsome. His forehead was a touch too wide, his nose had an obvious crook in it and his chin held a dimple in its center. Not to mention the fact that the imperious arch of his brows and the arrogant glint in his brown eyes made him appear unapproachable. Still, there was something about him that had Eliza casting him as one of her romantic protagonists without conscious effort. Maybe it was the overwhelming confidence he exuded in spite of his bared state.

“Can I help you?” he asked as he took another few steps into the room.

Did her imagination conjure up the smooth and suggestive note in his voice? She suddenly felt overwhelmed by the pure masculinity of his presence. Hot embarrassment and acute awareness spread through Eliza’s limbs, making her mouth go dry and her palms sweat. A previously dormant instinct for self-preservation released her frozen feet and she took a couple of steps back in response.

“I, ah…I am,” she stammered.

The marquess raised his brows as he wrapped the towel around his lean hips.

Eliza had to make a very concentrated effort to keep her gaze above his chin. She never would have foreseen she had such voyeuristic tendencies.

“You are standing in the middle of my bedroom,” he stated dryly. “Either you were looking for me, in which case I’d expect you to have a reason for doing so. Or as I’m starting to suspect, you have somehow found yourself in the wrong room.”

“Wrong room,” Eliza admitted with a decisive nod of her head.

Why on earth couldn’t she find the proper connection between her brain and her tongue? She was starting to give the impression of being short on intelligence.

“A pity.” His sigh was barely audible as his dark gaze swept over her body in a swift and proficient assessment. The way his brow furrowed had Eliza wondering what bothered him more—her intrusion or the fact that she had not been seeking him out. “I will show you out then.”

He headed to the door without bothering to see if she’d followed. When he opened it, voices could be heard coming down the hall.

“Bloody hell. That woman seems to be everywhere at once,” he muttered under his breath as he pushed the door closed again. “You will have to wait a moment until Lady Terribury and her entourage pass by.”

Alarm sparked across Eliza’s nerves and turned her fingers ice cold. “Lady Terribury? Are you sure?”

“No mistake. The voice of that woman haunts my nightmares.”

He did not bother turning around to look at her as he spoke, not even considering his less than favorable comments about a fellow guest might be considered offensive.

Eliza was well aware of her mother’s faults and the unsavory history that existed between Lady Terribury and          the Marquess of Rutherford. His opinion of her mother was the very least of her concerns at that moment. Her        gaze darted about the room as she grasped her skirts with both hands in preparation for flight.

“You have to hide me.” Panic laced the edges of her words.

He turned to her then. Curiosity lit his features along with the obvious note of irritation at having his decision questioned, but he showed no real concern. Yet.

“Once she passes you can be on your way.”

Eliza met his gaze with intent directness, trying to impart the urgency of the situation into the tone of her voice.    “No. You do not understand. She is coming here. To this room. You have to hide me. Now.”

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REBEL MARQUESS is the third story in a series that started with ROGUE COUNTESS and continued with RECKLESS VISCOUNT. All three are available at the Samhain store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and everywhere ebooks are sold!

Beautiful Dreamer

Several years ago when I decided it was time to make a serious go of this writing thing, one of my first tasks was to create time designated for this purpose. At the time, my oldest was just a toddler and I was expecting my second child. For a while I would try to sneak in an hour or so of writing in the early evening after I got home from work and before dinner. But this time of day was when I most wanted to reconnect with my family. Besides, my creativity was strongest first thing in the morning. So, my husband, wonderful man that he is, agreed to take on the morning parenting tasks on his own. This entails getting the kids up, dressed, fed, ready and out the door to school/daycare, giving me a couple hours to write before I have to get myself off to work.

This has been our daily pattern now for probably five years or so. I go into my office when the house is still dark and quiet. I do not have to close the door (most days) and I love it when each of my kids come to me for a morning hug and kiss before they go about getting ready for their day. Though my oldest daughter is starting to get away from that habit, my son still stumbles in with his eyes sleepy and his hugs warm and of course, there is my youngest… the little giggling monster who runs in to show me her dolly and lifts her arms to be pulled into my lap for a long squeeze before daddy gets her dressed.

Some days it is difficult to stay at the computer while the kids are starting their day. I try hard not to get drawn in by the drama of homework that isn’t done yet, socks that don’t fit right, missing gloves, or the dreaded cry “we’re out of cereal!” And no matter how much their daddy does for them every morning, there are some things they just have to come to mommy for. The interruptions are expected and I have learned how to shift my focus from my work to the kids then back again without too much disruption to the writing flow. But then there are days when the words are stuck in a jerky pattern and I can’t seem to get my thoughts to flow. On those days, I might have to close (and sometimes lock) my office door.

Every day I do this. Every day. Weekends too. I set my alarm and get up before everyone else to sit at my computer. Of course there are occasional exceptions that require I leave my little room and assist with the morning rituals. And it is always difficult around the holidays for some reason. But every day it is my intention to get up and get to work while the kids are corralled by their dad.  And sometimes, I feel a mother’s guilt for insisting to my family that my writing time is important…for giving my kids that morning kiss and hug and then gently shooing them from the room. I do my best to balance this out by being as fully present and available as possible in the evening hours when we all congregate back at home after work and school, but some days, it is still hard.

I hope that by committing to this practice of writing and staying the course I am demonstrating something valuable to my children. It has long been my dream to be an author, but it was not until I put in the necessary work and dedication that the dream started to come to fruition. This is what I hope my kids are learning as they find me at my computer every morning…that it is very often not enough to simply want something. If it is important to you…if it is your dream…you have to make it happen. You have to put in the time, the commitment, the effort and the occasional heartache to reach your goals. And if you do, no matter how lofty it may be, any dream is attainable. Anything at all is possible if you believe you are capable of making it happen.

My oldest daughter, a nine-year-old who is practically obsessed with animals of all kinds, has decided she would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up. A few weeks ago, she asked me what she could do now to start working toward this goal.

I don’t know if her inspiration to put forth this effort has anything at all to do with being a witness to my determination in making my dream come true. But I do know we are now volunteering at our local Humane Society so she can begin to learn what it takes to care for so many animals. If it gets her that much closer to achieving her own beautiful dreams, than it is well worth it.

 

The Dreaded Wall

GAH! It happened again.

Just when I get right into the thick of my work in progress, somewhere in the second half, I walk smack into a wall. It is plastered with copious notes on characters and story lines, dozens of loose plot threads, and all of my great intentions. The wall is not so high that I can’t see over it, but it is long and wide and daunting.

This is the point in my writing process when all the doubt crowds in. I am faced with everything I had set out to accomplish in my WIP. Staring back at me, stretched along the unsightly wall, is all the evidence of what I have not yet managed to pull off. I stop and look over my shoulder at what is already written. There are some great images, a good introduction to the hero/heroine relationship, but also some obvious holes, leaps in plot, and missing scenes. Then I stretch up on my toes and look over the wall at everything that still must be put down on paper. All the elements that will need to come together to allow for the groundwork to grow into something complete and satisfying.

Anxiety wants to take over. I seriously doubt I can do it.

There is still so much to do… not only in finishing the first draft, but is going back over the entire WIP to check for the disastrous potholes.

  • do my H/h have clear GOALS, MOTIVATION and CONFLICT?
  • is the conflict logical? does it follow with what we know about the characters and life in general?
  • is the plot logical? does it make sense that these people are doing what they are doing when they are doing it?
  • is the plot filled with cliches and eye-rolling coincidences?
  • are the characters relate-able? do you know enough about them?  or too much? do they belong together?
  • is my research complete? do I have my historical facts right?
  • am I getting all the subtleties in there? the tiny bits of information that are clear to me, but don’t need to be front and center for the reader?
  • is the romance sexy, interesting, emotional enough?
  • and how the hell do I tie down all these loose threads?

There comes a point in every WIP when these questions, or others very similar, stump me. They make me want to sit down right where I stand and complain about not being good enough and the work being too hard. But I know, because I have to know, that I can get past this. So I throw my leg over that wall and hoist myself up until I drop down on the other side. And I keep writing.

I may carry pictures of that wall with me as I go on, to remind me of what work needs to be done and what questions still exist in the story. I make notes of things I can change: a scene or bit of dialogue I can add, a slightly different timeline I can try to see if it fits all the elements better, another way to show the hero’s motivation or internal conflict.  And when I finally get to the end of that first draft, I go back to the beginning and work on all of the glaring inconsistencies and problems that were up on that wall. And I hope, hope, hope that by the end of that second draft, most of those problem are fixed. If they are not, there is always that third draft, or the fourth, or fifth…

Because that wall doesn’t come down on its own. I have to take it down.

Time to roll up my sleeves and put my hard hat on.

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today is my birthday and I could think of no better way to celebrate than with the Cover Reveal of my next title scheduled to release from Samhain Publishing April 22, 2014…

The Marquess of Rutherford has successfully evaded the relentless pursuit of six husband-hunting Terribury daughters…

Time to meet the seventh!

Rebel Marquess

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It is about time Rutherford got his story!