Thursday, December 24, 2009

Picture of Earl's Forbidden Ward cover

I've found a jpeg copy of the cover. Yippee! I love showing it off, the colors are absolutely luscious. Can hardly wait for March.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

gorgeous cover for March 2010 release: The Earl's Forbidden Ward

Just saw the North American cover for The Earl's Forbidden Ward (Due out in March). It's absolutely lovely. The colors are rich and the cover captures the characters perfectly, especially the heroine. She looks just as I imagined Tessa.

Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cheryl St.John: How Much Research is Too Much?

Cheryl St.John
1882 Colorado
December 2009

St. John's strong yet sweet romance is peopled by characters readers will care about...the lesson St. John teaches in the subplot about abuse touches the heart.
~ Romantic Times

There are definitely plenty of things a writer needs to know before she starts to write her book. Characters don’t exist in a vacuum; they have occupations and homes and families and histories and nationalities and all number of things we need to know to make them three-dimensional and bring realism to the story.

My December book, Her Colorado Man, is set just outside a town I’ve used in a previous story. Once I’ve done all the work for a setting, it only makes sense to get some mileage out of it. Colorado is a common setting for me. I own picture books, reference books and maps as well as books on plants and animals. I had another reason for the location, other than its convenience, however: I made my heroine part of a large German family who own a brewery, so I had to select a location to support the operation. The cold-water streams that flow from the mountains were perfect.

And then I had to know enough about brewing beer to decide which method they used and why, and which year would be workable. I chose a year when bottling was first being introduced and also a year that there was a huge Exposition in Denver. So my actual location and the brewery are fabricated, but everything about the people and production and operation and the time period are factual. Keeping facts as close to real as possible makes the reader believe.

I also had to know something about my hero who comes to this town from Alaska, where he’s been delivering mail between tent towns and postal stations. That research was probably the most difficult, because all the facts easily found about Juneau and the Yukon pertain to the gold rush, which didn’t happen until after my time period. So that part of my education took more searching.

So besides looking up breweries, their operation and types of brewing methods before I started, I searched for information on sled dogs, Alaskan temperatures, modes of travel and traditional Bavarian foods. I ended up with a binder full of facts and pictures. Sometimes I have to make an additional folder on one subject, like say liveries or beer making. In my opinion, you can’t ever know too much about your location or your topic or the cultures of your people.

Confession: I’m a paper person. I’ve learned to use PBWiki, personal online storage, but even though I have that ability and I’ve bookmarker the online information, I still want to be able to flip through my binder and put my finger on that list of names I was going to use. I need to see the paragraph about the competitive advantages of lager brewing over ale. That’s just me. If you are a writer, maybe you’ve got a smarter way to store your research, and if so, I applaud you. The important thing is that your method works for you, and you’re not losing writing time searching for something you’ve lost.

Now just because I have all that info doesn’t mean I will ever need to or that I ever should use it all. A writer knows far more about her subjects than she should ever use in a story. But she needs to know it, because if she didn’t, she’d make mistakes. I have many writer friends who love the research part so much that it takes on a life of its own. Once they start, they can’t stop.

Here’s how to know when to quit researching: If your study is cutting into your production, you’re researching too much. If you get caught up in the fact-finding and aren’t tallying a page count, you’re doing too much research. If you’re not putting words on pages, you’re avoiding writing. Give your study a rest and write the story. You can learn the rest of the details as you need them. I learn enough to get started and then I begin. When I get to something I don’t know, I simply google the subject. If I’m on a roll and need to know something, I leave an asterisk and come back to it after the muse is burned out for the day.

So, yes there is a lot a writer needs to know, but the wise writer knows when to call a halt get down to business.


Chapter One

Ruby Creek, Colorado May, 1882

Her Colorado Man
by Cheryl St.John

"Watch out!"

Mariah Burrows ducked and ran a good six feet before turning back to look up at the crate teetering atop a stack of similar ones in the cavernous warehouse. Three agile young men scrambled from their positions on ladders and beside wagons to prevent it from falling. Two of them were her nephews, the other a distant cousin.

"Don't stack these crates over twelve high," she called. "Better that we take up warehouse space than lose eighty-five dollars or someone's head. We built this whole building just for storing the lager for the Exposition, so let's use it."

Her nephew Roth gave her a mock salute and jumped down from the pile of wooden crates. "Grandpa would've had our hides if we'd let that one slip."

"I'd have told your mother not to serve that apfel-strudel you're so fond of tonight."

He laughed and took his cap from his rear pocket to settle it on his head. "You're a tyrannical boss, Aunt Mariah."

"Mariah!" A familiar male voice echoed through the high-ceilinged building. "Mariah Burrows!"

"Over here, Wilhelm," she called. At twenty-two, he was her younger brother by two years. He used her full name at every opportunity. Among the hundred plus employees at the Spangler Brewery, hers was one of the few non-Bavarian or German names, and he lived to tease her about it. "What has you out of the office this morning?" she asked.

"Grandfather wants to see you right away."

She fished for her pencil in the front pocket of the men's trousers she wore that were her everyday garb. "I'll be there as soon as I go over the inventory of last night's bottling."

"No, right now. He says it's urgent."

She tucked her ledger under her arm and rushed to join him. "Is John James all right?"

"Your son is fine."


"He's just anxious to have you in the office for whatever reason."

Relieved, she turned to wave at Roth. "I'll be back.

Go ahead and start stamping those crates near the conveyor. Seven weeks until opening day in Denver."

Spangler Brewery spread over an acre located roughly two miles from Ruby Creek. The warehouses were situated with platforms a few scant feet from the railroad tracks, and the production buildings sat close to the cold-water streams that poured from the mountains into the wide creek for which the town was named. Three smoke stacks puffed billowy gray clouds into the bright Colorado sky. The mountains to the northeast were still capped with snow, but fireweed and forget-me-nots bloomed on the hillsides nearer. Mariah breathed in the pungent smell of fermented hops.

"I overheard Mama talking in the kitchen this morning." Wilhelm's tone was uncharacteristically solemn.

She glanced up at him as they passed the corner of the four-sided brick clock tower that stood in the center of the open yard.

"She said that sometimes Grandpa forgets what day it is for a moment."

Mariah had noticed the same thing a time or two. Once he'd said something about an occurrence twenty years ago as if it had just happened. But the next moment he carried on with their business. "He seems perfectly healthy," she said. "It's almost like he takes a little trip into the past."

"No harm there, I guess," her brother said with a shrug.

Near the front entrance, they entered the four-story brick building that housed accounting offices as well as comfortable quarters for her grandfather. Their work shoes padded on the carpet runner that ran the length of the hall.

Mariah smiled a goodbye to Wilhelm and opened one of the carved walnut doors to enter Louis Spangler's domain. She'd loved these rooms from the time she'd been a child, when he'd indulgently welcomed her to sit in one of the soft leather chairs that sat before a stone fireplace. She'd listened with rapt attention as he spoke of the old days back in Bavaria and his early days in this country, when he and his father and his uncles had built the brewery from the ground up.

He was the only one left from the old country. He and Grandma used to speak to each other in Old High German, a dialect of which their children and grandchildren could only understand bits and phrases. Mariah hadn't heard it spoken for many years now.

"You must need something important," she said. "You've spent the last three months cautioning me not to waste a minute until everything is ready for the Exposition."

Louis moved from where he'd been standing at the wide window that looked out over foothills decorated in a dozen shades of verdant green to his desk. He cast her a tentative glance. "We have something important to discuss."

"About the Exposition?"

"No. Nothing like that." He waved her to a chair.

Mariah knew better than to rush him. He would come around to the point in his own good time. She made herself comfortable on a wing chair and waited. The concern in his vivid blue gaze unsettled her.

"I have some news. Something that's going to affect you and John James."

She sat a little straighter. Four years ago he'd given her a seat on the governing board, and for the first time in its nearly forty-year history, the brewery had a woman in a principal position. He'd always held Mariah in a place of favor. When her son had come along, Grandfather had given him his favor, as well. She anticipated that one day she would inherit her own share of their family holdings. "What is it?" she asked.

"Wes Burrows is coming here. In just a few weeks' time."

Mariah heard his spoken words immediately, but their meaning took longer to penetrate her haze of disbelief. They never spoke of the person he'd just mentioned because that person didn't exist. Hearing it from him now was like hearing that foreign language her grandparents used to use. "Wha-what do you mean?"

"John James's father is coming to see him."

A buzz rang in her ears. "But that—that's impossible."

"I'm afraid it's not. I've had communication with him, and he's already left Juneau City. He should arrive early next month."

Mariah's first reaction was to stand. Bolt perhaps. But the room tilted at an odd angle, and she collapsed back onto the leather cushion before she fell. "Could you explain, please? How does a man you invented suddenly write and say he's coming?"

"I didn't invent Wes Burrows. The man exists."

She overcame her light-headedness to stand and release the tension ratcheting her nerves by pacing a few feet away and back again. "I thought your old friend from Forchheim was writing those letters."

"Otto died. I told you that."

"No. No, you didn't." Just the other day she'd read a few of the letters her son had received recently, and there had been subtle differences in the penmanship and the sentence structures, but she hadn't suspected a different writer.

Mariah placed a hand on either side of her head as though to keep it from flying off. Was her grandfather confused or was she hearing wrong? "If Otto is dead, who has been writing to—and who is traveling to—see John James?"

"I didn't expect this," he said apologetically. "Not in a hundred years. Sit back down and let me explain."

He wouldn't continue until she complied, so Mariah sat once again and gripped the arms of the chair. "I'm listening."

"Otto Weiss had been living in Alaska for quite some time when I asked him to help us with the name of someone who rarely checked his postal box, someone whose name we could use and who would never find out."

"I know that part." Seven years ago, when she'd told him she was going to have a baby and had no plans for a husband, he'd sent her to Chicago for a year. She'd been surprised when she'd returned home with her baby and learned that her grandfather had invented a husband for her while she'd been away. The story had already been told throughout the family and in the nearby town of Ruby Creek. Supposedly she'd married in Chicago.

The tale continued that her new husband had gone off to the gold fields of the north, leaving her to wait for him, and because of that she'd chosen to move home to her family until his return.

Living with the stigma of a husband with gold fever had been better than her son or anyone else learning the truth. Louis had found a solution. A no-muss, no-fuss absent husband suited Mariah just fine actually. The ruse had kept away potential suitors and given her the freedom to live her life exactly the way she pleased. A pretend husband had been an easy solution.

"Alaska is at the edge of nowhere," he said. "I never dreamed anyone in Colorado would hear Burrows's name."

When he'd shown her the first letter from this make-believe father, he had suggested that his friend would write and send a few letters so John James could believe his father loved him. "A boy needs to believe his father cares for him," he'd told Mariah. She hadn't been able to disagree with that. And the truth would never pass her lips. "All along I thought Otto made up a name to use," she said.

"We should have simply rented a box in a fictitious name," her grandfather said. "Or we should have said your husband died like we talked about, but John James loved getting those letters. Telling him that would have been like actually killing his father. He believed the man was real. At the time there was no harm in allowing the ruse to continue."

"I'm as responsible as you are for that," she said. "But what about the name that I've been using—the name I gave my son? This Burrows is a real person?"

"He is."

The information was too much to absorb. Thinking back, she had noticed a difference in the letters. She hadn't read all of them, but she read a few here and there for John James's safety. She'd read more than usual lately because she'd been intrigued by the writer's stories. "Who are the letters really from?"

"The real Mr. Burrows. Initially he wrote to me because I always help John James with his letters. He asked me to explain why his post box was filled with mail from a child he didn't know. I made it clear how much the dear boy longed for a father." He gave her a sidelong glance. "I may have suggested that no harm would come if the charade continued a while longer. And soon this Burrows fellow was writing letters to John James."

Mariah wiped a hand over her eyes as if that might clear the confusion and concern. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I did." He frowned and his gaze fell to the desktop. "Or at least I thought I did."

Her heart beat hard and fast at the thought of this stranger coming to expose their lie to her son. John James's heart would be broken. He would despise her for the lies she'd strung out for so long. A tight knot formed in her stomach at the thought, and suspicion straightened her eyebrows in a skeptical frown. "Why does this man want to come here? What does he expect?"

Louis unlocked his top desk drawer and took out an envelope. He tapped it against his other palm thoughtfully before placing it on top of his desk and pushing it toward her. "It's all here."

With trembling fingers, Mariah reached for the envelope. Her grandfather's name had been written in sprawling black script. She slid out the stationery and unfolded the paper.

Mr. Spangler,

I do not know if you are going to understand what I am about to do. I do not know if I understand it myself, but I am leaving Juneau City at the end of the week and will be heading to Colorado.

For the past six years, I have been traveling between tent camps and post offices. There is money to be made in this land, and I have spent my youth acquiring it. I have witnessed plenty of men getting mail from home, and I have often wondered what it would be like to have family waiting for me, wishing I was with them.

Before I was a mail carrier, I worked aboard a whaling ship. I once tried my luck at gold mining, and I have traveled half the world. In all that time I never felt attached to a place. I never had a yearning to settle until I read the lad's words about the Spangler family. He writes about his mother and you. I feel as though I have been to Ruby Creek.

It makes no sense, but lately I have been homesick for a place I have never been and I have been missing a boy I have never seen. The yearning I read in John James's letters is the yearning I have felt my whole life. It is a need to be important to someone. And I aim to be that to him if I am able.

I have had some time to reflect on my life these past weeks, and what I now see is that above all I want to make a difference in this world. I want to make a difference in your great-grandson's life. By the time you get this, you will not be able to reach me, and you could not have said anything that would have changed my mind anyhow. I am on my way to meet John James.

You have my word that I shall not embarrass or hurt the boy. Neither do I intend to disrupt your life or your granddaughter's. This is something I need to do. I want your great-grandson to have what every boy deserves—a father who cares about him.

Sincerely, Wesley T. Burrows

Hot tears stung at the backs of Mariah's eyes. Fear and resentment welled up strong and fierce.

After being awarded a 5 spur review, Her Colorado Man has been nominated for Love Western Romance's Best Western Romance of 2009!

The voting has begun, and you can follow the above link right now to place your vote.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady by Diane Gaston

The young man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming--Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen knew there was something about a man in regimentals and my hero on the cover of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, released December 1, is no exception. He is definitely sigh-worthy. But for Jack Vernon being a soldier is what he does, not what he is.

After Napoleon is sent in defeat to the isle of Elba, battle-weary Jack seizes the chance to pursue his dream of being an artist. He is hired to paint London theatre's newest sensation, Ariana Blane, his most important commission to date. As this stunningly beautiful actress ignites feelings Jack thought long destroyed in battle, another man has Ariana in his sights.

Ultimately the only way for Jack to win Ariana is to don his regimentals again and fight on the battlefield of Waterloo.

Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady was selected by Michelle Buonfiglio as one of her Fave 2009 Romance Books for Barnes and Noble's Heart to Heart blog.

4.5 Stars! "Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady is a beautiful story with realistic, excellent characters...Another great novel for Diane Gaston." — Debby Guyette, Cataromance

4 Stars! "Gaston displays an innate sense of time and place as she brings her characters from the battlefields of Spain to London's world of theater and the arts." — Kathe Robin, RT BOOKreviews

For more about Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady and all my books visit my website Sign up for my newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and the Risky Regencies Blog.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Review of Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord...

Jayne of Dear Author has written a review of Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord. Jayne gives it a B-. She says she has enjoyed a number of the other Wessex Weddings, and the fallen woman theme appealed. Like me, Jayne feels uneasy about lots of false medieval dialogue. It is one of my ambitions to write a book which Dear Author rate as a B+! And after that, one day maybe a venture into A territory!The link for the full review is below:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Taming his Runaway Lady!

Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord
The idea for this novel was sparked by a comment a helpful reader made on the Harlequin Community Chat Boards. She had just read The Novice Bride and was interested in one of the secondary characters, Sir Richard of Asculf. She asked if Sir Richard was going to have his own story. It took me awhile, but here it is! Sir Richard's heroine, Emma, is the older sister of Cecily in The Novice Bride. Cecily was all innocence, but Emma most certainly is not, and at the novel's opening, her past is in danger of catching up with her.
It is set in England and France in the eleventh century.

Here is the cover blurb:
Raised a lady, Emma of Fulford is a fallen woman
with a young son as proof. He is all she has in the
world, and now the boy’s brutal father has returned.
Desperate and afraid, she needs to escape, and fast,
so she approaches Sir Richard of Asculf. She begs
this honorable Norman knight for help—and offers
the only thing she has left...herself.
Honorable he may be, but Sir Richard is only
human and Lady Emma tempts his resolve. Can this
conquering knight tame his runaway lady and stop
her running for good?
Wessex Weddings
Normans and Saxons, conflict and desire

This novel is available as a print book in the US from November 1st on the eHarlequin website. It is also published as an ebook. It is already out in hardback in the UK, where it will be published as a paperback in December.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home from South Carolina Writer's Conference

I'm home from a fabulous weekend in South Carolina. I got to be a presenter at the conference which I had blogged about earlier this summer. It was great! I led sessions on writing romantic fiction, historical fiction, point of view and dialog. We had a book signing featuring the Viscount Claims His Bride and that went really well. Now I am diligently trying to finish up an Undone due Nov. 2

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas 1564 by Amanda McCabe

One thing I learned as I researched my November book The Winter Queen (available now at eHarlequin, yay!) is that the Elizabethans really, really knew how to party at the holidays! The Christmas season (Christmastide) ran 12 days, from December 24 (Christmas Eve) to January 6 (Twelfth Day), and each day was filled with feasting, gift-giving (it was a huge status thing at Court to see what gift the Queen gave you, and to seek favor by what you gave her), pageants, masquerades, dancing, a St. Stephen's Day fox-hunt, and lots of general silliness. (One of the games was called Snapdragon, and involved a bow of raisins covered in brandy and set alight. The players had to snatch the raisins from the flames and eat them without being burned. I think the brandy was heavily imbibed before this games as well, and I can guarantee this won't be something we're trying at my house this year!)

Later in Queen Elizabeth's reign, she mostly kept Christmas at Greenwich, or sometimes at Hampton Court or Nonsuch Palace, but in the year my story is set, 1564, she spent the holiday at Whitehall in London. Elizabeth had only been queen for 6 years and was 31 years old, so hers was a young Court full of high spirits. This was also the coldest winter in memory, so cold the Thames froze through and there was a Frost Fair complete with skating, food and merchandise booths on the ice, and sledding. It was fun to imagine this scene, and put my characters (Lady Rosamund Ramsey, lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and Anton Gustavson, Swedish diplomat and excellent ice-skater) into the action!

Even though there were no Christmas trees or stockings hung by the fire, I was surprised to find we would recognize many of the traditional decorations of the time! Anything that was still green in December would be used--holly, ivy, yew, bay. The Yule log was lit on Christmas Eve using a bit of last year's log saved for the purpose. It was brought in by the men of the household, decorated with wreaths and ribbons, and set ablaze so everyone could gather around and tell tales of Christmases past.

Food was also just as big a part of the holiday as it is now! Roast meats were favorites (pork, beef, chicken, fricaseed, cooked in broths, roasted, baked into pies), along with stewed vegetables and fine whit manchet bread with fresh butter and cheese. Elizabeth was a light eater, especially compared with her father, but she was a great lover of sweets. These could include candied flowers, hard candies in syrup (called suckets, eaten with special sucket spoons), Portugese figs, Spanish oranges, tarts, gingerbread, and figgy pudding. The feast often ended with a spectacular piece of sugar art called (incongrously) subtleties. In 1564, this was a recreation of Whitehall itself in candy, complete with a sugar Thames. (At least they could work off the feasting in skating and sledding...)

A couple fun reads on Christmas in this period are Maria Hubert's Christmas in Shakespeare's England and Hugh Douglas's A Right Royal Christmas, as well as Alison Sim's Food and Feast in Tudor England and Liza Picard's Elizabeth's London. At my website I have lots more info on the period, as well as some Renaissance Christmas recipes (let me know if you decide to try the roast peacock!)

And watch for the connected Harlequin Historical Undone story in December, The Maid's Lover

Friday, October 23, 2009

November Release from Annie Burrows

I have a new release coming out in the UK in November

"Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss"

The blurb on the back reads: Is she his lost love? With his dark, haunted eyes and forbidding expression, the menacing Lord Matthison has the reputation of the devil. Living on the fringes of polite society, he has still to get over the death of his one true love seven years ago. But Cora Montague's body has never been found...

So when he encounters a fragile-looking woman, the image of his betrothed, working in a London dressmakers, Matthison is convinced Cora is still alive. And he will go to any lengths to claim her!

It's a bit dark, a little bit spooky, and hopefully, just right for Hallowe'en!

If you would like to read an excerpt, visit my web site at, and go to My Books page.

Or visit http://www.mills&, and click on the picture of the cover to browse the book.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Save money on New Harlequin HIstorical books with Harlequin Special Coupon.

If you love Harlequin Historical, why not use the above coupon to save money on the latest offerings when you shop at eHarlequin?
The offer remains good until 31 December.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Welsh Lord's Mistress by Margaret Moore

My Undone short novella, THE WELSH LORD'S MISTRESS, goes on sale at eHarlequin
today. On my site you'll find more information about the story and an excerpt.

THE WELSH LORD'S MISTRESS is a story of unrequited love set in medieval Wales and features two characters from my last medieval novel, THE WARLORD'S BRIDE. However, as with all my books, I assume nobody's read the prequels, so this story should "stand alone."

It's also been brought to my attention that some people assume you need a special ereader to read an ebook. Not so! As long as you have a computer, you can download an ebook. Harlequin has made this easy by providing free downloads of software. They also have a section called "New to Ebooks?" that provides more information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heroine in Disguise!

Two Harlequin Historical authors discuss their differing approaches to the woman disguised as a man premise.

The “woman disguised as a man” setup has been a popular hook for historical romance for decades and it remains so today. In fact, two Harlequin Historical September releases feature this theme: HIS RUNAWAY MAIDEN by June Francis and mine, IN THE MASTER’S BED by Blythe Gifford. I invited my fellow author from “across the pond” to talk with me about the appeal, and challenge, of writing these stories. First, I’ll turn it over to June.
Thanks for joining me, June. Tell me about HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE.
It’s set in 1502, so the beginning of the Tudor period. My heroine, Rosamund is English and my hero, Alex is a part Swedish, part Scottish baron, who is also a spy. They are tricked into a speedy marriage when Rosamund's godmother, the slightly wacky Lady Elizabeth Stanley, realises not only that they have travelled through England unchaperoned but also that they are made for each other. She is related to the king of England and soon the couple are involved in the intrigue and machinations at Henry Vll's court at Richmond Palace. Rosamund's wicked stepbrother is party to treason and has them in his sights. With their lives in danger Rosamund and Alex soon realise where their hearts lie and there is an exciting finale on the River Thames.

How did the idea come to you? Was it part of the core idea?
At the beginning of the book Rosamund needs to make a quick escape from her stepmother and as she will be easily recognisable as herself, she decides she needs a disguise. When she was younger she used to don her supposedly dead brother Harry's clothes for riding and knows she can make better speed wearing breeches. She also believes that she is safer travelling if folk believe she is a male until she encounters our hero. So I'd say yes, it was part of the core idea.

What was the most challenging part of writing that scenario?
I think the dialogue. How do they talk to each other in their different roles? What about Rosamund's voice? When she donned her disguise she did not expect to have to converse and answer questions from our very male hero. She's had little experience of being in young men's company and can only guess at what they would talk about. But she wants to find out more about this foreigner and what is he doing in her country. As for Alex he has ulterior motives for continuing with the pretence and has questions of his own that he wants answers to from her. As we know this dialogue is important so as to give the readers information about our two characters as well as to build our hero and heroine's relationship and to have the readers wanting to know when will the denoucement happen.

Why do you think it is such a popular scenario?
Because one can have the hero and heroine alone together in close proximity. This creates lots of lovely conflict. She has to remember to remain in character which is more difficult when she is playing a role day in, day out. She is bound to slip up. For our hero it is the temptation of having a woman in his bed and having to treat her like one of the boys once he has guessed her secret.

Thanks, June. My turn! Here’s a brief recap of IN THE MASTER’S BED.
It’s set in the late 14th century, so more than 100 years before yours. My heroine, Jane, who has never really enjoyed “women’s work” runs away from home in order to study at the University, where women were not permitted. Disguised as a man in a place where women are forbidden, she meets a master who accepts her as a student, thinking she is “John.” Living surrounded by men, she discovers that being a man isn’t as easy as she always thought, and that a certain man makes her want to be a woman for the first time. Of course, my hero, discovers her secret and, it turns out, wears certain disguises of his own.
How did the idea come to you? Was it part of the core idea?
Definitely. I saw this as a “woman in a man’s world” story and really wanted to explore what the sexes find so mysterious about each other. In addition, the book was a spin-off from THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER. In that book, I had already created a character who was a “tomboy,” as we would say today, so it was perfectly natural for her to masquerade as a boy.
What was the most challenging part of writing that scenario?
Given my setup, trying to figure out how men talk and behave when no women are watching! I’m sure some of my male friends will let me know if I got it right.
Why do you think it is such a popular scenario?
It allows the heroine much more freedom. She is released, as least for awhile, from the constricting requirements and expectations of her sex. That liberates the story, too, which the author appreciates! Also, I think the readers like being in on a joke, watching a baffled hero until he figures out what is going on.
But that sounds like a good topic for our readers.
Tell us: what do you like about woman-disguised-as-a-lad stories? We’d love to hear your comments.
And to learn more about us and our books, visit June Francis at Blythe Gifford at

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A title for Crispin

Hi Readers,
I just got word that Crispin's story now has a title: Untamed Rogue, Scandalous Mistress. No due out date yet but I can hardly wait. He's by far the wildest of the Ramsden brothers. Thanks to all the UK readers who have enjoyed Peyton's story in the Earl's Forbidden Ward. I've loved hearing from you. I can hardly wait for Peyton to hit the stores in North America.

Friday, August 07, 2009

New Release!

This is a shoutout to let everyone know about my new release titled Texas Wedding for their Baby’s Sake which is officially coming out September 1st (but is available at eHarlequin now.) This sequel to The Rebel and the Lady tells the story of the younger brother, Brandon Dumont and the woman he left behind...

“Caroline Benet enjoyed one night in her fiance’s arms before he left to fight in the Texas territory. The day news reaches her of the Alamo slaughter is the day she learns she is carrying his child.

He may have survived, but Brandon can’t return to the life he once knew or the woman he once loved—not as a cripple and a man battling his own personal demons.

When Caroline shows up in Texas, Brandon is determined to send her packing. But Caroline wants more than Brandon’s name for their baby. Looks like it will take a love as big as Texas to win him back.”

To celebrate the release I’m running a contest on my website this August for a free autographed copy along with a Borders Gift Card. Hope you’ll check it out! (The contest and the book!)

Monday, August 03, 2009

The South Carolina Writer's Conference Oct. 2009

Hi all, especially aspiring Harlequin Writers!
There's a great writing opportunity coming up for you at the South Carolina Writer's Conference Oct. 2009. It's really more of an awesome workshop than a conference. There are critique sessions with authors, agents and editors. Which can be so useful to the new writer. I went to a critique session 6 years ago at the Tacoma Community College authors conference and the critiquer, who was a professional in her field, said "this manuscript should be easy to sell. Do these three things to it and you have a classic regency." I did those three things to it, pitched it once and sold it--not only did I sell it, but I sold it as part of three book deal. It was the second manuscript I'd ever written. So these critique sessions matter a lot! I might even suggest they matter more than the pitching opportunity.

In addition to critique sessions with the workshop faculty, there's editor and agent appointments, workshops for perfecting your craft and lots more. I'll be there teaching sessions on dialogue, research and the crafting of the historical romance. I'll also be there offering full critiques of partial and full manuscripts!! Other big names will be there too like Jenny Bent and Pamela Ahearn and Scott Eagan--so some really great agents. This conference is about more than romance writing, it's for all genres, so bring your friend who wants to write a biography.
I'm so excited to be part of it. There will be time to work on your favorite projects and the conference will probably be a lot more intimate than the massive national RWA conference, so if you're looking for a one on one connection with somebody in the business, this is a fabulous opportunity. Check it out, here's the link

Dulci and Jack are all finished!

Whew, Jack and Dulci (from Pickpocket Countess) have their story all finished for now. I'm just celebrating the completion of a manuscript. I know the process of finishing is just starting, but it feels good to have all that in place.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Viscount's Kiss is out now

The Viscount's Kiss is Margaret Moore's latest release from Harlequin Historicals.

Did you know that

it's the sequel to A Lover's Kiss, also from Harlequin Historical and still available at eHarlequin and Amazon?

That the hero of The Viscount's Kiss appeared in two other previous books from a different publisher? Kiss Me Quick and Kiss Me Again are still available, Kiss Me Quick in ebook format and Kiss Me Again in both print and ebook format.

That The Viscount's Kiss is Margaret's 37th book or novella published by Harlequin?

That she based one of the secondary characters on herself?

That she has a page of "web extras" on her site, with links to additional information - even videos - of material pertinent to The Viscount's Kiss? (You can find out which character is based on Margaret there.)

That she's also listed many of the research books she's found helpful on her site? She's also listed her books by series and time periods and has a printable "quick list" of all her titles.

That the most deadly spider in the world is the Brazilian wandering spider? What does that have to do with The Viscount's Kiss? The hero, naturalist and viscount Lord "Buggy" Bromwell, likes spiders. A lot.

You can read more about Margaret, The Viscount's Kiss and her other books at her website or by visiting her blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

His Secondhand Wife an August Mills & Boon Release

Mills and Boon Historical
August 2009
Available in Paperback / Adobe Reader


Noah Cutter was a man of his word…

Scarred in body and soul, rancher Noah didn’t consider himself fit company for anyone. But when his brother’s philandering finally caught up with him, honour dictated that Noah claim his brother’s widow as his own…

Noah was about the most intimidating man Katherine had ever seen. Yet though one man’s false promises had already dashed her dreams, she instinctively trusted this stranger. And Kate suspected she’d only be a fool this time if she didn’t take a chance on Noah for the sake of herself…and her unborn child!

Monday, July 06, 2009' s Summer sale includes M&B historicals has put 138 different romances on a half price sale. including M&B historicals and the very popular Lords & Ladies collection. It is a chance to pick up a bargain. Off the top of my head, I saw several Nicola Cornicks including The Last Rake in London. Louisa Allen's The Outrageous Lady Felsham was there as was Elizabeth Beacon's Less than A Perfect Lady. And Michelle Styles's Viking Warrior Unwilling Wife and An Impulsive Debutante as well as Michelle Willingham's The Warrior's Touch.
It could be a great time to pick up a bargain.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KMART has Harlequin Historical on special offer

KMart is doing a two for $8 sale on Harlequin Historical, according to my source in Washington DC. They normally sell HH for $4.49 instead of $5.99 but right now are selling them for two books for $8. They are also offering books from previous months.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Earl's Forbidden Ward is out the first of June.


Catch up with the Ramsden brothers! Peyton's story is out in June in soft cover in the UK and is available by order from the internet (anywhere in the world of course) so don't let that stop you from checking in with the Ramsdens. It's also available in e-reader format for those readers who prefer Adobe, Kindle and Mobi venues etc.

Follow this link to the mills and boon site for a sneak peek at chapter one to see what Peyton is up to. Don't worry, Crispin and Paine make appearances in the book, especially Crispin. Paine's got a new baby to take care of these days with Julia.
If you're new to the Ramsdens, check out Paine's story in Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady
All my best and happy reading

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm on Twitter, would love to see you there!

Hi All,
I'm now on Twitter and I'd love to have Bronwyn Scott readers join me there for daily updates on new manuscripts, story lines and the writer's life, crazy as it is with three kids and a full time job other than writing.

See you out there,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crazy question

I've been trying to get better at navigating the site. But I'm still struggling. Whenever I go to the home page and click on historical fiction and then search in historical fiction by author, my name comes up on the pull down menu but when I click on my name none of my books come up. I always get Cheryl St. John titles instead (and while she's pretty cool, I am just curious as to why this happens). In fact, the only way I can find any of my titles is to go in through the undone option and the two undone titles come up and I can link to my other paperbacks that way. It just seems like there should be a more direct way to get there. Hmm. Any thoughts? I am sure I'm just missing some little step.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Check out great Harlequin Historical offerings at the Brenda Novak Auction

Just a reminder that the Brenda Novak on line auction is up and running. I've got a neat Bronwyn Scott basket with the chance to win a dedication page, books, and a book club visit from me among other items (Victoria Secret nightie etc.) and I know other gals have great things up there too! People can check out the auction at The easiest way to find things is just to type the person you're looking for into the advanced search box. The Seattle RWA chapter (among others) have lots of great items on the auction.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Earl's Forbidden Ward is out in the UK in hardback


I wanted to check in and say that I'm very excited "The Earl's Forbidden Ward" was released in the UK this week. It's the follow up to last spring's "Notorious Rake, Innocent Lady." This book is about Paine's brother Peyton. However, while and Amazon both list the title as a UK release on April 3rd, I cannot find the book anywhere on the Harlequin or Mills and Boon websites, which dismays me a bit since I've been trying to hype it up on my website and directing readers in North America to purchase it from Harlequin. Any help about how to efficiently locate the title would be welcome! Thanks.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Mothering Sunday

When I learned that my debut book, The Angel and the Outlaw, was chosen to be released in the UK combined with Sarah Mallory's More Than a Governess as a way to introduce my writing to the readers there by Mills and Boon, I was thrilled.

The title, however, stumped me. On Mothering Sunday--what was that all about? So of course, I googled it. And came to the quick realization that I was culturally illiterate in this case.

The difference between Mother's Day in the USA and Mothering Sunday in the UK might not be so different now-a-days, but four hundred years ago there was a very poignant difference. Children as young as ten years old, who'd had to leave home to work as maids and apprentices, were for one day of the year released to return home to their mothers.

How different things are now. I cannot imagine going an entire year without seeing my children or my parents! I am so thankful for cars and airplanes and the time to be able to visit with them.

This year, Mothering Sunday will be celebrated on March 22nd in the UK.

There are other traditions surrounding Mothering Sunday. I'm betting there are a few writers from across the pond who can fill be in on their take on this!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Check out the new February Undone: Pleasured by the English Spy

Happy February! My new Undone is out for the month of love. Pleasured by the English Spy features Andrew Truesdale, one of Julian's friends from November's undone, Libertine Lord, Pickpocket Miss.
When Andrew is sent to Florence to seek the truth by new rumors of a nationalist plot for revolution, his mission is simple: find the plotters and put a stop to the movement any way possible. But the mission gets complicated when Andrew's task leads him to the Villa of the Breezes and the arms of Olivia, an expatriate like himself. Olivia is a woman of great passion, unfettered by social conventions but when Andrew discovers her cousin's role in the budding uprising, he is plagued with doubt about their relationship. Is her passion genuine or is she protecting her cousin? In order to protect Olivia, Andrew must find away to serve both his country and his passion regardless of the risks involved, not the least of which is his heart.

HH February Release. The Earl's Untouched Bride by Annie Burrows

Fearing a forced betrothal with a man known for his cruelty, Heloise Bergeron throws herself on the mercy of Charles Fawley, Earl of Walton. He believes himself attracted to her younger, beautiful sister, so what is he doing entertaining thoughts of marriage to the plain, quiet Heloise? But marry her he does.
Returning to England with a convenient wife, who inspires a very inconvenient desire, Charles is about to discover just how untouched his French bride really is...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Free Books from Harlequin!!!

To celebrate Harlequin's 60th birthday, Harlequin has 16 books (one from each NA line) available for a FREE download. The total value of all of the books is $60. The Harlequin Historical book is Elizabeth Rolls His Lady Mistress which is an excellent read. There is also a Love Inspired Historical by Jillian Hart. You can get them here.

You will need Abode 9 to read them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Boss

I thought as a writer, you were your own boss? I hear you question.

Well my boss sits right beside my chair and is most disgruntled if I am not right there with him. See that expression, right there, on his face?

We’ve always had pets at our house. Well, if I go back far enough, I could say, all our houses, from when dh and I lived at home with our respective parents to when we, ahem, moved in together.

As a kid, I was a bit of a collector of stray creatures. Half-feathered baby robins who departed the nest too early were fed on bread and milk from an eye dropper; a blind-in-one-eye hedgehog who went round in circles left me with an infestation of fleas (quickly dealt with by a very knowing mother); a pigeon lived in a budgie cage on our dining room table through one winter and then on the bathroom window ledge
(outside) for another year. With a heap of you know what in the corner.

My husband lays claim to two red squirrel babies abandoned in his family’s garden shed. For years they would come racing across the lawn for treats.

These are but a few of our memorable rescues. There was a lamb in there somewhere too, I recall. Leopards don’t change their spots and while we have always had creatures in our house, from mice to dogs, very few were purchased, most found us or our genetically programmed children.

When we moved to North America, we took on two black cats no one wanted. Then, at a time when we were struggling financially, my husband “found” a german shepherd pup wandering in the road, and brought him home. He ate my Christmas cake. I have never made one since. Not long after that a green and yellow budgie fell out of a tree. When dh picked it up, it attacked his thumb and drew blood. A free budgie, he said, when I arrived home from work that night. And a forty dollar cage, when a week’s groceries was on the order of twenty bucks. The cat and the dog were terrified of this bird, let me tell you.

Recently we found ourselves petless. Aha, I cried. No more! Until we heard of a Maltese Terrier abandoned at a nearby shelter. We had actually purchased our last dog and he had also been a Maltese, after our dear old shepherd left us. Spike (who should have been named snowball) was a great little dog, but with the children grown up we were going to travel, weren’t we?

Teaser, as we call the most recent addition to the family, can’t believe his luck. We know nothing of his past, but we do think he lived in an apartment because at first, walks to him meant getting in the car. He still won’t go out in the garden by himself, but is very happy looking off the edge of the deck or, when he visits my daughter, traveling up in the elevator and looking off her tenth floor balcony.

He joins me for lunch. Or he would if I let him. And he makes me get exercise every day, because if I don’t take him for a walk, he leaves me a gift I don’t want. Ah well, pound puppies don’t always come from good families. What can I say? I hope you like the pictures. If you are wondering what those are on his feet, they are boots. They keep his feet from freezing in the cold weather.

So there you have it. My boss. Isn't he cute?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where do you get your ideas?

This is a question authors get asked a lot. One answer I often give is that authors of historicals have a handy-dandy idea source: our research. I can't tell you how many times I'll be researching one story and find a really fascinating bit of information that doesn't fit the current work, but provides inspiration for another story. Simply put, research gives me ideas.

But what really separates a writer of books from those who don't is what a writer does with those ideas. How does a writer take what might be a few sentences or paragraphs and create a story and characters? To demonstrate some of my process, to show rather than tell, I've started a new blog called Story Seedlings.

During the course of researching A LOVER'S KISS for Harlequin Historical, I discovered that the proceedings of the Old Bailey are now online. Not only that, they give a link to a different case every day - a great source of ideas, or as I like to think of them, seedlings.

Over at Story Seedlings, I take a case and show you how this writer would use it to develop characters and plot for a historical romance. I hope you'll stop by.

If you're interested in what I'm currently working on and what else might be going on in this writer's life, please stop by my other blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Historical Undone in the UK

Following on from their highly successful launch in the US, the Historical Undone series has launched in the UK. Historical Undone are short sexy e-books by some of the top authors in the Historical programme. It is Historical's most sensual series yet!
The series kicks off with stories by Nicola Cornick, Michelle Willingham, Amanda McCabe and Bronwyn Scott. Many such as Michelle Willingham's The Viking's Forbidden Love Slave are linked to their longer books.