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The “M” Word

One of the most overlooked parts in romance novels is the M word: Marriage. We write and write about the parts that lead up to that commitment, but how often do books look at what happens after the “I do” except in romances that are slated as “Marriages of Convenience.”

I never set out to write Six Impossible Things as a Marriage of Convenience story–it isn’t by my way of thinking, more of a “Marriage-That-Had-to-Be”. In fact, in my original synopsis Roselie and Brody marry where weddings usually occur in historical romances, about two pages from the ending.

But as I began writing, I started to see where I could use this story to explore that fragile relationship of marriage–using the other Rhymes with Love couples as examples of the various ways couples mix and work together (Harriet and Roxley, If Wishes Were Earls), and the unexpected pairings who find their way to happiness despite their differences (Lavinia and Tuck, The Knave of Hearts).

Oh, I did give myself a bit of an edge–it is obvious that Roselie and Brody are perfect for each other, (you can see it in the Excerpt) both loves the other (whether they are willing to admit it or realize it) but I wrote the book–at the same time–wondering how they would ever see their way to that happily ever after, if they could find that love match despite the odds, and how they could find a way to make straight what was a very crooked, unwanted beginning.

Not an easy path by any stretch.

I think what finally worked for them, and works in real life as well, is honesty, communication and a clear trust and unshakeable belief by both that you are each is in for the other. That’s the happily ever after.

What do you  think?






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The Tale of 3 Covers

Or maybe I should make that “Two Wrongs Make a Third Cover.” Or “What happens when you write the stories of identical twins and the trials of making sure both covers have the same model.”

Or rather, “How SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS got its cover because a certain someone (not pointing fingers here) decided she no longer wanted to be a romance cover model and made a mess of everything.”

Okay, let’s start with the problem–down below is the stepback for the first book, THE VISCOUNT WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE, featuring Louisa Tempest, of the infamous Tempest twins. I loved this–I think the model looks a lot like Kate Middleton, don’t you?

Best of all, she looks exactly like I envisioned Louisa and her identical twin sister, Lavinia Tempest might look.

Can I say that again, her identical twin sister.

As in they look exactly alike.

Then I began writing THE KNAVE OF HEARTS, Lavinia’s book, (you remember her, the identical twin sister of Louisa?) and like it often happens, one magical day the email arrives with, ta-da, the new cover for THE KNAVE OF HEARTS. You take a deep breath, make a hasty prayer to the cover gods and open it. This time my heart stopped.

After all, it’s gorgeous. I mean really, really, gorgeous. Then I take another look.

Um. Just a dang-gone minute. What the heck? I take another look. I grab a copy of THE VISCOUNT WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE down off the shelf. Did someone forget that we needed the same model? So the heroines would be, say, identical?

Because lovely women that they both are, clearly they are not identical twins.

Head hit desk.

Now reshooting a cover is not an inexpensive venture, but there was no way around this, they needed to get the original model and do a cover shoot with her. After a bit of back and forth, it was agreed that a new cover was needed.

Except the original model no longer wanted to do romance novel covers.

Bad, meet Worse.

As this all unfolded, I kept coming back to this artwork.

Because I loved it. I thought it was wonderful, and perfect, and exactly right for . . . wait for it . . . Roselie Stratton. Dark hair? Check? Willful and strong minded? Check, check. And as I looked at this unwanted, un-twinnish cover (is that even a word, twinnish?) I saw Roselie and Brody’s story unfolding before me.

Head rises from desk, angelic music plays in the distance…

So I went back to Avon with a big PLEASE. Please, can I have this cover with this wonderful couple for SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS? Of course they said “Yes!” (Okay, no need to point out that I just saved them from shooting yet another cover.)

But what about our identical, not so identical twins? Because if you look at the finished books for VISCOUNT and KNAVE, Louisa and Lavinia are now immortalized with the same model. Well, they did in fact reshoot the cover for THE KNAVE OF HEARTS with a different model and then with the magic of digital editing, removed this poor woman’s head and put the original model’s head (from an outtake from the original VISCOUNT cover shoot) in its place.

Somewhere on a digital cutting room floor is some poor, unwanted, untwinnish heroine’s head. I take no responsibility for that.

SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS goes on sale today. Six Impossible ThingsOrder your copy now.

THE KNAVE OF HEARTS (aka the Headless Heroine) can be ordered here.

THE VISCOUNT WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE (aka The Rebellious Ex Romance Cover Model’s Last Stand) can be ordered here.

The Knave of Hearts









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Advance Copies Winners

Best part of being one of my a newsletter subscribers? You get a first shot at advance copies and other great giveaways, news, and first looks.

So to that end, the winners of the 3 advance copies of Six Impossible ThingsSix Impossible Things are:

Lauren Russell
Lisa Story
Karen Mikusak

Ladies, your copies are going in the mail today and expect them by Saturday. Enjoy your early read of Six Impossible Things and don’t forget to post reviews! For everyone else, this new Rhymes with Love book comes out April 25th. Pre-order your copy today or check out the excerpt.

Oh, and if you aren’t a subscriber and want to be part of the fun–you can add your email in the box at the top of the page. Thanks!

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A Knavish Newsletter Winner

Sorry for the delay in posting the newsletter contest winner of the Kindle fire. I had surgery last week and lots of things are slipping through the cracks right now, mostly anything I try to hold with my left hand–which is in a full cast. I had to use Dragon speak to draft to this post. Without further ado the winner of the Kindle fire is:

Tina U. of Phoenix AZ

Tina, I’ll be sending you an email on how to claim your prize. Best wishes to everyone who entered and has subscribed to my newsletter. I hope you got a chance to read the excerpt to Six Impossible Things, coming out April 25th.

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Tuesday Teaser: The Knave of Hearts

Continuing with my Knavish theme this month, and since THE KNAVE OF HEARTS will only be on sale for a very short time longer, I thought I would give another look inside at the very beginning of Tuck and Lavinia’s romance. Poor Lavinia! The thing about a knave is that he never has your best interests at heart—no matter how sincere he seems.

“Miss Tempest, you must have faith,” he told her, getting to his feet. “You must trust me—”

“Trust you?” Her astonishment all but filled the room.

Well, she might have a point in that regard . . . But this was a new beginning for both of them.

“Yes, you must trust me. Because I can put this all to rights. I can.” He tried to sound far more confident than he felt.

After all, he only had two bloody weeks to pull off this miracle.

“I don’t see how—”

“Believe me, you will,” he promised, holding out his hand to her. “Let me be your guide. You came to London to be matched, did you not?”

“Well, yes—” she managed.

“And it would be a shame to have to leave when you’ve just arrived—”

She gave a shuddering sigh. “I haven’t even received all the dresses I ordered.”

“No!” He shook his head. “And how pretty you will look wearing them.”

“There is no point to any of it, for I cannot dance,” she told him.

“Is that all?” Tuck waved his hand at this. “ ’Tis nothing a good London dancing master can’t fix in an afternoon.”

The lady shook her head and glanced away, but not before he saw the skepticism in her expression.

“Come now, Miss Tempest,” he said softly, coaxing her to look up at him. “Will you allow me the privilege of helping you find your perfect match?”

You can read the full excerpt here, and find order links here. Make sure to get your .99 copy soon before this Knavish deal ends.





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Tuesday Teaser: Knave of Hearts

Last week to get THE KNAVE OF HEARTS for .99 cents. Don’t miss out! And if you have already read The Knave and loved him, why not send a .99 copy to a friend? Who doesn’t love a surprise like that? Especially a knavish one.

You can find the full excerpt here, and order links to your favorite online retailer here. This is the last week to get your .99 copy.

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A Knavish Sale for February

What a perfect book to put on sale this month: The Knave of Hearts. Have you read it? If you haven’t, the ebookThe Knave of Hearts is on sale for .99 cents (for US and Canada readers). The perfect price to get yourself a copy or send one to a friend. Tell them Tuck Rowland is a hero they will love as much as chocolate!

Find a .99 cent copy at your favorite online retailer here.

Here is a little sneak peek inside. I love the way Tuck and our heroine, Lavinia Tempest, get to know each other–through banter and secrets revealed. Lavinia has just let slip that she loves the rather reckless and improper Miss Darby novels.

Tuck realized that in those moments he’d seen the door to her heart push open ever so slightly. Miss Lavinia Tempest had yet another secret—a daring, passionate side she did her utmost to keep well in check.
“And what about you?” he asked. “Do you adhere to all the proper social conventions?”
“I must.” She shifted in her seat and glanced away. “All I’ve ever wanted is to find a respectable, sensible gentleman and be married.”
“That sounds horribly dull. Not a single saber duel to be had.”
“Saber duels never end well,” she reminded him.
“No, I suppose they don’t.”
“Have you ever been in a duel?”
“Good God, no!” He glanced over at her, and if he wasn’t mistaken, she looked overly disappointed. “I don’t relish the idea of being shot at. Or have a saber run through me.”
She sniffed, and he could almost hear what she was thinking.
That never stops Lieutenant Throckmorten.
Well, it rather stopped Tuck. He liked living. Excessively so.

You can read the full excerpt here, and of course, make sure to get your .99 copy before time runs out.

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TBT Ruins

In Something Borrowed, my novella in the anthology, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A SIXPENCE, Cordelia sketches at a local ruin.

I must confess something: I LOVE ruins.

The first time I went to England and Scotland in 1990, I was obsessed with finding ruins. In England, finding ruins is like looking for antelope in Wyoming, or seagulls in Seattle. They are everywhere.

And I was in heaven.

Here are some of the photos from Elgin Cathedral I took way back then. I loved how they show the sheer grandeur of these buildings and how they were constructed–the walls with the rubble in between, and mostly, how the stones have been “borrowed” by the locals over the centuries. Early recycling at its finest.

And so it seems, Cordelia, the heroine of Something Borrowed, shares my love of ruins. Okay, she can’t help herself.

They turned the corner in the road, and the entire reason Cordelia had set out in this direction came into view. Just off the road stood an old ruined castle, which was more a pile of rubble than fortress, the once lofty walls having been pilfered for centuries by the nearby villagers.

In the far western horizon the sun was beginning to settle in for the night, throwing off the day’s labors by bathing the sky in brilliant shades of pink and red, while the humble yellow stones of the castle glowed back with an ancient fire—that flicker of twilight where day and night entwined and embraced.

They both stopped, and Cordelia couldn’t help herself, she reached over and caught hold of his hand.
“Have you ever seen—”

“No, I haven’t. At least not in a very long time.” Then he surprised her utterly. “Thank you, Cordelia, for asking me—to come along and all. I had forgotten—”

So periodically as I write, (like when I was writing Something Borrowed) I pull out those photos from that long ago trip and smile at the ruins I found, the glorious houses I toured, in what became the inspiration for this career of mine.


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Keeping Up, Finding New Books

I have a terrible time keeping up with my favorite authors. I read all over the board, romance (of course!), historical mysteries, Game of Thrones-esque fantasy (Have I told you about the series by Anthony Ryan, BTW?

Blood Song

Start with Blood Song! So good!), also paranormal . . .

You get the point. Of course you do. You read like I do–all the time and always looking–for the stories that continue, for the authors we love, and that wonderful moment when you know you’ve found a new “auto-buy” author. And you have to hunt for everything they’ve ever written.

So here was what my dear friend Melissa McClone clued me into last week. BookBub has a feature where you can follow an author and when that author has a  new book, they will send you an email. Easy-peasy. If you want to see, here is a link to my BookBub page. I would be ever so thankful for a follow.

This past weekend, I went in and followed a bunch of my faves, and I thought I should share this with, well, everyone, ’cause, well, it’s great. So there it is. Go fav your auto-buy authors and never miss a book. You’re welcome. I know my TBR is ecstatic.




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Thank you to everyone who opened my recent newsletter–that gave you an automatic entry into my Newsletter Contest.
And the winner is . . . Laverne Backhaus.

Laverne received a $25.00 gift card to Amazon.com. And don’t forget–when you see my newsletter in your Inbox, OPEN it!


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