Jul 15

Summer Reading? Think Small!

Summer is supposed to mean reading on the beach, in porch swings or hammocks, or even relaxing in the comfort of an air-conditioned house. With plenty of time for sweet or spicy books, right?

By Tom Woodward from Richmond, VA, US (coconut) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tom Woodward from Richmond, VA, US (coconut) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wrong.

For most of us, jobs don’t end. Kids are home from school demanding things like food and stimulation. Argh. There are yards to mow, gardens to tend, weeds to pull, fireworks to watch – or set off! Vacation means packing, traffic, TSA lines, unpacking, laundry. How many of us truly get the hours of scrumptious summer reading time we crave?

Not many. We get little bites, like a feeding of tapas, yummy but not quite a meal. Was that dinner? Is it really reading if you can’t finish a whole chapter?

I don’t even have the excuse of limited time for my lack of summer reading this year. With my many weeks of recuperating from surgery, I should have read an entire library of romance by now. I’ll admit my brain couldn’t quite stick with anything. I was stupid and sleepy, and much more likely to zone out to an episode of “Supernatural” than open up a couple hundred page beach read. However, one book — or books, I should say — that appealed was a boxed set of novellas. Quick reads, yes, but long enough to have some meat to them, to leave you feeling like you’ve had a meal without the commitment of seven courses at the Ritz.

If you have less time and scattered attention, or if you just aren’t sure what you’re in the mood for, try a set of shorter stories by a variety of authors. It’s a great way to get fantastic stories in a small plate format. Plus, you may find a new-to-you author’s backlist to devour. Most sets are much less expensive than the starters at your local chain restaurant, too. And these bundles are all the rage, like coconut water.

Hearts Aflame boxed setNow, in a completely self-serving suggestive sell, might I advise you to give “Hearts Aflame” a nibble? It won’t be available forever and it is a well-reviewed steal at 99 cents!

Jul 12

DEVIL IN TEXAS: Sexy Gunslinger Turns Hero: NEW RELEASE!

Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger SeriesWho would have thought I’d fall in love with my own villain?

A couple of books ago, I plotted a Western Romance in which two outlaw friends would compete for a preacher’s daughter, named Sera. (Seduced By An Angel.) Jesse, the hero, was supposed to become sheriff and save Sera’s small town from his compadre, William Cassidy.

But Cass wasn’t happy with my plot to bury him at Boot Hill.

“Aw, c’mon, Wolfie,” he kept whispering in my ear, “I’m not so bad. I’m funny! How many villains do you know, who ride get-away horses named Jelli and Pancake? And what about that time I poured moonshine into Sera’s pie, so she could win the county bake-off? I’m adorable! Give me a book and a woman of my own!”

The next thing I knew, I was doing something crazy: rewriting the ebook version of a previously published paperback so I could redeem Cass.

Now, at long last, my charming Texas Bad Boy gets to co-star in his own series of Western Whodunits with his long-lost love, Sadie Michelson, a fiery-haired, pistol-packing Pinkerton. Devil in Texas (Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger) officially goes on sale today!

To show readers that Cass is truly hero material, I gave him a 17-year-old sidekick to mentor (Collie, the orphaned thief from the Velvet Lies series) and Collie’s mischievious raccoon (who would try any hero’s patience.)

I also set Cass’s sights on proving himself worthy of a Ranger badge. To that end, he agrees to protect his old ranch boss, who is running for re-election in the Texas senate. Little does Cass know that Sadie is secretly investigating the senator for murder. Here’s a sneak peak!

Excerpt

Devil in Texas

Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger

By Adrienne deWolfe

Devil in Texas by Adrienne deWolfeReaching for his six-shooter, Cass waved his 17-year-old sidekick to safety and poked his head around the corner.

A bearded figure in a sack suit was climbing through the window. Apparently, a thief was breaking into the hotel.

Cass marveled at the irony. All his life, he’d wanted to be a Ranger, to fight for right and make the world a safe place for little kiddies to play. Even though that dream had been derailed when he turned vigilante, Cass’s altruistic side couldn’t let some desperado barge into the building and loot innocent folks.

Stepping into the moonlight, he confronted the burglar.

“What’s the matter, mister? Three flights of stairs aren’t enough exercise?”

The thief went rigid.

“Hands,” Cass barked, cocking his .45.

Slowly, reluctantly, the burglar spread his gloves in the universal sign of surrender.

“I’ll frisk him,” Collie volunteered, lurching forward in his widow’s weeds. The matched pair of cantaloupes in his corset thumped together like rolling thunder.

Cass wanted to wallop the kid for such a lousy stakeout disguise. “Confound it, Birdie, is that how your mama taught a lady to behave?”

The burglar chuckled. The sound was low and husky, reminding Cass of whiskey, scarlet, and sin all rolled into one.

“Looks like Birdie found Admiral Farragut’s lost torpedoes.”

“Mind your manners, cockroach,” Cass growled. “You’re talking to a lady.”

Straight white teeth flashed in the thief’s graying beard. “Somebody’s got his facts all tangled.”

Adrienne deWolfe, americana romance, His Wicked Dream, historical romance, Pistols and Petticoats, Romantic Suspense, Shady Lady, Texas, Velvet Lies, victorian romance, western romanceCass’s brow furrowed. Something about that voice wasn’t right. For one thing, it wasn’t scratchy enough to be old. For another, it reminded him poignantly of Sadie.

Cass cursed himself. Now wasn’t the time to get distracted by grief. Sadie had betrayed him. She’d told the Rangers about his murder warrant. After a hurt like that, Cass shouldn’t have cared that the golden-eyed hellion had vanished in a fire.

But no matter how he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about those long-lost days of star-gazing, berry-picking, and sharing secrets in the hayloft with Sadie. A yawning emptiness consumed his soul. The nights had lost their thrill because he could never love, war, and make up again with the Devil’s Red-Haired Daughter.

He dragged his thoughts back to his prisoner. “What’s that bulge under your coat?”

The ghost of a dimple peeked beneath the thief’s derby. “The usual.”

“Want to be more specific?”

“See for yourself.”

Cass frowned. This conversation was familiar—macabrely familiar. But his memory had to do with Sadie and a skimpy negligee that had nearly stopped his heart.

“Take off your hat,” he commanded suspiciously.

Another saucy dimple peeked. “You want it? Come and get it, hotshot.”

Cass’s patience was rapidly unraveling. Defying knives, blinding powder, and whatever else the thief might throw, Cass stalked closer. A tepid breeze stirred the draperies. The masculine scents of leather and horse wafted past his nose, along with the feminine fragrance of rosehips.

Sadie’s favorite tea.

Now Cass was close enough to notice anomalies beneath the burglar’s bowler: a mustache that was just a hair off balance. Lips that were pink and kissably soft.

Cass’s brain told his senses they were liars, but his heart couldn’t give up the hope. With a shaking hand, he knocked off the thief’s hat.

Eyes as hot as golden brands burned into his.

In the next instant, a boot sent his gun flying. A second drop-kick plowed into his midsection.

“Son of a—” Cass stumbled to his knees, winded.

Collie reached for his revolver.

“No!” Cass tackled the boy. They hit the carpet in a tangle of limbs and lace. “That’s Sadie!”

“Are you loco? Sadie’s dead!”

They flopped like a couple of beached whales, Cass’s spurs shredding the boy’s petticoats.

Sadie glanced over her shoulder, that wicked dimple flirting with her lips. One last smirk for his embarrassment. One last sigh for all that might have been.

Then, with an audacious wink, she fled.

Book Description

Devil in Texas

Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger

By Adrienne deWolfe

americana romance, His Wicked Dream, historical romance, Pistols and Petticoats, Romantic Suspense, Shady Lady, Texas, Velvet Lies, victorian romance, western romancePinkerton Agent Sadie Michelson poses as a casino singer to investigate a Texas senator. Before she can cozy up to her quarry, she must get past his bodyguard, William Cassidy, her long-lost lover.

An outlaw seeking redemption, Cass was lured to Texas by the promise of a Ranger badge. But he hasn’t forgotten the sassy siren who toyed with his heart. When Sadie proposes a truce, he thinks she’s hiding something.

With assassins dogging their heels, Cass and Sadie uncover a murder conspiracy in the senate. To stay alive, they must do the one thing they’re dead set against: trust each other.


Purchase

Devil in Texas is available in ebook and paperback. Here are links to popular retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

And don’t miss Shady Lady, the novella prequel to Devil in Texas, which was published in the #1 bestselling Historical Western Romance Anthology, Pistols & Petticoats.

Adrienne deWolfe, americana romance, His Wicked Dream, historical romance, Pistols and Petticoats, Romantic Suspense, Shady Lady, Texas, Velvet Lies, victorian romance, western romance

Jun 10

Video about Books and a Dog

Hi, fellow historical romance lovers (me waving madly),

Defiant hearts video still shot

One of my favorite still shots from the video!

I’m excited to share a new video featuring my Defiant Hearts series, set in 1880s America, and my new medieval series, the Warriors of York, written with bestselling author Marliss Melton.

The video was created by Philip Ré of REX Video Productions. It was a great experience and I can highly recommend his company. My dog, Perry, made the final cut. Takes only a minute to watch. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Sydney Jane Baily

May 25

Excerpt from The Stolen Bride

stolen_bride200x300The music was lovely, the food scrumptious, and mostly, the company was engaging, but Isabella Latham was bored. Every week was the same, visiting the New York City hospitals, taking luncheon with her mother’s friends, followed by the only thing she enjoyed. Riding hell bent for leather on her hunter, Champion. He was temperamental and barely broken to the saddle, but she loved riding him. Every Saturday she took him out for two or three hours, as long as she could get away with. The outings were the only time she felt free.

Tonight was another of Ernst and Julia Latham’s balls. Isabella had a new dress made for it. The beautiful pale pink gown of the finest silk had three rows of ruffles on the under skirt and looked wonderful with her pale skin, brandy-brown eyes and hair. The over shirt was smooth and gathered in the back over the bustle, the gathering held with ribbons of satin anchored in a choker around her neck. She had to admit the design of the dress was what drew her because the satin ribbons attached to the collar made it look like she was being strangled, when she was not. The shock she saw on people faces when they saw her in the dress was worth the cost.

The bodice was perfectly fitted over her tightest corset and showed only a bit of décolletage from the off-shoulder design.

Beautiful as it was, she hadn’t looked forward to wearing it. Isabella couldn’t breathe in the dang thing and she swore the lack of air kept her brain from functioning correctly. Otherwise she wouldn’t have just heard her father say he was announcing her engagement. To whom?

“Ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to announce the engagement of my daughter, Isabella, to my business associate, Mr. Sydney Rockwell.”

Her father was rather red in the face. Perhaps he’d overindulged, and that was the reason for such an announcement. Surely, her mother would take him in hand and correct this outrageous situation. But, when she looked at her mother she saw fire in her mother’s emerald eyes and a rather pained smile on Julia’s normally lovely face.

Suddenly, Sydney Rockwell, a large, fat man, who was at least three inches shorter than Bella, was at her side.

“Come, my dear, smile. It’s your engagement party after all.”

He took her, none too gently, by the elbow and guided her to where her parents stood on the bandstand.

“Smile,” he whispered and squeezed her elbow painfully.

She obeyed.

He eased his grip but didn’t let her go completely.

“We are very happy,” said Sydney to the crowd of suddenly interested people. “And we will be married in two weeks’ time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Of course, you are all invited and I hope you will attend.”

He smiled.

“Smile, my dear,” he said out of the side of his mouth while he kept what looked to her like a maniacal grin on his face.

He again squeezed her arm.

She smiled, grimaced was more like it, but the gesture soothed him and he released her.

Hours later, the party was finally over and all the guests were gone.

“Come to the library, Isabella.” Her father made the statement with some resignation.

She followed him and found her mother there waiting.

“I know this was somewhat of a surprise,” her father began as he seated himself in the large leather chair behind the massive mahogany desk. “But you must see this through. You see, I owe Rockwell a lot of money. Money I don’t have and won’t have any time soon.”

“So you what? Sold me to him instead?”

 

BLURB

Isabella “Bella” Latham’s callous father sold her into marriage to settle a gambling debt. Rather than face life with a cruel man more than twice her age, she runs from New York and becomes a mail-order bride. Bella’s dreams are simple. All she needs to be happy is a home, children and an honorable man to love her.

 

Alex Hastings lost his wife in a riding accident two years before. Left with two adorable but mischievous twin four-year-old daughters, he’s convinced they need a mother to take care of them. Alex knows he must marry, but vows he’ll never love another woman.

 

Bella’s tenderness and fire melts Alex’s stone cold heart. But when her jilted fiancé from New York sends men to capture Bella, will Alex be able to get back his Stolen Bride?

 

 LINKS

 

Amazon http://amzn.com/B01F0HJ82I

 

Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-stolen-bride/id1110122086?ls=1&mt=11

 

Barnes and Nobel http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stolen-bride-cynthia-woolf/1123746799?ean=2940158210952

 

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cynthia_Woolf_The_Stolen_Bride?id=WNQXDAAAQBAJ&hl=en

 

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-stolen-bride-16

 

Website http://cynthiawoolf.com/

 

Newsletter http://bit.ly/1qBWhFQ

 

Cindy WoolfAuthor Bio

Cynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of twenty-two historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way.

 

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner. The ranch they met on is still there as part of the open space in Mineral County in southwestern Colorado.

 

Writing as CA Woolf she has six scifi, space opera romance titles. She calls them westerns in space.

 

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and her great critique partners for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

 

TITLES AVAILABLE

 

THE HUNTER BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 1

THE REPLACEMENT BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 2

THE STOLEN BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 3

THORPE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE – Montana Sky Series – Kindle Worlds

GENEVIEVE, Bride of Nevada, – American Mail-Order Brides Series

GIDEON – The Surprise Brides

MAIL ORDER OUTLAW – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 1

MAIL ORDER DOCTOR – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 2

MAIL ORDER BARON – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 3

NELLIE – The Brides of San Francisco 1

ANNIE – The Brides of San Francisco 2

CORA – The Brides of San Francisco 3

JAKE (Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series)

LIAM (Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series)

ZACH (Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series)

CAPITAL BRIDE (Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series)

HEIRESS BRIDE (Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series)

FIERY BRIDE (Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series)

TAME A WILD HEART (Book 1, Tame series)

TAME A WILD WIND (Book 2, Tame series)

TAME A WILD BRIDE (Book 3, Tame series)

TAME A HONEYMOON HEART (novella, Tame series)

 

Apr 27

More About Hearts Aflame

I let you know last week about an exciting new publication from Love Historicals. Hearts Aflame is a set of stories about a family heirloom passed down through generations of the Rowan family. It’s reputed to carry a deadly curse.

Many boxed sets contain previously written stories, but these tales were written expressly for this collection.

Last week I told you about Jill Hughey’s novella, Rowan’s Legacy and my story, Passion’s Fire.Hearts Aflame boxed set

The third novella is entitled A Legendary Love by Catherine Kean.

Tavis de Rowenne doesn’t believe in curses. However, when a freak accident almost causes Lady Helena Marlowe, his intended, to drown, he wonders if his ancient cloak pin just might be damned. Helena vows never to see or speak to Tavis again, but when her father falls ill, Tavis might be the only one who can save him. Does she dare to trust the roguish Scot with dangerous secrets, especially when he’s determined to win her heart?

The story comes full circle with Nancy Morse’s Love Remembers.

A woman without a past…
A man desperate to save his future…
A new crown colony struggling to find its place in the world…
Will the ancient stone she wears around her neck lead her to destruction or into the arms of the only man she has ever loved?

We know you’ll enjoy following the heirloom brooch from ninth century Paris under siege by Vikings, through medieval Scotland and England, to early twentieth century Kenya.

Hearts Aflame is exclusive to Amazon for 99 cents or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

Apr 20

A New Love Historicals Collection

Hearts Aflame boxed set

Are you ready for some exciting news?

Jill Hughey, Anna Markland, Catherine Kean and Nancy Morse have combined their talents to bring you a collection of four NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED stories.

HEARTS AFLAME follows the history of the Rowan family from 9th century Paris under siege by Vikings, through medieval Scotland and England to early colonial Kenya. The anthology is available for preorder now at 99 cents.

The central theme of these stories is an heirloom brooch passed from the second son of one generation to the next. It carries an inescapable legacy. Those who inherit will be consumed by fire.

For four busy, bestselling authors to collaborate successfully on new material is an achievement in itself, and we are proud of this collection.

Jill’s story, Rowan’s Legacy, sets the stage. When Vikings attack Paris and kill her father, Fia is trapped, in danger and far from home. Rowan’s rescue of her may only renew the bitterness of the betrayal that ended their friendship years ago. With no choice but to be saved by the last person she ever wanted to see, Fia is forced to confront the truth of what really happened in the past. Dare she accept Rowan’s friendship again, or is it possible an even more intimate connection awaits with the man she swore to hate forever?

Anna’s tale, Passion’s Fire continues the saga. Brigandine Lordsmith has been a boy for as long as she can remember, obliged to work in her father’s forge as his apprentice. Matthew de Rowenne burns with resentment when King Henry sends him to quell an uprising in Galloway…and expects him to marry a Scot. But Matthew can never marry because of the stone’s legacy.

More next week about Catherine’s A Legendary Love, and Nancy’s Love Remembers.

 

 

Apr 06

Heirlooms from the Past

Is there an object, either in your possession or still with the people with whom you grew up, that says “childhood” to you? Perhaps it is an heirloom that evokes your family history or a sense of your place among humanity? Maybe you remember that special item but it is lost to time or destruction or neglect, leaving a little empty spot in your heart? In my last blog here, I wrote about how a story I’d written almost a year ago and was editing for the upcoming Love Historicals boxed set, “Hearts Aflame,” was paralleling my life. It’s still happening, and now the synchronicity relates to those things from the past that we love, or maybe hate, or simply wish we didn’t have to be responsible for.

In the initial discussions of the “Hearts Aflame” set, some authors were a bit put off by the concept of following an heirloom through generations of a family because they didn’t know how they would incorporate the item into a story. My solution for not knowing what to do with the object would have been to transfer that indifference or confusion to the character. Why on earth did anybody keep this piece of junk? How is this ancient piece of crap relevant to me, today? I really don’t want to be responsible for this thing. In fact, I’m not even sure what this thing is!

I loved the heirloom idea, finding it really intriguing and a natural way to tie together stories set hundreds of years apart.

Fast forward a year. Due to this crazy thing we call life, I’m now heavily responsible for going through my parents’ home of forty-six or so years. Not only does it contain the evidence of their pasts as individuals and as a married couple, but heirlooms from the generations before them, sometimes hundreds of years old. Some are the fancy stuff that you put on display, but much of it is files, trinkets, photos, a random key to God only knows what, lace and handkerchiefs, all hidden in an excessive amount of storage space that too easily allowed things to be retained.

Of course we are disseminating what we can out to relatives. But much of it is…the best word I can think of is byproduct of lives led. (The auction guy was not nearly as impressed by some things as I thought he should be. I guess I was hoping for “Antiques Roadshow” excitement.) The artifacts are interesting, but their voluminous existence is not the most important thing. The legacy is. This is where you came from. This is who your ancestors were. A logical reduction of all these random bits is what I’m trying to capture from my parents’ house, and what four authors will create in the “Hearts Aflame” set that will be released soon, in which a single object points the direction to a family’s past. (I fantasize about sending the whole pile to one of those crematoriums to have it burned into a single cremation diamond so I could hold up this one tidy gem and say “Ta da! Here is the family history.” I wouldn’t really do that — it is sort of like when you imagine telling your boss to shove it and then moving to the beach in Mexico where your savings would last forever — but sometimes the fantasy is what gets us through the last couple hours of the day, right?)

If you’ve ever watched the movie “French Kiss,” there is a line spoken by a minor character that has stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here, but she says, “I never want to own a house because things end up owning you.” There is a responsibility and a burden to maintaining stuff. So I’m asking myself a hundred times a day, what shall I keep to represent the major branches of the tree, and what can I prune away so that neither I nor the next generation feel overburdened by tending it?

Interestingly enough, the task has fallen to me to be the character I didn’t write in my story. I’m asking the heirlooms to justify their existences. I’m questioning the importance of objects and papers, and if I can’t see how the absence of an item will create a heartbreaking hole for my parents, or how its presence could be wildly interesting or informative to those who come after me, then I’m letting it go. It isn’t easy to release the random key, because some day I might figure out what lock it fits or how it is relevant. But each generation has to manage the heirlooms of the past in the best way they can and right now this task falls to me.

HeartsAflame_BoxSet_CVR_MEDHopefully you’ll check out the “Hearts Aflame” set that will be available for pre-order soon and released in May. You can follow the single tidy heirloom, a red glass disc inscribed with…well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

 

Mar 30

Exciting Updates for Love Historicals Authors!

Curious as to what we’ve all been so busy doing? The wait is over! Here are some updates as to what is coming up next for the Love Historicals authors!

 

Adrienne deWolfe – I’m poring over gobs of male cover model photos for my July release, DEVIL IN TEXAS (Book 1, Lady Law & The Gunslinger.) Talk about feeling like a kid in a candy store!  Whoop! In DEVIL IN TEXAS, I reunite the star-crossed lovers: Cass and Sadie.  She’s a lady Pinkerton, and he’s the outlaw lover who can blow her cover.  I had a blast writing this book, because I’ve never written a Western Whodunit before! (Come to think of it, I’ve never written a series that stars the same 2 protagonists, either!) So I’m excited about this series for lots of reasons!  Folks who want to read a sneak peek can visit my website at http://WildTexasNights.com

Christy Carlyle – I’m currently working on Rules for a Rogue, the first book in my new Victorian historical Romancing the Rules series from Avon Impulse. I’m so excited about this series, which takes a family of aspiring writers who’ve been raised on the proceeds of their father’s very popular (even Queen Victoria keeps a copy!) and extremely outdated etiquette books. In their own way, each sibling—Christopher, Sophia, and Clarissa—rebel against their father’s rules.

Rules for a Rogue is Christopher “Kit” Ruthven’s story. After escaping his father’s stifling control by running off to London to become a playwright, he’s developed a bit of a reputation in the city, as much for his rakish ways as his written words. When he discovers he’s inherited his father’s publishing company, he must choose between the freedom he craves, protecting his sisters, and making amends with the woman who’s always had his heart. My heroine, Ophelia Marsden, has learned to support herself and her brother after her father’s death, and she’s put girlish dreams aside. Especially the dream of marrying Kit Ruthven.

The first book in the series debuts in September. I can’t wait for readers to meet Kit and Ophelia!

Jill Hughey – I am finalizing Rowan’s Legacy, my contribution to the “Hearts Aflame” box set by Love Historicals authors. This story starts my next series which will be about the second generation of families I created in the Evolution Series – Charlemagne’s Heroes. I’m also working on the first draft of the novel to follow Rowan’s Legacy, which will feature Rowan’s older sister.

Sydney Jane Baily – I’m working on The Dark Knight’s Reward, Book 2 of Warriors of York series with Marliss Melton, set in mid-12th century England. I edited the first one (The Slayer’s Redemption) and am co-writing this one and the next one.

Luke of Arundel is the right-hand of King Henry II, charged with tearing down adulterine castles, those built without royal permission. Attempting to rest with his army at a priory, he saves a young novice from being burned at the stake. What will he do with her?

Merry wants to practice the art of healing but has a reputation for doing as much harm as good. Now she has a price on her head from the Church of England. A fugitive, on the run, unmarriageable, and impulsive, she might as well make the best of her time while under the protection of the dashing royal commander, nicknamed The Phoenix.

Luke’s mission is already distasteful, and it keeps him from his dying grandfather and his royal betrothed. However, this flame-haired, green-eyed so-called witch takes him farther from all three, interrupting and delaying him at every turn. Yet something about her won’t let him abandon her to her fate. Can he procure her freedom while keeping his commitments to king and country and to his heart?

Nancy Morse – The book I’m working on is RESTLESS WIND, Book 3 in my Native American Wild Wind Series following the story of trader’s daughter Katie McCabe and Lakota warrior Black Moon. Their love has survived misunderstanding, treachery, absence, abduction, and tragedy, but in 1866, the ever-increasing hostilities between the soldiers and the Sioux have planted seeds of uncertainty in Katie’s mind as to which world she belongs, the white world into which she was born, or the world of the Lakota in which she has chosen to live. As tensions erupt over the plains and Black Moon rides with Crazy Horse to rid the Powder River country of the Long Knives, Katie’s fears mount, setting into motion a series of events leading to a future as uncertain as the restless wind. I’m also putting the finishing touches on LOVE REMEMBERS, my contribution to an anthology I’m doing with Love Historicals authors Anna Markland, Jill Hughey and Catherine Kean titled HEARTS AFLAME due for release in May, centering around the legacy of an ancient palindrome.

Laurel O’Donnell – I just finished the first draft of my new series, Assassin Knights entitled A Knight For Grace.

Excommunicated for the horrible act of killing a man of the cloth, Sir William de Tracey searches for forgiveness and redemption.  Commissioned by a worried father, he attempts to save his betrothed from the hands of a kidnapper.

Lady Grace Willoughby will defy her father’s orders to save her future children from the fires of hell.  She has no intention of marrying a doomed man and has fled with a noble knight.  After discovering the knight is far from noble, Grace comes face to face with the man she is to marry.

Things are not as they seem.  And when an assassin tries to kill Lady Grace, William must choose between his soul and the woman he has come to love.

Gina Danna – Currently, I’m working on 2 manuscripts. The first one is the sequel to my Civil War novel, The Wicked North (to be released in April!). It’s title is Unconditional Surrender and deals with a Confederate officer, Charles Silvers, and a Union spy, Sarah Lawrence. The story starts in summer, 1863, in Louisiana. She is one of many spies General Grant applies to gain knowledge of the Southern forces and their strength, in this case, during the battle for Vicksburg. Sarah lost her family just before the war over sectionalism and is looking to make those responsible pay. Charles has fought from the start, an army officer prior to the war but a native Virginian so he goes with the South but by 1863, the pressure of the war and the telltale spin on the Southern freedom fading, Charles is plagued with the weight of the war on his shoulders. He’s looking for an end to the fighting; she is looking for the murderers. They are thrown together by the war and soon find the attraction to each other too hard to ignore. But neither will consider giving up their stance on the war. With her cover on the verge of dissolving before him, he is caught by a Federal patrol. He is a traitor to the US and could be imprisoned if not killed. She must save him, but to do so means she must come to grips with fact he’ll know who she is and that she used him. It is a story of passion and denial, to the point that one must Unconditionally Surrender or lose the other and their life. Who will save the other?

The other one is a novella, set in Regency England. Lord Windhaven is madly in love with his wife, Eleanor. Newly married, the couple are so entwined that any separation is painful – the true story of love! But on the way to London’s shops, Eleanor is snatched by highwaymen and she escapes their hold, only to fall down a gangway onto a ship – a pirate ship, setting to sail. Knocked unconscious, Eleanor doesn’t realize what she has done and when she wakens, she finds her mind void of who she is or how she got there. She is at the mercy of a pirate, Miles Cavendish, who must protect her from his pirate crew, a group of men longing for the fairer sex.

Eleanor soon finds her past a vacant memory and her protector, the handsome swash-buckling pirate Captain Miles, is  weaving his way into her desires as they sail to distant shores, the British navy a constant hunter, looking to rid the seas of pirates. Windhaven sends out a desperate search for his beloved wife, slowy unveiling the plot that tore her from his arms. Sailing to every part of the Empire in search for her, he is hit by the knowledge of the kidnappers – a truth that will unravel everything. Can he get to her in time and convince her that she is his wife and deeply loved, over the pirate she is besotted with and will her memory return to set all right, or must he woo her again?

That’s what I’m currently attempting. 🙂

Cynthia Woolf – The book I’m working on right now is Sophia, Brides of San Francisco, Book 4. The Brides of San Francisco is probably my most popular and so I’m extending that series.

Sophia Zanetti is 26 and unmarried. She loves to cook and bake but her desire for a family is foremost in her heart. Feeling like she will never find someone at home in New York, she becomes a mail-order bride and goes to San Francisco.

Robert Langley is a ship captain. His last ship was his last. He made his fortune with the captains portion of the cargo. Now he can stay home with his children. His wife left him while he was presumed lost at sea. She left the children with their grandmother and went with a man to the east coast where they were killed in a carriage accident. Now he has four children ages 2, 5, 8 and 10 who need a mother and he does not want to spend two years courting a woman, if he could find one in San Francisco, to court. Respectable women are few and far between in the city built by the California gold fields.

His employer Annie Cartwright was a mail order bride and he decides that is the way to go.

Anna Markland – In 2013 I published a novella entitled Carried Away which starred Blythe FitzRam and Dieter von Wolfenberg in a kidnapping adventure set in medieval Germany. Dieter subsequently reappeared in Wild Viking Princess, another book in the same series. Currently I am working on a sequel series featuring Blythe and Dieter’s three children, now all grown up! Book One of The Von Wolfenberg Dynasty is entitled Loyal Heart and stars Sophia von Wolfenberg, their youngest child. This book will also include a Bonus prequel, Madly in Love, which is a short story I wrote about Dieter’s son by his first marriage, Johann.

HeartsAflame_BoxSet_CVR_MEDIn conjunction with three other Love Historicals authors I am working on an anthology to be published in May. Hearts Aflame will include stories from myself, Jill Hughey, Nancy Morse and Catherine Kean. The tales trace the history of a supposedly cursed heirloom passed from one generation to another beginning at the time of the Viking invasion of Paris and ending in 20th century Kenya.

Lana Williams – I’m editing the second full-length book in The Seven Curses of London, called CHARMING THE SCHOLAR, which will be out in April. This series is set in Victorian London and this book follows Oliver Bartley, Viscount Frost, a former commander in the Royal Navy, and Lady Julia Hopwood. Oliver has found solace in ancient books since he left the military and no longer deserves he believes happiness. Julia’s bubbly, friendly persona hides her imperfect life as she cares for her elderly father, certain she’ll never be able to have a family of her own. But fate has more in store for these two than they expect.

As you can see, more amazing stories are coming your way! Stay tuned for more information on upcoming releases! #HistoricalRomancesRock!

 

 

Mar 23

Wild West Lives on in Modern Texas

Wild Texas Nights, Devil in Texas, Texas Lover, Texas Outlaw, Texas Wildcat, Adrienne deWolfe, Bestselling Historical Western RomanceI love writing about Texas characters!

I don’t think any writer can live in the Lone Star State and not get caught up in the “romance” of the Old West. To this day, Texas legislators battle over water rights. CEOs wear cowboy boots at board meetings. Property owners get tax breaks if they graze livestock in their yards. Images of longhorns and bluebonnets dominate the walls of swanky hotels and shopping malls.

Why, just last week, while I was driving along a major four-lane street between skyscrapers in downtown Austin, I had to slam on the brakes, because a rider in Western attire was fearlessly trotting two horses across my lane. (Actually, he kind of freaked me out.) I want to ASSURE you that most Austin folks drive real cars – or real pick up trucks – in downtown traffic. (Except maybe during Rodeo season.)

As you’ve probably gathered, living in Texas is like living a part of history! It’s the perfect place for a Western Historical Romance author, like me. (Did you know that Texas is the only state in the United States that became a self-governing country?)

375_WEBSITE PROMO_Lucifire a devil with a gun

Devil in Texas is Book 1 in my upcoming series, Lady Law & The Gunslinger. Read a sneak peek.

In my July 12 release, Devil in Texas, the hero will be an outlaw who (reluctantly) goes under cover for the Texas Rangers. Researching Old West lawmen was a real hoot. I learned that Rangers adhere to a VERY strict dress code:

· They can only wear white or gray cowboy hats. (That’s right. No black Stetsons for the good guys.)

· They MUST pin their badges over their hearts. (Many a Ranger’s noble tin star has stopped a bullet and saved a lawman.)

· And — get this – modern-day Rangers still track and collar livestock rustlers! (Apparently, emu thefts have been on the rise in the Austin area.)

Now I know that rustling isn’t funny to modern-day Texas cowboys (emu boys?), who lose hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars in livestock every year. But the idea of emu-rustling makes me snicker: can you picture a big, brawny, pistol-packing Ranger, rounding up a giant bird that looks like an ostrich with orange eyes? (Bigfoot Wallace – a famous Texas Ranger from the Old West – is probably rolling in his grave.)

Texas Wildcat, Texas Lover, Texas Outlaw, Historical Western RomanceI get lots of email from folks about my first series, Wild Texas Nights. The biggest debate appears to be which of the heroes is more lovable: Cord Rawlins (U.S. Deputy Marshal from Texas Outlaw); Wes Rawlins (Texas Ranger from Texas Lover); or Zack Rawlins (Bull-riding Cowboy from Texas Wildcat.)

I probably shouldn’t confess that I have a favorite Rawlins brother. (I mean, they’re ALL children whom I slaved to give birth to, know what I mean?) But one of them sings. AND cooks. AND has red hair.

So I’m a goner for that one, natch.

Here’s an excerpt, featuring my favorite Rawlins brother. Hope ya’ll like it!

Excerpt

Texas Lover

Book 2, Wild Texas Nights

By Adrienne deWolfe

Historical Western Romance novel, Wild Texas Nights, Texas Outlaw, Texas WildcatAfter a resigned inspection of her patched-up calico skirt, Rorie blew out her lamp and headed down the stairs. She avoided the creaking floorboard in the dining room, more out of habit than necessity, and approached the kitchen door. She was intending to fetch the basket in which she collected eggs each morning, but the sound of voices stopped her.

“You got that batter stirred up, Topher?”

“Yeah, but…” The nine-year-old sounded mutinous. “I don’t see why we got to do it. Men don’t cook. That’s women’s work.”

Wes’s chuckle floated out to her. “And just who do you think cooks for the cattlemen, the Rangers, and the buffalo hunters when there aren’t any womenfolk on the trail?”

A traitorous smile stole across Rorie’s face.

She edged forward, her footsteps muffled by the rattle of pans, and furtively poked her head around the corner. What she saw nearly left her choking on amusement.

The kitchen was in shambles. A bucket had been overturned beneath the sink, and one of the window curtains was twisted and wrinkled as if a small hand had grabbed it, probably to haul Topher up onto the sideboard to steal cookies. That hypothesis would explain why all the jars and bottles were in disarray and why an empty cookie tin lay beneath a bench.

The picture grew more comical. On the table, nestled between little mountains of flour, were several discarded egg shells, each dripping the last of their remains into the powdery residue sprinkled across the floor.

In fact, flour seemed to be everywhere. It decorated the milk pitcher in the imprint of a large masculine hand; it trailed footsteps to the butter churn and Ginevee’s prized rack of spices; and it made Topher look like a ghost—or rather a raccoon, since his big blue eyes stared out from a pasty mask.

At the moment, Wes’s back was turned to her. But after he slipped his head into the bib of Ginevee’s apron, Rorie saw he had not been left untouched. The flour storm had blown into the crevices of his rolled-up sleeves and had rained down on his hair, giving him a sort of confectioner’s halo. She had to clap a hand over her mouth to hold back a giggle when he brushed a rakish curl off his forehead, leaving a smear of white in its place. Then he grabbed a bowl and began filling it with the flour mountains, sweeping them off the table with his forearm and into the bowl.

Topher’s brows furrowed, dribbling a few flakes of flour into the batter he was stirring. “Just what are slabberdabs, anyway?”

With a deft flick of his wrist, Wes broke an egg into his bowl. “Why, they’re my pa’s prized trail flapjacks. Pa passed the secret on to my brother, Cord, and Cord passed it on to Zack and me. Now I’m letting you in on the recipe. It’s a time-honored tradition, son, and no women can ever know about it.”

He fixed Topher with a stern stare. “You’re going to have to take a pinky oath.”

Topher’s eyes nearly bugged out. “Gee, that’s serious!”

This time, Rorie clapped both hands to her mouth as Wes nodded gravely.

“Do you hereby swear to take to your grave the Rawlins brothers’ secret slabberdab recipe?”

Topher linked his smallest finger with Wes’s. “Ain’t no woman going to pry it out of me until the worms eat out my eyeballs.”

Rorie’s mirth lodged in her throat when she heard a footstep behind her. She turned guiltily, blushing to think that one of the other orphans had caught her eavesdropping. Instead she recognized the squat, round form of Ginevee. Rorie hastily pressed a finger to her lips, grinning as she beckoned her friend closer.

Meanwhile, Topher was standing on a chair, straining to get a better view of Wes’s bowl. “Whatcha got in there? Another secret recipe?”

“Naw. Just some biscuits. I could be making huckydummy, though, if I had raisins.”

“We got raisins,” Topher said brightly. Jumping back down to the floor, he blazed a trail through the flour drifts and stood on tiptoe to haul a tin container down from the shelves. “How many raisins you need?” he called as the metal lid clattered onto the floor.

“Well,” Wes said thoughtfully, raising his spoon and watching the batter plop back into the bowl. “We got eight hungry people coming to breakfast, and I reckon they’ll want at least two biscuits each. I figure we’ll need about ten raisins per person; so how many does that make, Topher?”

The enthusiasm on Topher’s face dwindled to confusion. “I don’t know.” He scowled. “Sixteen?”

Ginevee nudged Rorie as if to say, “That boy hasn’t been doing his multiplication tables.” Rorie shrugged helplessly. Topher had known the answer to eight-times-ten two weeks ago.

“No,” Wes said gently. “Try again. Eight tens are how many?”

Topher’s chin jutted. “I ain’t any good at numbers.”

“You want to know a secret?” Wes winked. “I’m not either.”

The tenseness eased from Topher’s shoulders. “You’re not?”

“Nope. That’s why I made up a song to help me. Want to hear it?”

Topher nodded eagerly. Grinning, Wes sang:

Grisly’s in the honeycomb,

Queen bee, she’s a bawlin’,

Hound dog treed a cougar cat,

and kitty’s up there squallin’.

In spite of Wes’s total disregard for pitch, Rorie recognized the tune because it belonged to a childhood game she had played in Cincinnati. Wes had taken liberty with the lyrics, though. Either that or he was yodeling the Texas version, because she couldn’t remember singing about grizzly bears or cougars in Ohio.

Grinning from ear to ear, Topher threw back his head and helped Wes finish the refrain:

Ten times 5 is 50, ten times 6 is 60;

Ten times 7 is 70, ten times 8 is 80.

The combination of squeaky soprano and rusty baritone was so awful, so wonderfully blessed awful, that Rorie couldn’t help herself. She snickered.

Ginevee, who was the county’s uncontested fiddle-playing champion, covered her ears and did the same.

The next thing Rorie knew, the two of them were howling with laughter, clutching their sides, and staggering against the wall for support.

“Uh oh,” Topher warned in a mortified whisper. “Women!”

Texas Outlaw, Texas Lover, Texas Wildcat, Austin

Feb 24

HOW I WROTE THORPE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE by Cynthia Woolf

510q06ig2BL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_I love to write mail-order bride books, so that is mostly what I write. Thorpe’s Mail-Order Bride started out with a different title and then it was pointed out that my main characters were not living up to that title. So I rethought about the book and what it was actually about and changed the name.

I’m a big fan of NCIS: New Orleans and I wanted a book that had some of that flavor in it. From that primordial soup came Helena Dubois the daughter of a madam. And not just any madam, but the most celebrated and famous madam in all of New Orleans.

So I had my heroine now she needed a hero. And I needed conflict in the story. What could be better than a man, John Thorpe, blacksmith in Morgan’s Crossing, in the Montana Territory,  who wants a wife of good and moral character? What would happen when he finds that our heroine’s mother is a madam? Will he still believe our heroine is a moral person? Well of course not. What would the fun in that be?

Next I had my heroine return to New Orleans to her mother. I needed to get the flavor of New Orleans so I could put some of that in the book and into my heroines mother, who is French. I went to New Orleans, to the French Quarter, to the Monteleone hotel which I mention in the book. We went to the Garden District, where I set my heroine’s mothers’ mansion.

I like to visit the places that I set my stories. It helps me to have the flavor of the countryside or city. I know what the place looks like and can use that information to impart descriptions and a feeling for the area and then I get more information about the people who lived there from books about that period in time for that area in this case the year was 1887.

With one of my series I placed it in Golden, Colorado, which is where I grew up. I worked in the Pioneer Museum and the Railroad Museum when I was a teenager and my mother was a librarian so I knew how to do research. It was fun to go back in time and see what my town was like in the 1860’s and 70’s.

Here is an excerpt from Thorpe’s Mail-Order Bride

“I can understand your reluctance to believe me, but it is the truth. I should have let Mellisande accompany me. She wanted to, you know, but I wanted to tell you myself, vain person that I am.”

He turned his hat over and over on his lap.

“I thought sure you’d be happy about the news. Look, I’m a well-known business-man and couldn’t have my relationship with your mother known within certain circles. When you were two, we decided I should remarry and when you were six we sent you away to school to shield you from your mother’s business. One of your classmates, Eric Rappaport, is my stepson. Do you remember him?”

Lena’s breath caught in her throat at that news. She sat straighter, glad she was sitting on the chair. “That’s true,” she nodded. “I do remember Eric. He was totally obnoxious and mean to me the whole time we were at school together. Does he know about this, too? That you’re supposed to be my father.”

Robert sat forward on his chair. “I’m afraid he does. He overheard me telling my wife, his mother, of your existence. I wanted to take care of you and did the best I could. Now, though, you’re of an age that you must marry and have children of your own. I’ve found a suitable man back in New York. One of my business partners actually. Your mother’s association to you will never be known.”

Anger gave Lena strength and she stood, back straight. She would not show any softness toward him, no matter how much she wanted to have a father. He could be a complete liar. But he wouldn’t have known those things about me if he wasn’t who he said he is. “You propose to tell me that you’re my father and I must marry someone you have chosen for me, all in few minutes. Are you out of your mind?”

“No. You are an adult now and need to take on adult responsibilities.”

She couldn’t believe his arrogance and she didn’t need a stranger’s help in securing a husband. She would remain calm, just like she did when the children she taught were getting rambunctious.

“I’ll pick my own husband.”

“Listen to me Helena—”

“My name is Lena and I refuse to be dictated to by a stranger. Please leave.” She pulled the cord for Thaddeus.

The library door opened and Thaddeus entered. He was not just a butler, but also her mother’s bodyguard. Lena had no fear when he was near. “You rang, Miss Lena?”

“Yes, Thaddeus. Please show out this gentleman.”

“I’ll leave now, Helena,” Robert donned his hat. “But I’ll be back in two weeks and I expect you to be ready to come with me to New York.

“Please leave, Mr. Drummond, before I have Thaddeus hail a police officer.”

“As you wish.” Drummond was not a happy man, but he stood and left through the door that Thaddeus held open. “I can find my own way out.”

Lena shook all over. Never would she marry some man her mother, or her newly discovered father, had chosen for her. Her mother had tried before to get her to marry. Lena was shamed by Mellisande’s business and might hate herself sometimes because of that shame, but she hadn’t fallen so far that she would allow her mother to choose a husband for her. She hadn’t before when Mellisande wanted her to why would her mother think that she would now? How could they tell her all of this at once and expect her to acquiesce to their demand? First she had a father, and second, she was supposed to marry some strange man, not of her choosing. That had been the problem last time. She hadn’t chosen the man. Her mother had. This was no different and she would not stand for it.

She dropped into one of the large overstuffed chairs in front of the empty fireplace, making sure it was not the one her father had sat in. Grabbing the paper from the coffee table she flipped through the pages looking for a special advertisement. One she’d heard whispered about by her teacher friends at school when they wanted to marry.

Finally she found it and read to remind herself of the details.

Women wanted. Matchmaker & Co in Golden, Colorado is recruiting women with the object of marriage to one of their thoroughly screened bachelors. These men are farmers, ranchers, miners and of other occupations, that are desirous of marriage and family. Contact Mrs. Maggie Black, with your photograph and the type of man you are looking for.

This was perfect. She could choose a husband far away from both New York and New Orleans. Her parents would never find her and she’d finally lead her own life as she saw fit.

 

CW_04 300x400BIO

Cynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of nineteen historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way. She was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.
Their closest neighbor was about one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

 

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she’s made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

 

TITLES AVAILABLE

 

THORPE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE, Montana Sky Series

GENEVIEVE: Bride of Nevada, American Mail-Order Brides Series

THE HUNTER BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 1

GIDEON – The Surprise Brides

MAIL ORDER OUTLAW – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 1

MAIL ORDER DOCTOR – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 2

MAIL ORDER BARON – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 3

NELLIE – The Brides of San Francisco 1

ANNIE – The Brides of San Francisco 2

CORA – The Brides of San Francisco 3

JAKE (Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series)

LIAM (Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series)

ZACH (Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series)

CAPITAL BRIDE (Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series)

HEIRESS BRIDE (Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series)

FIERY BRIDE (Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series)

TAME A WILD HEART (Book 1, Tame series)

TAME A WILD WIND (Book 2, Tame series)

TAME A WILD BRIDE (Book 3, Tame series)

TAME A SUMMER HEART (short story, Tame series)

TAME A HONEYMOON HEART (novella, Tame series)

 

 

WEBSITE – www.cynthiawoolf.com

 

NEWSLETTER – http://bit.ly/1qBWhFQ

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