It’s my Call-iversary! Eleven years!
May 8, 2023
Eleven years ago today, I got The Call. After writing and submitting romance for twenty-five years, Harlequin Mills & Boon in London offered to buy my book. They actually bought two. Then three. Then four. Yesterday, I turned in what will become #55.
I also began writing for Tule Publishing and indie published some of my orphans and lately began writing for Entangled Amara. I’ve actually published almost eighty books, which makes it sound Just That Easy, once you get The Call.
It’s not. In fact, I was recently speaking to a writing coach who said, “Congratulations on eleven years. Most careers last five.”
Publishing is hard. It’s luck and timing and grit, but it’s a dream come true for me so I thought I’d celebrate my eleven years by telling you about eleven of my books and why I loved writing them:
1. No Longer Forbidden – Well, duh. It’s the one that earned me The Call. Rowan is a cheeky child star who had a crush on her estranged stepbrother, Nic. They’re forced together when their parents disappear, which taught me how to focus on the main characters and their romance. It’s also the book that taught me, Hey, I can do this after all. (And it was Book of the Month!)
2. The Healer – This epic medieval fantasy was published in 2013 by Champagne, a Canadian digital first publisher. Athadia and Vaun are fated mates and I adored telling their story. It taught me worldbuilding on a grand scale, juggling multiple points of view, and was very much a passion project that took years.
Fun fact: it was a Nanowrimo project. This book also taught me to finish books that are hard and that readers don’t always follow an author into unfamiliar places so I left Fantasy behind, but I often think about returning to this universe.
3. His Blushing Bride – I love all my Love in Montana books, but by the time I got to this one, I was learning to weave in characters from the previous three books without letting them take over the story. Piper is a shy music teacher at the school. Sebastian is a playboy in town to see his sister. They’re cute and funny and things get hot, but he leaves because he’s never going to marry anyone.
Except, he’s devastated when she seems to move on. The scene in the hotel room at the end, when he is crushed that he let her go, is one of my all-time faves.
4. His Christmas Miracle – Single Dad Quincy falls for his temporary nanny, Nicki, when she helps him bond with his (adorable) four-year-old son. It’s the holiday season so Nicki creates an Advent calendar of activities that I used to build the plot of the story. Quincy also lives with his father who is falling for his old crush which is very sweet.
Everything about this book was a joy to write. Plus, you can download your own Advent Calendar here.
5. Only in His Sweetest Dreams – This is almost a tie with the first book in this duet, Not in Her Wildest Dreams.
These are books I indie published because they’d never found a home. The characters are regular folk with messy lives (my favorite kind). Only in His Sweetest Dreams actually took me years to finish which taught me that sometimes I’m not ready to tackle a certain story because I need more time to develop as a writer.
I also learned that if you paint yourself into a corner in book one, by naming a future hero with a name you don’t like, you can just have him change it when he gets his own book and reinvents himself.
6. His Mistress with Two Secrets – I loved writing the two sets of identical twins in the Sauveterre Siblings quartet, but if I have to choose one of them as a favorite, it’s Cinnia and Henri.
Cinnia has the nerve to leave Henri when he makes it clear he’s not interested in marriage. She knows she’s pregnant, but he doesn’t. Then he finds out. Delicious!
This one also got me on the USA Today Bestsellers list.
7. In Too Deep – This is the third book in my Blue Spruce Lodge trilogy. Here, too, I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite because I loved so much about all of these books. In each one, I had a challenging subplot element, but I chose In Too Deep for a bunch of reasons.
Wren and Trigg were a ton of fun to write. I love how Wren learns to love herself and stand up to Trigg. I love how he learns to bend. I love that Sky is appalled that her aunt and her birth father are married. I love that Sky learns more about her mother and grows up. I love that it wraps up a mystery at the resort and puts a bow on the whole series.
8. Confessions of an Italian Marriage – This was a story where I took a few chances and was so happy with how it turned out.
Freja and Giovanni adore one another, but Giovanni is secretly a spy and fakes his own death. I told this with a nonlinear timeline and pulled out all the stops in many ways. (The heroine was trapped in North Korea for a time. I slip into a secondary characters POV at the end.)
I really wasn’t sure this story would fly with my editor, but it’s the first book I’ve ever had accepted without revisions. I guess she liked it.
9. Innocent in Her Enemy’s Bed – I struggled between a few titles because I’m getting to the end and, honestly, every book is my favorite for one reason or another.
In this one, however, I harked back to what I drew me into Harlequin Presents. It’s a classic revenge/forced marriage plot, but even though Ilona is sensitive and vulnerable (eg. she gets arrested on her wedding day and Leander isn’t there to save her!) she’s also a very competent business woman who doesn’t let Leander use her. In the end, she very much gets the best of him and he loves her for it.
10. The Prospector’s Only Prospect – I didn’t expect to write historical romance let alone a mail-order bride in the Denver goldrush, but once I ended up there with Marigold and Virgil, I was hooked. I adore them and can’t wait to revisit this world.
11. Raven’s Cove Book Two – I’m cheating by putting this on the list. It’s a new series that comes out next year. I don’t have the title for Book Two yet, but if you love to see a hero grovel, make a note of this one. Sophie had a crush on Logan since they were children, then he broke her heart and left. Now they’re stuck working together and she is not about to forgive him.
There you have it. One-eighth of my backlist. I’ve written a lot of different types of romance in the last eleven years and will probably write a bunch of other wild stuff over the next eleven, but I couldn’t do it without you!
You are the reason I’m celebrating eleven years today. Thank you, thank you for reading my books.