Link of the Week – Historical Romance Network

October 21, 2014

Explore Historical Romance! I’m part of a movement to bring visibility to the historical romance genre, to show the stories are so much more than many believe, and to bust the stuffy misconceptions. There is excitement, adventure, and romance across the eras of all heat levels to be discovered. Check it out. Go on. I dare ya!

Stop by the new website. It’s a work in progress, but we’ve already got some great articles.

Watch the short video. You might recognize a few people, including yours truly.

Mutiny of the Heart Release Party – Romancing the Pirate fun!

June 23, 2014


The loooong awaited 4th full-length installment of the Romancing the Pirate series, MUTINY OF THE HEART, releases today. That’s right, TODAY!

And just like any good party, we’re celebrating with fun, games, prizes and a pinata! Well, not a pinata, but there’ll be lots of virtual confetti.

Leave me a comment, any comment, and you’ll be placed in a drawing to win one of 3 prize packs! I’ll be giving away the entire Romancing the Pirate eBook series; Blood and Treasure audio book + Mutiny of the Heart eBook; and a $10 Amazon gift card + Mutiny of the Heart eBook.

MutinyoftheHeartDraft1 (1)


So what’s the book about?


Navigating the high seas as the female captain of a pirate ship means always being on your guard—especially when one takes a temptingly handsome slave on board.

Captain Joelle Quint believes the slave claiming to be a cartographer can help her decipher the map her father left her when she was a child. She’s spent years trying to unlock its truths, hoping that it holds the answers to a dark family secret.

Sloan Ricker has no intention of remaining captive. When the fiery, red-headed captain offers him his freedom in exchange for solving her map, what begins as an opportunity to escape becomes a struggle to make the beautiful, intriguing Joelle his mistress in more ways than one.

Amidst a battle with the Royal Navy and a first mate’s jealousy, Joelle also fights her growing lust. And as much as he’d like to deny it, Ricker’s desire for Joelle has overcome his initial disdain. To get the answers, independence and love that they both long for, Joelle and Ricker must relinquish control to each other…or die trying.


Gimme a taste, will ya?


“I give you my word, Ricker.” The sincerity in her voice matched that of her eyes. “You help me and freedom will be yours.”

Freedom would be his no matter what. The ragtag band of pirates would not stop him from taking what was his at the first chance he got. Not even the red-headed siren whose knee softly brushed against his, sending an electric wave up his thigh.

He’d never seen a woman quite like Quint. Her abilities as a captain, her feminine artfulness, her sharp intuitiveness—his curiosity in her was eating him alive. Christ! Those lips. Begging to be kissed. He better damn well focus on something else lest he do something foolish.

“Are we ever free?” Do the nightmares ever really cease?

“No,” she said. “I suppose not.”

For a fleeting moment, she drifted. What shackles did she bear? Should he care? Nay, he didn’t think so. But he wasn’t entirely sure.

“What is it that haunts you, Captain?”

“I’ve nothing that ails me.” Her chin inched higher. She may have been defiant, but Ricker saw the lie in her eyes.

“Come now. What of this map? You say it leads to answers. Answers to what?”

Profound sadness shadowed her freckled features. “Why he left,” she said, shaking her head.


“My father.” She dragged her fingers into her red tresses at her temple, locks slipping through, and away she wafted once more to someplace far in the past.

“Who am I really? Why did he leave me at the orphanage? Why did he come back years later to deliver the strongbox? What were the emerald and map to mean? Why didn’t he take me with him? I needed him. Missed him. Didn’t he know that? Didn’t he care?” The slender column of her neck tightened as she swallowed. ’Twas painfully obvious she fought back her emotions and tears. “I didn’t even know he came until he was gone.”

Ricker was wrong. He did care. She fought demons just as he. At least his were distinct—people, mostly. He’d overcome his sufferings. Quint’s torments were elusive, like trying to grasp the thick sea fog. She might never put her anguish to rest.

“So, Mr. Ricker,” she said, regaining her flinty battle-ready mask. “Does that satisfy your need to know what haunts me?”

“We’re all made up of scars.”

“Scars grow thick to protect the wound.”

He shifted closer in his chair toward her. “Some wounds need attention.” He gently traced the outer edge of her dressing. “To lessen the pain.”

“Rum lessens pain,” she countered.

“’Tis true.” Ricker handed Quint her cup and picked up his own. “To pain,” he said, tilting his mug in a toast.

Her slow drink was like a slow burn of a gun’s corded fuse. The tension was near to igniting. With each passing second, his trousers grew uncomfortably tight. He wanted to kiss her. Had to kiss her. Would kiss her. Now.

The moment he drained his cup, her mouth descended upon him hard and voracious. Ricker recovered from his surprise before she pulled away slightly.

“To rum,” she rasped.

He grabbed her by her nape. No way was he letting her get away with that. He returned the favor, attacking her lips, raiding her mouth, feeding off the warm taste of liquor, the soft roll of her tongue. Damn, she tasted divine. Better than cool water to a dying man.

“What the devil?”

A rapier on the wall rattled at the slam of the door.

“Get your bloody hands off her!”

Ricker rose to his feet to face Valeryn. The heat of anger flushed up his neck, from both the interruption and the threatening demand. Things were about to get nasty. “What’s your trouble, friend?”

“Oh, I’ve no trouble I can’t be rid of.”

I want my copy NOW!

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Carina Press    Kobo   iBooks

And anywhere great eBooks are sold.

Now for the games! Click on the links to play.

  • Easy!

We’ll start out easy with a pirate-themed words search

Mutiny of the Heart – Pirate Word Search game

  • Medium!

Moving on to something a little tougher, because, hey, your a bad-ass wench/rogue. Try your hand at the Mutiny of the Heart sliding puzzle.

Mutiny of the Heart sliding puzzle game

  • Hard!

And for those of you who like a real challenge, try the Romancing the Pirate word scramble. 

Romancing the Pirate Word Scramble Game

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win one of 3 prize packs – Romancing the Pirate eBook series; Blood and Treasure audio book + Mutiny of the Heart eBook; and a $10 Amazon gift card + Mutiny of the Heart eBook.

The Next Big Thing – Skull & Crossbones

December 5, 2012

Song of the Day: Pleasure and Pain by Bullet For My Valentine

I have some pretty awesome writer friends. Eliza Knight, JD Faver, and Onne Andrews have each nominated me for The Next Big Thing. This is simply where I answers a few questions about my current work in progress, or WIP. Please take a moment to check these ladies out. They are as diverse in their genres as they are in their styles. But each of them are fantabulous authors.

And now for the interrogation.

RF Getty jolly rogerWhat is the working title of your next book?

CLASH OF THE TIDES. I just love this title. It captures the theme of my book perfectly.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

CLASH is the fourth full-length installment in my ongoing series Romancing the Pirate. Until now, all the pirate captain heroes have been Alpha men. I wanted to shake things up with a female pirate captain. Just think of the fun possibilities.

What genre does your book fall under?

That’s an easy question. Historical.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?david b

Captain Joelle Quint’s character is based on the incredible Maureen O’Hara. Any actress today would have to channel Maureen’s spitfire attitude and red-hot passion. As for the two men, yes there are two, this is easy. The hero/slave Sloan Ricker would be played by David Beckham. Technically he is an athlete. But who cares? Chris Hemsworth would play an awesome first mate/previous lover Valeryn Barone. That said, I wouldn’t turn away Jason Momoa or Ian Somerhalder for the part.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Whoever came up with the idea of a one-sentence synopsis should be keelhauled! But here it goes.

Being a woman is a curse enough. Being a woman who is captain of a pirate ship brings on a whole new meaning to terror on the high seas. Especially after she buys a handsome slave.

Okay, so that was three sentences. So cut my grog ration.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Upon completion, I will see if my current publisher, Carina Press, will be interested. If they decide to pass, I will be taking my place at the helm and self-publishing. Currently, I have four books published in the series—two are self-published and two are published with Carina. Both courses have been successful.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Still writing this one, mate. Guess I should lay off the rum and get serious. LOL! Of course my littlest crew members, AKA children, have steered me into the shoals regularly, slowing my progress. I’m a mother and wife first, before I can put on my plumed pirate hat.

chris hemsworthWhat other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t compare myself to other authors. The historical genre is vast with many great writers in every niche. If I had to be compared, liken my tales to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only my adventures are gritty and heavy on the romance.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My fans!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

If a heroine buying the hero off the auction block isn’t enough, there’ll be plenty rum, superstitions, and battles to be won, both on the high seas and in the bed.

***Just for fun, I’ve added an excerpt. Remember, this is a WIP and anything written is subject to change.

“Onto other business.” Captain Quint retrieved a key from a drawer and crossed the room to where two trunks sat. “I have a proposition, Ricker.”

Ricker’s neck cricked as he cocked his head for a better look at her bending to unlock the chest. From the corner of his eye, Valeryn did the same. What a prime piece of arse. They both recovered as she turned around with a strongbox in hand.

She set it on the table. Her fingers languidly drew across the decorative brass bands of the lid. The silence dragged on. Valeryn, a pained draw on his brow, threw back the last of his wine and settled his gaze to his lap.

The captain withdrew another key from her pocket and unlocked the box. With a quick hand, she snatched out a paper from inside and locked the box once again.

“We both have something the other wants,” she said.

“You’ve nothing I want.” Ricker lied like an anchor on the bottom of the sea. The lass had something he wanted. He let his gaze travel to her bosom. Something he could bury himself in. She owns you, Sloan. And you hate her for it. That alone would keep him from laying a hand on her. No matter how fetching she was. Or how much he wanted to feel her smooth, bronzed skin. Belay!

Captain Quint raised a delicate, yet maddening, eyebrow. “Your hasty words may cost you, Mr. Ricker. I think it wise to think with your head and not your cock.”

Her profane tongue slammed him with surprise. Such a vulgarity spoken from angelic lips. Damn if he didn’t like it.

Valeryn snorted. “You’re a smart man, aren’t ya, mate?”

“Point taken.” Ricker was fairly certain Captain Quint’s assertiveness maintained her position among rogues. But Valeryn’s persistent cavalier attitude had him wondering if red2she were weaker than she portrayed herself, needing Valeryn to shore up her defenses.

The captain pushed his plate away and spread out a map before him. She bent just enough to offer him a magnificent view to the valley of her chest.

“Do you recognize this place?”

He reluctantly dragged his gaze to the spot on the paper she pointed to. He studied the roughly-drawn map. The well-worn creases had begun to fray, but the map couldn’t have been more than two decades or so old. Immediately, he recognized certain topographical features.

“This is Barbados. See,” he traced along the outline of the island. “The bean shape.”

“I thought that, too,” she said. “But that can’t be right. There are no islands such as these east of Barbados. There are no islands out there at all.”

Exactly what Ricker thought. “No there are not.” This map didn’t make sense. Could a clue be in the words scrawled at the bottom? Follow the trade winds up the face of Lucia to find the place of emeralds.

He pointed to the handwriting. “And this? What does it mean?”

She met him with a stony mask. “I do not know.”

Ricker hardly believed her.  “’Twould seem you seek treasure, after all.”

Her mask faded to an acrimonious snarl. “I seek answers.”

“Be warned, mate.” Valeryn leaned over his arm resting on the table, a malicious grin coiling up the tip of his lips. “Those before you thought fortune was theirs, they needed only the map and a moment to flee.” He chuckled, leaning back into his seat and bringing his cup to his grin. “God rest their cowardly souls.”

“But you won’t be so foolish, will you Mr. Ricker?”

For a fleeting moment, he thought he caught a trace of plea in her green eyes. Never mind that. Should a similar opportunity arise, as those before him, he’d take his chances.

“You said you had something I would want.” Ricker crossed his arms. Quite sure she’d come up empty. “What is it?”

“Find my answers, you’ll have your freedom.”

*Hope you enjoyed. Love to hear your thoughts.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Writer Inspiration: Katharine Ashe

August 16, 2010

by Marie-Claude Bourque

Hi everyone!

Today I am please to host AVON historical author Katharine Ashe. I know I write paranormal but I am truly a historical fan. I can’t wait to get my hand on Katharine’s novel! And it’s a Regency… oh my! Don’t have enough of those!

Visit Katharine at

From the Heart and Head

They say write from your heart but sell from your head. And they’re right. I know this from experience. I’m going to tell you a little story about that experience. I hope it’s useful to hear.

The hero of my debut historical romance, SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS, is a priest. What’s more, he is a French Catholic priest. 

No, he isn’t a real priest. He is a dashing and decidedly non-celibate English viscount. But he pretends to be a French priest (for good reasons), and for a handful of chapters the heroine has no reason to believe otherwise.

 How did I ever imagine I could sell this book? I suppose I figured that if Richard Chamberlain—an actual priest in The Thorn Birds—could stir the pulses of women worldwide, then my pretend priest could pass.

Well, clearly some women out there were appalled with Rachel Ward’s character having the hots for a man in clerical robes. One contest judge disgusted with my heroine’s attraction to a priest gave me such a thrashing I still feel the sting of it years later. But the thing is, another judge in the same contest loved it. She felt deeply for the heroine, a young woman with scandal in her past trying hard to make a new start and torn apart that she’s failing.

So I thought: “Okay, the priestly guise is fine with some readers. What do I do to pull in those other readers still looking askance?” Solution: Make the hero so attractive in so many ways that he is irresistible, and make the heroine’s struggle against her feelings as poignant as possible. 

I beg you to please note: My solution was not to throw up my hands, hurl the manuscript into the fire, and write another story with a less dicey premise. Actually, I did that last one too. I wrote other books with unquestionably available heroes. But I never gave up on the priest book. I loved it. I loved them—my characters. So I reworked it and I sent it off again.

About a year and a half ago, amidst plentiful rejections and in the depths of despair about my future as a published author, I had three different manuscripts floating around in Agent Land. Two of them featured warrior heroes—blatantly guys’ guys. But when a top New York agent called and told me she’d fallen in love with my book, it was the priest book.

I am still so grateful and humbled that my story touched her, as I was with that contest judge who adored it. When someone loves your book, whether that person is your mom or a big-time editor, it is a gift beyond measure. That is why I write, because I want to share my stories and move people. So I write from my heart because that is where the warmth and adventure and emotion live in me.

But on this twisty road to publication, I have learned that when I need to sell, I sell from my head. I study the market and pitch my stories accordingly. 

If you have an idea for a book with an unusual plot, an atypical hero or heroine, or an uncommon setting, don’t let someone convince you it’s “off market” (my most loathed publishing industry term). Just write it. Then send it out—to CPs, beta readers, agents, editors—whomever. Get feedback. After the initial shock of that feedback wears off (whether positive or negative feedback, I’m always shocked at first), kick your brain into full gear and act on the feedback. Keep the book in your heart, but rework in your head. Hold onto what makes it special but include as much of what makes it sellable as you possibly can. 

Regencies are selling now, and my priest book is certainly a Regency. It strays a bit from the ballroom (the first few chapters take place on a pirate ship, arrr!), but it doesn’t by any means leave England’s beau monde behind. The hero masquerades as a priest while he is in fact a warrior and a lord. But perhaps most importantly, at the heart of the book is a powerful love story, which is after all why we read romance. 

Do you have an unusual story in your computer or desk drawer? What sort of feedback have you gotten and how have you acted upon it? And while we’re at it, who is your favorite atypical hero or heroine?

Making Magic

May 26, 2010

Song of the day: High Enough by Damn Yankees

I admit. I’d been feeling down the last week or so. I hadn’t been accomplishing as much as I’d like and had a few disappointing items of news land on my doorstep.

What better way to feel chipper than to create something new, something that gives me pleasure. How about making a movie? Now, I know what you are thinking . . .  and you should be ashamed.  Besides, Robert Downey, Jr. was busy.

So I made the unofficial book trailer for A KISS IN THE WIND. This is the second adventure in my fun romantic sea-faring pirate historical series.

Tell me what you think.

Writer Inspiration: Donna Russo Morin

April 19, 2010

by Marie-Claude Bourque

Hello everyone,

Today I am hosting author Donna Russo Morin who writes historical novels for Kensignton. She has some great advice for aspiring (and published!) authors!

Make No Excuses; Take No Prisoners

Since becoming a published author, the tables have turned, and I’m often asked for advice from unpublished authors. My first tendency is to answer them as I would when one of my sons comes to me, weighed down by the challenges in their life…I want to encourage and motivate, I want to tell them anything is possible if you work hard enough and believe in yourself. All of which is true, but it’s not the whole story.

Writing (or for that matter anything in the arts) is unlike most other professions; it’s the thing we do while we’re doing something else. Some of modern day’s best sellers were doing something else while they wrote those first books…Stephen King and Dan Brown were teachers, John Grisham was a lawyer, and Mary Higgins Clark was a widow with five children who worked in radio.

And there in lies the rub. It becomes so easy to make excuses for not writing…my day job wore me out, the kids needed too much of my time, the house was a mess, the laundry, my parents, the lawn…on and on and on the list can go. And for most of us, there are often real hardships that crop up through the course of life; few are ever spared.

So my kids have gotten a bit older (20 and almost 17) and I now tell them what I’m about to tell you…get over it and work.

(I laugh a little as I write this. As the author of historical fiction, my ‘voice’ tends to be very formal and yet here I am spouting sage advice with the cutting edge of a hunting knife. But it is a chance for me to be nakedly honest, and I’m shedding my clothes with grateful abandon.)

If writing is the thing you need to do; if the longing to do it eats away at you like the lust for that one lover who haunts your dreams day and night, then get over whatever may lie in the path between you, and do the work.

While writing my first published novel, The Courtier’s Secret, my father was dying from cancer and I had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease after a two and a half year battle with undiagnosed pain and fatigue. I wrote my current release, The Secret of the Glass, while my twenty year marriage was falling apart and my condition had become a chronic auto-immune disease. And I’ve just completed the first draft of next year’s release, To Serve a King, during one of the nastiest divorces imaginable.

It was in these last few months that I actually wondered if I could write anymore. Though I have been writing since grade school, the harshness of the divorce made me hollow, perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a writer. Unlike a nine-to-five job, a writer needs their heart and soul to put word on paper, and I feared mine were lost. I had become prisoner to my own sadness and self-doubt. But I was under contract and had no time to wallow in my own dark self-pity.

On January 6 of this year, I took to my keyboard and forced myself to write. As of yesterday, the first draft of the 110,000 word novel is complete and I am thrilled with what I’ve produced. Yes, there is a bit of my angst on many of the pages, but it works. And most of all, I kicked the excuses to the curb, and released myself as prisoner.

If writing flows in your veins like your life’s blood, then let the laundry pile up, let the lawn grow, let the house fester with dust, and write. If like so many, life has thrown down gauntlets of hardship, then put them in your work, allow whatever emotion you may be suffering to add depth to your characters and their own pain and hardships. Set yourself a firm schedule of when you’re going to write—even if it’s only Friday night from 8:00 to 9:00. Give yourself that gift; silence the excuses, release the prisoner, and write.

Thank you so much for such a great post Donna! I agree with you. There will always be something! I was gping through various hardship while competing for the American Title and I forced myself to just “do it!” Everyday, willing away the negativity to focus on the task at hand. There is always something! But writers write!

For more information on Donna’s life and work, and for excerpts, please visit her website, Donna’s books are available at all major and independent bookstores and at all online outlets. And make a new friend on Facebook at!/Donna.Russo.Morin?ref=profile.

Writer Inspiration: Margaret Mallory

December 8, 2009

by Marie-Claude Bourque

Today, I am please to welcome historical author Margaret Mallory who is represented by Kevan Lyon and who also happen to be in my RWA chapter (Go GSRWA!).  Here’s to you Margaret 🙂

Thanks so much for inviting me! 

Q: As a newly published author, do you have advice regarding how an unpublished author should choose an agent? 

People will give you all kinds of advice on how to choose an agent, but the truth is that for most unpublished authors, the agent chooses you. An agent is your ticket to the prom. To sell your book to a New York publisher, you almost have to have one. But they are hard to get, and most of us are lucky to have one offer of representation before being published. 

It is not all bad, however, that your first agent will probably choose you and not the other way around. Agents are bombarded with requests for representation. When an agent picks your manuscript from the vast sea of manuscripts around her, it’s because she loves it. To sell a first book, you’ll need to have someone with that enthusiasm in your corner.

 As a hungry, un-published author, I would have accepted any agent who met my minimal criteria. My agent simply had to A) be alive and B) not have a bad reputation. It was just good luck that a wonderful agent, Kevan Lyon, loved my first book and offered to represent me.

I don’t mean to say I didn’t check Kevan out, because I did. First of all, I only queried agents who were on the RWA-approved list and who did not have cautions about them on the Predators & Editors site, After I heard from Kevan, I dutifully checked her author references. It was a bonus—and a great relief—that Kevan’s authors gave her rave reviews. My requirements, as I say, were minimal. 

Not every new author is as lucky with their first agent. That’s why authors have second and third agents. My view is that you shouldn’t query any agent that does not meet your minimal requirements. If you have two or more agents vying to represent you, by all means find out everything you can to help you choose. But it’s more likely you’ll have only one offer. 

Q:  Why do you think you sold when many talented authors do not? 

Writing fiction is a second career for me. When I quit my job to write, I did it with the goal of getting published. The only way I could justify giving up half the family income was to pursue this new vocation flat-out. I worked hard. I was in a hurry.

Here are the things I did that I think made a big difference in helping me become a published author:

1. I treated writing as a job and pursued it with the intention of getting published.

2. After reading Stephen King’s book On Writing, I set daily, weekly and monthly writing goals. I am a slow writer. I struggle. To meet my goals, I had to put in the hours and let other things go.

3. I accepted that I had a lot to learn and set out to learn my craft. I read books on writing, joined writers groups, attended conferences and workshops, and read lots of fiction.  

4. When I didn’t have a critique group to join, I started one with members of my local RWA chapter. Participating in a critique group was enormously helpful in improving my skills, toughening my skin, and discovering my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. 

5. I entered contests for the critiques. My critique group was great, but feedback from experienced writers who don’t know you can help you improve those critical first chapters, in particular.

6. I forced myself to submit to agents and editors and face rejection. Everything about this phase is just plain hard. I thrived on stories of famous authors who were rejected countless times. It is absolutely true that great books get turned down every day. But it is also true that many of those rejected books eventually do get published! Your book will never have a chance unless you put it out there. 

Regarding 4 & 5, above, I offer two cautions. Don’t put too much stock in one person’s comments, especially if they don’t ring true. If, however, six judges in two contests all say you are starting your story in the wrong place, you ought to pay attention.

My other caution is that critique partners and judges generally are better at identifying problems than at resolving them. Other people can tell you when your hero’s motivation isn’t clear, your plot is confusing, or your heroine is not sympathetic. You are generally better off, however, coming up with your own fix to the problem. After all, it’s your story. 🙂

I’d love to hear your comments or questions! I’m offering an autographed copy of either Knight of Desire or Knight of Pleasure (winner’s choice) to one of the people who submit a comment.

 Thank you so much for your great advice. I too like to be reminded that writing and the quest to publication is hard work. It’s fun but it is work. When I fell unmotivated, I re-read On writing by Stephen King. Great choice 🙂

So please leave us a comment for your chance to win a copy of Margaret and I’m curious, as we approach the holiday, what is your favorite trick to stay motivated? In my case, I am a member of the GIAM group  and just signed up for Cherry Adair “Write the Damn Book Challenge” that she opens to the ECWC conference goers every year. I just got her first kick in the back side email, I’m scared LOL.

So please, give me some motivation!