Julia Ross - Clandestine

Other than that burning, but mysteriously vague, new idea that underlies each story -- and I haven’t a clue where that comes from! -- people and places always inspire me. My characters seem to step into my consciousness fully formed, just as if I’d just met some truly fascinating strangers in real life. I can’t wait to uncover all their mysteries and secrets to find out who they really are.

As the third book in the Wyldshay trilogy, Clandestine of course belonged to Guy Devoran. Guy had enthralled me ever since the moment I first met him bending over that sailor’s dead body in Night of Sin, when he glanced up at me with those dark brown eyes. When he turned up again in Games of Pleasure -- once again without hesitation abandoning his own life to help his cousins -- there was no question that Guy was destined to be a great hero. He was a powerful duke’s nephew. He was handsome, chivalrous and clever. But what were those private affairs that Guy never explained? What were his secrets? I knew all about Wyldshay Castle, but what about Guy’s own family? There was some great mystery about him that I was going to have to uncover, so a great big chunk of my inspiration for Clandestine began right there.

Meanwhile, surely his heroine had to be Rachel Wren, the beautiful, mysterious blonde who had spent a day with Guy in Night of Sin? Instead, the moment I sat down to write Clandestine, Rachel’s cousin, Sarah Callaway -- a forthright, redheaded widow -- stepped in to take over. Since Rachel had mysteriously disappeared, Sarah feared that some unknown villain had abducted her. It was such an interesting and unexpected complication, that I knew I was going to have an exciting time with this one!

I go home to England almost every year to follow my nose into all kinds of interesting places. This time, it began in a thatched cottage in a tiny village on the south coast of Devon. Centuries-old smugglers’ paths led down to unspoiled, hidden coves. Wild ponies scattered into the mist when I hiked up onto Dartmoor. I drove along a labyrinth of twisting country lanes to visit fabulous stately homes, many of them preserved almost exactly as they’d been in the Regency. Now that’s inspiration! And almost all of it worked its way into Clandestine. (See my photo gallery at http://www.juliaross.net/)

Another theme surprised me by simply appearing as I wrote, as clearly as an image in a dream, when Sarah attends a ball and finds herself looking for Guy in a hothouse filled with orchids. Why orchids? I knew almost nothing about orchids! Yet I soon discovered that orchid collecting was a serious craze in late Regency England. These fabulous flowers were among the most exotic, exclusive, and expensive possessions any gentleman could own. Since the blooms are also incredibly sensual, they soon haunted the entire book, as if driving Guy and Sarah into an irresistible passion. Meanwhile, even as their love started scorching the pages, all those secrets were turning out to be darker and more compelling than I’d ever expected.

All these apparently disparate threads soon began to weave together, almost as if they’d been planned that way. Yet the truth is that I start each of my novels as if I were plunging without a map into an unknown country, desperately hoping that I’ll reach some magic city at the end. Fortunately, Guy and Sarah were so honorable and compassionate, and so much fun to be with, that I was determined to see them through to a grand happy ending, whatever the odds! That probably sounds pretty chaotic and it is, but it makes every day’s writing truly exciting for me, and I guess it’s been working: Clandestine just earned my eighth consecutive “Top Pick” review from Romantic Times.
Julia Ross
Berkley, ISBN 978-0425-21197-7 (or 0-425-21197-5)
Regency Historical (1829)


Ed Lynskey

PI Frank Johnson is a divorced thirty-something who in his firstadventure, The Dirt-Brown Derby (Mundania Press, August 2006),solved the murder of a girl allegedly killed in a horse-ridingaccident.Weary of his hometown of Pelham, Virginia, Frank has moved tothe West Virginia mountains. Amid all this alpine slendor, hehas grown lax and carefree, but that's about to change.While Frank is fixing dinner, he hears a bizarre hum flying over his cabin. He races outside and gapes up as a Stinger rocketblasts something out of the twilight sky. His hopes for a new,tranquil life go up with the explosion’s smoke and fire.
Frank telephones Old Man Maddox, a retiree neighbor with a CIAbackground, for aid and they go report the incident to theincredulous sheriff’s department in nearby Scarab, WestVirginia. Prickly and persistent, Frank relies on his criminalinvestigative skills and soon catches wind of a hate cultcalling themselves “The Blue Cheer”. The Blue Cheer hastargeted Frank for knowing about the Stinger rocket. After theapathetic sheriff blows him off, Frank opts to act on his ownand go after The Blue Cheer.A subplot is Frank’s cousin Rod Bellwether on death row atBitterroot Prison in Virginia reaching out for Frank’s help. Time runs short for Rod but his claims of innocence for nothaving slain his wife seem credible enough. Frank drives downto visit Rod and reluctantly agrees to assist him.
However,once in his mountain retreat, Frank would rather forget aboutRod’s problems. Rod soon breaks out of prison and comes lookingfor Frank. Keep an eye on Rod. Of course Frank doesn't have to go it alone. He calls in helpfrom Gerald Peyton, a bail bond enforcer from his hometown.Events soon heat up in this backwoods romp and in a suprisingtwist the climax comes on dark, cold mountaintop. The Blue Cheer is written in a stylish, modern hardboiled voice.Its topical interest is based on my own professional expertise.
For 18 years I wrote the technical manuals for building theStinger rockets. My research includes interviews with the WestVirginia Chief Medical Examiner, West Virginia State Police,West Virginia Clerk of Court, a forensic pathologist, and anautopsy assistant.Frank also has time to engage in other pursuits like gunsmithingand reading the Old Pulp masters like Charles Williams and EdLacy. A third PI Frank Johnson title, Pelham Fell Here is due out in2007 and a fourth book, Troglodytes, will appear in 2008. TheBlue Cheer was edited by 2006 EDGAR-nominee Al Guthrie.
A fewdustjacket blurbs appear below.
“It isn’t often that a genuinely new ‘voice’ enters crimefiction, but that compliment definitely captures Frank Johnson,the hero of The Blue Cheer. Author Ed Lynskey chooses a WestVirginia setting for this debut in novel-length format, and itproves a resounding success.” --Shamus Award-winner Jeremiah Healy, author of PI John FrancisCuddy mysteries
"This is a New Wave Gold Medal novel, intricate, harrowing, richin people good and bad, ripe with nasty surprise. Something newin New Wave. A fine, fine debut." --Ellery Queen and Shamus Award-winner Ed Gorman, author of TheDay the Music Died, Wake Up Little Susie, and Will You Love MeTomorrow?
“Fast-paced and gripping, with well-drawn characters and avividly described background, The Blue Cheer is a strong noirdebut reminiscent of the work of Philip Atlee and others in thegolden stable of Gold Medal writers. I look forward to EdLynskey's next.” -- Macavity and Shamus Award-winner Bill Pronzini, author ofNameless Detective mysteries
“The Blue Cheer is as well-written and well-plotted an exampleof the new Appalachian noir. An excellent debut!”--Anthony and Shamus-nominee John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Chair, The Hearing, and TheOath.
“This pure sheer first rate mystery, the reason why we read thegenre, and as long as we have such stunninggrab-you-by-the-collar-and-not-let-go narrative, the future ofmystery is not only assured, it’s damn essential.” --Macavity and Shamus-winner Ken Bruen, author of Jack Taylorseries and White Trilogy


Coming up.........

To finish off October, Ed Lynsky will be stopping by the boutique on October 28 and Julia Ross will be here on October 30.

Moving The Idea Boutique into November, look for Karen Fenech on the 2nd, Mary Kennedy on the 9th, Kathleen Eagle on the 15th, Annette Blair on the the 17th, Dolores J Wilson on the 22nd, Deborah MacGillivray on the 27th, and Marjorie M Liu on the 29th.

And don't forget, as always, you can visit past entries from authors at the Idea Boutique homepage.



My first novel, A Man In A Kilt, came to life while I sat on a cliff overlooking my husband’s paternal ancestral home, Stalker Castle in Appin, Scotland and wondered what it might be like to inherit and then live in an island bound fortress. Would the “romance” be short-lived if I had to get into a boat every time I needed a quart of milk? No. For mullion windows and an ocean view, I’d deal with it. But what if it came with a ghost? Hmm…

A Rogue In A Kilt was a natural extension of the first book, but writing progressive, connected novels has prove more daunting than one might expect.

1.) You can pluck a compelling secondary character from one book and put him/her front and center in the next.

The Thief of Hearts, Ian MacKay, is such a secondary character. His regent’s ears and eyes about Scotland, Ian first came to life in A Rogue In A Kilt. Sensing he was trying to take over the story, I sent him off on a long errand, but knew to my bones that he’d be back in all his golden glory. Readers, apparently sensing this as well, sent letters requesting his story. Thus A THIEF IN A KILT was born.

2.) You’ve already done the research and know the period details, which keeps your muse wondering, “What if…?”

I had an impending civil war and a Scottish king growing up in the Tower of London. How did his captivity affect the politics of the time and the man he would become? What effect did his eventual release have on Scotland and on my new hero specifically? Ta da, my external plot.

1.) Meeting reader expectations. Some are already enamored with the hero.
2.) Although related to previous books, making this novel fresh and unique unto itself
3.) Hold previous reader interest while bringing new readers--who are clueless as to what went on before--up to speed.
4.) Crafting a worthy love interest

My new heroine proved the greatest challenge. What would attract my randy, highly intelligent hero determined to see his country safe and his rightful king ransomed? I already knew what he liked: good horse flesh, good wine and pretty, petite brunettes. And what he loathed: the English and women with secret agendas. Okay. I craft a pretty, petite, brunette English spy who wants to keep a very low profile around my hero and still the story just wouldn’t gel in my heart. Two pretty people get together…Big whoop-dee-doo. Who cares? Happens all the time. Augh!

Then I received a letter from a reader who told me that she lived vicariously through Romances; that she was very tall and thus rarely dated. Hmm…I could make Kate a very tall, plush, quick-witted, brunette spy. Despite her best efforts, she wouldn’t be able to avoid Ian’s notice. The average woman of the period stood less than 5 feet tall. Too, she’d be the last “type” he’d expect to find himself attracted to, yet she poses a challenge, her mind is as quick as his, and what of that first kiss? Oh! What would go through Ian’s mind the first time he didn’t have to fold nearly in half to kiss a woman? When he pulled her into his arms and all those plush, womanly curves came into perfect alignment with his 6 foot 5 inch, muscular frame? When hips pressed hips, breasts met chest? Oh, ya…Here we go...

Thank you, dear Reader!!


From Reality to Fiction ... Trish Wylie

For me, the ideas for a book are often several small things that suddenly mesh together. With O'Reilly's Bride it started in real life and grew.

It was the second time in my writing career that I had drawn from the things that were happening around me. With a previous book, I had been a third of the way through when a friend was involved in a car accident that led to memory loss, and the book took on an entirely new direction, and was then dedicated to that friends bravery for fighting through when so many in the medical profession said he wouldn't make it! This time it was a real life event that had been happening before my eyes for years, thankfully with a happy conclusion, and thankfully to good friends who didn't mind me asking them loads of questions about their experiences...

I had known one of them for years, had been there when he met his wife-to-be and fell in love. And with a common bond of a love for horses, I soon became friends with his wife too. Everything seemed perfect - they had a beautiful wedding, bought a gorgeous house, were both in well paid jobs... and then they tried for a family. Only to have to fight for years to eventually get there. It was a tough few years for them, fraught with hopes that were constantly dashed, tests of the strength of their relationship, doubts over whether or not to put themselves through it that one more time and it tested their love to the limits. But they came through. They got their family. And are so happy now that when they look back on it they know it was worth all the trauma. Which is a real life testimony to love and the bond between two people that carried them through adversity. How could I not find that inspiring?

But then I wondered how it would have been if they hadn't been married? What if one of them had known beforehand the trouble and heartache that would lie in trying for a family? And what if one of them had already been through so much that the other felt to deny them a full version of happily ever after would just be too cruel?

And therein lay my conflict.

With that in place I did what I always do, and went seeking pictures I could use as examples of how I pictured my hero and heroine. To me these pictures are a starting point, a visual image that can so often give me even more inspiration. This time the picture I found for my heroine was one of a beautiful, confident woman - the kind of woman who everyone would look at and believe that looking the way she did she couldn't possibly have any problems! My hero needed to be many things for her to love him so much she would try to give him up. He needed to have devastating good looks of course! But he also needed to have a vulnerability in his eyes, a warmth...

So, with pictures to use as a starting point my characters took shape.

Then I moved onto setting and back-story. Every one of my books has been set in Ireland, the island I call home, so that was an easy choice for me. Write what you know they tell you. So, I've never strayed far from that adage when it comes to setting... But the back-story was one that I tripped across, inspired in one of those momentary flashes of inspiration all writers get at some point or another. This time it was watching a Robert Redford/Michelle Pfeiffer movie about two journalists who fell in love - a film shown on TV that was broken halfway through with the news, ironically enough. And in the news there were reports from the middle east and from home, where a fishing village had a boat and crew missing. The combination of the film and the news reports gave me the part of the puzzle I was missing. And that light bulb moment. Suddenly Sean O'Reilly became a news cameraman who had seen the worst things in the world, and had come home to Ireland when he couldn't watch anymore - to try and build a life for himself, with family, with friends - and with love. How could Maggie Sullivan, the heroine who became the local news reporter he filmed every day, not fall for him? And how, when she found out she couldn't give him the family he so obviously needed, could she not try to set him free to find that with someone else?

And a story was born.

Nearly every book I have written has been borne from a chain of events. One small idea that gets added to and added to, until I have enough to begin writing. And then the characters take me where they will...

So, when you're looking for that next story, don't ignore those momentary flights of imagination and don't ignore the love stories that surround you in real life. You just never know what you might get when you put them all together!

H's & K'sTrish Wylie


VERTIGO - Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In fall of 2000, I was visiting my in-laws down in Florida, my infant daughter in tow, when I got the idea for VERTIGO. Don’t ask me what it was about staying with relatives that put the notion in my head to write a book about a woman who ultimately decides to kill her husband, but there you have it.

As I was walking one day in the heat, the basic plot came to me, complete with opening and closing lines. My character, Emma Smith, would be a good, even exemplary wife, as she informs readers at the beginning of the book. She would vow one New Year’s Eve to become “a better person” and her husband, a novelist, would set her up writing letters to a prisoner in jail for murdering his own wife. The correspondence, the idea that he was in there and would never be out here, would ultimately free Emma to become her real self for the first time. And then, when he’s ultimately released…

As soon as I returned home to Connecticut, I began to write. Immediately, I could hear Emma’s voice clearly in my head. And, also immediately, I knew her story would need to be set in a previous time period, because otherwise readers would say, “Why doesn’t she just leave her husband, if she’s become so unhappy?” Emma needed to be a victim of her time as much as anything else and so I cast her story in the Victorian era.

The next fifty-five days, the amount of time it took to write the first draft, became a torrid whirlwind of writing, unlike any I’d experienced before. My previous novel-writing efforts had mostly been some form of comedy or satire, but VERTIGO tapped a different area in me: it was a walk on the dark side. For fifty-five days, I wrote in the early hours of the morning, wrote while my daughter breastfed or napped, the soundtrack for The Piano playing almost constantly in the background as I did crude ballet moves around the room during chapter breaks.

When I was finished, I was atypically pleased with my creation, but my agent at the time, Agent 2, was not. Agent 2 was busily trying to sell an earlier work and said that VERTIGO was wonderful but that Agent 2 didn’t know any editors who did books set in other time periods, nor did it help any when I provided a list.

By the following fall, I was with a new agent. Agent 3 had fallen in love with VERTIGO on first reading, said it could be a blockbuster book and film if only I would change this…and this…and this. So I started making changes, revision after revision. In the beginning the changes were all good, but then they started to stop making sense. Around the time I was getting revision fatigue, I sold, all on my own, another novel, a satire called The Thin Pink Line, and that caused VERTIGO to be put on hold once again.

One of the ways Agent 4 wooed me was with passion for VERTIGO. But, again, it was a case of, “If only you’ll change this…and this…and this…” Agent 4 had me add approximately one hundred pages of background and scenery to the book.

A year later, Agent 5 had me take nearly all of those changes out and then do further changes.
By the time I signed with Agent 6, I not only had manuscript fatigue, I also had agent fatigue. I promised myself that the next time I made changes, it would be because an editor was requesting them and there was money on the table.

And that’s exactly what happened. Not two months after signing with Agent 6, but almost five years after I initially put pen to paper to write VERTIGO, it sold at auction.

Then more changes were made, fantastic changes at the suggestion of my brilliant editor.

Of all the novels I’ve ever written, and there have been more than you might think, more time and effort and passion has gone into VERTIGO than any other book.

Here is the thing, though: Even as it goes out into the world, I know changes could yet be made. Oh, not necessarily changes to make it better; if I saw the need for those sorts of changes, I’d have made them. I mean lateral changes, the kind of changes where someone might say, “If you did this…,” and then we’d have a different story; not better, just different. VERTIGO, it turns out, is my chameleon book.

And here is the other thing: Despite everything the book has cost me, I do not resent even a second I have invested in it. VERTIGO is like that child you have that amazes you every day, causing you to ask, “How did you get here?”

Every time I look at the brilliant cover Bantam created, and glance at random at the pages within, I think to myself, “How did you get here?”

Lauren Baratz-Logsted, in addition to Vertigo, has written four Chick-Lit novels: The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, and How Nancy Drew Saved My Life. She is also the editor of and contributor to the anthology This Is Chick-Lit and the author of the forthcoming serious Young Adult novel Angelâ's Choice. You can read more about her work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.


Double Dare - Saskia Walker

The central plot idea for my novel, Double Dare, stemmed from a conversation I had with a close and dear friend a few years ago. Kate is a practising psychologist and we were talking about the fact that her job often intimidated men. Over a couple of glasses of wine, we started joking about the fact it could be worse, and we came up with some other jobs that might send men running to the hills, brain surgeon, artificial inseminator, that kind of thing. Even though the wine was leading us astray somewhat, we had to face the fact that it's hard to avoid the job topic altogether when you meet someone casually.

But what about a little white lie, we considered, just to begin with?

After another few sips of vino, it seemed like an option. Then we realised the problem: if the conversation developed and she liked the guy, she would then have to sort it out.

I am happy to report that shortly after Kate met the love of her life and is now happily married with a gorgeous little girl! The idea of the little white lie that has to be undone stayed with me, though, and my heroine in Double Dare became the woman who gets herself into that very muddle, because she fibs on the spur of the moment, thinks it's just a fling, and falls in love.

Abby is a high-powered finance manager, but often finds her job intimidates men. When she bumps into a gorgeous courier the sexual chemistry between them is electric. She tells him she's a receptionist because she doesn't want to scare off this attractive, compelling guy.

Abby is an independent, sexually confident woman who goes after what she wants, daring herself to take that extra step in life, for the adventure. Meanwhile, Zac is delivering papers, but he's not just a courier. His family own the financial investments that Abby is currently managing, so he has to work out if she's trying to work some angle on him, lying and getting close to him. As a result, he goes along with her little façade while he runs his own investigations on her, which sucks him into the subterfuge and makes him even more of a dark horse than her. He is communicating with her daily about investments, whilst also "managing" the intense sexual attraction between them.

When I write contemporary erotic romance I aim to create confident, three-dimensional, and realistic characters who are put in situations that are unfamiliar, to see how they cope, because I think we can all relate to that. I confess that what I loved most about writing Double Dare was the trauma my poor hero went through. Zac is a very sexy, confident and powerful man — the ideal man for Abby. As he falls in love with Abby, he has to deal with his own trust issues, and take responsibility for his heritage, whilst also deciding when to tell her that he knows who she really is. How will she react? Does he know her well enough to gauge that? This poor man goes through the ringer deciding what is best for her, because he loves her and doesn't want to mess up. Meanwhile, Abby knows this is more than a fling, and she has work out when to make her little confession, hoping that isn't the very thing that might send Zac to the hills. Let's just say the fact they can't keep their hands of each other complicates matters even more. Neither of them want to take that risk, but both know they have to, in order to make something more lasting possible. I hope readers have as much fun reading about it as I had writing it!




Today's post has been canceled. Sorry folks! Be sure to check back on the 9th when Saskia Walker will be the guest blogger!


Ideas as Art.........Joy V Smith

I went to Oasis 19 (literary SF con in Orlando) Memorial Day weekend, and one of the fun things going on there was Cover Art by Committee. Five artists worked on two different canvases with colored markers, taking turns working on each canvas. One canvas has a SF theme and one has a fantasy theme; they're actually cartoons, and they do this every year. They ask for suggestions from the audience, and Mike Conrad, who coordinated the artists, said--Let's do something besides fairies, orcs, and wizards, and I said--Sentient plants! (Sentient plants are what my stories, Seedlings and Crystal Quest--in the Magistria anthologies--are about.) So the fantasy theme was sentient plants, and the artists came up with lots of fun ideas. This art is auctioned off, and I bought it at the art auction. Here is the art, which includes a killer tomato, a power plant, one with a sign that says Will root for food, and more:


Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid. Her stories have been published in print magazines, webzines, and anthologies; and her SF has been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Her recent non-fiction includes her book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook and an interview with Lyn McConchie. She lives in Florida on a registered backyard wildlife habitat with Xena the Warrior Puppy.


Nicola Marsh

I have a savage sweet-tooth. I adore icecream and chocolate in particular.

So imagine how lucky I am that I live in Melbourne, a city which has an entire street dedicated to cakes and pastries and the most delicious sweet things on the planet?

FOUND: HIS FAMILY started over coffee and cake at Acland Street with my first editor Kimberley Young (out from London for the RWAustralia conference 2005) and fellow Romance authors Ally Blake and Barbara Hannay.

Picture a perfect winter's day in Melbourne: cloudless sky, sun, gentle breeze and the hip vibe of bayside St. Kilda. It's a fabulous suburb filled with cosmopolitan cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels. Any time of day or night, St Kilda is bustling with tourists, locals and Melbournians lucky enough to have this funky suburb on their doorstep.

Acland Street is famous for its amazing cake shops (yes, those mouth-watering displays in the windows taste every bit as delicious as they look!) and while devouring a nougat slice, I thought "wouldn't this be the perfect setting for my next book?"

And Aimee Payet, the heroine in FOUND: HIS FAMILY, was born.

Aimee runs Payet's Patisserie in Acland Street in the book, a single mum who is a successful businesswoman and is able to handle anything. Until her precious son Toby falls victim to leukemia and she is forced to contact the one person who can save her son: sexy TV chef Jed Sanderson, Toby's father.

Of course, I had to return to Acland Street several times to 'research' this book, eating at the fabulous Greasy Joe's (where Aimee and Jed have their first date), visiting Luna Park (scene of another date) and strolling along the Esplanade on a Sunday morning, where an eclectic market is set up on a weekly basis (and where Toby tries a little matchmaking for his parents!)

And yes, I did eat some more cake. All in the name of research, of course!

I write for Harlequin Romance but with the upcoming merge with Silhouette Romance, FOUND: HIS FAMILY is being released as my one and only Silhouette Romance release. It's out now in North America.

I'd love to hear what you think of the setting. (Me, fixated on cakes?)


Bev Katz Rosenbaum

My husband and I were both slightly obsessed with the Ted Williams brouhaha of a few years ago, Ted Williams being the famous baseball player who said in his will that he wanted to be cryonically preserved. (When he died, one kid wanted to honor his will, the other didn't, saying Dad wasn't in his right mind at the end...) At about the same time, I was trying to think of an idea for a young adult book that was fresh and different. Harlequin's Flipside line had just gone kaput, and I wanted to write short and snappy books. I had one preteen and one teen at home, and was loving what they were reading (but for the fact that much of it seemed, well, the same...that chick who titled her book 'Not just another dead mother story' sure knew what she was talking about!). At a brunch with friends, the Ted Williams thing came up, as did the fact that I was trying to come up with a fresh idea for a YA. At about the same time, my hubby and the two friends we were brunching with said, "Hey, why not do a YA with a cryonically preserved heroine?" And the rest, as they say, is history!



Diane Whiteside

Frankly, my dears, I can find inspiration anywhere. In fact, sometimes the source is so deeply buried in my subconscious that it’s hard for me to consciously figure out where it came from. But I do know exactly where and when my Texas vampire universe was born.

Six years ago, my dear friend Brynda and I were chatting about one of our favorite subjects – vampires. We happily reminisced about our favorite heroes, heroines, settings, and plots. Then we started talking about we’d like to see vampires do.

“What I don’t understand,” said Brynda, holding a long, tall glass of iced tea in her hand, “is why nobody’s ever written any vampires in Texas.”

Vampires? Texas? In a flash, I could picture them. Texas cowboys, riding the range or sauntering into a saloon. Vacqueros, all in black and silver, deadly with knife or whip. The wide-open range that they ruled completely and the small towns where they were the only true law. More masculine than any namby-pamby, urban dude who ever swished a cape.

“Ooh, I’ve got to write those Texas vampires!” I crooned. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“Nope,” said Brynda. “You write them, I’ll read them. I’m a librarian, remember?”


But for Brynda, I had to do them right.

“Your mother’s family was here before the Alamo, right?”

“Uh-huh. What are you thinking of?”

“I want my vampires to be here before the Anglos came, before Stephen Austin – which would make it 1825 or maybe earlier. So we’re talking about a Spanish land grant – and a Spanish grandee.”

“Ooh, how sexy!”

Now all I had to do was write them, which meant (1) somehow find a way for vampires to thrive where there are fewer than two people per square mile, whether man, woman or child, (2) add a medieval Spanish knight, arrogant and high-principled, to lead them and make women go weak at the knees, and (3) toss in one modern heroine, who’s his nightmare and his salvation.

Almost immediately I saw in my head who the trio at the center were: Don Rafael, the knight with the size and strength of a Highlander but the warm coloring of an Arab warrior. Grania, tall and clear-headed, who he adored beyond reason, even when it endangered him. Beau, whom once Rafael had done his best to guard and guide but was now bent on murdering him. Beau, whose reasons for betrayal Rafael would never, ever understand. A trio equally balanced and equally passionate, their lives entwined across time.

It’s taken me all these years to build their world and write BOND OF BLOOD, the first volume of the Texas vampire trilogy. In it, you’ll meet Don Rafael Perez, a 13th century Spanish knight, and Grania O’Malley, a wildlife veterinarian. He’s arrogant, ruthless, and passionate – and in the fight of his life to keep Texas safe. Grania walks into the middle of this, with a strange combination of innocence, courage, and logic that he finds both irresistible and unexplainable. But in her, his enemies see the first real chink in his armor.

Thanks for inviting me here!


For more about the Texas vampires (including lots of excerpts), please visit http://dianewhiteside.com/