VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM by Bronwyn Jameson

Vows & A Vengeful Groom (Silhouette Desire, Jan 08) is the first book in an author-led continuity series called Diamonds Down Under. The idea for the six-book series came first. Senior editor Melissa Jeglinski wanted a big, juicy, dramatic dynastical tale based around a powerful family in Australia and New Zealand.

We -- the six authors involved -- came up with a family rent apart thirty years ago over ownership of a fabulous diamond amid allegations of theft and betrayal. Our series would see the family feud reignited in the next generation when a tragic plane crash uncovers new secrets and scandals.

So, we started out by building a family tree and we each chose one of the six cousins for our book. This was amazingly civil -- for some reason we'd all "adopted" a different character during the tree-building phase. Next we brainstormed hooks and storylines so each book would be different. We didn't want two marriages of convenience or secret mistresses or reunion romances.

In the early stages there was some shuffling of book order and even of authors involved. MJ requested revisions on a couple of the proposed storylines and this lead to new characters and relationships that upped the stakes for the whole series.

I was given the first book, which meant the inciting incident -- the plane crash and the tragic death of two key characters -- was a big part of my book. My character, Kimberley Blackstone, needed strong links to both sides of the feud and so I decided to make her estranged from her family, the Blackstones, and working for "the enemy", the Hammonds.

My story hook was reunion romance. This worked very well for my prodigal daughter returning home to await news of her father's fate. I decided that her ex, Ric Perrini, would deliver the news and bring her home. By making him a power figure in her father's business -- and making that a key conflict between Ric and Kim -- she would doubt his motives from the very start.

Was he there for Kimberley Blackstone, the woman, or did he need her support in his bid to become the new head of Blackstone Diamonds? My original title of the book, Perrini's Boardroom Bride, summed up this key point of conflict.

VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM is out now. For more information, excerpts, and the chance to win some wonderful prizes including critiques and a diamond pendant, visit the series website http://www.diamonds-downunder.com/


Bond of Fire - Diane Whiteside

I always knew my Texas vampires had to represent Texas’s original foundations, one way or another. Surprisingly, a hero has always stepped forward in this saga, bringing his own story to incorporate a key element of Texas’s past. Don Rafael carries Spain’s ancient glories, both glamorous and bittersweet, while Gray Wolf adds Native Americans’ rich wisdom. Ethan Templeton – well, you’ll learn about him in BOND OF DARKNESS.

But other ethnic groups arrived long ago. For example, the flag of France once flew over part of Texas. That’s right: seventeenth-century France, the land of the Sun King, Versailles with its Hall of Mirrors, creator of impregnable fortresses, once set claim to Texas. Being French, they even named their ship La Belle, or The Beautiful One, rather than giving her a more bloodthirsty or religious name. Wonder what LaSalle and his men thought when they arrived on the southeastern coast to find a landscape infested by alligators?

On the other hand, perhaps Frenchmen were the best equipped to cope with alligators. After all, those amphibians are silent killers who lurk in the dark to ambush their prey with razor-sharp blades, dragging them down into the depths never to be seen again. It almost sounded like what the worst sort of gossipmonger or social climber would do at the deadliest court in Europe.

Suddenly Jean-Marie appeared in my head, as if he’d walked out of the Versailles swamp to make a better life in Texas. Silver tongued, handsome survivor of that deadly court. Superb spy and assassin. Haunted eyes and unbelievably loyal to his few friends.

Above all else, always in love with one woman – and only one. No matter how long it took or how many trials, he’d wrestle the Devil himself to win her: Hélène d’Agelet, named for the woman whose face launched a thousand ships and the French astronomer who witnessed a star going nova. The most beautiful woman in his world and the light in his darkness.

BOND OF FIRE explores the silky tensions, knife-edged danger, and bedrock fidelity, found in both French history and today’s Texas. I hope you enjoy its world as much as I do!

You can read excerpts from BOND OF FIRE here.

Diane Whiteside