I want to start by saying how thrilled I am to be a part of the Writerspace family. I’m loving working with Susan and Cissy and their amazing team. Second, I am, hands down, the ultimate personification of the Gemini astrological sign. If I didn’t already know that before, I certainly do now as I celebrate two releases this month: one sweet romance, and one romantic suspense, both from Harlequin!
Since I published my first book, a novella with Harlequin Heartwarming, in 2014, I’ve finally begun to find my voice. It’s taken me over thirty books (full-length novels and novellas, some self-published), but I think maybe I’ve managed to crack it. This month I’m fortunate to celebrate both sides of my writing personality (okay, I might have more than 2 sides). Having two releases out from Harlequin in one month feels like a gift. I’m still not entirely sure they realized when they scheduled me, that SAFE IN HIS ARMS, my latest Harlequin Heartwarming, and COLTON ON THE RUN (part of the Colton of Roaring Springs continuity series) would be released in the same month. Between you and me, I purposely didn’t mention it to anyone for fear they’d change one of the release dates. Being able to promote both books at the same time was something I really looked forward to. Why? Because each book is so different from the other and yet, they’re both very me.
My Butterfly Harbor series for Heartwarming (Harlequin’s sweet non-inspirational romance line) has been a discovery in motion. Every book I write opens new doors both for my characters and for myself as a writer. SAFE IN HIS ARMS is the sixth book in the series, but each story absolutely stands on its own. The Heartwarming books really push me to dig deep into the complex emotional situations my characters find themselves in. This book is no exception.
Kendall Davidson has been waiting a while for her book. She first arrived in ALWAYS THE HERO, the romance featuring her fellow Army buddy Matt Knight. It’s not every character who breaks my heart before she’s really fleshed out, but Kendall did. She’s wounded, not only physically (she was severely burned in Afghanistan in the same accident that took Matt’s leg), but emotionally. She’s endured a lot of loss and trauma throughout her life and she knows what it’s like to dwell in a very dark place. It took a lot to drag her out of those depths, but I felt it was important to be as realistic as I could in dealing with her PTSD and unresolved grief. It helps when the hero arrives with the perfect antidote: a happy disposition and a six-year-old orphaned niece who, in a lot of ways mirrors Kendall’s emotional state. It’s definitely not love at first sight (especially on Kendall’s side), but being able to explore these characters, Kendall, Hunter MacBride and his niece Phoebe, gave me a lot of insight into how people deal with trauma and depression. That’s not to say this book is a downer. I promise, it’s not, LOL. If anything, it showcases the promise of hope and moving forward and accepting that sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want; but it will give you what you need.
The flipside of writing my Heartwarming books is being able to dive deep into romantic suspense. I LOVE this genre. The Romantic Suspense line was actually the first Harlequin series I picked up as a reader in a high school. Being part of this line was a dream come true. Being asked to contribute to their Colton continuity series? Beyond belief. Adventure, excitement, suspense, and a sexy hero? Sign me up!
The writing part of this book was different from any other book I’ve written. It was a challenge for sure, but I’m thrilled with the final product. I’m also thrilled with the cover. Leo Slattery is, hands down, my favorite hero yet and he’s going to do whatever it takes to keep Skye Colton safe, even while she tries to remember who she is and why she ended up in his barn battered, bruised, and bloodied. Of course I added a dog, a German Shephard named Ollie, and an old coot of a ranch hand who’s as loveable as he is grumpy. There are also sexy times in the story, which, after writing a number of Heartwarmings, I really enjoyed. It keeps me jumping as an author, to have two such different lines to write for. And while I love the emotional content of books like SAFE IN HIS ARMS, writing the danger and suspense like COLTON ON THE RUN refills my creative well.
I’m so excited about these two books being out at the same time (as you can probably guess). Hopefully you enjoy sweet as much as you do spicy (my two romance personalities) as you flip the pages on their promising happily ever afters. I don’t anticipate being gifted with this opportunity again, so I’m going to embrace and celebrate it while I can. The only question is…can I have two celebration cupcakes? Hmmmm….now there’s an idea.
Whether you like your romance sweet or spicy, or both, happy reading, romance lovers.