Angelina's Secret The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 1 by Diane Merril Wigginton Genre: Historical Romance
Would you keep a secret to save someone you barely know?
Angelina Stewart is a beautiful, bold, independent woman hiding a terrible secret. After returning home from a sea voyage, she is touted as a hero for saving her family’s ship and crew from a band of ruthless pirates, but Angelina feels like such a fraud.
At the same time, her psychic abilities are becoming more pronounced as she attempts to unravel the mystery of London’s gruesome murders before she becomes the killer's next victim.
>>>Captain Jude Deveraux is leading a double life
He and his band of French privateers steal, rob and plunder unsuspecting ships that have the misfortune of wandering into their domain. Awarded a title by the King of France for bravery during battle, The Duke of Bayonne, A.K.A. Pirate Captain, Jude Deveraux, takes what he wants from the world as he and his best friend, Honore live each day as if it were their last.
That is until the day Jude discovers that the only thing he truly wants is to capture the untamed heart of fiery tempered, Lady Stewart for his own.
>>>Angelina's Secret is the unforgettable introduction to the "Jeweled Dagger" series
Before our captain and crew could fully react to defend themselves, the ship had been boarded and taken over by the band of pirates.
While everyone was distracted, Jamie had pushed me behind him and was backing up toward a long boat turned over on deck. He pushed me down and said, “Don’t come out for anything.” Then he stepped away.
A scream caught in my throat as panic and fear combined to keep me frozen. I couldn’t breathe, and my brain went numb. I could barely comprehend what was happening. I wanted to run after Uncle Jamie and pull him under the boat with me.
Then out of the chaos and noise, there came a hush on the deck. I wanted to sneak a look, but sheer panic kept me frozen to the spot.
“We are privateers, and we are seizing the contents of this ship. If you cooperate, no one will be hurt. We don’t wish to make anyone’s wife a widow today, so follow orders, and everyone will make it out alive,” the man said in perfect English with a hint of a foreign accent.
“Is everyone accounted for? We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on all the fun now, would we, boys?” The man asked boldly as he walked about my family’s ship. “Come on now, speak up. You there, in the fancy clothes with your fancy boots, step forward,” he ordered. “What is your name?” the leader said, pointing to Uncle Jamie.
“James Stewart, my good man, what can I do for you today?” Jamie said, stepping forward, trying to sound jovial and upbeat for someone whose ship had just been boarded by pirates.
“Are there any others who might be hiding about this ship? Be quick about it, man, or it will cost you your life,” he said with an undertone of threat laced in his words.
The sound of his boots hitting the boards of the deck grated on my raw nerves as he passed several times by the overturned boat I was hiding under. My pulse quickened even more, and I was like a trapped rabbit with nowhere to run.
As Jamie stammered for an answer, the boat I was hiding under was suddenly gone. I looked up to see a hulk of a man lifting the small craft with one hand and reaching down to take hold of my arm with the other. He yanked me upright and to my feet as I screamed in surprise. Dropping the boat and pulling me against him, he pinned my one arm behind my back. I feared my legs would give out as I started to see stars. Everything moved in slow motion, including my brain.
Standing, I took several deep breaths to calm my racing heart and clear my head. I mustered the will to be strong and face this beast dressed as a man. Turning my face upward, I squared my shoulders and willed myself not to flinch or look away. With my best defiant stare, I put my free hand against his chest and gave a little rebellious shove against his chest.
“Good, sir, if you would please unhand me, I would greatly appreciate it,” I said as my voice shook only slightly, trying not to give away my total disdain for him.
Releasing my trapped arm and stepping back a bit, he gave me a polite bow and said in a mocking voice, “Forgive me, my lady, if I did offend.”
He wore well-made black boots that hugged his calves and came just above his knees. His breaches were tan in color and formed around his muscular thighs. His crisp white shirt, which hung open at the neck, was belted at his waist.
My eyes made their way with effort to his bearded face, for he was taller than most. Our eyes connected, and I felt a slight moment of trepidation as the hair on the nape of my neck stood on end. I was staring into the bluest eyes I had ever seen. They were the color of sapphires as they burned a hole straight through me.
His hair was completely covered by a red scarf, but I could tell it was black and very long, and he wore another scarf across his face.
We stood there for a moment assessing each other without a word. It was as if time had momentarily stopped. “Throw him overboard,” he said, pointing his finger at Jamie while still holding my gaze.
“No. Stop! I beg you don’t hurt him,” I screamed as panic rose in my throat.
“So you wish to save your lover,” he said with sarcasm dripping from his lips.
I suddenly began to laugh. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. Maybe it was stress getting the better of me. Maybe my circumstance was too bizarre. I was trapped on a ship in the middle of the ocean by a man who had held me so tightly I could smell the soap he used to bathe with that day. The thought of a pirate taking a bath before raiding a ship was, well, funny to me. Then he subtly raised an eyebrow as he grabbed me again and gave me a little shake. Maybe he thought I had suddenly lost my faculties and gone stark raving mad.
Copper-colored hair spilled loose from its constraint and tumbled down my shoulders and back as I suddenly came to my senses. After all, I was surrounded by pirates.
Uncle Jamie stepped forward. “Stop that and unhand her,” he demanded, trying to pull me free from the pirate, for which he was rewarded with a kick to the back of the knees dropping him down on all fours. Then another pirate knocked him out with a punch to the face.
I screamed, pulling my arm from his grasp and ran toward Uncle Jamie. Two more pirates impeded my progress. With angry tears in my eyes, I turned back to the leader. My blood boiling now, I did not care what happened to me, but I would protect my family at all cost.
“He is my uncle, and this is our family’s ship. It carries nothing more exciting than some textiles we make in our factory,” I said.
My anger barely contained as I spat the words at him, pulling my arms free from the two men and making my way back to where he stood. “I hardly think you will get rich off of the haul you take from us today, but you are welcome to it,” I finished saying, as I now stood toe to toe with him, defiance reflected in my eyes.
Isabella's Heart The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 2
Haunted by a disturbing dream, she must face evils beyond her imagination
It is 1783 England and Isabella Deveraux is an independent, fearless young woman who has hardened her heart to everyone that mattered to her, until the night she experiences a disturbing dream about her twin brother, Charlie, on the eve of their 19th birthday. Charlie and his school mates have been abducted by the devil incarnate and she is resolved to do what ever it takes to save him, even if that means reconciling with her estranged family and placing her faith and life in the hands of an intimidating Irish mercenary Captain.
>>>A mercenary who will do just about anything, for the right price
Captain Aiden Townsend is more than willing to save the lives of three privileged schoolboys, for the right price. Jaded by his own devastating loss, Aiden has worked hard to keep his distance from the female persuasion until he is introduced to Lady Isabella Deveraux. As he sails his ship from England to Dublin, with the beautiful Lady Deveraux aboard, he formulates a plan to help her. But if his plan is to work, he must break through the walls that surround her heart while tearing down a few of his own.
My sweat drenched sheets clung to my body and convulsive shivers shook me to my core. I couldn’t think, nor could I stop shaking. Fear gripped me by the throat, zapping every ounce of strength I had. My limbs felt weak, like noodles that sit too long in a pot of boiling water.
My face felt swollen and my ribs hurt like I had just been through a terrible accident. I couldn’t explain why I was no longer connected to Charlie, or why my vision started, then abruptly ended. It was as if Charlie shut me out of his mind, shielding me from the horror that was about to befall him.
I sat on my bed for the longest time, consumed with grief and fear, trying desperately to form a coherent thought. Finally, I leaned over, fumbling in the dark, to light the candle that sat on my bedside table.
Climbing from the bed, I stumbled before opening the doors to my armoire, then began to rummage about until I found what I was searching for. Pulling out a pair of boy’s trousers, a shirt and a cap, along with the bandages I used to bind myself up, I quickly dressed.
Fumbling about, I found the old jacket and boots I kept in the back corner of my dressing closet. I always kept them safely tucked away for those times I wanted to ride without being recognized or bothered by social convention.
If Charlie had been killed, surely I would have felt something by now, like the splitting of a mighty oak tree by a bolt of lightning, I would have felt the confirmation of such an act. But I didn’t feel myself split in two. I simply felt consumed with grief for the horrific act perpetrated against my brother.
Slowly the feeling of rage began to stir inside of me, becoming all consuming as it mixed with desperation and the need to be whole again. My emotions propelled me forward, placing one foot in front of the other. Slipping everything but my boots on, I extinguished the candle and piled my hair under the cap. My disguise was now complete.
Ducking quietly out the door and down the hall to the back staircase, I listened for a moment, making sure that no one was wandering about this part of the hall. The only noise I heard was coming from the kitchen as the cooks prepared the bread for baking. I exhaled, realizing that I had been holding my breath, and my heart felt like it was going to pound its way through my chest. Tiptoeing down the stairs and past the cooks was no easy task, but I waited for the right moment and made my way to the side door.
Silently lifting the latch, I opened the door just wide enough to slip through, then closed the door behind me. I froze when the top hinge squeaked slightly, quickly closed my eyes, I said a little prayer. Then easing the latch back into place, I said another prayer that my absence wouldn’t be discovered for hours. By then it would be too late for anyone to do anything about it.
Stopping long enough to slip my boots on, I stayed in the shadows, just in case anyone was up rummaging through the garden for fresh herbs. Finally, making my way to the barn, I eased the heavy wooden door open, and listened for any noise of men moving about. When I was satisfied that the only noises were those of the horses shuffling about in their stalls, I pushed the door open wider.
Growing up with horses, I knew how to saddle one for myself, and didn’t require the help of a stable hand. The only thing left to do now was to pick the right horse for the long ride to Oxford. I needed a horse with lots of heart, and not one that had gone barn sour, or become fat and lazy. No, I needed a horse that was willing to run and not stop until I had reached my destination, and I had just the right horse in mind.
Making my way along the wall of closed doors, I peeked into a darkened stall, trying to make out the horse standing in the shadows. “Third stall on the right…oh sorry, Rosy, wrong stall, sorry girl,” I whispered shutting and latching the top of the door. “Must be the forth stall on the right.” I whispered to myself as I gingerly unlatched and opened the next stall door to check. “Yes. Good morning, Dodger, my handsome lad. I have an important mission for you today,” I whispered, greeting him with a gentle pat on the nose and a cube of sugar, before slipping a feedbag over his head so I could saddle him quietly.
Olivia's Promise The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 3
How far would you go to save your best friend from a fate worse than death?
Olivia Townsend is willing to do whatever it takes to save Lilly from just such a fate.
The year is 1804 and Lady Olivia Sophia Allen Townsend has just turned 20 years old. She is beautiful, well-educated and considered by some in polite society to be far too eccentric for her own good. When Olivia was younger, she was very open about her gift. She is not only able to see spirits, but she can talk to them as well. Being shunned by her peers has caused Olivia to turn her back on those who need her the most - spirits caught between two worlds. That is until her best friend Lilly Collins comes to her in the middle of the night and asks for her help. Lilly can’t remember what happened to her and finds herself in need of Olivia’s unique gifts.
>>>Across the sea
Olivia’s younger sister, Coco, is also gifted with a unique set of skills - she can touch someone and know things about them that they would sometimes prefer to keep hidden. Together, the sisters set off on a sea voyage, from Ireland to America, intent on solving the mystery of Lilly’s untimely death.
>>>Southern elites, heirs to an empire
Brody and Quinton Beaumont are fine-looking, eligible, southern gentlemen, and heirs to a successful cotton empire. They also happen to be twins, hiding a deep dark secret. Their mother, Annabelle Beaumont, died eight years earlier on the night of their annual birthday winter ball, yet she continues to rule over their plantation home with an iron fist.
Olivia, who has never been drawn to any man, feels an undeniable connection to Brody Beaumont, but first, she must figure out if she can trust him, and if he or his twin brother Quinton had anything to do with Lilly’s death.
Looking up at Brody, who was still seated on his horse, I brought my hand up to block the sun. “New surroundings, different noises, you know how it is. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to take a walk before breakfast,” I answered, placing my hands in the small of my back and leaning back, stretching, somewhat dramatically.
“Do you like to ride?”
“I tend to avoid it, whenever possible,” I answered, placing my hand to my forehead again as I looked up at this tall, handsome figure of a man and tried to act normal. I could still feel disbelieving eyes staring at the back of my head. I gave a little shiver and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop my eyes from straying back to that porch.
With a skeptical look, Brody climbed down from his horse and took me by the hand. Then leading me around to the other side with a laugh that said you must be jesting, he placed my hand on the neck of his horse. Trailing my fingers through the silky, thick mane with his assistance, he continued.
“Nonsense, you just haven’t had the proper riding partner. This is Zeus. He stands seventeen hands high and is what they call a Friesian,” Brody proudly proclaimed. “I traveled all the way to England, just for the pleasure of paying top dollar for him,” he added with a half-smile on his handsome, full lips. Then he chuckled as if he had just told a great joke. “I knew the moment I laid eyes on him that Zeus was meant to be mine. He and I have been together for three years now, and to tell you the truth, I can’t remember what I did without him.”
Zeus nervously pawed at the ground with his powerful front legs, as his coal black eyes stared in the direction of the porch. Soon he began to prance around, restlessly and snort.
“Maybe we should lead Zeus back down the path. He seems spooked by something,” I suggested, knowing full well what was spooking him.
“It’s these buildings. He always gets like this whenever we ride through here,” Brody said solemnly, looking towards the rundown wooden structures. “Ghosts from the past, I suppose,” he added while staring at the porch, as if he could see people standing there.
I nervously laughed, knowing he didn’t realize how true that statement was. Steering his attention away from the porch and back to his spooked horse, I pulled on his sleeve. “I still think that it would be prudent to walk Zeus out of here.”
“Now that’s just crazy talk. You will be perfectly safe with me,” Brody boastfully stated, slowly dragging his eyes from the porch. With a confident smile, Brody boldly looked at me now. Placing the leather reins in my hands with purpose, Brody grasped either side of my waist and lifted me onto his horse.
Sitting sideways, with one leg over the saddle horn, while Brody hoisted himself up behind me, I was afraid to move. But at the same time, I didn’t miss the fact that his well worn pants were faded in all the right places, as if he wore them often, while riding or performing manual labor. His boots, while broken in, shone black with a fresh coat of polish and his white shirt, minus a formal cravat, was paired with a dark gray waist coat which accentuated the green of his eyes.
My heart began to beat wildly against my ribs as he came in close behind me, hooked one arm around my waist and slid me back against his chest and hips.
“How is that? Are you still afraid that you might slip off?” Brody asked with confidence.
“No, Mr. Beaumont, I am no longer afraid of falling from this great beast of a horse. I am, however, concerned that your father or someone else may see us and call for a priest to marry us post haste.”
Throwing his head back and laughing, Brody tightened his grip around my waist even more, crushing my lungs as he kicked Zeus in the side. Turning around on the path, we headed for the stables.
“Oh, my dear woman, you are, if nothing else, entertaining. I am truly grateful that you agreed to come.”
With a terse smile, I took one last look at Lilly and the others still on the porch, giving the slightest nod of my head. Lilly knew what to do, and I knew that I could find her again if I needed to. Brody called out as we rode into stable area.
“Jamie, take care of Zeus for me. I must show Lady Townsend something,” he bellowed, pulling me unceremoniously from the back of Zeus like a rag doll. “And don’t forget to give him extra grain. It’s going to be cold tonight.”
“Yes, sir,” Jamie replied, spiriting Zeus away, the moment Brody had spoken.
“Where are you taking me, Brody Beaumont?” I tersely asked, attempting to pull my hand from his grasp.
Tightening his grip, Brody smile mischievously and continued to pull me behind him. “I told you. I need to show you something,” he said with an air of mystery mixed with excitement. “And you will just have to be patient, we’re almost there.”
Pulling me towards the house, he stepped onto the porch and wound around to the left side of the house. A dog house, mimicking the main house in structure, sat off the ground on stilts about two feet high. A gently sloping ramp was attached, with two large paws and a dog’s snout rested upon it.
“Here girl, I have a treat,” Brody called out and drew closer. At first, only a gray nose popped out and sniffed the air, then a head peaked around the corner followed by the rest of the dog.
A beautiful, gray, hunting dog walked down the ramp wagging a stub of a tail, rubbed up against Brody and obediently sat down next to him. Her short, shiny, slick coat was beautiful. Brody placed his hand next to her muzzle and gave her a piece of meat from his pocket.
“Oh Brody, she is a beauty. I have never seen anything like her. Are her eyes gray or blue? I can’t tell,” I asked, squatting down to look closer.
“They are a little of both,” he said. “She’s a German Weimaraner and built for hunting. I took her off the hands of a merchant ship captain last year. Unfortunately, she tangled with one of Jackson’s hunting dogs and now the pups are worthless.”
“How can you say such a thing, Brody Beaumont?” I scolded. “All life is precious.”
“They are mutts, Olivia.”
“What kind of dog does Jackson have? And was it really such a hideous match?” I asked, scratching the dog behind her ears.
“You need to be careful, Olivia. She isn’t always so friendly to strangers.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, she isn’t going to bite me. I think she recognizes a dog lover when she sees one,” I replied.
“To answer your question about the dogs, separately they are both a beautiful breed, but together the Chesapeake Bay retriever mixed with a Weimaraner, well, let’s just say that I haven’t decided yet,” Brody answered, retrieving two of the puppies from the dog house to show me. “The Retriever is a stockier breed, where the Weimaraner has a finer bone structure and body.” He handed me one of the pups. “As you can see they are merely round little balls of fur now.”
Lara's Story by Diane Merril Wigginton Genre: Historical Romance
SHATTERED BY HEARTBREAK“When a heart breaks, it does not break evenly, cleaving in half exactly down the middle.” Surrounded by her large, boisterous family in 1840s Ireland, Lara Flannigan has never known anything but love and belonging—until the day tragedy strikes, leaving her abandoned and forced into indentured servitude.REMADE IN A NEW WORLD.Just when all hope seems lost, Lara is discovered by a childless American couple, visiting Ireland to aid in the famine-relief effort. With barely a chance to look back, she’s swept away to a bustling new continent—and a dizzying new reality. One of petticoats, opulent townhouses, and the cold reaches of Philadelphia high society. Desperate for a future, Lara works tirelessly to fit into her new life... while still haunted by a past that won’t let her go.Set in a fascinating historical period, Lara’s Story is a gripping young adult novel that explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness to heal a broken heart.
EVERY QUESTION BEGINS WITH a quest for answers, and every testimony of what is true begins with a test of our resolve. I am reminded of this simple formula as I stand here on this boardwalk, looking out to sea. Each life is a journey, defined by turns we take or the roads we choose or those which fate chooses for us. Some of us move from one place to another, along a well-worn path or the path less taken; it really doesn’t matter much as long as it leads you home again.
Memories of my home involuntarily flash through my mind as Mama’s words come back to me like a sounding board that has followed me my entire life. She would often tell my sisters and me, “Don’t ever make yerself smaller to satisfy the needs of another.” Mama was always insightful and perceptive when it came to her children.
Oh, how I still miss her so, even to this day. I smile to myself, wishing my ears could hear that beautiful, rhythmic sound of Mama’s voice again, just one more time as a terrible memory of the last day I saw her alive flashes through my mind and I vigorously shake my head to dispel the thought.
When a heart breaks it does not break evenly – cleaving in half exactly down the middle. It breaks, jagged and rough, cutting one to the very core of their soul. And while things may appear perfectly normal to the naked eye, beneath the surface lies the real tragedy, fragmented and splintered beyond reconciliation. Heartbreak is not an innocuous pain, easily excused like a stomach ache. It is more insidious, spreading throughout ones’ system, like an infection. Merely closing my eyes to the pain does not eliminate it in the least.
Just breathe in, then breathe out and move forward, I remind myself. This simple little mantra is something I taught myself so many years ago, and it has gotten me through more than a few dire situations.
I was born Lara Flannigan, on the twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty-three. Mama liked to tell me it was a beautiful spring morn, the day I was born, which would have been an unusual occurrence for that time of year.
Mama also said, “I knew ye were special and destined for greatness the moment ye took yer first breath, don’t ye know. Cause the sun poked out from behind the clouds with yer first breath of life. Why twere’ like the Heavens above truly recognized that an angel had been born to me,” she teased.
If truth be told, I believe mama told this exact story to each of her six children. But I loved hearing it nonetheless.
I was the sixth child of the seven children born to Rory and Laurel Flannigan, and I was named for my Da’s mother. Our days were long and our lives were hard, but our nights belonged to us. I never knew life could be anything other than what I had experienced. My world was very small in those days, so I never missed the things I didn’t have.
I am an Irish immigrant and I came to America at the tender age of thirteen, a disillusioned child, harshly mistreated by the very people entrusted with my care. I tell you this not to solicit your sympathies but to impart knowledge and gain your understanding, for I was a pitiful, angry child who was unaware of how many things in my life were about to change. People meeting me today might say that I was more fortunate than most. Yet they would never have heard my story nor known that I suffered in silence. I did not wear my pain, like a badge of honor, but kept it deep inside of me, hidden away from the prying eyes of others.
Fear has made me keep my story to myself. I was afraid of the repercussions from the actions I took in the name of survival, when my whole world fell apart. Furthermore, I feared the behavior of peers, those who would use the circumstance of my birthplace and subsequent difficulties to hold me back or bludgeon me with my story like a weapon.
For many years I have pushed from my thoughts memories of home and all that happened there. And yet, every now and again I indulge myself with less painful memories of the past, that push their way to the surface, and I give myself permission to embrace them, loving, bold, nostalgic memories that are impossible to forget. This is especially true today as I find myself waiting, yet another day, for a ship to come in, one that I thought would never arrive upon these great American shores.
Oh, I have everything a person could ever desire. Enough food to ward off hunger for a lifetime. Good health, a beautiful home, fashionable clothes, and the love of my family. I truly have every comfort one could want at my disposal, yet still, I long to recover the missing pieces of myself torn from me the day I left my native land of Ireland. A loss that can still be keenly felt whenever I lay my head down upon my pillow at night. And even though I am far from familiar old haunts, I swear I hear the land beckoning to me in my dreams, calling from across the ocean, summoning me home to the cliffs of Dunmore Head on the westernmost shores of Ireland. Closing my eyes now, I can still recall the smell and taste of the breeze on my tongue and the tangy feel of her salty sea air as it mixes with the sweet scents of wildflowers growing on her craggy cliffs.
The memories grab hold of my soul, leaving me longing for home, even more this day.
“Ireland,” I whisper, as it all comes flooding back to me — the green grassy moors waving in the gentle breeze like waves on the ocean. I can still feel the way the grass tickled my bare feet when I walked upon it.
In my mind’s eye I can see the ancient moss-covered rocks and hills that seem to roll on forever, and the overwhelmingly familiar smells of home assault my senses and kindle even more longing inside me. Peat moss burning in the hearth, the earthy smells of fresh mud coming from our simple thatched roofed dwelling, built from wattle and daub that plastered the rocks and boulders in place to form walls. The rain that often leaked upon my head in the middle of the night whenever a storm blew in just right. The way the sweet earthy tones mingled with the bitter as they played across my tongue whenever I chewed on a blade of grass.
Vivid, sweet memories wash over me, transporting me back in time as I see myself as a little girl, sitting in the middle of a field of tall grass, watching with fascination as the wind blew the grass to-and-fro. Then I see myself laughing and playing among the cliffs again with my best friend, Jamie. There are so many precious and sweet memories that I had denied myself for so long.
I swallow hard to push down the lump that forms in my throat. I can recall every ridge, crag, twig, and moss-covered rock that littered our unyielding plot of land.
There were so many afternoons spent upon those cliffs, basking in the glorious sun after bathing in the ocean with Mama and my two sisters. Alana loved tickling me just to hear me laugh while I lay upon the warm cliffs, soaking up the last glorious rays of sunlight. A cool breeze would kick up, washing over my skin, and chilling my flesh with her gentle touch. Those were the days I thought would never end, and it is those same sweet memories that now make me mourn the loss of them all the more.
I shake my head quickly, dispelling any more memories of the past as I hold back more tears, attempting to keep them from escaping. Swiping at the unfortunate few that trickle down my cheeks, I feel anxious and frustrated all at the same time.
Please do not mistake my tears for weakness, for they convey more than mere words are able and can express so many different emotions.
One should never assume that there is only one reason to shed them. There are tears caused by overwhelming grief and pain and tears of contrition. There are tears of joy and love, or tears of annoyance caused by situations that are beyond your control. Yet my tears today are a culmination of so many different emotions that are simply hard for me to put into words.
I was born in Riverside, California in 1963. My family and I moved to San Diego when I was 7 and I never looked back. I had a very rich life growing up with my brother, David, and best friend Gigi. I married my husband, David in 1998 and we lived in Encinitas, California for a couple of years before moving to Herald, California in 2001. We have a blended family of 6 kids and truly enjoyed the rural life on a 5 1/2 acre ranch, 45 minutes south of Sacramento. I love writing and creating stories that are different from and intriguing. I like to give my readers a little something extra and unexpected. I have always wanted to be a published author, but the timing never seemed right. Raising a family and working fulltime always took precedence. Shortly after I turned 50 I decided that if I continued to put off my dreams, the time would never be right. So, with an idea in my head, I sat down and began writing. I wanted there to be no regrets in my life. What resulted was a historical romance, filled with adventure, suspense, and an underlying epic love story weaved in for good measure and "Angelina's Secret" was born. I loved everything about the process of writing and there are currently three books in "The Jeweled Dagger Series." I am very excited about the future and thrilled to be writing fulltime now since I retired from my "9 to 5," job at the end of April 2017. My husband retired shortly after me and our youngest was a sophomore in college so we decided that it was time that we had an adventure of our own. We made the move to Kalispell, Montana and the adventures just seem to happen every day. We go for hikes in our own backyard or take off for Glacier National Forest on a whim. We currently have seven grandkids, with another one due this August 2018. Being "Grandma and Grandpa" is the icing on the cake for us. I count my blessings every day because I know how lucky I am. Life is good and now I can devote my days to doing what I really love, and that is writing and creating more stories.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Answer: I’ve always enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember but when I was married and had children it was difficult to find the time. I had a full-time job, working from home 11 hours a day and taking care of my family and decided to take a writing course on line. It was tough but I got things done between wiping noses and preparing meals. In 2011 I lost my father and only brother to illness and decided that life was too short to wait for the right time to do what I loves the most. So just after my 50th birthday I sat down at the dinning room table and began writing, Angelina’s Secret. It took me 6 months. It was rough but I sent it to my best friend, Gigi anyway and she loved it. So, I knew that I had something and sat down and wrote, Isabella’s Heart, book 2 in the series which also took me 6 months. Now when I say 6 months, that’s just the rough draft. There is editing, rewrites and so on, which all can take up to a year to complete.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Answer: I always thought differently than others when it came to the way I wanted to live my life. I am a product of the Baby Boomers, meaning that I was raise in the 60’s & 70’s so we are a little different from the “Now Generation, anyway. But I never wanted to be one of those women driving a station wagon, dropping off a ton of kids at school with rollers in my hair. And I never was, even though I did breakdown and got a van when we had 4 kids at home. But that was for my own sanity not theirs.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Answer: When I’m doing a book signing people walk up and tell me that they are writing a book or how much they want to write a book. Then I ask how long they have been writing the book and they say something like, 5 years. Folks, if you are writing a book that is inside of you, struggling to get out it shouldn’t take you 5 years. It should just pour out of your pours and your soul like water.
Where were you born/grew up at?
Answer: I was born in Riverside, California and grew up in San Diego, California when I was 7.
What are you passionate about these days?
Answer: My grandchildren, there are 10 of them and travel. I love to travel
How to find time to write as a parent?
Answer: It isn’t that challenging these days since my youngest is off at college and the rest have flown the coup. But it can still be challenging to sit down and write with all of the other demands on my time. There are query letters, webinars, telling you how to write the perfect query letter and so on but I find time to get it all done.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Answer: Loyal, Dedicated, Persistent, Hard-working, Stubborn
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Answer: After I wrote my first novel, Angelina’s Secret. It felt like being at home in my safe space. It felt right, like something I was always meant to do. That’s when I knew that I had found my passion.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Answer: The Princess Bride because it is funny, witty, and brilliant. I wish that I wrote it.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Answer: All of them. They play out in my mind like a move and that is why they are so emotional and vivid to my readers.
What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: When I sat down to write, Angelina’s Secret, I wanted to write a grand love story that incorporated adventure and suspense into the story line. Then when the idea formed for the second book, Isabella’s Heart, I just wanted to carry that same line of thinking in the plot. And you can’t have a series without writing at least three books, so I wrote Olivia’s Promise. After writing the three books I felt very accomplished and went on to write, Lara’s Story, about an Irish Immigrant who came to America during the Great Famine. It’s rich in culture, visualization and emotion.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Answer: I’ve just finished a Modern Romance and I am working on a Suspense/Thriller. The Modern Romance is complete and edited and I am currently getting ready to shop it around to agents.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the Jeweled Dagger Series?
Answer: Book 1 of The Jeweled Dagger Series are of course Angelina, who is stubborn, loyal, smart, witty and strong willed, and determined that she will never be possessed by any man because they are a bunch useless men, her father, brother and uncle are the exceptions to this rule of thumb.
Captain Jude Deveraux is a pirate and part of the French gentry. He’s strong, determined and usually gets what he wants, that is until Angelina comes along. He is smitten from the start and pursues her to England where he was educated so he knows how to blend in.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Answer: It came to me in a dream. When I would get stuck, A.K.A. writers block, I would take a hot bath or go to bed and ponder the problem as I fell asleep and the answer would come to me. I don’t do outlines because I want to be as surprised by the twists and turns as my readers are.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Answer: It was about the secrets that Angelina was forced to keep, to protect the one man she found herself in love with and couldn’t live without, A.K.A, “Angelina’s Secret.”
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Answer: How it made me feel to get the words out there, and how freeing it felt to open up my heart and express my feelings and emotions so freely on the page.
Who designed your book covers?
Answer: I found a company called, IzzardInk and they helped me put it all together.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Answer: They are completely from my imaginations.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Answer: Each book is unique in the sense that I birthed the idea and the storylines. I like to describe, The Jeweled Dagger Series as Pirates of the Caribbean clashes with Downton Abby, while Lara’s Story is a roller coaster ride of emotions from start to end. Each book is meticulously fashioned to give you the most bang for your buck.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Answer: Sandalwood and Lavender, fresh, intoxicatingly sexy and makes you feel good but leaves you wanting more.
How long have you been writing?
Answer: Since 2014
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Answer: They develop as I write and as they are needed to build the plot or support the main character. I reach into my imagination, usually I name them and them visualize their face and personality.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Answer: I have notebooks full of research and it usually is extensive, especially for a Historical Fiction.
Do you see writing as a career?
Answer: Writing to me is like breathing. It simply something I must do.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Answer: Romance, Mystery, Historical.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Answer: I like quiet and usually retreat to my office and close the door, which is code for don’t disturb.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Answer: It totally depends on the number of ideas that come to me at once. I currently have two books going and another idea in my head, percolating.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Answer: Definitely the computer. It’s easier to move paragraphs around and add things in when you think of them to make the scene better or richer.
Describe your writing style.
Answer: All over the place. Historical Romance, YA Historical, Modern Romance to Suspense. I’ve even written 2 children’s books that I need illustrations for but I digress.
What makes a good story?
Answer: Conflict and three-dimensional characters that are real.
What are they currently reading?
Answer: Perfectly Mismatched with the Duke by Patricia Haverton / It’s my escape.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Answer: Being original is always the best decision. If you wrote what was expected there would be no surprise and therefore boring to the reader.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Answer: Don’t listen to all the people who said “take the safe route,” and follow your dreams earlier.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: 6 months to 1 years.
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