HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO ME!
Ten years ago today (and I remember the date because it was such a momentous occasion) I began my career as an author of historical romance. It is one of those memories that is so detailed that you feel like it just happened yesterday.
In the spring of 2008 I had directed a production of Macbeth that was so terribly stressful that it made me gluten intolerant. Kicking and screaming I went on a gluten-free diet (back then the food was miserably bad) in July and after six months, just after Christmas, I had a huge surge of creativity. I wanted to direct another show, but it wasn’t my turn and I was desperate to do something to occupy my time that was fun and creative. During the after Christmas sales at Barnes & Noble, I had come across a romance novel by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Everlasting. (I found out later it was her final novel.) I’d read and loved her Wolf and the Dove and Flame and the Flower when I was a teenager, but gave those books up for non-romance writers like Stephen King, John Grisham, and Patricia Cornwell. But I picked up Everlasting, saw that it was set in the medieval period, one of my favorites, and so I bought it.
I started reading it at home and took it to work to finish it, absolutely in love with the hero, Raven. When I finished it, I clearly remember standing at my office desk, holding the book, looking at it and saying out loud, “I think I could write something like that.”
And I sat down at the computer and started to write the novel that became Time Enough to Love.
Seeds of the story had been sown earlier, in October, as I watched a program on the History Channel on The Plague. (I do have a dark and twisty side.) And I remembered a segment that talked about how royalty wasn’t spared by the disease. King Edward III’s daughter, Joanna, left England to go to Spain to wed Prince Pedro. On the way, they stopped in France. She caught the sickness and died in Bordeaux in September 1348. When I decided to write a romance novel, of course it would be set in the medieval period and the story of Princess Joanna sounded tailor made for a romance, although the main characters would be the princess’s courtiers.
The book I began on January 9th I finally finished a little over six months later, on July 28. It was 187,000 words and it had made me laugh and cry and reap the joy of creation.
Ten years later I have revised the original novel (which was hideous in all its head hopping, incorrect comma usage, dangling modifiers, and the like) and turned the book into a series called Time Enough to Love, with currently five books total in the series. The original book was crafted into three longish novellas: Betrothal, Betrayal, and Beleaguered. I later added a short story, Beloveds and a Christmas novella, Seduction at the Christmas Court. The original covers were very medieval-esque, with jewel-tone covers and a font that was the epitome of medieval script.
As part of my 10-year celebration, I gave my medieval series a make-over and had the covers re-envisioned to blend better with my brand. Today I’m unveiling the first of those covers, the cover for the complete set of Time Enough to Love:
I’ll be revealing the rest of the series one each week in January, so every Wednesday will bring a new cover in the series. Time Enough to Love: The Complete Series includes Betrothal, Betrayal, Beleaguered, and Beloveds (the only place you can now find the short story). Here is the blurb for the whole story:
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
“Lady Alyse de Courcy!” King Edward called out again, bringing Alyse’s head up like a startled deer. “Present yourself before the court.”
Alyse shot off her seat. Oh, Lord! She had kept King Edward waiting.
“I’d not want to be in her place.”
“Do you think the king will…”
Each snatch of conversation made her heart beat faster.
What will he do to me?
Her normal embarrassment at being the center of attention tripled at the thought of this blatant lapse of protocol. She stopped several feet from the dais and the room hushed as though everyone held their breath.
“What do you require of me, Majesty?” Her mouth so dry she could taste sand, Alyse fought to speak in a normal tone. With a sigh of relief, she dropped into a deep curtsy, hiding her face in the folds of her skirt. If only she could remain bowed thus before His Majesty for the remainder of the evening.
Her heart thumped wildly in her breast. That could mean but one thing.
“Rise, my lady.”
She did so on unsteady feet. “I am ready, as always, Your Majesty, to obey my father as I would you.”
Holy Mary, let it be Lord Braeton.
King Edward lifted an eyebrow toward Alyse. “A very pretty answer, my lady. And are you ready to accept your father’s decree for your betrothal? His messenger has today reached me with the contract, as I am to stand in his stead in this matter.”
Alyse took a deep breath and hoped her voice did not tremble. “Yea, Majesty, I will obey my father.”
King Edward nodded and leaned over to whisper something to Queen Phillipa, who sat beside him, heavy with their twelfth child.
Mere seconds before she learned her fate. She could scarce affect an indifferent pose before the court when inside every inch of her quivered with anticipation of the name. His name, pray God, on the king’s lips.
In her mind, she heard the word.
The king straightened, glanced at her then at the man by her side.
“What say you then, Sir Geoffrey? Does the lady not speak fair? I vow she will make you a proper wife and a dutiful one as well.”
Alyse turned, until that moment unaware that Geoffrey Longford stood beside her. Chills coursed down her body as the king’s words echoed in her mind. The sensation of falling backward assailed her, as though she rushed away from the tall man at her side even as his figure loomed larger and larger in her sight.
Not Lord Braeton.
Her numbed brain repeated the phrase, trying to comprehend that instead he would be her husband. Geoffrey Longford.
God have mercy on me, for by the look of him, this man will not.
Time Enough to Love is available on sale at the following e-retailers for $2.99 until January 31:
And now I have promised you fun and games today! So to begin with, leave a comment below and one random commenter will receive an e-book copy of Time Enough to Love and another commenter will receive a $5.00 Starbucks gift card.
And if you click here there is a Rafflecopter giveaway of a $25.00 Amazon gift card. All you need do is enter (there are several ways to get chances) to have a chance to win. Drawing will be held on January 31st.
Also, come back today at noon for a chance at different prizes and a look into how scent and the sense of smell played such a big part in the book.
TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE SERIES: