Nicole Zoltack: The Test of Time


About The Test of Time

While vacationing in England, Katia spies a large mansion and somehow passes through time, landing in the arms of the otherworldly and enchanting Lord Landon. Trapped in a parallel Regency-era, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him, Katia travels through time yet again.

If Katia can’t master the test of time, she’ll never be reunited with Landon.

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“You dreamt of me?”

“Yes, many times. I always knew one day you would find your way to me.” She expected him to color again, but the look he leveled her with made her blush. “What did we do in your dreams?” Her voice carried despite the quietness of her tone.

“We… ah… got to know each other quite well.” He coughed and drank some of his mulled wine.

About the Author

nicole photoNicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. She’s also an editor for MuseItUp Publishing and works as a freelance editor.

When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her blog at She can be found on most any social media site under Nicole Zoltack. Stalk away!

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Sabrina York: Laird of Her Heart (Book One in the Dundragon Trilogy)

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About Laird of Her Heart

When Maggie Spencer is mysteriously transported to the Scotland of her ancestors, she is stunned to come face to face with him. Dominic Dundragon, the man she’s been half in love with her whole life. A man who’s been dead for 700 years.

They both have enemies aplenty. Will she have a chance to win his love, or will this adventure end in disaster?


Maggie yelped as, without warning, the burly warrior named Declan whipped her up into his arms and tossed her over his shoulder. To her horror, she lost the hold on her locket.

“Wait,” she cried. She wriggled to get free, but his grip was too hard. When she pummeled his back with her fists as he strode from the circle of stones, he chuckled. The beast. But to be fair, he was so large, it would have felt like a kitten batting him. “Put me down.”

“I willna,” he said. “The Mackintosh will decide how you die.”

All right. That shut her up. For a minute. “Die? Why do I need to die?” What the hell had she done to him?

The man following, an enormous blond with a scar tracking his cheek bent down to peer at her. “The Mackintosh’s doona tolerate spies.”

“I’m not a spy.” Seriously. She wriggled more and Declan smacked her ass.

Smacked her ass.

She’d kill him when she got free. Just kill him.

“Yer wearing the Cameron colors,” the blond said. “And the Mackintosh’s doona—”

“Right. I know. The Mackintosh’s doona tolerate spies.” Her head was starting to spin from being upside down and jounced around with each step. Her temper was on a short leash. “But honestly, if I were a spy, would I wear the Cameron colors? It seems a little counterproductive in my opinion. I mean, if I’m spying and all. I might as wear a sign that says, oh, I dunno, honk if you love spies.”

His brow rumpled but he didn’t respond. At least, not to her. “She speaks strangely,” he complained to Declan.

Her captor snorted a laugh. “She dresses strangely too.”

“Aye. She does at that. I’ve heard the Cameron lasses are a wild lot, but I had no idea—”

“I’m. Not. A. Cameron.” She reached out and smacked the blond, but only because he came close enough. He reared back and gaped at her—as though he’d never been smacked before—and then he quickly moved out of range.

It hardly mattered, because, apparently, they had reached their destination, a camp on the edge of the woods. The sounds of nickering horses and clanks of pots gave her her first clue—she was facing the other way, after all.

Her second clue was that Declan dropped her on the ground. She landed with an oof. She glared at him. He didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. “Go get my brother, Ewan,” he barked, and the blond trotted off to one of the larger tents.

When she stood and brushed off her jeans, Declan bristled and she shot him a sardonic glare. Did he think she was stupid enough to run away? For one thing, these enormous men had her surrounded. For another, she never ran. Not if she could help it.

Instead, she made a quick survey of her surroundings. The camp was little more than a huddle of tents with the forest on one side and a sweeping plain on the other. A small herd of horses were hobbled to one side and a deer roasted over a pit fire. An entire deer. Before she could silence the thought—she often had that problem—she said, “You killed Bambi.”

Declan’s brow rumpled. “I dinna kill anyone.” And then he asked, “Who is Bambi?”

“Never mind.” She crossed her arms and turned away pretending to ignore them. But she wasn’t. She was aware they were all staring at her like she was a curiosity in a zoo, but she was taking in tiny details as well. Like the fact that their clothes were all handmade and simple. Their hair appeared to have been cut with a chainsaw and their beards were scraggly and long. Their weapons were what made her mind really start to spin though.

One held a crossbow that dated from the thirteenth century. Another had a Mackintosh dirk that resembled one she’d seen in a museum once. Declan had a simple calfskin sporran tied to his belt.

Odd. Could she have wandered into some renaissance faire? But no. It had been evening when she stepped into the woods and now it was daytime. Early afternoon. And the acres of woods around the house belonged to the family. It couldn’t be—

“So.” She flinched as a deep, melodious voice wafted to her on a hint of humor. Shivers danced through her, along with a prickling sense of premonition. “You’ve captured a Cameron spy?”

She turned slowly and froze as her gaze landed on him. On that so-familiar face. Broad, handsome, savage. Much more captivating than the sketch had been. Much more captivating by far.

She must be hallucinating. She had to be.

He was the hero of her dreams come to life.

Dominic Dundragon, Laird of the Mackintosh clan.

Large, looming and in the flesh.

Her head went woozy. Her vision blurred. And then, for the first time in her life, she fainted.


 About the Author

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet and sexy to scorching romance.

Website: SabrinaYork.Com

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If you love hot Highlanders, be sure to read Sabrina York’s Untamed Highlanders from St. Martin’s Press!

Hannah and the Highlander

Susana and the Scot

Lana and the Laird—Coming in 2016

Joy Frawley: Two Worlds Two Men

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Joy will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Interview With Joy Frawley

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Joy: I started writing about two and a half years ago. I remember enjoying creative writing classes in college, but until recently I never lifted a pen or ever wrote a book.

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

AuthorPic_Two Worlds, Two Men copyJoy: You are the only person in your head 24/7 so it’s important to stay aware of what you are telling yourself and what your thoughts are. As a new writer it is easy to cave into negative self-talk; such as not being good enough or that writing the book is a waste of time since no one will ever read it etc. However, when we are aware of what we are thinking we can replace those thoughts with productive ones in order to encourage ourselves when it becomes difficult to keep writing or sending queries. Rejection and what may appear as brutal feedback on your work is all part of the process and that’s okay! It will make your manuscript and you better by improving your work and building persistence in you as a person.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Joy: Jocelyn is the main character in my book and while writing I occasionally noticed I was slipping bits and pieces of myself into her character. You’ll never get out of me which ones though because I want to keep you guessing!

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Joy: Veterinarian, nurse, airplane stewardess or teacher. Those are just the ones I remember. Apparently I thought the life span of a human was about 200 years old.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Joy: Nachos. But I consider myself a foodie so trying anything fresh and new is always high on my priority list, especially if it’s spicy. My least favorite is probably mincemeat pie simply because I’m forty years old and still have no idea what a mincemeat is. Kind of spooky if you ask me.

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Joy: I have somewhat twisted humor and if you spend any amount of time with me it will eventually spill out.

Susana: Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

Joy: Dr. Wayne Dyer is my all-time favorite. He is an inspirational writer and speaker who has influenced me tremendously in pursuing my goal of becoming published. His work has benefitted so many including myself.

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Joy: Probably dust and toys for my two dogs, Piggs and Diggs. I think they like to see their mom get on the floor and have to scuffle around to retrieve their chew toys for them. Believe me, they are cleverer than they look.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Joy: I came up with an affirmation that has helped me a great deal and that is: “You are a writer, so rewrite your thoughts to success.” It is a reminder that I have control of my thoughts and I only need to rewrite them to produce the positive results I want to achieve.

Susana: Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?

Joy: Yes, I have written multiple genres. To date I have written a romance, crime fiction and a nonfiction book. I seem to get inspired out of the blue on a topic and I just write.

Susana: What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Joy: I would like to do more speaking engagements to inspire others to pursue their dreams, especially those who are aspiring to finish their first book. I did a speaking engagement last night and was amazed at the wonderful attendees who were so grateful to soak up little tidbits I learned about becoming published. I have so much myself to learn, but most of them hadn’t been published yet so my speech allowed them to gather some pointers I learned along the way. It was beautiful to be part of that and know that we can help build each other up simply by sharing our own experiences.

About Two Worlds Two Men

Jocelyn and Neely are having a perfectly pleasant dinner at the Sheep Heid Inn when it happens: Jocelyn suddenly finds herself sitting across the table, not from Neely, but a strange man dressed in medieval garb. This man is no apparition. His eyes, the deepest brown, clearly look on her in intimacy; his touch causes her pulse to rise. Jocelyn realizes two things: from his clothes, he is clearly an aristocrat, and that she, Jocelyn Stewart, seems to be in some sort of romantic relationship with him! Minutes later Jocelyn returns to Neely, in the present day, weak and terrified. Together they begin to unravel the forgotten past and find themselves facing the reality of medieval Scotland. A strange world steeped in folklore and superstition; where life begins and often ends with the sword. As Jocelyn travels back to medieval times she learns that the man she keeps seeing is no other than Sir Colin Campbell of the powerful Campbell Clan. When Jocelyn is with Colin, she wants never to leave his side; then she returns to the present and cannot imagine herself with anyone but Neely. Jocelyn struggles with a choice. Which man will gain her heart when both offer such different love? She is in love with two different men in two different worlds.

AmazonResplendence Publishing


Jocelyn looked around for the driver who was supposed to be waiting for her arrival with a sign. She had hired someone to pick her up because, as an American and first-time visitor to Scotland, she had figured it would be less stressful.

Cover_Two Worlds, Two Men copyShe didn’t see the driver anywhere; then, just as she started feeling nervous, she saw a man holding a sign with her name on it. And what a man he was! He was broad shouldered, strong and had dark brown hair with reddish tints. He exuded masculinity like some cologne, and even across the airport, she thought she could smell it. Smoothing her unruly hair, she started to walk over to him.

The man, seeing her approach him, took a step toward her. “Are you, Jocelyn?”

When he spoke her name, she found herself frozen in place unable to respond. She’d heard this voice before; she knew this voice. This man spoke her name exactly like the dream she had had all those years ago! She had been stirred awake in bed by a voice of a man, who spoke her name with a Scottish accent. His voice was gentle and low; as if he wanted to gain her attention, but not cause her alarm. Jocelyn had clutched the sheets to her chest and stared out into the darkness of her bedroom almost feeling his intimate presence beside her. She lifted her hand up to her ear having sworn his warm breath had brushed her skin. Jocelyn remembered she had turned her head, anxiously, toward the pillow next to her and almost thought she would be looking into the eyes of a stranger; yet she had not been frightened. This man, his voice, somehow comforted her.

Now, she stood in the airport and caught her breath as she faced the man before her. Her eyes searched his face for something; though what it was she wasn’t sure. Jocelyn felt her heart beating so fast she was certain the man could hear it as memories flooded her mind of that night so long ago when he or someone spoke her name in the darkness. Was that the reason for her vacation to Scotland? Was she unconsciously trying to find the man?

About the Author

Joy Frawley is an author and writer of the upcoming romance novella; Two Worlds Two Men released in October 2014 by Resplendence Publishing. Joy lives in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan relishing in living the life of the classic “townie” with her two dogs Piggs and Diggs. You can reach her at or

Jennifer Lynn: New Prints In Old Calico

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Jennifer will be awarding a hand-painted plate (see below) (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning. Comment on the blog to enter Susana’s November Giveaway (see photo at right).

About New Prints In Old Calico

Amanda Bradshaw, a librarian from modern day New York City, is suddenly transported to Calico, a small 1880s era western town. Without warning, she becomes the new schoolmarm in Calico instead of a librarian. Bewildered by this sudden change in scene, she is befriended by the sheriff, Austen Riley, and a sympathetic saloon owner named Lil. Riley is a man with dark secrets and an axe to grind with rancher Matt Mallory, who turns Amanda’s life inside out. Matt is handsome, determined to win her as his wife, but his shady reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Still, Amanda is attracted to him as they flirt and tease, argue and banter their way towards love.

As Matt, Amy, and Matt’s young daughter, Molly, struggle to become a family, Marshall Riley plans to destroy Matt and claim Amy for his own. But how can Amy prove Matt’s innocence to the one man who wants him dead?

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Champagne Books


Cover_New Prints In Old Calico copyShe turned to Chili and blew out a breath. “Kettle on?”

He nodded and turned toward the door. “Yep. I’ll pour us a couple mugs o’ tea.”

A few minutes later, Amy was sitting at the long dining room table with a steaming mug of tea between her palms and Chili Bob waiting expectantly for her to speak.

She took a sip and studied the rim of her cup before raising moist eyes to the old man. “I’m scared, Chili. They’re bound and determined to hang Matt, no matter what.”

He scratched a bristled cheek and squinted across the table. “I’ve been telling Matt for years that we should pull up stakes and head for friendlier territories, but he’s stubborn. Refuses to let anyone run him off his own ranch.”

She looked at him pointedly. “It’s that attitude that’s going to get him killed.”

Chili nodded. “Matthew’s mulish, that’s for sure.”

Amy looked back at him with disbelief on her face and fear in her voice. “They’re building the gallows, Chili! He knew this was going to happen. He could have stopped it.”

“You can’t hide from your destiny, Miss Amy. Sometimes ya gotta stand and face it if you want to change it.

“He must face the hangman’s noose if he wants to avoid it?” She guffawed. “Great, just what I need. A nineteenth century Yoda.”


“A short green guy with big pointy ears. Says a lot of profound things.”

He quirked his eyebrow and took a mouthful of tea. “You got some strange things in that New York City of yours, that’s all I can say.”

About the Author

AuthorPic copyAfter a failed marriage, Jennifer Lynn lost herself in juicy romance novels, with the belief that there had to be a happy ending for someone. Finally, she decided to pull herself together and create her own happy endings, and several novels later, she’s still not finished.

These days she calls High River, Alberta home with her husband, and three dogs. Finding new and exciting plots makes the journey worth the hard work. No rest for the wicked, she says, but is she complaining? Nah. Does she need to find another happy ending? Yes. Want to join her in the quest? Great, you can keep each other company along the way!


Jennifer's Prize

Jennifer’s Prize


It’s Party Time on Susana’s Morning Room!


Susana’s Morning Room was born a year ago, just before my first story, Treasuring Theresa, was released on January 3, 2013. I wanted my first blog, Susana’s Parlour, to remain primarily historical/Regency-related, but I also wanted to feature some of my writer friends’ non-historical releases. And also because I read other sub-genres of romance too that I wanted to discuss from time to time.

So, voilà! I created Susana’s Morning Room to feature all sub-genres and heat levels of romance. You’ll find an eclectic mix here; the only requirement is an HEA. After I began hosting for Goddess Fish Promotions, I discovered many great new authors myself! Now I just wish I had more time to read all the books on my Kindle!

The Best Romance Books of 2013

I really can’t limit myself to one, so here are the ones that come to mind:

Diana Gabaldon: An Echo in the Bone

Susanna Ives: Wicked Little Secrets

Téa Cooper: Matilda’s Freedom

Téa Cooper: Passionfruit & Poetry

Ashlyn Macnamara: A Most Devilish Rogue

Collette Cameron: The Viscount’s Vow

Ella Quinn: The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

Joanna Wylde: Reaper’s Property

Selene Grace Silver: Brianna’s Bewitching

Susana’s Morning Room Anniversary Giveaway

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All you have to do is comment on this post with the title of one or more of the best romance books you’ve read this year. Any sub-genre. Any heat level. A random commenter will win a print copy of Cotillion Christmas Celebrations. (Be sure to include your email address in your comment.)

Dawn Marie Hamilton: Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

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Dawn Marie will gift a Kindle edition of Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon to a lucky commenter who answers the question: What is your favorite gemstone and why? Be sure to include your email addy. Feeling shy? Email Dawn Marie. A name will be pulled out of the garden hat on Tuesday September 17.


Susana: What inspired you to write?

Dawn Marie: I was always a voracious reader. In my pre-teens, I wrote diaries. Glad those all disappeared. J During high school, I wrote short stories with tragic endings. I was a dark teenager. Those have all vanished too. J College and a career kept me busy for the longest time. Then one day while on a business trip to Brussels, I saw a billboard advertisement for whisky with a hunk-worthy, bare-chested Highlander, carrying a claymore, the large two-handed sword of the Scots. (Similar to the cover for the first novel in the Highland Gardens romance series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate.) It occurred to me that I would much prefer to write about men in kilts, time travel, and faeries than instruct business analysts in the use of buggy software.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Dawn Marie: A tad more than ten years. When I started writing, I had no clue there were rules. LOL! I joined RWA and my local chapter, took workshops, joined some online chapters and a critique group, and rewrote the first novel several times. I’m happy with the results.

Susana: What advice would you give writers starting out?

Dawn Marie: Dare to dream!!! Join writing groups, take workshops, and find a good critique partner or group.

Susana: Are you a plotter or pantser?

Dawn Marie: Mostly pantser. Ideas percolate in the back of my mind for a while then I jot down a vague outline and start writing. While writing, I create character cards with character specifics. Once a couple of chapters are drafted, I use a storyboard with colored stickies to follow point-of-view shifts and plot threads.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

Dawn Marie: Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon is the second novel in the Highland Gardens series. The High Queen of the Fae has challenged a banished faerie princess to unite three unlikely couples living in different time periods. The first match takes place in book one. Finn, the hero of the second book, started talking to me while I was writing the first so I wrote him in as a secondary character. Of course, he wanted his own story. The heroine, Elspeth, is also a secondary character in the first book. They’re prophesized to be together, but must overcome treachery from several directions in order to secure their happily-ever-after.

Susana: Are you working on something new?

Dawn Marie: I have two works-in-progress for the Highland Gardens series. Potentially a novella with a holiday theme and a novel that takes place shortly after the Battle of Flodden.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Dawn Marie: Absolutely. “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~Michealangelo

Susana: What is your favorite color?

Dawn Marie: Peridot. It’s my signature color.

Susana: What is your favorite gemstone?

Dawn Marie: I love a rainbow of gems. My birthstone is peridot so it is my favorite. But I also love sapphires and garnets and amethysts and especially moonstones. Each couple in the Highland Gardens series has a signature gem. Finn’s and Elspeth’s in Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon is moonstone. Moonstones have unique qualities. Legends claim that some of the milky, blue stones have the ability to reunite lost lovers while others give the bearer the gift of second sight.

About Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Believing women only want him for his wealth, Finn MacIntyre doesn’t trust any woman to love him. When, during Scottish Highland games, faerie magic sends him back in time to avenge the brutal abduction of his time-traveling cousin, he learns he’s the subject of a fae prophecy.

Elspeth MacLachlan, the beloved clan seer, is betrothed to a man she dislikes and dreams of the man prophesized at her birth, only to find him in the most unexpected place—facedown in the mud.

With the help of fae allies, they must overcome the treachery set to destroy them to claim a love that transcends time.


Finn gripped the rowan staff in one hand and leaned against the castle’s outer wall, trying to catch his breath. The short trip from the garden left him weak. If his stamina didn’t return soon, he’d go crazy. He needed to be healthy and strong so he could go after Maclay. Then he must travel home before he did something rash concerning Elspeth.

He stopped again at the castle gate and gulped air to remain standing.

Motion on the bay caught his attention. Men rowed toward the castle in several small boats of the type made from skins and wicker, the kind Highlanders called currachs. When the crafts beached, he recognized Donald MacLachlan as the man jumped from one, strode across the pebbly beach and headed toward him.

Suddenly a weight slammed against Finn, knocking the hard-won air from his lungs. His walking stick flew from his hand as he fell to the ground. Pain shot from his thigh, to his groin, to his chest. Gasping for breath, he found Elspeth’s soft body entangled with his.

Her lush curves wrapped around him, filling his senses with all that was missing from his dreams. The scents of sunshine and roses intoxicated him. His hard-on was instantaneous.

Shit! He attempted to detangle their limbs and set her away from his ill-timed erection, but her body melded with his. She felt so right in his arms. He was tempted to hold onto her and never let her go.

Elspeth caught her breath. Everywhere Finn touched her as they tried to break apart, her skin tingled. When their gazes met, everything else faded away. The world reduced to only the two of them, and his mouth dipped toward hers.

His lips grazed hers and fire blazed through Elspeth to her toes, the moment lasting an eternity. Finn’s tongue pushed between her lips, seeking entrance. Her mind reeled. With little thought, she wrapped her arms around his waist and twirled her tongue around his. Passion. Unlike the minimal pecks she’d received from Alexander, Finn’s fierce kiss conquered, possessed.

She wanted more.

The sound of a throat clearing broke the spell, and Finn’s sinful mouth pulled away, leaving behind a fracture in the foundation of Elspeth’s expectations for the future.

How could she go on as before?

“Let me help you.”

She gazed up through the haze of awakened sensation. Uncle Donald stared at her, a sly gleam in his eyes. He reached a hand down and helped her rise before assisting Finn. Unstable on his feet, Finn leaned on her while her uncle retrieved the walking stick.

She swayed—not from the burden of Finn’s weight, but the desire awakened by their kiss.


Kindle • Nook

About the Author

Dawn Head Shot SmallDawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.

Thanks for having me as a guest at Susana’s Morning Room. It’s been a pleasure to visit.


Blog • Website • Facebook: • Twitter• Goodreads • Amazon Author Page

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Spotlight on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series + Giveaway

DSCN0027PREFACE: One random commenter will be chosen to win a pristine, hardcover with dust jacket, copy of The Outlandish Companion (1999 version), which is sort of an encyclopedia of the Outlander series. Very helpful in keeping things straight from one book to another, and includes lots of extras, like astrological readings (U.S. only).

Be sure to leave your email address in your comment so that I can notify you if you turn out to be the lucky winner!

If you’re at all like me, sometimes it irritates you when everyone around you raves about a particular book. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example. Everyone I know has read the entire series, including the hairdresser who never reads anything and a psychologist friend of mine who insists she just wanted to find out what the guy’s psychological issues were and skipped the explicit sex scenes. (Yeah, right, Jennifer!) Even my conservative Christian mother came to me one day and asked what it was about after someone in her retirement community mentioned it. I assured her that she would not like it, and I think she believed me.

In spite of all that, I haven’t read any of the Shades of Grey series. Not because of the explicit sex. I’ve read erotic romance for years and that doesn’t offend me. I think it’s just a fit of rebellion on my part. Or maybe there’s a tiny bit of envy for the author’s fantastic success. Or maybe it’s just that I have too many unread books on my Kindle already. Who knows? I’ll probably get to it someday.

Back to Outlander. I had heard raves about it for years, and one day it turned up in a box of assorted romances I bought on eBay. (I used to do that a lot…before I got the Kindle.) Anyway, it was a smaller-size, very thick book with tiny printing, and I put on the TBR shelf and didn’t get to it for at least 2-3 years.

When I finally did pull it out—I don’t remember why I did so—I found it near-impossible to put down. It wasn’t what I expected. The characters drew me—beginning with Claire, not so much her husband Frank—and it seemed like Claire’s life was constantly in danger. As soon as she’d manage to escape one peril, she’d fall into another one when you least expected it. My emotions were rollercoastering so much that I wondered how in the world this book could have a happy-ever-after. (In those days, I “cheated” by reading the last few pages first to see if the HEA was good enough to keep reading. I must have thought so since I kept on reading it.) Although I have to say that I didn’t know then that there were lots of thick sequels with more mind-blowing perils for Claire and her love interest. By the time I found out, it didn’t matter. I was hooked. I would lap up anything Gabaldon wrote for hints of news about the characters I love so well.

And I’m not the only one. Gabaldon has more than 202,000 fans of her Facebook page, and the “Daily Lines” she posts with snippets of the next installment, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, regularly gets over a thousand likes and a hundred or more comments daily. It’s gotten to the point where she has to apologize for taking so long to write it. But hey, her books can be easily a thousand pages! (I once read one in a day, but was left with a dreadful headache, so don’t do it. They’re better read slowly and savored anyway.)

Another recommendation: buy the Kindle version (or other digital format). The print versions are so heavy that I have to read sitting at a desk or table or else risk a flare-up of carpal tunnel. I bought all of the print versions before realizing that, and then bought all of the Kindle versions too. That’s an investment of over $200, and I don’t regret it one bit.

DianaGabaldon_200x200You can read about Diana Gabaldon here, but I’ll touch on some of the things that I found particularly interesting.

Gabaldon grew up around Flagstaff, AZ. Her father was an Arizona state senator; her mother’s family was from Yorkshire, England. She has an M.S. in marine biology and an earned Ph.D in ecology. In the 1980’s, she was a full-time assistant professor at Arizona State University, and did research on scientific computing. In those days, her writing was limited to science and computing.

Sometime in 1988, she decided to write a “practice novel,” just to see how it was done. She never intended to submit it to any publisher or have it published. Her initial inspiration for the primary male character came from a 17-year-old Scotsman on an episode of Doctor Who, called “War Games.” She decided to have an Englishwoman to play off all the Scotsmen, and when this character began to take over the plot and behave like a modern woman, she decided to use time travel to explain Claire’s anachronistic behavior.

After she posted an excerpt on the Compuserve Literary Forum, she was introduced to an agent, who initially got her a three-book deal. She resigned from her university position and became a full-time author at that time.

As a new author myself, Gabaldon’s story inspires me. With all these stories floating around in my head, who knows if one of them has the potential to delight readers as much as hers does? I’ll never know unless I sit myself down and get them all down in writing, will I?

Readers: If you have Outlander gathering dust on your shelf, pull it out and read it immediately. If you don’t, run, don’t walk, to get your copy. You won’t regret it. Trust me. And you will have six (soon to be seven) sequels to look forward to when you’re finished.

Authors: Get those stories in your head down on paper NOW! Your readers are out there waiting impatiently to get their hands (and eyes) on them!

outlander seriesThe Outlander Series

  • Outlander (1991) (published in the UK as Cross Stitch)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (1992)
  • Voyager (1994)
  • Drums of Autumn (1997)
  • The Outlandish Companion (1999), a guide to the Outlander series containing synopses, a character guide, and other notes and information
  • The Fiery Cross (2001)
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)
  • An Echo in the Bone (2009)
  • The Exile – An Outlander Graphic Novel (2010)
  • “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (2010), a short story in Songs of Love and Death, an anthology
  • Written In My Own Heart’s Blood (forthcoming)
  • “The Space Between” (2012), a short story in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, an anthology [7]
  • The Outlandish Companion, Vol. II (forthcoming)[8]

Twitter: @Writer_DG