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Archive for January 5th, 2011

Thanks, Fatin, for inviting me today.  I’m delighted to introduce readers to SINS OF HIGHLAND DEVIL (Jan. 2011 ~ GCP), book one in my new Highland Warriors trilogy.

A new year seems an excellent time to begin a new series.  I’ve been writing my Kintail MacKenzies for so long and love them dearly.  But I’m really excited about Highland Warriors.  It’s been exhilarating to write new characters and visit other beautiful Highland places.  So this change has been and is a good one, welcome and invigorating…

Highland Warriors ~ a new trilogy

Three proud warriors locked in a struggle for victory
Three beguiling women united in their vow to restore peace

For generations, the Glen of Many Legends has been beset by strife and bloodshed as three Highland clans claim ownership to the land. The chieftains are powerful, noble, and refuse to relinquish their birthright.
After enduring years of fighting and rivalry among their clans, three cunning, beautiful lasses band together to accomplish what no army can—they will bring order and goodwill to their beloved homeland. And the chieftains’ swords and armor will be useless against the ladies’ onslaught as the campaign moves from the battlefield to the bed chamber.

Sins of a Highland Devil

Known throughout the Glen of Many Legends as “The Devil,” James Cameron leads his clan with ruthless determination. He knows no weakness—until a headstrong, flame-haired beauty from a rival clan tempts him to sin.
Catriona MacDonald’s past encounters with James have proved that ladies who play with fire can get scorched. But her brush with this devil leaves her burning to feel his touch once more, even though the fierce warrior is her sworn enemy.
The king has ordered three clans to battle to the death to determine dominance once and for all. If the Camerons succeed, the MacDonalds will fall. Yet James must fight for his family, his honor, and his very life even as he surrenders to his desire to possess Catronia at any cost.

***

There have been lots of changes in romance since my first book, DEVIL IN A KILT, sold over a decade ago.  I’d even now call romance the genre of a hundred faces.  There’s something out there for every taste and inclination.

With ever changing reader tastes, authors coming and going, others reinventing themselves, some disappearing, a few taking the world by storm, and the myriad ways readers find and get books these days, it’s a wild new world.  Certain genres have been declared dead (including my own: historical) and yet continue to flourish with authors like myself consistently contracted and also with a steady crop of new historical authors hitting the scene each year and doing well.  Chic lit seemed unstoppable and then did kick the bucket.  (I might be wrong as I don’t follow this genre?)  Dark paranormals and urban fantasy are clearly the flavors of the day.  Erotica also appears to have legions of fans.  And who ever knew zombies would appear on the same page as Jane Austen?

Something for everyone, as said.

That’s surely good.

But as someone who prefers comfortable old shoes to glitzy new heels, I’m grateful that some things stay the same.

It remains an incredible rush to finish a book.  Seeing characters come alive in my imagination and on the page still awes and delights me.  Getting an email from my editor with the back cover copy remains exciting and that first glimpse of a new cover is amazing.  The delivery of a box of author copies – finally getting to hold the book in your hands – that’s such a great feeling.

Other things stay the same and I wish they’d change.  The workload is beyond description.  Writing is very hard work and all-consuming.  Nor are there paid holidays or sick leave; there isn’t a steady guaranteed paycheck, and forget health insurance.  Deadlines rule and one thing is certain: when the deadline fires burn the hottest, something will happen to turn your world upside down and make you CRAZY.  If something BIG is going to break, flood, or explode, it’ll happen now.  You become a disaster magnet.  Friends and family will also develop urgent needs and demands and wishes from you just then when you most need to be on Planet Pluto and surrounded by quiet, empty space.

But the good outweighs the bad.  One of the greatest blessings of being a writer is making a difference in someone’s life, giving a reader a few hours of escapism away from their cares.  That’s a great privilege and I’ve met so many wonderful readers over the years.  It’s for them that I write and knowing they are out there, waiting for the next book, makes any deadline dragon worth battling.

That, too, will surely stay the same.  Readers who enjoy my kind of stories will find my books and readers who prefer zombies in Austen-land will find those books.  Etc, etc… There really is something for everyone.  And that really is good.  But – between us – I’m not trading my comfy old shoes for glittery stilettos.

Read on if you enjoy my kind of Scottish medievals.  Here’s an excerpt from SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL…

The excerpt below is from chapter one and shows James, the hero, on the battlements at his home, Castle Haven. James is with his cousin, Colin, and they are looking down at the Lowland workmen setting up viewing stands for the trial by combat soon to take place. Neither man is pleased. James becomes particularly annoyed when he spots the heroine, Catriona.

***

Nearly a fortnight later, James Cameron stood atop the battlements of Castle Haven and glared down at the worst folly to ever darken the Glen of Many Legends. Wherever he looked, Lowlanders bustled about the fine vale beneath the castle’s proud walls. A different sort than the lofty souls gorging themselves on good Cameron beef in his great hall, these scrambling intruders were workmen. Minions brought along to do the nobles’ bidding, their busy hands erected viewing platforms while their hurrying feet flattened the sweetest grass in the glen.
Already, they’d caused scars.
Deep pits had been gouged into the fertile earth. Ugly, black gashes surely meant to hold cook fires. Or – James’ throat filled with bile – the bodies of the slain.
On the hills, naked swaths showed where tall Scots pines had been carelessly felled to provide wood. Jagged bits of the living, weeping trees littered the ground.
“Christ God!” James blew out a hot breath, the destruction searing him with an anger so heated he wondered his fury didn’t blister the air.
He went taut, his every muscle stiff with rage.
Beside him, his cousin, Colin, wrapped his hands around his sword belt. “They haven’t wasted a breath of time,” he vowed, eyeing the stout barricades already marking the battling ground where so many men would die.
A circular enclosure better suited to contain cattle than proud and fearless men.
James narrowed his gaze on the pen, unable to think of it as aught else. “Only witless peacocks wouldn’t know that such barricading isn’t necessary.”
Colin flashed a look at him, one brow raised in scorn. “Perhaps they do not know that Highland men never run from a fight?”
“They shall learn our measure soon enough.” James rolled his shoulders, keen to fight now. “Though” – he threw a glance at the men working on the nearest viewing platform – “I might be tempted to flee their hammering!”
Half serious, he resisted the urge to clamp his hands to his ears. But he couldn’t keep an outraged snarl from rumbling in his throat. The din was infernal. Any moment his head would burst from the noise. Each echoing bang was an ungodly smear on the quiet of the glen, most especially here, in this most beauteous stretch of the Glen of Many Legends.
Equally damning, the MacDonald wench once again stood at the edge of the chaos. On seeing her, he felt an even hotter flare of irritation. He stepped closer to the walling, hoping he erred. Unfortunately, he hadn’t. She was truly there, hands on her hips and looking haughty as she glared at the Lowland workmen.
Joining him at the wall, Colin gave a low whistle. “She’s Catriona MacDonald, the chief’s sister. Word is she’s the wildest of that heathenish lot.”
“I know who she is.” James glared at his cousin, not liking the speculative gleam in his eye. “And she is wild – so prickly some say she sleeps in a bed of nettles.”
Colin laughed. “She’s bonnie all the same.”
James scowled at the lass. “So is the deep blue sea until you sink in its depths and drown.”

***

To ring in the New Year and celebrate Highland Warriors, I’m giving away one copy of SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL.  I’ll post the book anywhere in the world, so International readers are welcome.

May all your reads be great ones!
Sue-Ellen Welfonder
www.welfonder.com

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