By Mary Jo
When the great e-book explosion arrived several years about (around 2011, I think?) I was fortunate to have the rights to a number of my older books that were out of print, and I happily re-released them as e-books. I love that these books are readily available to readers around the world, and at lower prices than the original print editions.
Since e-books took off, though, it's been a lot harder to persuade publishers to revert book rights to authors like me. Imagine fire breathing dragons sitting on a hoard of backlist titles, and they DO NOT WANT TO LET THEM GO!!!
But to my delight, earlier this year I was able to persuade Ballantine to return the three books in my Bride Trilogy because of a hiccup in the original contract. My tagline for the series is:
Three extraordinary women,
Three powerful men,
Three passionate,unlikely marriages.
When I wrote that, I realized that each of these was a marriage of convenience story, a trope I'm very fond of. My characters have a lot to overcome!
So now, on November 1st, I'm reissuing an e-book of the first book in the trilogy, The Wild Child.
I use this book as an example of the mysterious way stories develop. For years I'd had a mental image of a silver haired sprite who lived in a garden and didn't talk, though she was not mute. I also love twin stories (I have a couple of sets of twins among my cousins), and the research I did for my first twin book, Dancing on the Wind, indicated that female twins are often best friends, but male twins often went through a period of estrangement in adolescence as they struggle to define themselves as individuals.
I thought it would be interesting to write about estranged male twins where one of them must go to the other for help that only a twin can provide. One day that idea hit my thoughts of a silver haired lady, and Bingo! The Wild Child was born. <G>
I call it your basic mad heroine and false fiancé book. A fun fact about this story is that when I did signings, invariably someone would come up to me and ask why I'd written a book about their kid. <G>
My one medieval, Uncommon Vows, can be considered a prequel of sorts because it takes place at the same estate, Warfield, and the castle that is ruins in TWC was new and powerful in the earlier book. The Meriel of TWC is a direct descendant of Adrian a Meriel in Uncommon Vows. The later Meriel has Adrian's coloring and the first Meriel's petite size and fey quality. (What can I say? I like connections!)
Here's the blurb:
The younger son of an earl, Dominic Renbourne is offered an irresistible bribe by his arrogant, identical twin brother, Kyle, who is heir to the earldom. All he must do is take Kyle's place at Warfield Manor, where he is to politely court Lady Meriel Grahame, the orphaned and vastly wealthy heiress Kyle is pledged to marry. The deception need only take a few weeks and no one will be the wiser because the fey Lady Meriel lives in a world of her own. The last thing Dominic expects when he arrives is to be entranced by a silent sylph whose ethereal beauty is as stunning as her passionate love for Warfield's flowers and fields and creatures.
Until now, Meriel has kept her distance from normal society, spending her days at one with nature and safe from the nightmare that nearly destroyed her as a child. She is content to live alone, until the handsome intruder begins to inspire dreams of the world beyond her sanctuary. He understands her as no one else ever has–and because she lives outside society's rules, she sees no need to restrain her desire for the man who is surely her destined mate.
Though Dominic’s sense of duty helps him control his longing for his brother’s future bride, Meriel’s untamed spirit proves more powerful than he can resist. In her garden paradise, passion binds them body and soul despite the agonizing consequences.
Can Meriel forgive Dominic's deceit once she learns he is not Kyle, and can Kyle forgive the betrayal of the brother who had once been closer than his own shadow? Then past and present collide in a dangerous cataclysm that may bring destruction–or lasting love and a hope for new beginnings.
Here's a link to an excerpt:
Naturally, I couldn't leave twin brother Kyle alone and lonely even though he was kind of cranky, and his story is book #2, The China Bride, wherein Kyle finds the love of his life in a Scottish-Chinese woman on the other side of the world.
Kyle had become the business partner of a very nice Anglo-Yankee New England tea shipper, and I liked Gavin Elliott so much that he had to have his own book, The Bartered Bride. I paired him off with Amy, the daughter of Catherine Melbourne in Shattered Rainbows, except that enough years had passed that Amy, now going by her middle name, Alexandra, is all grown up, a wife, mother, widow, and captive in the East Indies. She really needs Gavin!
I don't have publication dates for books #2 and 3 yet, but I'll be releasing them some time after Christmas and I'll let you know when they become available.
As a little holiday lagniappe, I've decided to re-release my novella The Christmas Cuckoo as a standalone for 99 cents in a week or so. This is a favorite story of mind and features a lonesome soldier returning from war and a down to earth young woman who goes to the local tavern to pick up her brother's friend Jack Howard–and she comes home with the wrong Jack Howard. When Jack sobers up, he finds that he doesn't want to leave…
I released this story as a standalone several years ago, and it's also in my Christmas Revels collection, but even if you've read it, it could make a cute little Christmas virtual stocking stuffer for romance reader friends. <G>
As an interesting side note, print editions of The Wild Child and The Bartered Bride are still available because the publisher has the right to sell off stock in the warehouse, so if you prefer print to e-books, this is your chance. (The China Bride is out of print.)
I'm giving away a free copy of this book to someone who posts a comment on this blog before midnight Thursday. If you live in the US, I'll send a print or Kindle copy of the book, your choice. If you live elsewhere in the world, I'll send a Kindle copy.