Today is my 4th published book’s birthday! I’m starting to enjoy this whole release day stuff.
Written in the Cards is the story of Maggie Rutherford and Ben Morgan, both Yankees who have made their way west. Maggie is from a wealthy New York City family, and she jilts her society groom (whom she never loved) at the altar and flees much like Julia Roberts did (numerous times) in The Runaway Bride. Maggie has a secret—she is writing and illustrating dime novels under the male pen name of Lud Madison. She heads west to experience the adventures that she writes about, and it lights her writing on fire.
Ben, a Boston Civil War veteran, came to the prairie to homestead after the war, bringing with him his childhood sweetheart. When his wife is killed during the infamous Indian raids, he detaches from all emotion and becomes a roaming gambler. Ben meets Maggie as he’s fleeing from a gunslinger who wants him dead, and the issue at the heart of the book is whether Ben will run from his growing attraction to Maggie and the outlaw’s promise of death—or will he make a stand for his life—and love?
Written in the Cards was fun to write in part because I’m an author just like Maggie. I liked seeing how she would approach research and writing since she’s living in the 1870s without the advantage I have of using the Internet. Few public libraries existed in her era, and for the most part Maggie relies on both her imagination and interviewing people who have first-hand knowledge of the topics she wants to write about.
I feel blessed that I’ve been able to publish 3 other historical romances prior to this book. One thing that feels like the icing on the cake is being able to dedicate my novel to someone close to me.
I didn’t have a doubt in my mind who deserved the 1st book’s dedication. Music For My Soul recognized my critique partners—Lynn, Wendy, and Suzanne. Their fine eye to detail and constant feedback propelled me to not only completing manuscripts, but making sure they were the best possible before I submitted them for consideration. I literally couldn’t have done it without them.
Book #2, Outlaw Muse, was in honor of my parents. I’m lucky to still have them around and in my life, and I wanted to make sure I recognized their wonderful support of my writing over the years.
My last release was dedicated to my wonderful husband. Romance writers get SO many questions, but THE one question always seems to be whether or not I’ve used my husband in “researching” the . . . um . . . action in my books—namely the bedroom action. A Game of Chance actually had its germ of a beginning when my husband shaved his mustache. It gave him a totally different appearance, which spurred countless ideas and became a book about twins separated at birth who don’t know the other one exists and mistaken identities. As for the love scenes? Let’s just say I don’t might putting in the practice hours with my better half. After all, practice makes perfect!
But for Written in the Cards, I knew immediately as I wrote it that the dedication would be for my daughter. I created a strong heroine in Maggie. She is smart, talented, courageous, and loyal—all things I see in my own child. I raised my kid to think for herself. To pursue her passions. To believe in herself. To be open to new situations. And I incorporated all those characteristics into Maggie Rutherford. While physically they may not match, their hearts and souls do mirror one another.
So as I celebrate the publication of another novel today, I also celebrate the woman my daughter has become.