The Californios: Big Lusty Family Sagas
GOLDEN LADY and LOVE UNWILLING, were the first two books I ever wrote. Both were Romance Writers of America RITA finalists for best historical romance in 1986 and 1987. Originally I had titled them HOUSE OF CARDS and INHERITANCE OF STRANGERS. My editors at Warner Books decided these titles were not "romancy" enough, and so changed them. I toyed with using my originals when I published the e-books but decided that I didn't want to mislead readers into thinking the books were new. Given how long the stories have been out of print, they are probably new today for many! If you enjoy big old-fashioned tales where history and adventure blend with sensual romance, I hope you will love The Californios!
If the beautiful seascape cover art on GOLDEN LADY looks familiar to long-time readers, that's because it's the original cover painting! The wondrous work of Max Ginsburg, fine artist and illustrator as well as good friend, has graced many of my covers. I loved the painting he did for the print edition of CAPTURE THE SUN so much that I bought it. (It is also on the ebook edition.) Recently I bought the painting for GOLDEN LADY as well. I just had to have the cover from my very first book!
The Californio tales have always been dear to my heart, not only because I learned my craft while writing them, but also because of the strong cross-cultural conflicts in both stories. I have always made my heroes and heroines work very hard at their relationships. None have ever had as much to learn or suffered more greatly than Amanda and Esteban in GOLDEN LADY, or Ellie and Miguel and Kate and David in LOVE UNWILLING. David and Miguel are brothers, and this is another double tale of love and adventure, like LOVE A REBEL...LOVE A ROGUE and MCCRORY'S LADY. I did some editing and rewriting on both novels. I didn't want to make them "politically correct" or quicker reads. They are big sagas. But rather I wanted to clarify motives and move from setting to setting more smoothly (remember I was still learning back in the early 1980's). Many years of writing and the help of some fine editors along the way have taught me to see what I needed to do.
After I wrote GOLDEN LADY and started to work on LOVE UNWILLING, I discovered that I could use a colorful old drummer from the first book as a "walk-on" in the second book. Later in the story, Amanda herself appeared briefly. Thus began my career-long penchant for having characters from one book make cameo appearances in other books. If you have already read CACTUS FLOWER, watch for Rosalie Parker in LOVE UNWILLING, where she begins her journey from Texas to California.
Please go to Upcoming and read excerpts from both stories. If you are anticipating spring as much as I am, click on Recipe, where I've included a new one for dijon salad dressing with spring greens. Jim has another Newsletter, detailing the latest craziness around the Henke asylum. Please email me with any questions or comments via my Contact page. I promise to reply if you leave an email addy. As the days get longer and spring arrives, get outdoors, but don't forget to take a book along!