In Book 1, Most Eagerly Yours, we learn that the Sutherland Sisters might not be quite as they appear. Raised as orphans by their Uncle Edward at his secluded Surrey estate, the girls have few memories of their early childhood.only frightening, fiery images that haunt their nightmares. During her mission in Bath the eldest sister, Laurel , is inexplicably attacked by a stranger who rails at her in French. He seems to know her, calls her Simone. The assailant reminds her of a member of Bath society, a Frenchman named Henri de Vere, celebrated for his role as a double agent working for the British during the Napoleonic Wars. Surely such a man would have no reason to attack Laurel . She may never know, as he disappears from Bath before he can be questioned.
The attack triggers questions, as does Laurel's sense that she has never seen the nearby Cotswolds before - though she purportedly spent the first years of her life there. A search of the area reveals no evidence of the family estate, Peyton Manor, which supposedly burned to the ground when she was six.
Spoiler Alert : If you haven't read past Most Eagerly Yours, the following divulges clues found in Outrageously Yours. You might want to stop here!
In Book 2, Outrageously Yours, while Ivy is searching for a valuable stone that has been stolen from the Queen, Laurel and her new husband follow clues to France . For as long as she can remember, Laurel has worn a man's cloak button, embossed with a crown and fleur-de-lis crest, on a chain around her neck. She has cherished the piece, believing it to have belonged to her father. Now she isn't so sure. The crest appears to be of French origin and possibly associated with an illegitimate line of the royal Valois family dating back to the 16 th century. In tracing the crest to a region in the northeast of France , she learns of a bloody family feud spanning many generations, finally ending in a fire that destroyed an estate - and the family inside - at the close of the Napoleonic Wars.
But the wars are long over, so what does all of this mean to the Sutherland sisters in the late 1830s? In Book 3, Recklessly Yours (release date: Dec. 6 th ), Holly faces new threats from the past. Readers will learn the truth about the Sutherlands' phantom estate, Peyton Manor; what the crest on Laurel 's button means; how Henri de Vere is or isn't connected to them; and what secrets Uncle Edward might have been hiding from the girls.
Shiny Sheet Article
The Palm Beach Daily News, aka The Shiny Sheet - With members of the Palm Beach Women's Chamber Foundation, April 23rd at the Chesterfield Hotel, Palm Beach, FL. What an honor to have been invited to address the Foundation at their annual Victorian Tea, a fundraising event for college scholarships for young women.
Mega Florida Romance Writers Signing Event at the Palm Beach County Library, Glades Road Branch
With fellow FRW authors Nancy J. Cohen and Linda Conrad
At a Saturday plotting workshop with authors Michael Meeske, Linda Conrad and Suzanne Rossi. Also pictured is my critique partner Sharon and friend Rose
A night out with good friend, author Cynthia Thomason at a favorite pub, The Frog & Toad
With Suvi Morales, Manager of the PB Library Glades Road Branch, at the FL Renaissance Festival
Relaxing on a sunny day...
Recent Booksignings :
Pre-Mother's Day Booksigning with authors Zelda Benjamin and Mary Ricksen. Also pictured is FRW's fabulous pan liaison. May 2010.
Signing at the Coral Springs Arts Festival with author Cynthia Thomason, April 2010.
DARK TEMPTATION wins the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Historic Romantic Gothic of 2008!
Florida Romance Writers Conference Cruise:
On Coco Cay, Allison with Cynthia Thomason, Zelda Benjamin, Sharon Hartley and Nancy Cohen
Allison and Nancy on board the Navigator of the Seas
FL Book Signing Pictures:
Multi-Author Holiday Booksigning at the Altamonte Mall in Altamonte Springs, FL, Nov. 2008
Signing with good friend, Nancy J. Cohen, at Waldenbooks in Coral Springs, FL, Dec. 2008
Allison and mystery author Nancy J. Cohen helped raise Over $5000 for Breast Cancer Research at Ladies Night Out at the Melting Pot Restaurant.
Dark Obsession Book Trailer:
Romantic Times Interview:
GOING WITH YOUR GUT: Every Writer's Guide to Getting It Right
After years of conferences, workshops, and how-to books, I've found there's one writing technique that really can't be taught, but which every writer has. Instinct. Gut feeling. That innate sense that lets you know when something you've written is working, and when it just plain isn't. It's the kind of thing you don't even need your critique group to point out to you. You just know.
Yes, we all have this ability to recognize the good and the not-so-good in what we've set down on the page. But the problem that so often arises, and can ultimately be a writer's downfall, is the inability or unwillingness to listen to what your gut tells you.
Here's why. Writing is incredibly hard work. It's a pull-your-hair-back, roll-up-your-sleeves, sit-down-and-get-serious kind of endeavor. It can take hours to craft a single scene - hours of painstaking, exhausting mental labor, at the end of which you experience a heady sense of accomplishment. It was a good day. You produced your quota and then some, and darn it all, it's good. Really, really good.
Or so you tell yourself until suddenly you realize your plot is getting away from you, and you get an odd gnawing in the pit of your stomach. Something isn't quite right and you know it, even if you can't quite put your finger on it. So you go back and reread. Oh, but your prose sparkles. Your word choice is dead on. The emotions are soaring and the chemistry between your hero and heroine sizzles. It's all wonderful and obviously you worried for nothing.
Yet there is it.that nagging little voice from deep inside suggesting things have gone awry. LISTEN TO IT! It's telling you exactly what you already know: that a certain scene just doesn't advance your plot, or a twist sends things in the wrong direction, or one of your characters is acting, well, out of character. Despite your sparkling prose and white-knuckled pacing, you need to step back and take a hard look at what you want to accomplish in your story, at who your characters are and why they do the things they do. You need to figure out how to untangle threads that have knotted and reweave them with a new perspective, in a way that's true to your characters and your story. Take it apart. TEAR it apart. It comes down to being brutally honest with yourself, and you've got to be willing to toss out whole sections if need be - no matter how beautifully written, how much time they took to write, or how much they advanced your page count. Because in the world of publishable manuscripts, those things can mean absolutely ZIP.
I've been there myself, and not all that infrequently thanks to my fly-with-the-wind style of plotting. I've used pretty much every self-persuasive argument in favor of not making changes - only to awaken in the middle of the night with a gnawing in my gut and a sleep-depriving conviction that my story will NEVER work unless I'm willing to make changes. Big, inconvenient, time-consuming changes. Because in my gut I KNOW the willingness to rip into some or even all of a story and rebuild it is what will ultimately turn an OK manuscript into a really good one. One that's publishable. And I never needed a workshop, how-to book or even my wonderful critique partners to tell me that.