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Archive for July 16th, 2011

Guest Blogger: Denise Agnew (Contest)
Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Gritty Historical Novels

by Denise A. Agnew

Romance novels have a happy ending, and that’s one of the reasons why I love them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like a novel with grit. You know, the type of novel that really is heart-wrenching, makes you think something seriously bad is happening to the hero and heroine and that they will have to fight for their lives and their happiness.

While I love writing contemporary novels, I’ve found my true voice in historical romance. Here I feel like I can sink my teeth into everything dramatic, romantic.

Research isn’t something I shy from when I’m researching a historical novel. In fact, it’s one of the elements I find compelling. Not only do I discover what I need to accurately portray the people and times for that novel, I love learning about a new time period and place.

Historical novels are calling on me at all levels lately. In summer 2010, Samhain Publishing released a reprint of my Jack The Ripper novel (original title Midnight Rose) under the title Dark, Deadly Love. On January 4, 2011 Samhain released For A Roman’s Heart. Both novels have stunning covers! Thank you to the wonderful artist Kanaxa. In June of 2011 Samhain released Before The Dawn and it also has a beautiful cover. Each novel started with a kernel of an idea and blossomed into a story I loved writing.

And what about the future? I have six…count ‘em…six historical novels either in the works or in the idea stages. The six are broken into two separate trilogies but they all involve paranormal elements.

Here’s a tidbit of BEFORE THE DAWN to tantalize you.

A fallen woman must decide to stay down, or rise and fight…

Elijah McKinnon has been found innocent of a heinous murder, but it doesn’t erase the hellish years in prison he endured. He boards the train to Pittsburgh a changed man, certain he will never feel free until he’s wreaked revenge on the brother who ruined his life.

The passenger who catches his eye is intriguing, but he’s seen her kind before. The kind who puts on airs—and looks down on Irishmen. Still, he can’t seem to stop himself from stepping between her and a pack of ruthless cads.

Mary Jane Lawson is grateful for the handsome stranger’s help, but her journey has a higher purpose: to rise above her shattered reputation and declare her independence, come flood or famine. Propriety says she should refuse Elijah’s suggestion they pose as husband and wife—for her own protection, of course. Her practical side says it won’t hurt to pretend, just this once.

Come nightfall, though, their little charade must be carried all the way to shared sleeping quarters, where their vulnerabilities become painfully clear. And when danger past and present threatens, trusting each other becomes a matter of life and death.

Product Warnings: A hot Irish accent mixed with high adventure may cause combustion. Beware of falling for this hunk. The heroine says he’s hers.

She stumbled along in his wake, no energy to ask why they pushed onward into the woods where no one from the train could help them. Thinking that far ahead caused more trepidation, so she concentrated on planting one shoe in front of the other. After what seemed an endless time, a rocky outcropping and massive hill rose in front of them.

“Thank the saints.” He tugged her forward. “Here.” He released her hand long enough to shove aside shrubbery and reveal a tall opening. She saw his throat work as he swallowed hard. “Damnation. I don’t want to go in here, but we must. I’ll go first, you follow.”

His voice snapped like a general, and she flinched. His eyes went hard, unyielding.
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