I have been silent here because I have been writing. Writing stalled from October to December, and then I suddenly wrote a book (went through revisions and edits and everything), a short novella for an anthology, revised another book, and now am working on another novel, which will be done and turned in April 1.
Whew! I knew I needed to catch up, but I really got slammed. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
Leonidas has to deal with Nero in this one, who is making unreasonable demands on his time. Meanwhile, he’s trying to become a regular guy, going to his construction job, and hanging out with Cassia after. He’s hampered by conspiracies, deaths, and a mysterious ring Nero is paranoid about.
I liked writing the first chapter, in which Leonidas goes to his local popina for a drink and gets pulled into a dice game by a mysterious stranger, who proves to be not so mysterious to Leonidas.
I liked writing the other chapters too! I’m looking forward to writing book 4, which is tentatively titled Brother at Arms. (Don’t hold me to the title; it might change).
It was very nice to get back to Ancient Rome and Cassia, and it’s equally nice now that I’m in Kat Holloway’s kitchen, watching her, Cynthia, Daniel, Tess, and the gang solve another mystery. This one involves her friend Joanna Millburn, whose husband, Sam, has been accused of all sorts of crimes. Kat, who knows Sam is the most innocent man in the world, will not let him take the fall. The title of this one (book 7 of the Below Stairs Mysteries) is Speculations in Sin. More on this book when it’s done (I’ll know pre-order information and pub date soon).
The short novella I was working on is a spinoff of the Below Stairs Mysteries, a story involving Miss Townsend and Bobby (Cynthia’s friends), who help Mrs. Holloway solve a little mystery. That short story: “The Price of Lemon Cake” will first appear in a charity anthology called Pride not Prejudice, releasing in June. Once the anthology is finished, I will re-publish the story by itself.
Next on my plate, after a much-needed vacation, will be Bear Facts, a brand new Shifter novel! And then I get into a new Regency romance, but more about that anon.
I hope spring is springing wherever you are. I live in the desert, and it’s been cold, cold, cold. Never seen a winter stay consistently cold this long. I’m usually in the pool by now! Not this year. 🙂
Hi all. A lot has happened since my last post, including my mom passing away, so as you can imagine, my life has kind of fallen apart.
I’m happy to say not completely, but things have slowed way down, while I deal with the business side of death and the changes in my own life.
What that means for books is that Leonidas the Gladiator, which I am working on now, won’t be out in January. I’m now hoping for February or early March. The book is halfway done, which is nice, so when I get back to writing, I won’t have long to go.
I’m also working on re-releasing a historical novel that I’m carefully re-doing, but I’ll have details about that once it’s edited and ready.
On a positive note, I’m excited to be working on all my series again, and also starting a brand new series! Plus I’m contributing a novella to a charity anthology. I have much to write this coming year, and I’m eager to get going.
I’m not sure how swiftly things will emerge, but they will. Writing is my therapy!
The other day, I saw an author apologizing for only writing four books a year.
“Only??” I shouted (at the computer screen, not actually at her).
When did it happen that an author should feel apologetic and guilty for writing four full-length novels a year? That is a ton of work! We not only have to write the draft (for most, that is the most time-consuming and difficult), but it takes time for books to be edited and proofread, a cover designed, and then everything published.
Have patience, authors and readers! Good things come to those who wait.
But to tease you, here are some covers for upcoming stuff!
You what?” Sam Farrell glared at his acquaintance Vince Morgan in disbelief. They stood together in Jack Hillman’s lumberyard, stacks of boards climbing around them, the scent of sawdust and fresh wood filling the chilly December air.
“It was a long time ago, Sam.” Vince spoke as one who didn’t think the past important. “I’d almost forgotten about it, until I heard about Olivia’s plans.”
“And in all these years, you and Carew didn’t tell her?” Sam started to back Vince into the nearest lumber pile, barely noticing in his agitation that he did it. “Hell, no one told me either.”
Vince had just announced that Sam’s oldest friend, Olivia Campbell, was about to be screwed out of what she’d worked so hard for—her sons too.
Vince regarded Sam nervously. Sam had always been big—one of the Farrell men—and he still was, with strength that hadn’t much diminished with time. Though Sam had left Riverbend three years ago to bask in retirement in San Antonio, he’d kept himself in shape. Vince, by contrast, had let himself go.
“I never did anything with it,” Vince protested. “Didn’t demand anything from her, and neither did Carew.”
“She’s been seeing Carew,” Sam said. “So my nieces tell me. And he’s lied to her this whole time?”
“He didn’t lie. Exactly.”
“He didn’t tell her the truth. Neither did you.” Sam eased from Vince to Vince’s obvious relief. “Same thing.”
He imagined Olivia’s shock when she found out, her anger. Most of all, she wouldn’t be able to go through with her idea Sam’s nieces had told him about. It was supposed to be a deep, dark secret, but nothing stayed secret long in Riverbend.
“We did it to help her,” Vince bleated. “Dale Campbell was a mess.”
Okay, that Sam couldn’t argue with. He’d loved Dale like a brother, but it was true he could get himself into some deep shit, including shit like this he hadn’t even told Sam about. Dale had been a wild man, and everyone had been stunned when he’d married cool, sweet, beautiful Olivia. Stunned again when Dale had died in a wreck barely into his thirties, leaving Olivia with four sons between ages ten and five.
Everyone had expected Olivia to fall apart or at least sell up and move out of Riverbend, but she’d proved that steel lay beneath her gentle exterior.
Sam advanced on Vince again. “You can dress it up all you want, but what it comes down to is you’re about to break a woman’s heart. Not to mention piss off her sons, and you do not want them to be mad at you. One is the county sheriff.”
Vince lifted his hands. “What’s done is done. Carew will fix it.”
Nick Carew headed Riverbend’s one bank. He’d kept it afloat in bad times and good, and was another man Sam had known all his life. Everyone trusted Carew, he of the impeccable suits and easy words. He’d always been a hard worker, an overachiever, and he’d put Riverbend first—or so he’d claimed.
“The hell he’ll fix it.” Sam swung from Vince, ready to end this conversation. “I’ll tell Olivia myself.”
“I saw her go into the diner.” Vince’s tone indicated he was trying to be helpful.
Without a comment, Sam marched down the aisle, seeking the open double doors and cold sunshine outside.
Jack Hillman, the biker who owned the business, glanced at him from where he stocked wares at the end of the aisle. He’d been close enough to hear the entire conversation, but Sam had learned that Jack, as hard a man as he was, could keep his mouth shut.
Sam clapped on his cowboy hat as he exited into daylight and strode around the town square, ignoring its glittering Christmas decorations and big tree. A giant calendar for the month of December reposed next to the tree, with each day in the month X’d out and December 25th in a big red circle. Only six more days to go.
Sam acknowledged this peripherally as he skirted the square and headed for Riverbend’s diner.
* * *
“Dale would have loved this.”
Olivia Campbell spoke dreamily, her coffee cup dangling between her fingers. She’d drifted into thought, reaching into the past, where she’d been young, excited, and happy. She imagined Dale’s handsome face creased in his smile, a light of wickedness in his eyes.
“Is this a private conversation, or can anyone join it?”
This dry comment came from the man across the table, his graying hair making his eyes a deeper blue. Nick Carew had already been an awe-inspiring adult making his way up in the world before Olivia had finished high school.
Olivia quickly set down her cup. Nick had secured them a corner booth at the diner so they could talk quietly. Olivia should be making her announcement and asking for his assistance instead of daydreaming, but she couldn’t help herself. Things were going to change in her life and making this decision had drawn up memories of Dale and her past.
“I was just thinking how this Christmas would have made Dale so happy,” she answered. “All our sons and their wives and children coming for Christmas dinner. The house will be full and lively. Grace has already started cooking up a storm, and the other girls are going nuts with the decorating.”
“How are the boys taking that?” Carew asked, eyes crinkling.
Olivia couldn’t stop a smile. “They’re as excited as their wives, though they won’t admit it. Watching Carter and Faith help little Zach hang decorations is priceless.”
Carter, the sullen-eyed youth who’d openly defied Olivia when she’d first brought him to the ranch for an at-risk teen program, had grown into a thoughtful, kind man who loved his wife and children with deep intensity. She was proud of him for coming so far. Not that her other sons hadn’t turned out well or worked as hard—they had. She loved them all to distraction.
“And now, as I said, I want to give them all a special Christmas gift,” Olivia concluded. “One they can treasure for years to come.”
She’d rehearsed the words in her head for weeks once she’d reached her conclusion. It was time, she’d known in her heart.
Olivia had wanted to keep it all secret from her family, however, until she worked out the details with Nick. She’d need Nick’s help because if you did anything financial in this town, he was the one who drew up the documents. Hence her call to him, and Nick agreeing to meet her in the diner for lunch today—the diner, not the bank, so no one would suspect this encounter was about business.
She and Nick had dated a few times, so Olivia felt a little awkward sitting here—she’d started wondering if their relationship was going anywhere. Nick’s wife had passed on several years ago and he’d been lonely, though not seeking a commitment. He hadn’t said any of this specifically, but Olivia knew he and his wife had been in love for many years. Olivia suspected Nick was looking for companionship, not a grand passion.
Olivia didn’t mind. Dale had been her grand passion, and once he’d been taken from her, she’d believed she’d never feel passion again. Dale had left a gaping hole in her life, but at least Olivia’d had many friends and projects to fill her time, not to mention four boys to raise—five when Carter joined them. She hadn’t had time to consider another relationship, not that Riverbend had presented her much choice of single men her age throughout the years.
“Olivia.” Nick’s eyes held trepidation as he regarded her across the table. “There’s something I need to …”
“What the hell, Carew?” The booming baritone sounded next to the booth and Olivia jumped, cold coffee splashing her wrist.
“Sam,” she exclaimed, the rush of sudden pleasure startling her.
Sam Farrell hovered beside the table, his muscular bulk blocking Olivia’s view of the festively decorated restaurant. His hard face was flushed in rage, his hair mussed from the hat he’d yanked off and tossed to the nearest seat.
The jolt that went through Olivia was an electric tingle of pleasure, a realization that she was very happy to see Sam, who’d moved from Riverbend three years ago, with only sporadic visits since. Whatever Sam was mad about didn’t mar the impact of his presence.
She flashed back to the day she’d come upon him and Dale Campbell lounging insolently on the high school bleachers, both trying to surreptitiously consume their longneck beers. Two wild Texas boys with cowboy hats and big smiles.
Dale had stolen Olivia’s heart, but that hadn’t blinded her to Sam’s appeal. Sam had been madly in love with Caroline, his high school sweetheart, until the day she’d died. Sam and Caroline had helped Olivia through her loss, and she’d always counted them her closest friends.
When had her feelings for Sam changed to more than friendship? Olivia wondered now. Or had they? Maybe she was just horny. The theory that sexual need waned with age was laughing at her right now. Sam might have gray in his hair and lines on his face, but neither lessened his strength or attractiveness.
“Have you told her?” Sam was demanding of Carew.
Nick’s lips thinned. “Haven’t had the chance.”
“Haven’t had the chance?” Sam’s voice rose. “What the hell are you talking about? You’ve had twenty-seven years.”’
Olivia pulled her wayward thoughts together and paid attention to Sam’s outrage. “Twenty-seven years to do what?” she asked.
The men jerked their heads around. They regarded her exactly as Adam and Grant had once done as pre-teens trying to figure out how to explain why they’d been caught arm-deep in the refrigerator well before dinner.
“To do what?” Olivia repeated when neither answered. “Sam? When did you get back to Riverbend? And what hasn’t Nick told me?”
Nick sent Sam a hard look as though warning him to keep quiet, but Sam ignored him.
“I heard you were planning to sell Circle C,” Sam said to Olivia. “To your kids for a buck, as a Christmas gift.” He lifted a hand when Olivia tried to cut in. “What you’ll find out as soon as the legal stuff kicks in is that you don’t own half of your ranch. Dale sold it off years ago and swore everyone involved to keep it a deep dark secret from you.”
James Gillies is working on the audio book as we speak.
There will be more Captain Lacey to come. He will return to London and carry on investigating crime in its streets.
Next I am working on Leonidas the Gladiator Book 3: The Ring that Caesar Wore. Once more I’ll travel back to Ancient Rome and follow Leonidas and Cassia through the streets of Rome where they navigate danger and the mercurial Nero.
I anticipate a January release and will post per-order links when I have them.
In the world of Kat Holloway, I’ve signed a contract to write at least two more books (Book 7 and 8) in that series.
Also, I just did two virtual interviews about The Secret of Bow Lane (August 2022) with Murder by the Book in Houston and Poisoned Pen Mystery bookstore in Scottsdale.
I will do much more writing next year! As I say, more Kat Holloway and Captain Lacey, and more romances (Riding Hard, a new Regency series, more Shifters and Mackenzies) plus hopefully more Stormwalker!
A lot has been going on in my personal life (we are moving my mother into more advanced care), but writing is my refuge. It does help me to deep dive into these worlds I’ve created. I appreciate those who encourage me to write more!
I have just put a Riding Hard Christmas novella (A Riverbend Christmas) on preorder for a November release. I had a lot of fun returning to Riverbend to catch up with Adam, Grant, Carter, Tyler, Ross, Kyle, and Ray and the rest of the family. No fear, it will be in print and audio as well as ebook!
I decided to make the main romance in this story about Olivia, the Campbell brothers’ mom, who raised five sons alone. I thought–she seriously needs some HER time!
I wasn’t quite sure who Olivia would fall in love with, until I read through the entire Riding Hard series, and in walked Sam Farrell, the uncle of Bailey and Christina (heroines of books 1 and 2). Sam! He’s warm and sweet, but strong and handsome, and he and Olivia have been friends for decades. He’s alone, she’s alone … And the story was born.
I know Olivia has been dating the town banker off and on, but, well … you’ll see what happens with that. Also I was able to look in on Lucy, the Malorys’ sister, and Karen Marvin and her new attraction, Jack. More books will come of that!
I’ll post again next week about the release of the next Captain Lacey Regency Mystery, Murder in the Eternal City, and then about what to expect coming up. Many things!
This has been a rough year for me in many ways, and I’m grateful I have my stories to sink into, characters who embrace me and make me whole again.
I just inked a contract (well, docu-signed it) with Penguin Random House for two more Kat Holloway mysteries! Book 7 will be called Speculations in Sin, and Kat will help her dear friend Joanna (who looks after Kat’s daughter Grace) with a terrible problem. I’m not sure of a publication date, but will let you know when I know.
The feedback on Secret of Bow Lane (Book 6) has been wonderful! Thank you to everyone who has posted comments, reviews, or contacted me about it.
I have more mysteries and romances coming up next!
Much has happened since my last post. We tried for months to move to our summer house in the cool mountains but were stymied by ongoing renovations. The kitchen was supposed to be finished in March but because of slowdowns all around, it wasn’t until the first of July. I didn’t want to move into the house while work was still being done, not because we couldn’t deal with it, but because our remaining cat is mostly blind and mostly deaf and I didn’t want him getting hurt.
Now we are in the mountains, which is 30-40 degrees cooler than our desert house. The cat has adapted amazingly well–I was picturing having to assist him to find his litter box etc., but he kind of wandered about, using his nose, whiskers, and feet to figure things out. He now runs up and down the stairs, knows exactly where the food and his sofa is (note: “his” sofa–he sometimes lets us sit there too), and has adapted very well.
What about books? I’m writing them! Next Tuesday is the release of the sixth book in the Kat Holloway series. Yay!!!
Find this book at booksellers everywhere or online:
Kat Holloway is amazed to meet a woman who claims that Kat’s so-called husband was murdered, and not only that, left a fortune behind. Can the two find it? Kat knows there’s much more going on, and recruits Daniel and her friends to solve the mystery of her former husband’s death.
The books are gorgeous! Out August 2!
What else am I working on? Lots of things. Captain Lacey Book 16 (Murder in the Eternal City) is about to go to the proofreader. I’m also working on a new Leonidas the Gladiator, another Kat Holloway, and going back to my Western romance series to do a Christmas story and more. That’s just in the immediate future. Much more after that!
As I mentioned in a previous post, Tiger’s Daughter is now on pre-order for a May 24 release. It will be in paperback, e-book, and audio. The paperback is currently pre-orderable only on Amazon, but it will be at Barnes and Noble and other places on release day.
I will have it at Kobo and Google closer to release date.
Connor Morrissey hits his Transition—hard—and Shiftertown braces for chaos. His transformation into a fully adult Shifter comes early and is lightning fast, heightened by Connor’s very special heritage. Connor spirals out of control, ready to fight for his place in the hierarchy, and his instincts tell him his place is very high.
Only the touch of Tiger-girl cuts across Connor’s pain …
She’s there for him, beautiful, powerful, but a fish out of water, struggling to makes sense of the real world. As Tiger’s daughter, she’s more than an ordinary Shifter, inheriting Tiger’s strength and intelligence in addition to the enhancements the Shifter Bureau black ops team made to her in secret.
Then Connor is captured by those who will use him to enhance their own power. Tiger-girl knows the mate bond is forming between them—losing Connor will tear her apart. But can she risk being found by those who want to turn Tiger-girl into the most deadly Shifter of all time?
Now Tiger-girl must choose between her safety or exposing her whereabouts to free him …
I am so pleased to bring this book to you! I have had a wonderful time hanging out with Connor and Tiger-girl.
After months of nothing much happening (except constant writing), I have a lot to tell you!
The Below Stairs mysteries have been picked up for two more books! Book 6 is out this year (August), and I have just accepted an offer to write Books 7 and 8. More Kat Holloway! (The lovely cover of Book 6: More about it here: https://katholloway.com/the-books/the-secret-of-bow-lane/)
2. I also recently signed with Dragonblade, an indie imprint run by Kathryn le Veque, to write three Regency novels! These will be hot Regencies about three soldiers returning from Waterloo to re-start their lives. Drama, humor, and scorching love scenes await! The books will be out in 2024, so there will be much more information to come (titles, pub dates, covers, etc).
3. I am pleased to have received rights back to two of my Stormwalker books I write as Allyson James (Firewalker and Shadow Walker). I am in the process of re-covering the whole series, and republishing the books I’ve received rights to. Because of this, I’ll be able continue writing the series! I’m so excited! Much more about all this in due time.
4. Tiger’s Daughter is now up for pre-order! Pub date May 24. I will do a separate post with all the details.
I also was able to take a long-anticipated vacation!! (Vacation? What’s that?) We took a cruise up and down the coast of California, stopping in at San Francisco, Santa Catalina Island, and San Diego. I love SF, though it was cold! I’d never been to Catalina, and I loved it! Must make a special trip there for it’s own sake. (Pics are both of Avalon on Catalina).
I’m back home now and working on more books! Much to write!