Old Friend EE Elisabeth Burke has some exciting news to share and I’m very happy that I can help. She was asked to participate in a groundbreaking writing project. Quite a feather in her cap if I say so myself. This project involves 45 of the best western romance authors in the business. Each lady chose one of 50 states and wrote a story set there with a mail order bride theme. No one has ever attempted anything like this before. My hat is off to them.
Here’s a short Q&A:
Gosh, that series sounds so amazing, Elisabeth. How were you chosen to participate?
Kirsten Osbourne asked if I was interested. I loved the concept, and jumped at the chance to work with her and other talented authors in a publishing first. No way I’d say anything but yes!
How much input did you have on the story line, cover, location, etc?
The general idea of 50 brides 50 states came from Kirsten, as did the prequel, which sets up the factory fire that loosely ties the books together. We agreed to use the precipitating event to anchor our stories and as a starting point. We selected our states/territories and our heroines’ names and created their story lines. Most authors wrote about the factory girls. I took a slightly different twist and wrote about the rich daughter of one of the factory owners who gets to know these girls when she reaches out to help.
Victoria, Bride of Kansas, goes on to tell the story of a jilted socialite who becomes a mail-order bride. She travels a thousand miles to marry the romantic suitor whose letters won her over, unaware she’s been corresponding with his meddling sister. (http://bit.ly/VictoriaBride)
Some of us joined together in “correspondence groups” to tie books more closely together through connections and friendships. My “correspondence group” includes characters from books by Kirsten Osbourne, Katie Crabapple, Cassie Hayes and Emily Claire.
Kirsten asked artist Erin Dameron Hill to create a cover template, and Erin designed most of the covers. Some authors designed their own. The process was quick, easy and I’m delighted with the outcome.
What has impressed me most about working on this project is how professional everyone has been throughout the whole process. We agreed on a pricing ($2.99, with a FREE prologue), a distribution strategy, a release schedule based on statehood, and a host of other things. I’d say everyone’s professionalism and our immense respect for Kirsten has made this project go much smoother than you’d imagine with so many personalities.
What problems did you encounter that you wouldn’t have writing a stand-alone book?
I wouldn’t call them problems as much as limits or boundaries. We had set parameters such as rating (sweet), word count, cover template, branding and promotions. In some cases, decisions were made as issues arose. We worked things out in the group, with Kirsten carrying the “swing” vote. She’s a benevolent “Kween”– firm, but kind. Of course, we all see this as a huge opportunity to take a step forward in our career. But we’ve made some wonderful friendships along the way, too, and the level of mutual support has been outstanding.
Discover the rest of the books in the series: www.newwesternromance.com
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Victoria needs a miracle…
Jilted society miss Victoria Lowell travels over a thousand miles to marry an Irish suitor whose romantic letters won her heart. Upon arriving in Kansas, she discovers her betrothed has little enthusiasm for marriage and less Christmas spirit than Scrooge.
Divorced shopkeeper David O’Brien wants nothing to do with matters of the heart. However, his young daughter needs a mother, and his meddling sister believes she’s done him a favor by corresponding with a mail-order bride. Reluctantly, he holds off on revealing the author of the letters, giving Victoria until Christmas Eve to prove she can manage his troubled child.
When the truth finally comes out, it will take more than a miracle to deliver a happily-ever-after in time for Christmas.
She searched his face with a kind of desperate hope that sent a shudder through him. “Can you love me, David?”
The simple question struck with the force of a hard punch. He leaned back, staggered. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’d known from the start what she expected, what she’d come out here to find. Only, he had fooled himself into thinking he could satisfy her with physical passion. But no, she would accept nothing less than love.
Sadness pulled at her eyes. “I didn’t think so.”
Victoria arrives tomorrow, Dec. 22nd.
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Santa’s Mail-Order Bride follows characters introduced in Victoria, Bride of Kansas. I’m one of those readers who’ll finish a book one day and buy the sequel the next. I figured other readers might be like that, too, so I’m releasing these books back-to-back.
Maggie has an unexpected suitor—in a red suit.
Schoolteacher Maggie O’Brien comes home for Christmas on a mission: to gather toys for orphans living on poor farms in southeastern Kansas. She’s made her list, but there’s no Santa in sight. Not until a local shopkeeper volunteers his services.
Gordon Sumner sets his mind on winning the black-haired Irish beauty, but Maggie’s brother is his fiercest competitor and O’Brien’s loyal sister gives him the cold shoulder. Undaunted, he comes up with a clever plan.
Maggie sees through the fake Santa’s ploy; but with Christmas just around the corner, she’s running out of time to make the holiday happy for needy children. She accepts his help—with a plan of her own. She’ll play matchmaker and find her persistent suitor the perfect bride.
She tasted of peppermint and tea, a delicious combination, somehow sweet and seductive at the same time. Holding her tight against him, he sampled the flavor on her lips, which softened and parted beneath his. He longed to linger, to feast…but not here, in front of a giggling dressmaker. He’d only intended a brief kiss, just enough to let her know what it could be like between them, as well as to make it clear to the rest of the world that he’d laid claim to her.
Regretfully, he lifted his mouth.
She blinked, dazed, and with a shocked gasp, stepped backwards, her cheeks flaming. “H-have you lost your mind?”
Perhaps. Coming to a decision as important as marriage within a few days was madly spontaneous, even for him. He hoped he wouldn’t regret it, but at the moment he couldn’t dredge up one ounce of caution. “Can’t Santa kiss his wife under the mistletoe?”
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Weave together rich historical detail, passionate romance, add a dash of suspense and you have books by E.E. Burke. Her chosen settings are the American West, and her current series takes place during the tumultuous era of America’s steam railroads.
Her writing has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream…writing stories readers can get lost in.
Victoria, Bride of Kansas: http://bit.ly/VictoriaBride
Santa’s Mail-Order Bride: http://bit.ly/SantaBride
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