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In Which The Countdown Officially Begins!

I can’t wait for JAL’s new masterpiece!

What a fun and sexy romp this will be!

Will my new Halloween historical be able to stack up?

Dear Reader,

I don’t know if you know this, but October is my favourite month. The air has turned fresh and crisp, and smells of smoke and dying wood. The leaves crunch under my wellies when I take my dog for long walks around Silvermere Lake and along the Stave River on which I live. I start wearing the sweaters I knitted over the summer, and instead of donning just a thin t-shirt and a summer skirt, my clothing piles up in layers on top of me, so that I look like a young Mrs. Weasley—or a tea cozy, as the case may be. My husband and I make up our bed with the heavier blankets, a cozy nest of organic bamboo, wool, and down comforters. My mum’s birthday is in October, as is Canadian Thanksgiving—both of which will be celebrated next weekend. I will make so much food, we won’t be able to fit inside the house! Especially not after we eat it.

And, of course, the best part of October is that the countdown to Halloween officially begins. I start to imagine my outdoor decorations, take stock of what candy we have left over from last year, and buy much more Emergency Back-Up Candy than I really need— hence the leftovers every year. I make Halloween greeting cards for my friends and start collecting pumpkin recipes for using up the future Jack O’ Lanterns after they start to sag, but are still yummy enough to eat! Does anyone else eat their Jack O’ Lanterns? It strikes me as a particularly pagan ritual akin to burning a Wicker Man—which entirely appeals to my bloodthirsty All Hallows sensibilities X^D

This year, there is even more reason to celebrate my favourite season, an event that has never before made Halloween even more fantastic than it already is! The day before the fateful night, on October 30th, my very first romance novel comes out with Avon/HarperCollins. This time last year, I had no idea that in nine short months I would sell my first historical romance to Avon, and make one of my dreams come true. I had no idea that the book would come out so fast that my head would still be spinning and my heart palpitating as the countdown began! It’s been such a whirlwind, not unlike a romance, and with what I hope will be equally life-changing results. Once you become a romance author, Dear Reader, you never want to go back.

I am extremely excited about October 30th, and not only because my own book comes out. I’m thrilled to report that Midnight In Your Arms and I, its humble author, will be in very grand company indeed! For that very same day, Julie Anne Long’s new book A Notorious Countess Confesses and Eloisa James’ new novella Seduced By A Pirate both come out as well. There is a wonderful reassurance there, as if my shy debutant of a novel is taking courage and strength from more experienced and renowned compatriots. I am humbled to be in such illustrious company, and can only hope to live up to Ms. Long’s and Ms. James’ shining examples of what can happen when aspirations become reality. I feel like they will be my good luck charms. I can only hope to live up, even in part, to their achievements! Congratulations to them both, and to Avon, on their upcoming releases.

As for you, Dearest of Readers, please check back with me on any social media platform you like best this month, as I have some fun little giveaways planned, to thank you in advance for being so kind to me and my little book to be. I hope you will enjoy your beautiful, crisp October as much as I plan to do. If you take any pictures of your decorations, please leave me a link so that I can oooooh and ahhhhhh over your creations! I need all the inspiration I can get, and it can’t all come from Martha Stewart, now, can it?

Happy Halloween To Come!

Love,

Morgan.

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In Which Midnight In Your Arms Receives Critical Pre-Release Praise!

I’m absurdly pleased to see that this cover featuring the inimitable Waldo is the one in which the review for Midnight In Your Arms is wrapped!

Dear Reader–

There is no better feeling than finding out that someone other than a dear friend, relative, or editor has read one’s book and really liked it. There is something about unbiased praise that makes the author’s heart beat just a little bit faster as the reality of critical acceptance seeps in. Hopefully the initial praise will make the bad reviews easier to bear, because every writer has to face them eventually! For me, I can at least say to myself–Not Yet!

My first unbiased reader was the lovely and talented (not to mention ridiculously handsome) writer Michael Boccacino, the author of the eerie and evocative historical novel Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling. Just knowing that he had read it and liked it was wonderful enough–but he was also kind enough to write the following concerning my debut book: “A lush Gothic romance nested within a time-traveling ghost story, Midnight in Your Arms is the very best kind of fairytale, an inventive tapestry of the nostalgic and the new that begs to be read into the early hours of the morning. A marvelous debut!

Then, whilst I was away on a mini-vacation this past week, my editor sent me an email with an attached scan of a page from this week’s Publishers Weekly–and guess what?! They had published a review! A POSITIVE one! I was deeply thrilled, as you can imagine, Reader. I’m still glowing.

This is what Publishers Weekly had to say: “Kelly’s thoughtful debut novella sensitively evokes the horrors of war and the emotional difficulties facing veterans in peacetime, and the atmospheric descriptions of 1920s London and Victorian high society illuminate the temporal and social differences separating the lovers.”

Any positive or even just slightly lukewarm review from PW would have made me happy–but this review really made me feel like a bajillion dollars, because it took note of the very things I most wanted to get right. One thing was the historical impact of war, not only on a country, but on the individual psyche. I wanted to write about two people who didn’t know if they were still human, or if they even had it in them to love–and have those two people find themselves in each other. I also wanted to get right the mood of the two eras–for you, Dear Reader, to feel like you are really there with Alaric, a prisoner encased in Victorian Gothic splendour. I wanted you to follow Laura through the ennui of her days as a kitchen medium and her nights as a dance club refugee trying to escape her generation’s memories.

I can only hope that when you read it at the end of October, Midnight In You Arms will prove Publishers Weekly and Mr. Boccacino right, and that you will like it as much as they did. Drop me a line then, and let me know how you feel, one way or the other. You can always tell me the truth–I’m banking on it. I write these stories for you–they are yours as much as mine, and I want us to be honest with each other!

Love,

Morgan.

In Which I Put The Final Touches on Midnight In Your Arms

Dear Reader,Image

The past month and a bit since I sold my book to Avon has been a bit of a whirlwind of activity! I ended up more than doubling the length of Midnight In Your Arms, from just over 20,000 words to nearly 55,000—and I feel the story is much stronger and more substantial now. It’s been given the breathing space and room it needs to spread out into the story it was meant to be! That is always a good feeling for an author. No one wants to feel as though their story has been stunted, compacted into too small a space to really bloom.

I sent the final few changes to my wonderful editor at Avon, Chelsey Emmelhainz—and let me just take a moment to tell you how fantastic it has been working with her! She really gets what I am trying to do with my story, the mood and feel of it, as well as the style of my writing. She makes everything better without making me feel like I’m losing anything—a delicate balance. She is such an intuitive reader, which is the most important thing, I think, for an editor—because she must put herself in the place of (hopefully!) thousands of readers, and see the story through their eyes. That isn’t easy, but she does it with aplomb. I felt really comfortable with her, and the changes she made, from small to significant, have made Midnight In Your Arms into a story of which I feel very proud. It was a skeleton of a story only a few short weeks ago, and now it is fully fleshed out and dancing the Charleston! Whoot!

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been just over seven weeks since I wrote the first draft, sent it in, and got the call from Avon! I wish all projects ran this smoothly, with such satisfying results. I can hardly wait for October to come! Midnight In Your Arms comes out on the 30th, just in time for my favourite day of the year—Halloween! Maybe I will dress up as my heroine, Laura Dearborn, the vampish 1920s medium who reaches across space and time to steal the heart of Crimean War veteran Alaric Storm III.

Now, Chelsey has advised me to celebrate with ice cream, even though it’s only 8 AM my time—and get on with the next story! I think I will do just that. I’ve been dreaming of a new hero and heroine who are clamouring to have their story told. Now that I’ve put the finishing touches on M.I.Y.A, I feel fully justified in indulging—both in ice cream for breakfast, and a brand new love story that makes the past as real as the present.

Love, Morgan.