I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Michelle Jean Marie. Today, Michelle shares her inspiring 20-year journey and new release, Tempting Fate.
I’ve never had trouble writing. Even in grammar school, my papers and stories were always longer than the teacher assigned. Perhaps I can attribute that to my dad, who used to read to me and my siblings at bedtime. Listening to Arabian Nights and Little Women, I lived in those stories and never wanted them to end. So I began to write my own.
In high school, my friends and I started writing fan fiction before there was such a thing. Does that date me? We had our favorite television shows, and would write our own episodes – usually with ourselves as the beautiful heroine or woman in peril. Then I picked up The Flame and the Flower and my life was never the same. I became hooked on romances – historical romances. It’s a good thing Barbara Cartland was such a prolific writer. I could finish one of her books in a day. And although her books were nothing like Kathleen Woodiwiss’s, they took me to places unknown and taught me history at the same time.
I was a columnist for my high school paper during this time and won awards for my writing. In senior year, I took a creative writing class, much to my mother’s chagrin. After all, that meant I couldn’t take Spanish III Honors. I knew my priorities as a teenager, didn’t I? But I was writing! That was much more fun than studying Spanish.
Unfortunately, creative writing fell by the wayside through college and the early years of my marriage. Again, those priorities! Then when my daughters were young, I attended a romance writer’s workshop at our local library. From there, I learned about Romance Writers of America. I joined the Chicago-North chapter and never looked back. I learned what serious romance writing was – not just silly fan fiction. Who knew I shouldn’t head hop? Or that every chapter ends with a hook? Or that the first few sentences would determine whether or not finicky readers kept reading to the end? I was reading it, but I never knew the craft.
My first completed novel was Destiny Defied, which after many critiques and rewrites, became Tempting Fate. I was thrilled when Tempting Fate finaled in the Golden Heart Contest of RWA in 1997. We made the family trip to Orlando and had a blast.
Although the book made the rounds in the publishing world, it wasn’t until 20 years, several more manuscripts and a writing hiatus later that Tempting Fate found a home at Soul Mate Publishing. To complete the circle, the RWA conference is in Orlando again this year. I won’t be attending with family in tow this time, but the timing must be FATE.
A Woman Ruined
Scorned by society for past indiscretions, Lady Alanna Clayton instead dedicates her time to improving the lives of orphans at the workhouse. When Alanna realizes their futures are in danger, she vows to protect them, no matter the means.
A Man Wounded
Lieutenant-Colonel Kellen Harrington, Marquess of Aldwich and future Duke of Wilkesbury, abandoned his responsibility for a career in the cavalry. He fled a life of abuse for a life of war. A dire summons brings him back to London and the estate he swore to never set foot on again.
A Secret Shared
Childhood friends, Alanna and Kellen are bonded by an old secret and fate reunites them to keep another. But in trying to save others’ lives, have they put their own in danger? Deceit, blackmail, and revenge challenge their every step as they navigate the dark alleys of London. And traverse the corners of their hearts.
Can Alanna tempt fate and save Kellen from his biggest danger – himself?
“What in hell?” Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Aldwich mumbled as his body slammed against the tufted leather of the carriage. Pain fired up his leg and through his lower back. He gripped his left thigh, breathing deeply to relieve the pain. “Dash this London traffic!”
He had not missed the insanity these past ten and one half years. Regaining his posture, he snapped the window down. He leaned out, hearing his coachman shouting at the apparent cause of the disruption. It wasn’t traffic.
He peered into the haze, watching two slight figures rise unsteadily. A young woman stood first, answering the coachman’s admonition with a frigid stare. She seemed to be nineteen or twenty, and better outfitted than the scruffy lad with her. Bonnet askew, she quickly put it aright.
When his coachman ceased his tirade, she launched one of her own. “Are ya daft? Could ya no’ see us?” She switched her attention to the boy, brushing tears off his face with the corner of her cape. “Wha’ are ya doin’ goin’ so fast on a night like this ‘un?”
Aldwich winced at her dreadful cockney accent, an apparent, but poor, attempt to hide her upbringing. He squinted, trying to see her better. Not that he would recognize anyone after all these years.
He studied the young woman and her small companion. A more ill-matched pair, he’d rarely seen. Her wool cloak and velvet bonnet bespoke quality, yet the ragamuffin didn’t seem old or refined enough to act as her escort.
“Are you hurt?” Aldwich asked.
The girl’s head spun toward him. She shoved the boy behind her and inched backward. “No, guv’nor.”
Yet even as she said that, the lad cried out. “You’re bleeding!”
The colonel barely heard the words as the brougham pulled abreast of the near-victims. The vision in the street had engrossed him. A pair of clear blue eyes, framed in a heart-shaped face, stared back at him from the gloom. A flicker of a distant memory passed across his mind, and with it, the pain of the past. He forced the recollection down. “You might take more care in crossing the street next time,” he said as he handed her his handkerchief.
“As yah mi’ take care ta slow down,” she retorted as she touched the kerchief to her cheek. Then turning, she hastened her retreat.
The colonel bristled and sat back. The impudent chit disappeared into the shadows of the alley. As she vanished, a lock of silvery-blonde hair escaped her bonnet. Inhaling sharply, he connected that unmistakable hair with two cerulean eyes. And a lifetime ago. Starting, he signaled for the coachman to proceed. “Your imagination is running away with you, Aldwich,” he muttered to himself.
After years of working in the Health Information Management field, Michelle became a stay-at-home mom to raise two adorable daughters and took advantage of her time at home to pursue a life-long passion—writing.
While attending a romance writing workshop at a local library, Michelle was hooked. She cracked open the research books, turned on the computer, and started cranking out historical romances. In her early efforts, she was an RWA Golden Heart finalist and winner/finalist in many RWA sponsored contests.
After ending one marriage, seeing her daughters through college, opening her own business, and finally happily marrying her soul mate, she opened those old computer files and did some serious editing. She signed her first publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing more than twenty years after writing it. Perseverance does pay off!
Michelle lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Steve, and their three insane pups. Their two-legged children have all moved on to their own homes and careers. By day, she runs a professional organizing business, a virtual assistant business, and a research web site. Her favorite clients are authors!
By night, she writes. She self-published Researching the British Historical: The Victorian Era, 101 Organizing Tips for Writers, I’m Moving!! Now What? and Nine Journeys: Stories of Women Who Found Their Own Paths to Success.
For more information about Michelle and her endeavors, find her at: