Friday, March 31, 2023


 By Caroline Clemmons

Recently an author friend (Jacquie Rogers) and I were talking about how we form our series. Everyone has his or her special way of building a series. Today, I thought you might be interested in learning how I go about constructing a new series.

Usually, the idea for the series comes with the first hero and/or heroine in a little movie in my head. (Yes, authors are crazy.) This brings me to choose the location for the community in which most of the story will take place. For instance, in my current series, Texas Hill Country Mail Order Brides, each heroine is living east of the Mississippi River, and usually near the Atlantic coast.

As soon as a heroine accepts a groom’s invitation, she travels to where he lives. In this case it is Harrigan Springs in Harrigan County, both of which are fictitious. They are squeezed in between the real counties of Bandera and Medina, and Harrigan County gets the Medina River running through it. The Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite places, which is why I chose it as the site of this series. By using a fictitious city and county, it can contain the businesses and topographical features I need for my story.

The Medina River

Mail order bride stories are fun to read and to write. That’s why I wanted this to be an entire series of mail order brides, but from every level of society. The first is from Bavaria, now a part of Germany but not at the time of the story. The other heroines involve a very proper Bostonian, a pickpocket who brings a boy and her best friend, a saloon girl, an ex-convict, an Irish immigrant, and a woman in jeopardy who is on the run. Of course, they each appear to be a lovely, virtuous young woman. When you think about a mail order bride, though, you realize each is escaping something or someone. If you want to read about real mail order brides, try Chris Enss’ HEARTS WEST.

I made a list of the heroes and the occupation of each for the series. Again, I wanted to vary the type of characters. So, I have an easy going but good rancher, a firm but fair sheriff, a charming but troubled rancher, a very private blacksmith entrepreneur, a charming minister who is actually a bit too stuffy, a gruff lawyer, a cheerful mercantile owner, and a banker. (The list makes me smile and think it calls for a butcher, baker and candlestick maker like the children’s rhyme.) The personalities have to be different, too. Otherwise, the stories become boring to the reader and to me. Plus, some heroes have a big secret they do not want to reveal.

For the hero, I have to be careful or they all look like my husband, who I call Hero. He’s 6’3” with beautiful blue eyes and had dark brown hair that is now gray. I admit the good traits of the heroes are those of my Hero. To add a little variety, I do have one blond hero in this series, LEVI. I can’t help making most of the heroes like my Hero, because he is such a good man, good husband, good father, and a cutie patootie.

Levi, one of the few 
blonde heroes in my books

Choosing a cover can be difficult—and can be expensive, from fifty dollars to thousands. These covers were created by author Charlene Raddon at her Silver Sage Cover Designs, and at a reasonable cost. She is a lovely person with whom working is a pleasure. She is also the designer of the new covers for my Bride Brigade and Loving A Rancher series, as well as for a few single titles. She also conceives clever series, including Bachelors and Babies, Widows of Wildcat Ridge, The Love Train Series, and others.

Continuity is important in a series or a television show or a movie. For any series, keeping a bible is a major requirement. For instance, characters can’t change eye or hair color from one book to another. The sheri8ff's office can't be across from the mercantile in one book and across from the hotel in the next. One of the reasons readers enjoy a series is that characters appear throughout the series. This is also fun for me—but the characters have to be described the same way in each book. Here I blush bright red—I goofed in the Men of Stone Mountain Texas Series and changed the name of the sheriff from Buster in TABITHA’S JOURNEY, in which he was a minor character, to Butch in WINTER BRIDE, in which he was the hero. Oops. Now I’ve learned to keep a better series bible!

bible entry:

Luda Corrigan, lives across the street from Worthingtons.

Amos Corrigan, her husband 

Mr. Abe Lieberman  butcher

Ruth Lieberman

Every character has to be listed in the bible, even if his is intended as only a single walk-on part. For instance, Luda Corrigan listed above is mentioned only in one sentence in LEVI AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE. However, she might play a larger part in a future book. You never know. Sometimes readers like a minor character so much they request a book about that character. That’s how QUINN’s book came into existence in this series. In the McClintock series, Finn’s book titled O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE was written because of requests for his story after Finn appeared in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. In the Kincaid series, Monk was so popular that I wrote the novella MONK’S BRIDE. For those authors who find a series bible too onerous, Diane Rodes Garland is Your World Keeper, She keeps track of everything in an author's series. She is a sweetheart and does a great job. I love writing series, and had already set up my own method years before I met her.

After the book is written, it must be edited. And re-edited. Typos sneak into the text like little gremlins. My editor is good and goes over the manuscript three times, I reread and reread until my eyes cross. Typos STILL get by us. I find them in the big name authors’ books, too. That’s why I get riled when I hear someone say indie published books have too many errors. Grrrr! I have beta readers, an editor with a Master’s degree, and I’m not exactly new to this business.

Once this is done, the book is ready to format, upload, and launch, which brings a new series of problems concerns for marketing. That’s another headache blog sometime. I love, love, love writing. Marketing, meh, not so much.

Blacksmith, Entrepreneur

Books ! - #

Rancher       Sheriff               Rancher

Stay safe and keep reading!

Monday, March 27, 2023

A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon

A Girl Named Samson
by Amy Harmon

 Deborah Samson was indentured to a family with eight boys until she was eighteen.  She watched one boy after another go to fight in the War of Independence.  She out-drilled and out-shot them before they went.  Deborah wanted to fight and tried to enlist as a boy from her hometown.  She was discovered and almost jailed.  Later, she ran away to another town and enlisted as Samson.  This time, she served over a year before disappearing with an honorable discharge.  She marries a man she met while serving and lives happily ever after.

I enjoyed this book.  It was inspired by the true story of Deborah Samson, who did serve in the War of Independence for over a year.  She was not the only woman who dressed as a boy and fought in the war, but she was the only one who got a soldier's pension for doing so.  The author strays from the facts considerably, but I thought her story was well-written and interesting.  I found her descriptions of war vivid and believable.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a good romance story that pulls you forward through it until the end.

Friday, March 24, 2023


 By Caroline Clemmons

Having a book listed for preorder is sort of like being pregnant—you're eager because you know it’s coming soon, but it’s not quite time to deliver.

On April 21, LEVI  AND THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE, book 4, Texas Hill Country Mail Order Brides, is a sweet historical western romance that will be released in e-boo and print and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. I’m so excited about this book. In this story, the heroine, Maeve Kelly, refuses to marry the man who’s sent for her.  Oh, you wouldn’t marry him either, believe me! Her refusal sets off a chain of events that makes for a grand adventure and love story.

Maeve is originally from Ireland, but has been living with her sister, Aine Sullivan, and Aine’s family in New York City. I don’t know how much you know about the reception of the Irish in New York, Boston, and other places in that area, but the Irish were villified. Back in Ireland, It was illegal for the Irish to attend school and against the law for anyone to educate them. Secret “hedge schools” existed, but most couldn’t attend them. Fortunately for Maeve and Aine, their great uncle taught them in his home. Maeve especially loved learning, but her great uncle’s death and her dear mother’s illness put an end to her education.

Levi Iverson is the town blacksmith. In 1876 and even into the early 1900s, the blacksmith was an extremely important occupation. They’re still important, but not to the degree they were then. Combine today’s auto mechanic, tire company, farrier, and general repairman to get an idea of the blacksmith’s importance. Levi also owns the gun repair shop and the livery stable—and he’s been buying up real estate. He’s an important man in Harrigan Springs.

Preorder your copy today of LEVI AND THE MAIL ORFER BRIDE. On April 21, your e-book will pop into your e-reader.

Stay safe and keep reading!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Mr. West and The Widow by Sophie Barnes


The Brazen Beauties Book 3

Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Date Published: March 21st, 2023


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png


He’s a powerful landowner…

She’s an irresistible wallflower…

For nearly a year, Victoria Leighton has shut out the world. Her sole focus has been on paying off the debt she inherited from her husband and securing a comfortable income. Unaccustomed to independence, to stepping out into Society and getting noticed, she ignores the cravings of her heart. Until a stranger arrives on her doorstep and presents her with a daring invitation.

Colin West hates complications. But when he seeks shelter from a storm and meets a reclusive widow, instinct compels him to save her from her self-imposed prison. Soon, he’s hosting a house party and doing his best not to fall for the quick-witted lady. To do so would be disastrous. For if the scars he received in war have taught him anything, it is that he is incapable of instilling desire in any woman, never mind love…


Colin strode from his room, descended the stairs, and made his way to the library. He paused immediately to the left of the open doorway, took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and positioned himself so the ruined side of his face remained out of view as he entered the room. 

It took him a moment to find Mrs. Leighton. Slight of build, she stood to the right of the door, her attention fixed on a book she’d pulled from one of the shelves. Although her back was partially turned toward him, there was no denying her beauty. Not even at this angle.  

Auburn tresses swept into a loose knot afforded him with a view of her neck, of the delicate bone at the top of her spine as she bowed her head to read. A stray strand of hair lay against that unblemished skin, infusing him with a most bizarre need to tuck it back into place.  

He shook himself free from the notion and gave the open door a gentle knock.  

With a small start and a swift glance over her shoulder to see who was there, she turned. “Mr. West. Thank you for agreeing to join me.” 

Colin stared at her. It was impossible not to when the hesitant smile she offered lent an almost angelic innocence to her appearance. He’d thought her beautiful when he’d first seen her, partially covered in mud. Now, he acknowledged, she was much more than that.  

This woman, with her almond shaped eyes fringed by long sooty lashes and with a pair of rosy lips parted as if in question, was utterly divine.  

Her slender body, gently curved beneath the black folds of her bombazine gown, hid what he imagined to be a pair of dainty ankles and– 

“Mr. West?” 

He blinked at the realization that he was admiring the tips of her slippers while wondering about her toes. Idiot. He snapped his gaze back to hers and cleared his throat. “Thank you for inviting me into your home.” 

That hesitant smile curved upward with added warmth, dimpling her cheeks. “I’m glad I did or Jasper and I would likely have been worse off.” 

A shudder raked through him.  

“Surely not. Mr. Reynolds would have found you both eventually.” He considered her obvious state of mourning and told himself not to pry. Ignoring the voice of reason he asked, “I trust there’s no husband to speak of?” 

A long inhale was followed by a deep exhalation, as though she needed additional air to steady herself. “He died nearly a year ago.” 

“I’m sorry.” He was a cad for making her state what he’d suspected to be the case, for making her address the loss she’d suffered. And it had been a loss. Her anguished expression proved it. 

She held his gaze until the silence became pronounced before suddenly dropping the book she’d been holding onto the table where Sense and Sensibility still remained. An awkward pause followed, then she seemed to collect herself and gestured toward the armchairs. “Please, come have a seat. There’s tea if you like.” 

Her artlessness suggested she was unused to entertaining guests. A strange occurrence in an upper-class woman who didn’t look more than five and thirty. 

Accepting her invitation, Colin crossed to the proffered seat. As he passed her, he took a deep breath and was instantly struck by the sweet, fragrant scent that swirled in the air around her. It was like peonies after a cool spring shower - an understated perfume that served to enhance the allure of the wearer rather than overwhelm them. 

As far as Colin was concerned, it was tempting as hell and a blatant contrast to the bolder scent of roses worn by his mistress, Isabella.  

He took his seat and waited for Mrs. Leighton to do the same, then watched with interest as she served the tea - first his cup and then her own. Her hands, he noted, were delicately formed with slender fingers that quivered ever so slightly beneath the weight of the pot, until several drops missed the cup they were meant for and stained the white cloth that covered the table. 

“Forgive me.” She set the pot aside and reached for a napkin with which to dab at the mess. “I’m not accustomed to having visitors, though I dare say that’s no excuse for clumsiness.” 

“It’s as good as any.” He raised his cup and sipped his tea. 

“You’re too kind.” This was said without glancing in his direction. Followed immediately by, “I wish there were more I could do to repay you.” 

“For not minding about the spill?”  

“No. Of course not.” A nervous chuckle escaped her. She took a quick sip of her own tea, then sent him a hesitant glance. “For ensuring my livelihood. As you may have noted, the situation here at Leighton House is not the best. But Jasper will change that, I’m sure. Which is why I’m doubly grateful to you for saving him.” 

Colin knit his brow. He wasn’t quite sure how a cross-breed like Jasper would improve upon Mrs. Leighton’s finances. “If it’s not too bold of me to ask, what do you expect of Jasper, exactly?” 

“He’s a truffle dog,” Mrs. Leighton declared. “One of the finest ever bred in these parts, according to the man from whom I bought him.” 

Colin almost forgot himself and turned directly toward her. He stopped at the last second, his posture stiff as he carefully asked, “You know the seller well?” 

“No, not at all. I think he was a traveling salesman.” 

“And he convinced you to purchase Jasper.” Anger was quickly brewing inside him. There were no worse creatures upon this earth than those who took advantage of others. And as unfortunate as it was, Mrs. Leighton had clearly been conned. 

“It seemed like a good investment.” She sent him a swift glance accompanied by a weak smile. “Granted, I know very little about truffle hunting, but I’m certain I can learn. The important thing is for me to acquire additional income, and with Jasper already trained to–” 

“Jasper is no such thing,” Colin said. He stood, his jerky movements rattling the china. “That dog will never find a single damn truffle.” 


He’s all wrong for that sort of work. For one thing, he’s not a poodle, a spaniel, or a setter, besides which truffle dogs are obedient and extraordinarily clever. They do not run off and get stuck in water-logged holes during storms.” 

Mrs. Leighton stared at him, her eyes as wide as Steven’s had been at the tavern. The slightest gasp let Colin know that it was indeed his misshapen face, not his words, that prompted this reaction. Because he’d forgotten himself after all and in his frustration, he’d turned to her directly, allowing her to see the scarring that puckered his skin and made him look beastly.  

The Brazen Beauties Series


Mr. Dale and The Divorcée, Book One

Mr. Grier and the Governess, Book Two

Mr. West and The Widow , Book Three

Series on Amazon

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian with varying degrees of fluency.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor's degree from Parson's School of design, but most impressive of all - she's been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion - writing.

When she's not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Contact Links







Purchase Links





RABT Book Tours & PR