My lovely header says it all — In every age, the heart loves. I write romance, and my stories cover every age from contemporary to historical with a little paranormal and suspense thrown in.
Where Eagles Cry was originally published in 2005 as Cry of the Bells.
Copyright 2013 by Dee Ann Palmer
Although multi-published in fiction and non-fiction at the time, I had this idea that if you were a real writer you would write a book. So, married and with children, I began. I knew nothing about writing a novel, but gradually the characters and their story started to become real. It was only when one of the authors in my critique group mentioned my “romance novel” that I realized what I was writing. After I joined Romance Writers of America, and understood more about structuring a romance, I changed some of my already-completed novel. When I regained my rights, I edited and rewrote portions of it.
The setting is a fictionalized version of the southern California valley in which I live. No matter what I say, one of my writer friends is absolutely sure she knows the exact location of El Rancho Navarro. She is mistaken!
Jilted by love in 1834, Cara, a young Bostonian woman, sails to Mejico’s rugged California to make a new life for herself. She takes a position as companion to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho, and finds herself as deeply drawn to him as he is to her. She would never be mistress to a married man, even though his wife has the mind of a child due to a mysterious fall. She needs to leave.
There are strange undercurrents stirring in the rancho that Cara doesn’t understand. Native superstition says that when the ranch bells ring and an eagle cries, someone will die. Several people have. Will the next death be hers? Until ships sail for Boston again, Cara is trapped between danger and an impossible love.
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Copyright 2014 by Dee Ann Palmer
I became an Amber Quill Press author by winning their 2004 Amber Heat Wave Contest for erotic short stories with Dark Stranger. The Amber Heat line is male-female erotic romance. What I wrote next, and is now titled Christiana’s Choice, turned out not to be hot enough to qualify in the Heat line, so it was published in the sweeter, less explicit Amber Quill Press line. I wrote for them for almost thirteen years, until they ceased operations in March 2016.
Some authors say they hear their characters demanding to have their story heard. Nothing like that happens to me. I experience a feeling in my chest about something. After the release of Dark Stranger, that feeling became an intense need to pen a novel involving knights and fair ladies. The theme was approved by my publisher, and back to my computer I went to capture some of those feelings and images on paper.
Now, with a return of my rights, I’ve retitled it, smoothed it out a little and lengthened it. Here you have the new, self-published version.
Christiana, only child and heir of the earl of Gladsbury, is a strong-willed young woman who binds her breasts and dresses as a boy because she wants to be a knight.
Her wise father assigns his two most eligible knights to instruct her in castle defense, hoping also to awaken her sensuality so she will accept that she is a young woman. He is unaware that both knights harbor secrets that could threaten her happiness. Will Christiana choose womanhood? If she does, will she choose the right man as her lover and mate?
EXCERPT – Setting: Jousting in the passage of arms
The herald trumpets split the soft air one last time with their call to arms.
Sunlight danced off armor polished to a silver sheen as the third and last knight rode up the ramp. He paused for a moment when he stood at the top of the mound so that everyone could see bask in his grandeur before guiding his mount down to the lists. He let his gray warhorse—a mean and dangerous animal—whinny and prance just a little before he received his lance there from his squire.
Christiana bit back a retort at the self important gesture. The act was so like him. It was Sir Guy, she’d been told, who had pressed his fellow knights into requesting reddish-purple and gold pennons for the pavilions, but the earl had forbidden it.
“Kings, princes and dukes may choose those colors. An earl may not, and so neither shall these knights.”
Guy’s helmet crest was a two-pronged affair of white feathers that stuck up in the air and quivered slightly in the afternoon breeze. As a little girl Christiana thought the crest resembled a dead chicken lying on its back with its wings sticking stiffly upward. She’d told her father this, and he’d repressed a smile.
He’d covered his lips with one finger to silence her. “The crests are important to those who use them. Never tell anyone what you really think of one.” He’d winked, and leaned closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. “Personally, I think it looks like a dead chicken too.” His beard had tickled her cheek, and the tangy scent of the soap with which he’d bathed filled her nostrils.
Since she adored her father, she’d obeyed him in the matter. It would never be heard from her lips that even at this age she still thought it resembled a chicken.
Tim whispered in awe, “That Dark Knight’s gonna challenge Sir Guy.”
Christiana watched with disbelief as the Dark Knight rode up to the champion and struck his shield with his lance, the official signal of challenge. Apparently no one had been available to accept his challenge at Guy’s pavilion, so he delivered the official challenge now.
To her delight, the action rather trumped de Bere’s flashy entrance and drew attention away from him to the challenger in black. But now a pang of sympathy for the stranger swept over her. Maybe she didn’t much like Guy, but next to the earl he was the finest jouster around. Having fought in the latest Crusade, he would no doubt make short work of this stranger.
Lifting the mouth plate of his helm so his voice could be heard, champion de Bere said, “It would be unfair of me to challenge one riding a horse that has already been through two bouts. I give you leave to change to a fresh horse.” His voice rang out, silken yet surly.
“Even on a weary horse I will best you, sire.” This was stated as a matter-of-fact, not boast.
Tittering spread through the audience. No one ever talked back to the dazzling knight astride the nasty gray destrier.
“Nonetheless, I would not have it said I triumphed because your horse was not fit. I will wait until you have a fresh mount.”
“Ah, but Cheval has rested while we’ve had this little talk. To arms, sire, to arms.” He spurred Cheval into a trot and turn that placed him before the earl.
Guy had no choice but to join him…
Available now on Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
The original, shorter version – Knight Of The Captive Heart – published 2004 by Amber Quill Press – received a Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews. It is no longer in print. Amber Quill Press ceased operations 3/16.
Copyright 2016 by Dee Ann Palmer
The opening to How to Seduce a Knight was inspired by a beautiful illustration in the wonderful, but now sadly closed, Realms of Fantasy magazine. Its images triggered all the feelings I have about the wonder of fantasy. I wrestled to capture those images in words. Here is but a portion of the first chapter of the book, inspired by the illustration.
Gloriana, a shifter, and princess-royal of the golden dragons, is heir to the throne. As the only offspring of the king, nothing has been denied her, resulting in a determined and headstrong young dragon. As Arondele, in human form and hiding her true nature, she falls in love with Rodick, a powerful knight in the enchanted kingdom of Ahnerion. When she unknowingly breaks a law among her kind that could mean both their deaths, she abandons him to save his life.
Blazing passion fuels Rodick’s hunt to find her. But if he does, and when he learns what she is, will their love stand the test? Will they survive the king’s reaction to their love?
EXCERPT – CHAPTER 1
Xertan began to snort and paw, stirring up the richly scented loam on the forest’s floor just as Rodick’s gaze fell on the fairest woman he’d ever seen.
He’d pulled the destrier up at the edge of the forest, but now Xertan was turning in circles in an attempt to retreat back into the woods. Rodick brought the great stallion under control. He wanted to gaze longer at this perfection.
That she rode alone surprised him, for her head was crowned with a golden circlet with four high prongs. It was the headpiece of a princess-royal, although of a house unknown to him. He knew of no princesses resembling this one, and he was acquainted with, or thought he was, those of every castle in the area. Had even bedded a few of them, he thought with a wry smile. But this woman, instinct told him, would fulfill every fantasy a lusty man could have in bed. And then some.
The horse she handled with such ease was a dappled grey, and its trappings and harness were decorated with tassels and ornate embroideries. Her flowing gown and cape were the color of emeralds and fastened over her breasts with bright ornaments. Sunlight splashed on her long, blonde tresses, spinning them to gold.
She sat her seat straight and yet relaxed. If her dress and the horse’s rich caparison hadn’t told him, he would have recognized she was a royal just by her carriage and dress. That she would be traveling without knights and outriders still puzzled him. Did some enchantment protect her?
A silence had settled over the meadow at her appearance. The buzzing of bees and the calls of birds quieted. The breeze died away. It was as if the entire meadow and its creatures held her fresh beauty in awe.
Resting an arm on the pommel, he felt for the first time the fine tremors in the horse beneath him. Here was another puzzle–even in battle the charger had never trembled. Rodick didn’t know why he did so now. If he’d smelled wild boar or some other menacing creature, Xertan would’ve bolted into the clearing. Instead, he obeyed his master’s commands to remain still, but trembled as if in fear.
It was odd. But there was always something odd in this forest. If there’d truly been danger, Rodick thought he’d have sensed it.
Enthralled, he watched as the princess’s horse picked its unhurried way on the path paralleling a stream that ran through the meadow. Periodically, the vision of loveliness looked up, seeming to search for something, but the cerulean sky remained empty, as if the sun refused obscurity while she rode. Other than that occasional watchfulness, it was obvious she wasn’t in flight from anyone or anything. Nor did she exhibit fear.
Instead, she seemed content to meander in the lush meadow among the flowers that grew near the gurgling water.
Without warning, Xertan turned and carried Rodick back into the forest. By the time Rodick had pulled him up and around again, the young woman had vanished. A fine, cotton candy mist drifted in to fill the void with sweet mystery.
The destrier no longer trembled, and Rodick reached to rub his neck. “What’s the matter, boy? What scared you?”
He didn’t expect an answer. Even in Ahnerion horses didn’t talk…
Note: Original version (erotic) titled Tears Of The Dragon, released 2004 by Amber Quill Press, Copyright by Dee Ann Palmer.
Author’s Note: In the sensual, no longer erotic, revision I had a chance to correct a mistake in history that had haunted me since its first publication.
“In what should be the safest of places, meet an R.N. you would never hope to meet. Run the streets of Los Angeles and find death in the most unexpected of places. Learn why some people kill and others do not in this short collection of murder mysteries by award-winning best-selling author Dee Ann Palmer.”
I combined two of my early short murder mysteries and a few other things for this grouping. Membership in a Sisters in Crime chapter inspired me to try my hand at the mysteries.
When I released Dangerous Minds, the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders in Connecticut and those by a fired LAPD police officer in California were in the news. We were all asking, “How could—why would—someone do this?”
Soon after its release, our grandchildren’s preschool went into lockdown after a shooting in a nearby California community college.
Author’s Note 11/21/2015
Today there are an estimated 200,000 dangerous minds in an ISIS training camp in Syria determined to make the world an Islamic caliphate. What I reveal in my short book on the research into the brains of killers, offers some answers as to why people slaughter others…religious motives or not, the brain and love in a life make difference.
Since Where Eagles Cry is a romantic suspense, a snippet of it is included. I realize it’s a stretch to go from murder to romance, but at the time, these were the only two things I’d self-published. I tied them together since the novel and the stories had suspense.
December 2015 Two miles from our home, a man and woman left their rental house, traveled about eight miles, and slaughtered some county employees enjoying a holiday luncheon in the middle of a meeting. The man was employed in the same department.
EXCERPT from COMPULSION.
[Note: The original title was A Cold, Well Lighted Place because that’s how I see ICUs. With some literary license taken, the setting reflects the university hospital where I earned my RN and a bachelor’s degree in nursing.]
It had begun again. Ever since childhood, when she had been disciplined with electrical shocks from her stepfather’s cattle prod and locked with the rats in the dark root cellar without food or water for days, there had been episodes when it hammered her brain against her skull and threatened to close off her throat unless she acted. Since the beginning it had been this way——intolerable until she satisfied it. It was what she, Margo Lindsey, R.N., C.C.R.N., called The Urge.
So far she had been able to stay on top of it, manage it.
Someday it would kill her if she lost control of it.
On Friday, at half-past twenty-two hundred hours, Margo stepped out of the elevator at the east end of the fourteenth floor of St. Michael’s Hospital. Always early for a shift which would end at seven-thirty the next morning, she turned left, strode a few feet and stopped to look out over a magical San Francisco. From this height, through glass that rose from floor to ceiling, the Tinkerbelle lights of the city below winked through a mysterious fairyland of mist under a blue-black sky. Pleasure welled in her chest only to be replaced by sadness. She had been happy here.
Thanks to The Urge, she was forced to say goodbye.
A man who smelled of stale cigarettes, a lone visitor in the chair nearest where she stood, spoke. “No place like this city.”
“No, there’s not.” She turned her smile on him, the smile everyone told her lit up her face and revealed what a beautiful young woman she was. “I’m going to miss it, but it’s time for me to move on.”
“Too bad,” the man replied, with a tired shake of his head. “It’s a great town. Too bad.”
Her white running shoes made cushioning sounds as she turned and walked across corridor floors that gleamed from regular cleaning and polishing. As she entered the intensive care unit, the silken whooshes of a ventilator sucking out air which had circulated throughout the patient’s body collecting dirty carbon dioxide, then filling the cleansed lungs with oxygen, welcomed her.
Satisfaction filled her. This was where she belonged. It was unfortunate she must find another ICU in another hospital. Perhaps Arizona this time. Or maybe Mobile, Alabama…
Copyright 2006, 2013 by Dee Ann Palmer
Published in the US by Dee Ann Palmer
Marathon Madness, first edition published 2006 in LAndmarked for Murder, Top Publications, Ltd.
Copyright 2004, 2015 by Dee Ann Palmer
Originally, Night Rider was titled Dark Stranger, and was a winner in the 2004 Amber Heat Wave Contest sponsored by Amber Quill Press, LLC. It was published under a pseudonym, but it’s under my real name, republished by me. Amber Quill Press ceased operations in March 2016.
The contest was for erotic short stories, but when I recently regained my rights I toned it down to sensual to reissue it. Thus it needed a new title and a new cover. I purchased a cover from designer Carey Abbott called “Night Ride,” so, to make it easier for her, I told her to make the book title Night Rider.
Once the manuscript was ready, I happily submitted it to my formatter. Soon she emailed me to clarify the book’s name. You see, as I revised it I’d renamed it Midnight Rider. Then I changed it again because of the cover, and did not remember to change the manuscript. It appeared there eight times.
Ah, the vagaries of self-publishing! Thank you, Grace of Author’s Headquarters, for catching my mistake.
Looking forward to a wonderful November…