Jacqui Nelson – Adella’s Enemy

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Thank you, Jo-Ann, for asking me to be your guest today. I love reading your blog, so it’s truly an honor to be here on one of your Friday guest blogger days!

I am an author of historical romantic adventure who loves exploring—whether it’s a walk down the street, a plane ride to the other side of the world or opening the pages of a new book. My inquisitiveness may have come from staying in the same place for my first eighteen years. I grew up on a cattle ranch in northern Canada—an hour and a half drive north of Edmonton, Alberta to be exact. My playgrounds were barns, fields and forests.

When I left the farm, I decided to explore. I lived in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Germany and England. I attended university and studied paleontology and other topics. I worked as a computer programmer, an animator and a fundraising assistant. My life in the country became a distant—but much loved—memory.

One thing did not change. A love of books has been a constant. When I decided to write my own stories about the Old West, it was like coming home. But I’m fascinated by all time periods and have recently begun a Victorian romantic suspense series which resolves around three uniquely skilled heroines who open a private inquiry agency in London. Every day I spend on this project allows me to reminisce about the four wonderful years I spent living in England.

But my debut release is also dear to my heart. In 2010, I was lucky enough to not only be nominated for, but to win the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award for unpublished authors.

But the best part about being a Golden Heart finalist is the friendships it can build. Two of the other nominees in my category were also Western romance writers and last autumn they asked me to join them in writing an anthology where three interlinked stories revolved around a true-life railroad race! Passion’s Prize featuring the novellas Adella’s Enemy by myself, Eden’s Sin by Jennifer Jakes and Kate’s Outlaw by E.E. Burke is the result.

Queen of the Universe Question

If I was Queen of the Universe, what would I change? I would make sure people not only found the love of their life but found loads of friends as well. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have parents, siblings, a soul mate or children, but friendships are just as precious and can be found everywhere. They even keep popping up in my writing. And what’s the perfect partner to a romantic story? A friendship story!

So I was over-the-moon happy when Jennifer Jakes and E.E. Burke, two friends who lived thousands of miles away, asked me to join them in writing an anthology about three women whose lives hinge on the outcome of a railroad race in 1870 Kansas.

Last week, I was blessed again when I attended the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference as a nominee for not one but two Golden Heart Awards. My second manuscript, a Western historical romance set in Dodge City, was nominated in the Historical category and my third manuscript, the first book in my Victorian London-set series, was nominated in the Romantic Suspense category.

But best of all, I finally got to hang out with my anthology writing partners and many other writing friends who I hadn’t seen in some cases for three years.

So here’s not only to romance, but to friendships!

And here’s the back cover blurb and an excerpt from Adella’s Enemy.

Can the pursuit of an old enemy lead to a new love?

In a race for riches, anything can happen. Five years after the Civil War, a Kansas railroad race heats up as former Rebel spy Adella Willows receives her mission from a Washington senator—play havoc with the Katy Railroad and derail its bid to win the race. The senator craves wealth. Adella craves revenge against the man responsible for her brother’s death. But her plans crumble into chaos when she matches wits with the railroad’s foreman, a handsome Irishman torn between two desires: winning the race or winning Adella’s heart.

* * *

“Look lively,” a deep Irish brogue boomed.PassionsPrizeAntho-1m

Clutching her valise in both hands, Adella flattened her spine against the train station’s wall. Its uneven surface jabbed her in a dozen uncomfortable places. She didn’t move.

Footsteps pounded up the stairs, making the boards shudder beneath her feet. Then a lone man bounded up the last step and across the platform, his attention fixed on the train. From his shaggy hair to his massive back to his powerfully built limbs he was a series of shades of brown. She squinted. He was covered in mud.

“Hop to, lads,” he hollered. “We’re late!”

A dozen men raced up the steps, swarming the platform like ants summoned from the earth to capture a hill. Brown ants. They shared their leader’s coloring. Like him, they were caked in mud so thick it covered them like a second skin, like armor on toy soldiers cast from the same mold…except they were the varying size and shape of ordinary men. All save their leader. Nothing ordinary about that one. With the height and muscular breadth of a giant, he towered over everyone.

A deafening squeal came from the front of the train. Everyone spun to face the sound.

The platform was only long enough to provide access to the two passenger cars. Between those cars and the engine stood a stockcar piled high with the iron rails used to form the track. A man, wearing loose fitting railroad bibs and a wide-brimmed hat drawn low over his face, crouched on top of the rails. The workmen surged to the edge of the platform, blocking her view.

“It’s one of the Joy Men.” The declaration came from the big Irishman hidden somewhere beyond the wall of bodies between her and the train.

A spy for the rival railroad? If James Joy had sent a rabble rouser from his line, she’d best learn as much about him as possible. Starting with what he looked like.

She pushed through the workmen. Each man spun with a scowl, ready to berate whoever poked him in the ribs or stepped on his toes. When they saw her, they stumbled back, jaws dropping. She reached the platform’s edge just in time to see the man on the stockcar leap to the engine, run across its back and slid down the cowcatcher to the ground.

“After him, lads!” The big Irishman roared from somewhere close.

She turned but didn’t see him. The men she did see stood frozen, their gazes locked on her.

Their leader shoved through them with a growl. “Why aren’t you—?” He slammed to a halt in front of her. He hadn’t touched her, but the sight of him looming over her with a combination of anger and disbelief twisting his mud-streaked face, pushed her back. She teetered on the edge of the platform, the weight of her valise throwing her further off balance. Many hands reached for her, including the giant’s.

She refused to let go of her valise and accept them.

She fell with a shriek. Her rear end hit the mud with a bruising wallop. She gritted her teeth to stop any additional embarrassing outbursts then, valise still in hand, staggered to her feet. And promptly sank ankle deep in the muck.

Galloping hoof beats splashed the sodden earth behind her. She could only assume the man had found a horse and was making his retreat. Instinctively, she tried to give chase. The mud held her feet prisoner. Blast it to Hell. All she could do was stare over her shoulder and watch the man ride pell-mell out of town, his floppy-brimmed hat waving goodbye.

A colossal groan rent the air. She jerked round to face the train, as did the men on the platform above her. The terrible sound came again, making the stockcar shudder with its force. A crack like gunfire echoed. Chains burst. Iron screeched against iron. And the mountain of rails toppled toward her.

Trapped as she was in the muck below, she’d soon be crushed in a muddy grave.

* * *

 

Adella’s Enemy—a novella in the Passion’s Prize anthology

featuring Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalists Jacqui Nelson, Jennifer Jakes and E.E. Burke—will be available on Amazon

August 8, 2013.

www.JacquiNelson.com

Twitter: @Jacqui_Nelson

Facebook: JacquiNelsonAuthor & JacquiNelsonBooks

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

58 thoughts on “Jacqui Nelson – Adella’s Enemy”

    1. Thanks, Jean! And thanks for dropping by Jo-Ann’s blog this morning. The covers for my anthology were done by the wonderful and super-talented Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs. It was wonderful seeing you and so many Unsinkable friends last week in Atlanta!

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    1. Thanks, Miranda! It was so wonderful to finally meet you and so many other “Lucky 13” 2013 Golden Heart finalists last week. After talking online for months when I arrived the conference, I felt like I instantly had dozens of new best friends to hug and chat with. It was an amazing feeling I will treasure forever. And congratulations again on your Golden Heart win!

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  1. Absolutely beautiful, but I bet the writing is amazing. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of Jacqui’s stories and they’re better than terrific. Lots of wishes for success from this corner of the universe, for all three of these talented writers! GO UNSINKABLES !!
    ~Angi

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Angi, especially when I know you are super busy and have so much on your mind these days. It was so wonderful to see you at the conference and add another beautiful memory to the first time we met as 2010 Golden Heart finalists and the second time we met when you visited Victoria. Any time spent with such an amazingly talented, multi-published author and a super fun and always positive friend is a gift.

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  2. Jacqui
    Your covers are gorgeous, and the excerpt is fantastic. I feel so sorry for your heroine in the mud. Thanks so much for being on my blog today. I can’t wait for your launch.
    Best Wishes
    Jo-Ann

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    1. Will Adella make it out of the muck or will her story end in a muddy grave? Luckily this is a romance story so Adella will survive and find her Happily Ever After…but I am going to make her work for it! Poor girl! Thanks for having me as your guest today, Jo-Ann! I’ve done only a handful of blogs, but this one feels almost easy and totally relaxed — probably because I’m blogging with you and you are such a great friend! Hope to see you in a few weeks at the next Vancouver Island RWA chapter meeting. I want to hear first hand about your Thrillerfest experience!

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  3. Congrats on your release, Jacqui, and I agree with Jean, the cover is gorgeous!

    It was great meeting you in Atlanta. There’s nothing quite like being a GH finalist at Nationals!

    Gail

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    1. Thanks, Gail! It was wonderful meeting you in Atlanta. I hope to see you at the next conference, and the next, and the next… 🙂 Until then, keep safe and I wish you loads of happy writing days! I want to read your novels soon!

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  4. Jacqui,
    What would we do without our friends? The world would be a dark place, indeed. Thank you for that inspirational post. And thank you for being part of this anthology. You and Jennifer are amazingly talented writers. More than that, you are beautiful women inside and out. I’m proud to have my name by yours on that cover, and I feel so blessed by your friendship.

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    1. It’s an amazing feeling seeing my name next to yours and Jenn’s on a book cover. I can think of no better way to enter the publishing world. I also can’t wait to hold a print copy of our anthology in my hands and then take a picture of the three of us reading the book. We will have to start coordinating our next visit soon! Thanks for stopping by, Elisabeth!

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  5. Thanks, Anna! I have a lot of catching up to do to even come near your success though. Love all your book covers and am in awe of your speedy writing and determined work ethic. How many books have you written now…? Must be over a dozen. So many great books to read, so much to look forward to! Thanks for dropping by, Anna!

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    1. It’s been a fun journey, but sometimes a little tiring. In some ways it’s like being on the wagon train that I wrote about in my first Western story. Is the end of a trail, or a book, ever in sight? Thanks for stopping by, Judy. Looking forward to hearing how your upcoming conference goes!

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  6. The Joy men? Railroad race? And what’s a woman doing there? And particularly, what’s in that valise she insists on holding? Who’s that gorgeous towering giant -? Darn – I’m going to have to buy yet another book!! Looking very good, Jacqui! Cheers all around.

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    1. LOL, Celia! So many questions! Yes, there is something in that valise that’s so darned important to Adella that she won’t let go — of the bag or of the past. Thanks for dropping by, Celia! Hope it’s as sunny over in Vancouver as it is here in Victoria.

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  7. I am looking forward to reading your books. And thank you for revealing who did this excellent work on your covers. I know of some other work that Kim has done and I am very impressed. Thanks, Jacqui!

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    1. Yay, Piper, my fellow 2013 historical Golden Heart finalist and Lucky 13! Thanks for dropping by. I’m missing you immensely, remembering being lucky enough to spend a morning with you in Atlanta before the conference, and wishing we lived closer so I could swing by to see you again. I’m so looking forward to reading your stories one day. I love historicals but I adore out-of-the-box unique historical — so I’ll be eagerly watching for your release dates! And, yes, Kim does fantastic work. Cannot recommend her enough.

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  8. Oooh, I want to read Adella’s Enemy! Like, right now. I hate when that happens. This means I have to really discipline myself because it’s only 5 pm here in Budapest as I write this and I can’t read until bedtime! Love your covers, by the way. And if I were Queen of the Universe, I would grant peace, harmony, joy and happiness on everyone. Sounds cliché, but it works in my life. Thanks for the lovely blog.

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    1. Awh shucks, so sweet of you to say you want to read Adella’s Enemy, Kathleen! And love your answer to “If I were Queen of the Universe.” I think you should sign on with Jo-Ann to be one of her Friday guests. Then I can read more about your book “A Duke’s Wicked Kiss”! 🙂

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    1. So cool to imagine you reading my book, Kay, because I’ve seen you name in many contests and blogs, and thoroughly enjoyed your humor and your writer’s voice. Love the snippets you’ve shared of your Jinn stories! So glad I finally got to meet you at the conference!

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      1. I feel the same–meeting the people whose names I’ve seen on contest lists is so much fun. And I walked into a conference lunch by myself, found an empty seat, and had lunch with E, E, Burke, who told me about the anthology. I said, :I know Jacqui, and I love Hell on Wheels–perfect!”

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    2. Isn’t Elisabeth the best at describing stories? Love her “Hell on Wheels with Happy Endings” slogan! So good to find another “Hell on Wheels” fan. When Jenn and Elisabeth said “Hell on Wheels” was the inspiration for them wanting to writing an anthology around a railroad race, I said, “What’s Hell on Wheels?” Now I’m educated and a big fan of the TV series 🙂

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    1. Sandra! So glad to have another 2013 Golden Heart finalist and Lucky 13 visit me here. And a multi-published author too! Loved reading “The Letter” and then meeting you at the conference! Looking forward to a conference where you’ll be signing books and I can stop by and say Hello.

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  9. Oh, this is so exciting! The release day is so close now!! I’m truly honored to be writing with you and Leigh. I love your idea of all 3 of us reading and grabbing a pic. Next conference we all attend, let’s do it! 🙂 Thanks for being a part of this and more so, thanks for being my friend! You’re awesome!

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    1. Talking with everyone on Jo-Ann’s blog today is making me as excited as if I were about to board a plane to some exotic location or the next RWA conference! This is the perfect way to get over the post-conference blues of missing friends. So happy to have shared this writing journey to my first publication with you and Elisabeth! I’m blessed to have such two awesome writing partners and friends. You’re the awesome one, Jenn!

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  10. Here’s to the Queen of the Universe and happy endings in books. Cover is great Jacqui. Kim is very talented in her designs, as you are in your writing. Looking forward to your releases. As for Adella…mud baths are good for the skin!

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  11. Jacqui, I Ioved reading about your own extensive travels and cannot wait to read your novella and books! It was such a pleasure to meet you at Nationals. I’m glad the Lucky 13s are staying in touch so we’ll have time to continue to deepen our friendships.

    Wishing you much success and lots of hugs,
    India

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    1. Looking forward to keeping in touch with you and all the other Lucky 13s, India! The best part of being a Golden Heart finalist is getting to know the other finalists and then feeling involved in their writing journeys. I’ll be cheering everyone on from way up here in Canada and recommending your books to as many Canadian readers as I can reach 🙂 Sending you a big hug, India!

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  12. Thanks, Pat! Mud and weather (along with romance and friendship, of course!) seem to have played a big part in this novella. Thanks goodness mud baths are good for the skin, as you say 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, Pat!

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    1. Lynda, my fellow 2010 Golden Heart finalist, multi-published author, super-smart critique partner and wonderful friend! Thank you so much for dropping by so I can say an even BIGGER THANK YOU for helping me get “Adella’s Enemy” ready for publication. You are an inspiring friend who keeps me on track!

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  13. Hey, Jacqui. What a super excerpt! You had me scooting to the edge of my chair. I don’t read a lot of historicals any more, but will for sure have to get this one. Good luck with the launch.
    I agree stopping here at Jo-Ann’s is just so nice and homey feeling.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Marsha! If I was able to hold the interest of someone who doesn’t read a lot of historicals any more, then that is a super compliment!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Hi there Jacqui!
    What an excellent job your cover artist has done! Lush, colourful, evocative. Your excerpt was super too.
    So glad that you’re enjoying your self-publishing journey. Hang on for the ride ahead! All the best with your launch.
    And don’t forget to celebrate with an ‘adult beverage’. Cheers!

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    1. Hi Jodie! I’m both energized and exhausted by this self-publishing journey. It’s been so much work, but then so is any task worth doing. Thank you for allowing me to learn from your self-publishing journey! I’ve just returned from spending time with my aunt and two cousins who are visiting from Alberta. Hadn’t seen them in… around 10 years! A couple of “adult beverages” were definitely consumed 🙂

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  15. Jacqui, this excerpt is so enticing, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of it. Luckily, the release date is my birthday – easy for me to remember!
    Wonderful to see you in Atlanta – we meet in such exotic places!

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    1. Wishing you an early Happy Birthday, Natasha! It was wonderful to see you in Atlanta. So nice to just run into each other and then make a spontaneous decision to go to dinner or a workshop. Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad you enjoyed my excerpt!

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  16. I’m here! Late but here nonetheless 🙂 Oh, Jacqui, I was supremely bummed I didn’t get to see your cover reveal at rehearsals, so I’m extra thrilled to finally see it in its glory now! Congrats on this HUGE milestone, your incredible double final, and all the exciting things that lie ahead of you!!! What an honor to share the title of Lucky 13 with such talent!

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    1. You’re not late at all, Darcy. I’m the one late in replying to your comment! The Golden Heart rehearsals (and all of the conference) seemed to fly by a warp speed. Would have loved an extra day just to talk a little longer with everyone. Congrats on your Golden Heart win! I’m so looking forward to reading “Summer of Supernova” and all of your books. With an awesome voice such as yours I know I’ll love them!

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    1. Thanks, Mimi! And thanks for all your support and insights during my writing journey. I will always remember my first RWA conference (2009 in Washington, DC) and the treat of having you as room-mate. You’re the best! Thanks for dropping by!

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