Monday, 30 July 2012

Charlene Raddon: Forever Mine

Please help me welcome one of my closest and dearest friends, and someone I've known longer than I've known myself (or so it seems), historical romance author, Charlene Raddon.

Charlene started publishing in the mid 1990s, publishing some of the best historical romance of the time -- Taming Jenna, Tender Touch, Forever Mine, To Have and To Hold, and as Rachel Summers, The Scent of Roses.

Charlene took a hiatus from writing, but she's back and in top form. In the lead up to publishing some new fiction, Charlene is currently republishing her previous romances, starting with her most popular book, Forever Mine.

Forever Mine is the story of Cape Meares Lighthouse keeper, Bartholomew Noon, and a mail-order bride, Ariah Scott. Ariah was sent to Cape Meares to marry (sight unseen) the assistant light keeper, Pritchard. However, upon meeting Ariah, Bartholomew falls madly in love with her. And the story unfolds!

Charlene creates a story for readers which pulls them into the time period. The imagery is so realistic . . . to coin a phrase . . . it's like being there. In the opening scene, Bart witnesses a ship wreck off the coast during a particularly horrible night storm. This is not your typical 'dark and stormy night' opening. Readers will swear they feel the lashing rain and sea spray on their faces, smell the salty tang in their nostrils and taste it on their tongues. Crashing waves and the urgency of the rescue will have readers' hearts pumping as hard as Bart's surely does.

And if readers think the action is realistic, just wait until they get to the romance! The intimacy scenes are tender and heartfelt. Even though they know it's wrong, Bart and Ariah share a special bond that cannot be denied.

When this book was first published by Kensington, Forever Mine was the constant recipient of 4.5 to 5 star reviews and reader awards.

On the lead up to published some fresh fiction, Charlene is republishing these beloved tales with the digital publisher, Tirgearr Publishing. With a new cover and a new leash on life, Forever Mine is destined to draw back Charlene's former fans while at the same time pulling in new ones.

So, now that Charlene has gotten back into writing, we've asked her a few questions about her 'new' writer life.

Welcome, Charlene!!

Please, tell us about your writing day. What is your daily writing routine like?

First thing I do in the morning is take my walk, then I eat and usually spend the rest of the day in the office. I confess I’m not always writing when I’m in there. Sometimes I find a few minutes to do genealogy or scrapbooking. Once in a while I manage to straighten things up.

Writers are kind of picky about their writing space. Tell us about yours.

I’m fortunate to have my own office. It’s small and crowded with book overloaded shelves, desk, printer stand, file cabinet and a bed for my cat Toby (although sometimes he prefers my lap). I have a white board for plotting notes and a cork board for photos. My desk top is rarely clear enough to set something on without placing it on top of something else. But I’m a writer, not a housemaid, right? My window is large and overlooks a garden and the street beyond. Right outside the window is a hummingbird feeder and a regular bird feeder.

And what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

Play cards or go shopping with my granddaughter when she comes over. Genealogy, digital scrapbooking, trying to learn Photoshop Elements, playing Words With Friends on my Kindle, or reading.

Wow! It sounds like you're a busy woman. Hopefully not too busy to keep those great stories coming for years to come. Welcome back to publishing!

Here's an excerpt from Forever Mine. You can tell me if I'm right about 'being there' when you read this book --

• • •

Cape Meares, Oregon 1891

To Bartholomew Noon the unceasing rumble of the sea and the melancholy cry of gulls were the very embodiment of his loneliness. Constant. Never ending. But loneliness was not the cause of the heavy sense of foreboding that had come over him on awakening that morning. A warning he knew better than to ignore.

In the hope of escaping the gloomy cloud hanging over him, he had hiked the steep trail down to the beach where a man could be alone. Here on the driftwood littered strand, he could be himself. No one to placate. No one from whom he must hide his innermost feelings in order to keep from being manipulated or tormented. Here, he could ponder his unwonted presentiment without interruption.

Out where the water deepened, a wave of translucent jade crested, curled in upon itself, broke in a boiling froth that tossed and fumed until its force ebbed. Indolently, it crept toward him until the foam-tipped water encircled his boots, as if to embrace him in empathy and compassion, before being sucked back into the gray Pacific Ocean, stealing the sand from under him as it went.

A derisive snort erupted from deep inside Bartholomew's chest as he shrugged off his imaginings. The sea neither embraced nor understood him. What it did do, a few grains at a time, was erode away the land, the same way life with Hester was eroding away his soul.

The sky darkened from gray to black as a storm drew near. Fog, pushed by the wind herding the storm inland, had already obliterated the headland to the south where Hester and the lighthouse awaited him. The air grew more chill. Soon the rain would begin. Resolutely, he thrust his icy fingers into his coat pockets and turned his back on his beloved sea. It was time to see to his responsibilities.

The thick February mist formed droplets on his lashes and the tip of his sturdy nose. Under his keeper's cap, his damp sable hair formed a mass of loose curls.

"Come on, Harlequin," he called to a puffin feeding in the shallow water, "time to go."

The stubby bird scooped up a last mouthful of tiny mole crabs in its garish orange and red beak and waddled out of the surf toward the man, every bit as though it had understood the human command. Awkwardly, it flapped its raven wings, flying barely high enough to reach the man's broad shoulder, but it seemed content there. Bartholomew patted the sleek snowy feathers of its breast as he climbed the bluff that rose above the strand. The wing Bartholomew had mended was nearly as strong as ever. Any day now the bird would rejoin its own kind on the seastacks off the Oregon coast, leaving Bartholomew more alone than ever.

Evergreens draped in moss crowded close around him as he made his way up the trail, and added to the gloom of the foggy morn. Tree trunks, misshapened by ferns that rooted in every gnarl, appeared like phantoms in the drifting mist, writhing and moaning in the rising wind. It was when the track ran close enough to the cliff to offer a last view of the sea that Bartholomew saw the ship.

One second the vessel was there, the next it was gone. The fog congealed to the consistency of Hester's sausage gravy and laid every bit as heavily upon the sea as the gravy did in Bartholomew's stomach. His dark eyes strained to penetrate the ghostly vapor. If he was right, Pyramid Rock lay directly across the vessel's course.

Like a too-tight seam, the fog split apart. In the resultant window, he spotted the ship, heading straight for the hidden rock.

He screamed for the vessel to veer sharply portside, knowing in the more reasonable portion of his brain that he was much too far away to be heard.

The rising wind hurtled the ship closer to its destruction, as easily as a stone cast from a sling. To Bartholomew the scene played out in painful, slow motion, grating on his nerves like wood beneath a rasp. People were on that ship, people who would die. He wanted to rage at the heavens for allowing such tragedy.

The thought that there might be survivors sent him racing back down toward the beach, until reality brought him to a halt.

At sea level the white-capped waves would hide the ship from him. Even if it did crash, there would be time to fetch horses from the lighthouse station and get back before the sea deposited its victims on the sand. Meanwhile, he could hope he was mistaken about the ship's danger.

Even as his mind formed the thought, he saw it happen. Ship and rock appeared to merge and become one as they collided. Then, as though to refuse such a marriage, the cold lifeless stone ejected the helpless mass of wood and sailcloth back out into the sea. Billowing white sails crumpled as the mast snapped and collapsed upon the heaving deck. The wind and the roar of the sea drowned out the splintering of wood and the screams of men, but Bartholomew heard them. In his heart.

For one more moment the ship bobbed uncertainly upon the waves, and sank from view. Bartholomew turned and sprinted up the steep forest trail. The puffin frantically flapped its wings to maintain balance on the man's broad shoulder. A moment later, he plummeted unnoticed to the mossy earth.

Hester was coming from the garden when her husband raced out of the woods and around the fenced compound in which the houses stood. She crept along as though each step were an act of painful labor. With one hand she carried the freshly rinsed ceramic chamber pot she used at night instead of making the long walk down to the cold water closet off the kitchen.

"Where you going in such a hurry?" She waited for him to reach her, her shawl clutched over her flat, pious chest.

"Shipwreck," he said, as he passed her. "Crashed into Pyramid Rock. I'm taking the horses down to the beach for survivors."

"What'll you do with 'em if you find any?" she called after him in the waspish voice she was careful never to use around others.

Bartholomew didn't bother to answer. He rushed into the barn, snatched bridles off the wall and went to work readying the four horses they kept for hauling supplies.

Hester was still standing on the path, her thin face scrunched with disapproval, when he led the horses out into the fog.

"Won't have no putrefying bodies stinking up my house," she said, following him to the back porch of their home.

"Don't worry, Hester, I'll put them in the barn."

He glanced up as a white beam cut weakly through the thickening fog, followed by a red flash. On a good day the beam could be seen twenty-one miles out to sea. But today wasn't a good day. At least Pritchard had not fallen asleep and allowed the light to go out.

"Have Seamus relieve Pritchard, Hester, and send the boy down to help me. Right now I need blankets, and that brandy we keep for emergencies...if you haven't drunk it."

Hester blanched, and then colored. In her best imitation of refined gentility, which she usually saved for company, she said, "How dare you accuse me of drinking alcoholic beverages? You know I am a member in good standing of The Tillamook Women for Temperance Coalition...even if you have buried me here where I can't get to the meetings anymore."

Her husband tossed her a look of disgust, saying nothing about the bottle of Dr. Hamilton's Heavenly Elixir he had found that morning under the porch steps. The so-called tonic was mostly alcohol, but Hester had ignored his demand that she destroy her supply. She claimed it gave her strength and made her feel better. Bartholomew no longer cared. It made her easier to live with, if nothing else.

"Yes, Hester. Now get the blankets, please, I haven't time to argue."

"Get them yourself. You can move faster than me.”

• • •

Charlene began her writing life at an early age, often penning stories where she cast herself as the heroine. It was after college when she dug out her old college typewriter and started her first novel, which came from a spirited dream she'd had the previous night.

While that book never sold, her second novel did. Tender Touch became a Golden Heart finalist and earned her an agent who signed the book, and two others, in a three book contract with Kensington Publishing. Kensington went onto publish five of Charlene's western historical romances: Taming Jenna (1994); Tender Touch (1994 Golden Heart Finalist); Forever Mine (1996 Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award Nominee and Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll finalist); To Have and To Hold (1997 Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll finalist); and as Rachel Summers, The Scent of Roses (1999).

Charlene took a break from publishing, but not from writing. A Kiss and A Dare is Charlene's first paranormal romance.

Divine Gamble is Charlene's most recently completed work and earned her first place at the 2010 Romance Through The Ages contest in their western historical romance category. Currently, she's reworking that first book she wrote that resulted from a spirited dream.

When Charlene isn't writing, she loves to travel, research genealogy, create digital scrapbooks and dye eggs in the Ukrainian style. She also enjoys camping and fishing with her husband in the Utah wilderness.

• • •

For more information on Forever Mine and Charlene Raddon, readers are invited to visit these sites. Charlene loves hearing from her readers, so drop be a note --

Charlene's website -
Facebook -
Twitter -
GoodReads -
Tirgearr Publishing -

And if you want to buy a copy of Forever Mine, be sure to visit Charlene's page at Tirgearr Publishing with all her buy links. Forever Mine is available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, iTunes/iBooks, and all other readers --

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  1. Hey, Char!! You sound like a nester, too. Lots of things within reach from your place at the computer. If my dog Poppy could get away with it, she'd be on my lap like your Toby! Great to see Forever Mine back on the market. Can't wait to see the rest of your backlist follow suit!

  2. Fabulous interview. Loved the excerpt and the cover is brilliant.

    Definitely a story that piqued my interest. I'll be checking it out.

  3. Thanks, Kemberlee. Yes, I am definitely a nester.
    Cathie, I'm honored by your visit and thrilled that your interest is piqued by my book. I love your work. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Char, FOREVER MINE sounds like a great book. Love the lighthouse setting!

  5. Me, too, Elizabeth. So much more interesting than houses and great atmosphere.

  6. Great interview, I love the comment you're a writer not a housemaid! CLASSIC :) I can't wait to read this!

  7. Always loved "Forever Mine." It reaches down deep and stirs an emotional chord. And of course, the bird descriptions and the vivid scenic coastal details you paint with words really put the reader there. ~Brit

  8. Ditto to all the above. Kudos to Charlene for blazing a trail in this new world of epublishing! Hugs, Kathleen

  9. Thank you, ladies. I might just add, for Kristi, that at this moment while I'm on the computer, my husband is mopping the kitchen floor. LOL.

  10. Floors . . . that's something neither I or my DH will do for some reason. He's great for cooking and tidying on the weekends, but the rest is up to me . . . cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all the rest of the 'housewife' nonsense. But frankly, I've never been a good housekeeper. Scratch that. My places have always been neat and tidy. I can keep after myself very well. I just refuse to have to walk behind people who can't take care of themselves. Good on your husband for doing the kitchen floor. Can I borrow him?? :-)

  11. He vacuums too, but you might have to pretend you're very ill or have a broken neck. LOL

  12. My thing is I just stop picking up after everyone else. Eventually the DH gets into a 'we live in a dump' and starts cleaning. Looks great for about a week until the bad behavior creeps back ;-)

  13. Dear Charlene

    I love the extract from your book. Anything about the sea is top of my
    list. But I shall have to wait a while to read it. Perhaps someone will
    give me a Kindle for Christmas or can I still buy a paper copy? I'll look
    on Amazon!
    Big hug for Toby