Saturday, February 16, 2013

Buy the Book Tours: "Highland Surrender" by Tracy Brogan Guest Post


Defiant Highland beauty Fiona Sinclair is shocked by her brothers’ treachery. To seal a fragile truce, they have traded her hand in marriage to their sworn enemy, a man she has never met, a man she was raised to despise. With no choice but to wed, Fiona makes her own private vow: though she may surrender her freedom, she will never surrender her heart.

Commanded by his king, Myles Campbell is no more willing than his reluctant bride. Still, she is a rare beauty, passionate enough to warm even the coldest marriage bed. Buy Myles quickly realizes Fiona Sinclair is no common wench. She has a warrior’s spirit and a fierce pride that only a fool would try to tame. And Myles Campbell is no fool. Their marriage was meant to unite warring clans. They never imagined it would ignite a once-in-a-lifetime love…


Scottish Highlands, 1537

Fiona Sinclair could not reconcile the irony of nature’s twisted humor. For today of all wretched days the sky should be burdened with clouds as dark and dismal as her mood. But the morning dawned soft and fair, mild as a Highland calf, and she knew that God himself mocked her. At any moment, Myles Campbell and his father, the Earl of Argyll, would pass through the gates of Sinclair Hall, unwelcome, yet unhindered by her clan. Soon after that, she must stand upon the chapel steps and marry a man she had never met, and yet had hated for all of her life.

Through her narrow bedchamber window, sounds from the bailey filtered up. The smithy’s hammer tapped a mellow cadence as if this day were just like any other. Perhaps he shaped a horseshoe or a pointed pike. She smiled at the latter and imaged the heaviness of that same pike in her hand. Oh, that she had the courage to plunge it deep into the earl’s heart, if indeed he had one.

She rose from the threadbare cushion on the bench and moved without purpose toward the stone fireplace. A low fire burned, warding off the spring morning’s chill. From habit, Fiona slipped her hand into the leather pouch around her waist. She squeezed tight the silver brooch inside, its design and inscription etched as clearly in her memory as on the pin itself. A boar’s head, symbol of Clan Campbell, with words chosen by the king himself.

To Cedric Campbell, a true friend is worth a king’s ransom. James V.

The brooch had been a gift to the Campbell chief, the man about to become her father-in-law. But he had left it behind nearly seven years earlier, pierced into the flesh of Fiona’s mother so that all the world might know he had dishonored her. The priest found Aislinn Sinclair’s lifeless body in a secluded glen outside the village, stripped bare and broken, marked by Cedric’s lust and spite. Thus a feud, long simmering at the edges, boiled over.

But today the king thought to put an end to it with this farce of a marriage between a Sinclair lass and a Campbell son. It would not work.

Fiona paced to the window, restless and melancholy. She leaned out to breathe fresh spring air, hoping it might lighten her spirits. The too-sweet scent of hyacinth clung to the breeze, along with the ever-present brine of Moray Firth. Along the west curtain wall, more hammering sounded as masons worked to bolster the steps leading to the main keep. As if precarious stairs alone might halt the Campbell men from gaining entrance. But nothing would. Her fate as a Campbell bride had been declared the very day she drew in her first breath, and sealed when her father blew out his last.

Author Bio:

Tracy Brogan is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist who writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. Her first two books, CRAZY LITTLE THING, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER both earned a 4-Star review from RT magazine and have hit the Amazon Best Selling Books list.

Tracy lives in Michigan with her bemused husband, her perpetually exasperated children, and two dogs, who would probably behave better if they could understand sarcasm. 

By Tracy Brogan

Most people think of writing as a solitary endeavor. They imagine authors sitting hunched over greasy keyboards, alone in our cluttered offices, muttering back to the voices in our heads. Well, that last part may be true. I’m hunched at this moment, my office is untidy, and I do tend to chat with the characters evolving on the page.

But the alone part? Not so much. And thank goodness for that.

You see, while there are long stretches of time where each writer must push forth alone, there are just as many moments when we must rely on our most valued secret weapon – critique partners! The importance of CPs ranks higher than who is in your wedding, who you regularly have lunch with, maybe even who you marry! Okay, that may be taking it too far, but the relationship between critique partners is an essential component of drafting and revising a publishable piece of work.  And in many ways it is like a marriage.
An effective critique partnership is based on trust , balance of power, and even love. If not “love” of each other, at least “love” of one another’s writing voice.

When I send chapters to my CPs, I know they’ll read it, absorb it, and give me the benefit of the doubt. They’ll be (mostly) gentle with me. But I also trust them enough to know they will shred my words, point out flaws in my arc, question if my heroine is TSTL, and in general tell me everything that is WRONG with what I’ve done. This can leave one feeling a little raw and abused! In no other job do we ask our co-workers to point out our errors! But that’s what CPs are supposed to do. Your friends and family aren’t going to do it, and it’s not fair to put them in a position where they have to evaluate your progress. If they’re not writers, they don’t really know how to critique. And while it’s always nice when your sister says, “This is your best work ever,” she’s sort of obligated by genetic code to say that or be deemed “The Bitchy Sister.” 

Even when I disagree with my critique partners, I trust they have the best of intentions. They want me to succeed and to do that, I must continue to grow with every page written. Sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees, as it were, and our CPs can. One of my favorite examples is when I wrote a lovely scene about a man looking out the window at children playing in a park. He was also thinking about the beautiful heroine. What I intended as a sweet, nostalgic moment apparently came across quite differently. All three of my CPs said he sounded a pedophile. OOPS!

The other advantage of having CPs evaluate your work instead of friends or family is that there is a balance of power. I read their pages and provide feedback, just as they do for me. We take turns so it doesn’t feel like one person is always judging the other with no reciprocity. You know that helpful friend who always straightens your placemats? Isn’t it annoying? Don’t you just want to go to her house and move that potted plant from one side of the table to the other?  I’m being facetious, of course. There is no room in a CP partnership for passive-aggressive behavior. But there does need to be an even flow back and forth. This isn’t a case of student and master, but rather a time for collegial teamwork.

And then comes love. (cue *awwww*) It’s true. I love the varied styles of my writing partners. None of us has the same voice, and we don’t even write in the same genre which helps us stretch muscles we might not otherwise use. But better than that, we know when one of our group needs a little extra TLC, or an extra nudge. Or an encouraging phone call when one of us is standing on the ledge of a very tall building with our laptops in our quaking hands. I’ve been the caller, and I’ve been the jumper!

So, while only one name goes under the title of the story, writing is not a solitary adventure. Bring a snack, and bring your critique partners!
Follow the entire tour here, and watch for a review (hopefully) to be posted soon.

1 comment:

  1. This book has been on my "to read" list. I do plan to get to it.


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