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Alice Borchardt (October 6, 1939 – July 24, 2007) was a writer of historical fiction, fantasy, and horror. She lived in Houston and was sister of Anne Rice and aunt to Christopher Rice. Alice Borchardt shared a childhood of storytelling with her sister in New Orleans. A professional nurse, she also nurtured a profound interest in little-known periods of history.

Borchardt was born Alice O'Brien in New Orleans on Oct. 6, 1939. She was one of five sisters. Her father, Howard, a postal worker, helped her apply for her first library card at age 7. "It was the best gift I ever received," Borchardt said in a 1999 interview with the Austin American-Statesman.

Her mother, Katherine, was a feminist who taught Alice to pursue her career goals. The O'Brien family moved to Richardson, Texas, when Alice was a teenager. She began her nursing career in Houston, where she met and married her husband.

After a 30-year career as a licensed vocational nurse, Borchardt faced staff reductions at the hospital where she worked. Alice's sister Anne encouraged her, helped her find an agent, and wrote introductions to several of her books.

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Alice Borchardt's Books on Amazon: Alice Borchardt

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As an author for Harlequin Romance, Betty Beaty published nine romance novels. She was also known as Catherine Ross and Betty Smith.

Arthur David Beaty (28 March 1919 – 4 December 1999) was a British writer, pilot and psychologist notable as a pioneer in the field of Human Factors, now an integral branch of aviation medicine, which he argued played a central role in aviation accidents attributed to pilot error.

Beaty was born in Hatton, Ceylon on 28 March 1919, the son of a Methodist minister, and was educated at the prestigious Kingswood School followed by Merton College, University of Oxford where he read History and edited Cherwell, a student newspaper. Whilst at Oxford the Second World War broke out prompting him to volunteer for pilot training with Oxford University Air Squadron.

Beaty was initially rejected by the RAF pilot selection panel. Thanks largely to the support of his university tutors, he eventually passed selection and completed flying training, receiving a pilot grading of 'exceptional'.

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Betty Beaty's Books on Amazon: Betty Beaty

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Nothing about Iris Bancroft was typical, especially her birth. It was exotic—and tragic. She was born of missionaries in King Chow, Hupeh Provence, China, on May 26, 1922, a time of great unrest. Her parents were sent there by the Swedish Covenant Church to work with the Chinese converts. Her life comes full circle in one of her historical romances. Love's Burning Flame,.when the heroine spends some time in Imperial China, where savagery, especially to women, was very common.

Iris was one and a half when she left that turbulent continent, and her father died shortly thereafter. Her mother brought her to Chicago, where Iris spun youthful dreams of becoming a choir director. "I know now," confessed the romantic Iris, "that at the time I had a crush on the director of the choir at Fourth Presbyterian Church, where I sang."

In the early 1940s, she fell in love with a sailor whose religious background differed from hers. By mutual agreement, they stopped seeing each other before they got too serious. Then came World War II. "I married in 1945, and my husband went into the navy. At the war's end he returned, and we had two sons, William and Walter. I must admit now to not being completely honest in that marriage and in 1961 I asked for a divorce. I left my sons with their father because I felt it would be best for them if I did."

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Iris Bancroft's Books on Amazon: Iris Bancroft
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Carmel Parsons Thomaston (Sept. 25, 1952 - Dec. 2, 2002) was the founder and editor of Painted Rock and the free online magazine for writers, The Rock.

Carmel wrote under the pen name Fay Robinson, penning several novels for Harlequin. Her first book, A MAN LIKE MAC, won the Rita award for Best First Book from Romance Writers of America in July. Her second, Coming Home To You, won a Maggie award from Georgia Romance Writers as an unpublished manuscript and a Rita award for Best Long Contemporary Romance.

Fay believed in love at first sight, happily-ever-after endings, and that some hearts are destined to be together. How can she not? Her English mother and American father married by transatlantic telephone six months after their first and only date. Fay had her own rendezvous with destiny while doing a story on a firefighter for her local newspaper. That night she told her best friend, "Today I met the man I'm going to marry." Carmel and Jackie Thomaston were married 26 years and produced a son Casey.

Fay lived in Alabama within one hundred miles of the place where her paternal ancestors settled in the early 1800s. She spent her spare time canning vegetables from her husband's garden and researching her family history.

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Fay Robinson's Books on Amazon: Fay Robinson

"I had the honor of being one of Carmel’s critique partners. Carmel was an amazing lady. She was creative, insightful, and generous both as a writer and a friend. A day rarely goes by when I don’t think of her." --Barbara Pierce
"Carmel Thomaston, who wrote as Fay Robinson, was my dear friend. We met through the Internet, on the AOL bulletin boards to be precise. We were the first ones to begin posting on the romance bulletin boards there. Soon after, we became critique partners. Barbara Pierce, Ellen Morrow, and Barbara Hannah were also in our critique group. We called ourselves the Musketeers. Our small group taught me a lot about writing. Carmel taught me about perseverance and giving back.

Carmel believed and demonstrated in every way that the journey toward publication is more satisfying when we reach over and give someone else a foothold on the rocky climb. Many writers knew her through the classes she taught on the Internet. Her devotion to helping other writers resulted in her establishing the first readers and writers colony on the Internet: Painted Rock. She was incredibly proud that Writer's Digest named it one of the Top 101 Best Web Sites for Writers in 2002. She sponsored the PRock-Research List and published The Rock, an e-zine for writers with more than nine thousand subscribers.

While managing all this, Carmel held onto her dream of publishing her own novel. Using the skills she developed as a journalist, she researched extensively to provide the details she believed necessary to weaving memorable stories. Undaunted by numerous rejections, she continued to write, submit, and hope that her stories would one day touch readers in a meaningful way. Her perseverance was rewarded. As Fay Robinson, a name she chose to honor her mother, she published five books for Harlequin Superromance. She was elated and honored when A Man Like Mac earned her a RITA for Best First Book and Coming Home to You earned her a RITA for Best Long Contemporary and a Maggie.

Carmel left us with many stories still to be written. Yet for many people, long before her first book was published, her continual belief in our abilities and her unrelenting encouragement etched her name in gold upon our hearts. She gave tirelessly and unselfishly of her talents and knowledge. She possessed a wonderful laugh that I can still hear and a terrific sense of humor that still makes me smile. A devoted wife and mother, a trusted friend, an inspiration, she touched us all, and we're remarkably richer because she journeyed with us for a short while.

I still deeply miss her." --Lorraine Heath
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Ruby Mildred Ayres was born 28 January 1883, in London, England, the daughter of an architect.

She married Reginald William Pocock, an insurance broker, in 1909 (Pocock died in a train accident in the 1940s).

Ayres was an English popular novelist (known primarily for her romantic novels), and also wrote serials for the "Daily Chronicle" and "Daily Mirror". Her first novel "Richard Chatterton V.C." was published in 1916. She had also written for motion pictures in the United States and England, and her play "Silver Wedding," was produced in 1932.

Ayres died 14 November 1955 in Weybridge, England, at the age of 72 years.

Ruby M. Ayres's Books on Amazon: Ruby M. Ayres

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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of Ann Seton, an American author of historical romances.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton. She is interred at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich.

Her historical novels were noted for how extensively she researched the historical facts, and some of them were best-sellers: Dragonwyck (1944) and Foxfire (1950) were both made into Hollywood films. Three of her books are classics in their genre and continue in their popularity to the present: Katherine, the story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt, and their children, who were the direct ancestors of the Tudors, Stuarts, and the modern British royal family; Green Darkness, the story of a modern couple plagued by their past life incarnations; and The Winthrop Woman about the notorious Elizabeth Fones, niece and daughter-in-law of John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Most of her novels have been recently republished, several with forewords by Philippa Gregory.

Her novel Devil Water concerns James, the luckless Earl of Derwentwater and his involvement with the Jacobite rising of 1715. She also narrates the story of his brother Charles, beheaded after the 1745 rebellion, the last man to die for the cause. The action of the novel moves back and forth between Northumberland, Tyneside, London, and America.

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Anya Seton's Books on Amazon: Anya Seton

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Jan Cox Speas was born November 5, 1925 in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina (women could not go to UNC-Chapel Hill until junior year) from 1942-46, where she studied creative writing under Hiram Hayden. UNC had a special association with Jan's family: her mother, Francis Howard Cox, who had studied as a high schooler at home in tiny Richlands, NC, was the first in the family to come to the college, taking the train in 1914 to Greensboro to study to be a teacher, and years later Jan’s daughter, Cindy, attended UNC-Chapel Hill in the first year freshmen women were allowed to enrol.

Near the end of the war Jan met and married John Speas on his return from the European theatre. Their first child, Cindy, was born in 1948, right after John graduated from Colorado State University.

After several years of travelling, the Speas family settled back in Greensboro in 1954 to be near Jan’s mother, who suffered from chronic ill health. During that time Jan wrote multiple short stories for the widely read “slick” magazine market, including The Post, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s and others.

Cindy Speas recalls, “Mom learned to write from reading—and that's what we did as a family every night.” Jan's favourite authors included Daphne DuMaurier, Mary Stewart, Nevil Shute, Elswyth Thane, Inglis Fletcher, Helen MacInnis, Elisabeth Ogilvie, Elizabeth Goudge, Dorothy Sayer and Josephine Tey. “But the most fun Mom and I had,” Cindy confesses, “was with Georgette Heyer's Regency romances—we collected all of the original hardbacks.”

Following Jan Cox Speas death from a heart attack in 1971, Avon Publications brought out paperback editions of her romances. By 1978 there were more than a million copies of her books in print.

Jan Cos Speas's Books on Amazon: Jan Cox Speas

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Irene Maude Mossop (married name: Swatridge) was born on December 6, 1904 and passed away October 26, 1988. She was also known as Faye Chandos, Theresa Charles (writing with Charles John Swatridge), Leslie Lance, and Virginia Storm.

Theresa Charles was the joint pen name of Irene Maude Swatridge and Charles John Swatridge, neither no longer living, a married couple. Leslie Lance was primarily the pseudonym of Charles John Swatridge (1906-64) and taken over by his wife Irene (1904-88) when he died, though of course it is probable that she had an input in the earlier titles.

They were a very close couple and had a sheep farm in Devon.

Alan Boon (of Mills & Boon) had serious discussions with Jan Tempest about her novel Without A Honeymoon when she introduced the idea of a illegitimate child -- he felt she would encounter difficulties with the Irish audience.

As an author for Harlequin Romance, Jan Tempest published three novels. and one as Faye Chandos.

Jan Tempest's Books on Amazon: Jan Tempest


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Jay Blakeney (b. 20 June 1929 in England - d. 24 October 2007) was a British newspaper reporter, well-known as romance writer under the pseudonyms Anne Weale and Andrea Blake. She wrote over 88 for Mills & Boon from 1955 to 2002. She died on Wednesday 24 October 2007, at the time of her death she was writing her autobiography called "88 Heroes…1 Mr Right".

Anne Weale was a journalist and writer who resided mainly in Europe. She was best known for her romance novels of the 1980s. She published her first romance novel as Anne Weale in 1955 and her last novel in 2002.

Weale began her writing career while she was still at school, selling short stories to a women's magazine. Later she worked as a journalist to further her career and hone her writing. She worked as reporter for three different British papers until she decided to focus more exclusively on her novels.

Anne was a passionate traveler, which is reflected in her stories featuring many different exotic locations as the setting. When not traveling Anne and her husband, who had a son who leads adventure expeditions, spent winters in Spain and summers on the island of Guernsey.

Weale published numerous books, including numerous romance novels which have appeared in various series through the 1980s and 90’s. Anne considered her longer novels her greatest works. Unfortunately, these books were written in the 80’s and are now out of print. Nevertheless, readers all over the world continue to find her books in used bookstores and libraries. The majority of these titles focus on a fictional English country manor, Longwarden, and its inhabitants throughout time.

From 1998 to 2004 Anne wrote a website review column, called Bookworm on the Net, for The Bookseller, the UK’s leading weekly book trade magazine read by 80,000 people in 96 countries. In May 2005 she began a book-blog of the same name, and at the time of her death she was working on an autobiography called 88 Heroes…1 Mr. Right.

Anne Weale's Books on Amazon: Anne Weale


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Alice Muriel Williamson (1869 - September 24, 1933) was a British novelist.

Born Alice Muriel Livingston, she married Charles Norris Williamson (1859–1920) in 1894 and many of her books were jointly written with her husband. After her marriage she introduced herself as Mrs. C.N.Williamson. A number of their novels cover the early days of motoring and can also be read as travelogues.

Under the pseydonym Alice Stuyvesant she wrote "The Hidden House" serialised in The Cavalier Dec 13, Dec 20, Dec 27 1913, and Jan 3, Jan 10 1914.

Charles Norris Williamson wrote many of his published works in partnership with his wife, Alice who apparently said of him "Charlie Williamson could do anything in the world except write stories": she also said "I can't do anything else." Charles wrote some novels on his own, as did Alice after her husband's death in 1920.


Charles Norris (C N) Williamson (1859–1920) was a British writer, motoring journalist and founder of the Black and White (magazine) who was perhaps best-known for his collaboration with his wife, Alice Muriel Williamson, in a number of novels and travelogues.

Born in Exeter, Williamson was educated at University College, London, where he studied engineering. He spent eight years as a journalist on the Graphic before establishing the Black and White (magazine) in 1891 as founding editor. He published a Life of Carlyle in 1881. Several of the Williamsons' short stories and novels later became films.

He died at Combe Down, Bath, on Sunday 3 October 1920.

Charles Norris Williamson & Alice Muriel Williamson's Books on Amazon: Charles Norris Williamson & Alice Muriel Williamson


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Arnette Lamb (b. January 12, 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. - d. September 18, 1998) was an U.S. American writer of 13 romance novels from 1990 to 1998. Arnette Lamb was known world wide for her romance books set in Scotland. Arnette was an inspiration for authors, particularly those in her Houston, Texas critique group and she always had time for her fans.

She has won for two years the Romantic Times Career Acheivemente Award (1989-1990 e 1993-1994) and her Anthology "A Holiday of Love" is in the Top Ten Anthology List by All About Romance.

Surrounded by her husband, family and friends, Arnette, at the age of 51, passed away September 18, 1998, after a two year fight with nasal pharyngeal, a form of cancer. Her funeral service was held in the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas.

Arnette Lamb’s Books on Amazon: Arnette Lamb

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Carol Backus, known to readers as Suzanne Barclay, one of Harlequin Historicals best selling authors, passed away on September 15, 1999 after battling cancer for seven months.

Suzanne Barclay wrote more than a dozen books for Harlequin Historical as well as one for Silhouette Intimate Moments. Her historicals were set in the medieval period, and she was known for her meticulous research. Hardly a month goes by that she is not on someones Recommended Reads list. Her fans fell first for her work, and then, if they were lucky enough to meet her at one of the numerous conferences she attended, knew her as a friend. (Romantic Times Reviewer, Debbie Richardson)

I was blessed to have known Carol as a friend. I met her seven and a half years ago when she was starting a local chapter of Romance Writers of America in the Rochester, New York area where I live. At the beginning, she did it all: led workshops, sent out monthly newsletters, critiqued the work of group members, did publicity to help the chapter grow, all while getting her own brand-new writing career off the ground. Carol worked tirelessly, wanting to give back in honor of those who had helped get her first book published. Over the years, with much thanks to Carol, Lake Country Romance Writers has produced numerous published authors.

Carol was truly a gift to aspiring writers, both in the RWA chapters she belonged to and in the Writers Workshops she presented for the Pre-Convention classes for Romantic Times. Carol was a true and gifted teacher. She had a great love of her craft and a generous, giving spirit that led her to help others feel that same joy of writing. She spent time reading newcomers work and offering advice, helping would-be authors learn how to network at conferences to sell their work, and even took time to introduce writers with promise to agents and editors she knew. Carol was an immensely positive person. She made aspiring authors believe they could succeed.

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Suzanne Barclay’s Books on Amazon: Suzanne Barclay

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Historical romance writer Christine Monson published six novels and had finished the draft of another when she died Sept. 11, 2003. Author Christine Monson, whose romance novels "Golden Nights" and "Stormfire" were the most successful of her six published books, died at her former husband's home in Greeley. She was 57 when she committed suicide.

Monson was slight, with long, curly blond hair, a woman who was as at home reading books as she was writing them. She became an avid reader when she was a child, relying on her imagination to make her forget - for a while - the joyless West Virginia coal camp where she and her brother were raised. She learned to coax the extraordinary out of the ordinary. She knew how to scour the racks at Goodwill stores, plucking Donna Karan and Yves St. Laurent from hangers crowded with more pedestrian labels. She braked for yard sales and once brought home an elegant maple dresser that she bought for $15.

She allowed herself to pay retail for one extravagance - a mink coat she purchased with proceeds from her first book.

When Monson first saw "Romancing the Stone," she immediately recognized herself in Joan Wilder, the timid romance writer appalled to find herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure. Like the movie character, Monson preferred to live vicariously through the characters she sketched for her books. "She was a romantic who loved adventure, but she loved reading and writing about adventure more than doing it," said her former husband, Jon Monson, with whom she remained close after their divorce. Once, the Monsons took their daughter, Jennifer, then a baby, camping near Aspen. When Jon Monson paused to set up their tent in a forest clearing, Christine shook her head. She chose a site high on some bluffs overlooking the valley, envisioning the dramatic sunset. However, she failed to foresee the relentless wind that buffeted their camp and dangerously fanned the flames of their campfire. They quenched the fire and rolled diaper wipes into earplugs to muffle the sound of their tent snapping in the gusty night. Christine Monson used the image of fire in several book titles - "Flame Run Wild" and "This Fiery Splendor," along with "Stormfire," her debut novel.

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Christine Monson's Books on Amazon: Christine Monson

Source: Claire Martin, Denver Post Staff Writer
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Vivian Stuart, née Violet Vivian Finlay (born 2 January 1914 in Rangoon, Burma – d. August 1986), was a British writer from 1953 to 1986. She was published under different pen names; she signed her romance novels as Vivian Stuart, Alex Stuart, Barbara Allen, Fiona Finlay, and Robyn Stuart, she signed her military sagas as V.A. Stuart, and she signed her historical fiction series as William Stuart Long.

In 1960, Stuart founded the Romantic Novelists' Association with Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, and others; she also was the first elected Chairman.

Violet Vivian Finlay was born on 2 January 1914 in Rangoon, Burma (now also known as Myanmar). She was the daughter of Alice Kathleen (née Norton) and Sir Campbell Kirkman Finlay, the owner and director of Burmah Oil Company Ltd., whose Scottish family also owned James Finlay and Company Ltd. The majority of her youth was spent in Burma and India, and during her life, she frequently journeyed between Rangoon, Singapore, Java and Sumatra.

Finlay married three times during her lifetime, and had four children: Gillian Rushton, Jennifer Gooch, and twins Vary and Valerie Stuart.

Finlay studied medicine at the University of London and obtained a pathologist qualification at the University of Budapest in 1938, after which she emigrated to Australia with her second husband, a Hungarian Doctor with whom she worked. In 1942, she obtained a diploma in industrial chemistry and laboratory technique at Technical Institute of Newcastle. Finlay joined the Australian Forces during World War II and was attached to the IVth Army. She was later transferred to British XIV Army in Burma.

On 24 October 1958, she married her third husband, Cyril William Mann, a banker.

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Vivian Stuart’s Books on Amazon: Vivian Stuart

Alex Stuart’s Books on Amazon: Alex Stuart

William Stuart Long’s Books on Amazon: William Stuart Long


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Essie Summers wrote 55 romance novels, selling more than 19 million copies in 105 countries and published in 25 languages. Her novels focused on romance and family life with touches of adventure and humour and her winning formula earned her the loyalty of millions of readers.

Essie was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, to Edwin and Ethel Summers on July 24, 1912. She died in Taradale, Hawkes Bay on the August 27, 1998, at the age of 86.

Essie was born a year to the day after her parents left for New Zealand, in Linwood, Christchurch. At four years old, out of "sheer cussedness", she started at North Linwood Primary School. She survived the 1918 influenza epidemic and at twelve years left primary school to go to the Christchurch Technical College. At the time New Zealand was entering the depression and when she left college she got job at the Londontown Drapers instead of pursuing the career in teaching that she desired.

She met her husband, Bill Flett, when she was 13 but it was another 13 years before she became interested in him romantically. He eventually proposed by a letter; not recognising the handwriting she flicked to the last page to see who had written it and spotted his proposal in the final paragraph. A six week courtship by mail ensued until Bill was able to come to Christchurch and they ratified their engagement beneath the moon at Scarborough. The Second World War broke out that September and they were married the following May at the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church. Bill and Essie honeymooned on Banks Peninsula.

Essie and Bill moved to a manse in Ashburton, where their son William was born, then to Wanganui where Elizabeth their daughter was born. After changing to the Presbyterian ministry they went to Dunedin but Essie found the Dunedin manse too damp and was afflicted with fibrositis so they moved to Weston, four miles out of Oamaru in North Otago. They spent many years in Weston before moving north to Rakaia where Essie wrote her first novel. In 1958 they returned to Dunedin where they bought a house. Essie and Bill eventually retired to Napier in 1976.

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Essie Summers’s Books on Amazon: Essie Summers

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Author Cheryl Anne Porter passed away August 25, 2004. An award-winning writer and much sought-after speaker, she made a difference in the lives of many with her words and her sparkling personality. Cheryl wrote historicals for Dorchester and St. Martin's Press, as well as contemporaries for Love & Laughter, Duets and Temptation. Her final Temptation, Blind Date, was published in February 2005. Cheryl leaves behind a legacy of wonderful memories and great books.

Though born in Savannah, Georgia, Cheryl Anne began her life as a citizen of the world. Her father's air force career took her and her family across the U.S., then abroad to England and Germany, before they settled in Oklahoma (for the second time). Cheryl graduated in the top 10 per cent of her high school class, earning a full academic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. There, she graduated with a B.A. in American literature.

Following careers in teaching and in health care, Cheryl returned to school to pursue her master's in creative writing while also teaching freshman English at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her intended master's thesis turned into her first novel, Jessie's Outlaw. The 1993 book subsequently was chosen by the Library of Congress for its rare book collection.

Inspired by a true incident, Cheryl's second historical novel, Kansas Wildfire, garnered the author's first National Readers' Choice Award nomination. After a mid-'90s move to Florida, she published her third novel, Sara's Bounty, in 1995. Reflecting continued reader demand for the frontier saga, Leisure Books announced Sara's Bounty's re-release in 1999.

International reading audiences were soon introduced to another side of Cheryl's talent — writing crisp, witty, contemporary comedy. The 1997 release of A Man in Demand promptly earned the versatile novelist a nomination for Romantic Times magazine's Best Love and Laughter Romance. In the next few years, Cheryl published a successful string of comedies for Harlequin: The Great Escape (1998), From Here to Maternity and Puppy Love (1999), Drive-by Daddy and Sitting Pretty (2000) and Her Only Chance (2002).

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Cheryl Anne Porter’s Books on Amazon: Cheryl Anne Porter

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Leslie Esdaile Banks: New York Times and USA Today Best-selling author, L.A. Banks penned over 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres and was the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover's Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction and the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award, as well as the 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania. She was featured as a speaker on the HBO Special on Vampire Literature and Legends as a prelude to the True Blood premier.

A native of Philadelphia, Banks was a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program, and alumnae of Temple University's Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking program. She wrote under the pseudonyms; L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, and Leslie Esdaile Banks. She won several business as well as literary awards, and wrote in genres as diverse as romance, women's fiction, crime suspense, and paranormal. She contributed to magazines, newspaper columns, and wrote commercial fiction for a variety of major publishers: St. Martin's Press, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Kensington Publishing, BET/Arabesque, Dark Horse Press, Genesis Press, Parker Publishing, Harper, and Tor. Her non-fiction work included the riveting and motivational story of Bank's life journey in her contribution to the Chicken Soup for the African American Soul anthology.

Banks' writing career took a new twist when she won the coveted contract with Paramount/Showtime in collaboration with Simon & Schuster/Pocketbooks to write a book series for the popular cable network television series, Soul Food. Banks was also contracted to write the Universal Studios/Dark Horse Press novelization of the movie, Scarface, which takes a look at the main character Tony Montana's life two years before he emigrated from Cuba to American in 1978. In addition, Banks penned a four-book crime thriller for Kensington/Dafina, beginning with Betrayal of the Trust, under her alternate pseudonym, Leslie Esdaile Banks. From there, Banks transitioned into another hot genre, the world of paranormal fiction, where she penned a 12 book Vampire Huntress Legend series under the pseudonym, L.A. Banks, for St. Martin's Press, as well as a hot werewolf series, Crimson Moon Novels (a six book series.) Banks also moved into ebooks with Red Rose Publishing, graphic novels, comics, manga and even a new YA, entitled, Shadow Walker, for her thriving Vampire Huntress Legends series, as well as a young adult paranormal series that was under development at the time of her death.

Banks was a member of The Liar's Club, and was always working on multiple projects and anthologies simultaneously. She resided in Philadelphia with her daughter, who attended her graduate studies alma mater, Temple University.

L.A. Banks's Books on Amazon: L.A. Banks

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Phyllis Matthewman (1896-1979), from Surrey, was a noted author of children's books, primarily "boarding school" storied, in the United Kingdom. As an author for Harlequin Romance, she published two novels. Phyllis made her debut in 1944 with "Set to Partners", her first of 43 novels.

She was educated at Leeds High School. After her father's death, her mother took in paying guests to maintain her and her daughters, Phyllis and Joyce; there was no opportunity for Phyllis to further her education. In 1930 she married Sidney Matthewman. His father ran the Swan Press & had connections in the publishing and literary worlds. They moved frequently until Sidney had a breakdown and Phyllis took a job, and began writing; Sidney helped her both with the books and through his publishing connections. One of Matthewman's closest friends (and a client of her husband) was famous childrens' author Elinor Brent-Dyer. Later Sidney Matthewman set up a literary agency and Elinor Brent Dyer was also a client. In 1964, the Matthewmans moved to Redhill into a joint establishment, Gryphons, with Elinor Brent-Dyer until her death.

Phyllis Matthewman's Books on Amazon: Phyllis Matthewman


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The news of Ronda Thompson's death was given from Sue Grimshaw, National Romance Buyer for BGI Corporation, at the RWA Convention on July 12, 2007. Thompson was well known for her books on the Wulfs of London series, also translated into Italian by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore Publisher.

From Tina Gray's blog: "Today I lost a dear friend.

Bestselling author Ronda Thompson (1956- July 11, 2007), after being diagnosed with pancreatic and ovarian cancer only a week ago, died this morning. I met her only six months ago. But we connected immediately. We would email one another every week, meet once a month to have lunch and talk about our families or our current WIPs. She was always so encouraging and upbeat. It didn't take long for her to become one of my best friends.

My heart breaks for her family, grieves for the many fans she leaves behind. Anyone who has read her books knows that she was a master at characterization. But on a personal level, what impressed me most about her was her tenacity and grit. Through her example, she taught me to never give up on my dream of being published.

Ronda had dyslexia, a disability that has been described by some doctors as “word blindness.” Dyslexia can cause a person to see text appearing to jump around on a page, or to not be able to differentiate between letters that have similar shape. Sometimes, the words appear completely backwards (bird can look like drib) or the affected reader might be able to read the words but not make sense or remember what they read, so that they have to read the same passage over and again.

How frustrating to a reader to wrestle with such problems. But for a writer? This would be beyond mere annoyance. Ronda had to work twice as hard as other authors out there, writing and rewriting just to get a sentence on the paper, not to mention proof-reading. To think that she overcame such a debilitating handicap, all to follow a dream. And she kept her charming humor intact throughout.

Next time I catch myself whining about a deadline, or whimpering over a revision, I’m going to remember Ronda. Her struggle over each and every word.

And to think, she went on to be a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. How she must have savored that taste of success — the earning makes it all the more sweet. The reward of all those painstaking hours spent writing resulted in a gift to her readership, and a legacy to her family.

Ronda will be missed. But her stories will live on, and her courage and tenacity will continue to inspire. She won’t be forgotten. All of us who knew and loved her, will see to that.

"He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Ronda Thompson's Books on Amazon: Ronda Thompson
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Irene Northan (pen name Elizabeth Lowther), Rene (as she was known to her friends) was born on Tyneside, NE England but moved to South Devon with her parents at the age of 10. She trained as a teacher, specialising in history. Her research led to countless articles on history, travel, social customs, and short stories appearing in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines at home and abroad. After receiving over 100 rejection slips, her first novel, 'PHYLLIDA', was published in 1976. A steady stream of books followed, which she fitted in between caring for her husband and two daughters, becoming a founder member of Brixham Writers' Circle, a member of The Romantic Novelists' Association, Librarian of Brixham Museum, and Reader for the South West Arts.

Rene enjoyed meeting readers and writers in all genre, fiction and non-fiction. She gave talks at various writers' schools and clubs across the country, often acting as an awards adjudicator for competitions throughout SW England.

Until her death in June 1993 Rene had written 20 fiction titles and 1 non-fiction. These have generated 47 reprints, 28 of them being issued posthumously. Her Devon trilogy, TO DREAM AGAIN, A SAFE HAVEN and DAUGHTER OF THE RIVER, her last novels, were re-issued in paperback in 2000 by Caxton Group Publishing.


Elizabeth Lowther's Books on Amazon: Elizabeth Lowther

Irene Northan's Books on Amazon: Irene Northan
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Edith Constance Holme (October 7, 1880 - June 17, 1955), married name Punchard, was an English writer and playwright. She was born in Milnthorpe, Westmorland (now in Cumbria), the youngest of fourteen children. Her novels are set in the old county of Westmorland, where except for brief periods at school in Birkenhead and Blackheath, she lived most of her life.

Many of Holme's works explore class relationships; her first two books focus on the three-way relationships between landowners, tenant farmers and land agents (Holme's father and her husband were both land agents). Her 1921 novel The Splendid Fairing won the Prix Femina-Vie Heureuse.

Uniquely among twentieth-century authors, all of Holme's novels and her book of short stories were published in the Oxford World's Classics series. The Lonely Plough was also, in 1936, among the first novels published by Penguin. Despite this, her reputation faded quickly after her death; indeed, it had been questioned even during her own lifetime, with the Saturday Review commenting in 1938, "We are still hunting for someone who has actually read Constance Holme's novels." Some of her books were reprinted during the 1970s; however, her final work, The Jasper Sea, remains unpublished.

Constance Holme's Books on Amazon: Constance Holme

Vintage Covers )
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Louise Redfield Peattie was born June 14, 1900, in Northern Illinois, the daughter of Robert and Bertha Dreier Redfield; she married Donald C. Peattie in 1923; they had 4 children, three sons and a daughter, who died young.

Louise Redfield Peattie's father was a prominent corporate lawyer, and her mother was the daughter of the Danish consul in Chicago. They gave Peattie a very happy childhood, much of it spent on the extensive farm where she was born—an estate established by Peattie's ancestors several generations back. Peattie was educated by tutors and in private schools in Chicago, and her marriage to the naturalist-writer Donald C. Peattie was a very happy one, although the couple's only daughter died young. They also had three sons.

The family has lived in various places: Washington, D.C.; Provence and the French Riviera; Peattie's childhood home; and Tryon, North Carolina. They finally settled in Santa Barbara, California. Each place has given Peattie colorful settings for the fiction she began to write shortly after her marriage. With her husband's generous encouragement and cooperation, she became a prolific author. At times they collaborated on books, but most of Peattie's writing has been on her own.

Peattie summed up her life work in these words:
"Grateful for the opportunity to combine a career with family life, it has been my endeavor that my family shall profit, never suffer, from my occupation with writing. My greatest pride is in the share I am privileged to have in my husband's writing; this is the first of my interests. All that I asked of life in the first hope of youth has been fulfilled; I ask now only the opportunity to complete fully what we have begun together."
Peattie's fiction is almost invariably concerned with the problems of male-female relationships and those of parents and children. Reviewers have praised the breadth of her insight into the inner lives of men and women and her sense of the comic as well as the pathetic. Peattie's poetic prose has pleased many critics, and her delicate sentiment usually manages to escape sentimentality.

Not all readers agree Peattie's work is entirely devoid of oversweetness, and some critics have objected to the "thinness" of some of her stories. The style of Peattie's later books often comes perilously close to being precious and affected.

A Child in Her Arms (1938) shows what happens when a beautiful, barren woman longing for a child meets a beautiful pregnant girl who eventually gives birth to a perfect baby. The first woman is wealthy and educated, with a husband who wants only her happiness; the second is the "earth mother" type, almost a symbol of maternity, with no family and no place to go. Star at Noon (1939) tells of the oddly assorted members of a family coming together, puzzled and wondering about their tangled relationships: a man and his second wife, his second wife's son, his first wife, and his daughter.

The problems of these plots are beautifully smoothed out to leave the reader satisfied that human affairs can always be resolved, although not without emotional turmoil and soul-searching. Of one of Peattie's books a critic says,
"It leaves the impact of a bigger and better story than it is, perhaps; but nevertheless it is a crisp, economical job of writing that makes for entertaining reading."
Although Peattie's work can certainly not be called great realistic fiction, it cannot be considered mere "light romance." Serious purpose is at the core of each novel and story.

Louise Redfield Peattie's Books on Amazon: Louise Redfield Peattie


Vintage Covers )
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Erolie Pearl Gaddis was born in Gaddistown, Georgia on March 5, 1895. She married John Sherman Dern in 1931. She wrote as both Peggy Gaddis and Peggy Dern indiscriminately, sometimes swapping the bylines on different editions of the same book. Peggy was probably a family nickname dating from her childhood; since it is not a recognized nickname for either of her given names. The author of her biography, considers it a pseudonym, even though it was probably the name she was known by in everyday life.

According to Contemporary Authors her early career revolved around the entertainment business. She claimed to have appeared on stage and in movies as an actress there is no proof of such work. She edited trade journals and fan magazines, presumably in the 1920’s; at a later time she edited at least one romance pulp magazine. She is known to have written prolifically for the romance pulps but these magazines are poorly documented and the handful of stories currently known are a drop in the bucket.

As a novelist her work was confined entirely to two closely related genres, virtually all of it written for lending library publishers. For thirty years she wrote traditional romances, almost entirely for one publisher, Arcadia House. For the last ten of those years she wrote principally nurse novels. She also wrote “love novels,” a somewhat sleazier form of romance that was invented by the lending library publishers. In the 1930’s she wrote them for William Godwin, Inc. and in the 1940’s for Phoenix Press. By 1951 this genre had been abandoned by the hardcover publishers and found a new home in the proliferating digest-size paperbacks. These publishers faded away by 1955, those that survived shifting to soft core porn. Most of the older authors, like Peggy Gaddis, chose not to follow this direction and fell back on writing traditional romances. In the early 1960’s Arcadia House found that there was a mass-market audience for their romances, especially the nurse novels. A flood of Gaddis’s novels were reprinted, some of them several times, under a bewildering array of titles and bylines.

Peggy Gaddis passed away on June 14, 1966. For several years her novels continued to be reprinted, but by the mid-1970’s tastes in romances had changed and her work gradually faded into obscurity. A number of her works have been reprinted in Large Print editions in recent years but this has failed to produce a revival of interest in her work at large and she has never become a “cult” author. By the time the first edition of Twentieth Century Romance Writers was published, in 1982, she was already passé. The only biographical entry in a major reference work is the one in Contemporary Authors, from which the above summary is taken.

A word of explanation is needed about some of the more obscure paperback publishers. In the 1970’s a new phenomenon sprang up, involving the large scale reissue, in facsimile, of paperback books originally issued by Belmont Books, Macfadden Books, and Lancer Books, including the latter’s romance imprint, Valentine Books. Reprints of the first two were issued under the imprint of Unibooks, without book numbers. Lancer Books were reissued as Magnum Books and Valentine Books were reprinted with the same imprint, in both cases using the original book numbers. These imprints were “instant remainder” publications, marked to sell at 25 to 50 cents, while carrying a higher “cover price” at which they were never sold. These books were sold to discount department stores, like Woolworth’s, at a much lower wholesale rate, on a non-returnable basis. The reissue of romances in these series apparently proved so popular that eventually some imprints, like Valentine Books, began to issue new titles, reprinted from hardcovers, that had not been in paperback before.

Peggy Gaddis's Books on Amazon: Peggy Gaddis

Peggy Dern's Books on Amazon: Peggy Dern

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Evelyn Jessy "Betty" Neels (b. 15 September 1909(1909-09-15) in Devon, England - d. 7 June 2001(2001-06-07) (aged 91) in England) was a prolific English author of romance novels. She wrote over 134 titles (first publication entirely for Mills & Boon in England and later reprinted in the United States by Harlequin), beginning in 1969 and continuing until her death. Her work is known for being particularly chaste.

Betty Neels was born on September 15, 1910 in Devon to a family with firm roots in the civil service. She said she had a blissfully happy childhood and teenage years, which stood her in good stead for the tribulations to come with the Second World War. She was sent away to boarding school, and then went on to train as a nurse, gaining her SRN and SCM, that is, State Registered Nurse and State Certificate of Midwifery.

In 1939 she was called up to the Territorial Army Nursing Service, which later became the Queen Alexandra Reserves, and was sent to France with the Casualty Clearing Station. This comprised eight nursing sisters, including Betty, to 100 men! In other circumstances, she thought that might have been quite thrilling! When France was invaded in 1940, all the nursing sisters managed to escape in the charge of an army major, undertaking a lengthy and terrifying journey to Boulogne in an ambulance. They were incredibly fortunate to be put on the last hospital ship to be leaving the port of Boulogne.

But Betty's war didn't end there, for she was posted to Scotland, and then on to Northern Ireland, where she met her Dutch husband. He was a seaman aboard a minesweeper, which was bombed. He survived and was sent to the south of Holland to guard the sluices. However, when they had to abandon their post, they were told to escape if they could, and along with a small number of other men, he marched into Belgium. They stole a ship and managed to get it across the Channel to Dover before being transferred to the Atlantic run on the convoys. Sadly he became ill, and that was when he was transferred to hospital in Northern Ireland, where he met Betty. They eventually married, and were blessed with a daughter. They were posted to London, but were bombed out. As with most of the population, they made the best of things.

When the war finally ended, she and her husband were repatriated to Holland. As his family had believed he had died when his ship went down, this was a very emotional homecoming. The small family lived in Holland for 13 years, and Betty resumed her nursing career there. When they decided to return to England, Betty continued her nursing and when she eventually retired she had reached the position of night superintendent.

Betty Neels began writing almost by accident. Her hobbies were reading, animals, old buildings and, of course, writing. She had retired from nursing, but her inquiring mind had no intention of vegetating, and her new career was born when she heard a lady in her local library bemoaning the lack of good romance novels. There was little in Betty's background to suggest that she might eventually become a much-loved novelist.

Her first book, Sister Peters in Amsterdam, was published in 1969, and by dint of often writing four books a year, she eventually completed 134 books. She was always quite firm upon the point that the Dutch doctors who frequently appeared in her stories were *not* based upon her husband, but rather upon an amalgam of several of the doctors she met while nursing in Holland. The main male and female characters (usually "vast" or "splendidly built") are often brought together by circumstances before love flourishes. The male protagonist is often a Dutch surgeon. A character will often have an expertise in antiques. Family pets are common.

To her millions of fans around the world, Betty Neels epitomized romance. She was always amazed and touched that her books were so widely appreciated. She never sought plaudits and remained a very private person, but it made her very happy to know that she brought such pleasure to so many readers, while herself gaining a quiet joy from spinning her stories. It is perhaps a reflection of her upbringing in an earlier time that the men and women who peopled her stories have a kindliness and good manners, coupled to honesty and integrity, that is not always present in our modern world. Her myriad of fans found a warmth and a reassurance of a better world in her stories, along with characters who touched the heart, which is all and more than one could ask of a romance writer. She received a great deal of fan mail, and there was always a comment upon the fascinating places she visited in her stories. Quite often those of her fans fortunate enough to visit Holland did use her information as an itinerary for their travels!

Betty Neels died peacefully in hospital on June 7, 2001, aged 91. Her career with Mills & Boon and Harlequin spanned 30 years, and she continued to write into her 90th year.

Betty Neels's Books on Amazon: Betty Neels

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Edith Layton wrote her first novel when she was ten. She bought a marbleized notebook and set out to write a story that would fit between its covers. An award-winning author with more than thirty novels and numerous novellas to her credit, her criteria changed with time. The story had to fit the reader as well as between the covers.

Graduating from Hunter College in New York City with a degree in creative writing and theater, Edith worked for various media, including a radio station and a major motion picture company. She married and went to suburbia, where she was fruitful and multiplied to the tune of three children. Her eldest, Michael, is a social worker and artist in NYC. Adam is a writer and performer on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Daughter Susie is a professional writer, comedian and performer who works in television.

Publishers Weekly called Edith Layton "one of romance's most gifted writers." Layton had enthralled readers and critics with books that capture the spirit of historically distant places and peoples. "What I've found," she said, "is that life was very different in every era, but that love and love of life is always the same."'s top reviewer called Layton's Alas, My Love (April 2005, Avon Books), "a wonderful historical." And one of her last release, Bride Enchanted, was a Romantic Times 2007 Reviewers' Choice Award Nominee. For her previous work, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times, and excellent reviews, awards and commendations from Library Journal, Romance Readers Anonymous and The Romance Writers of America.

Edith Layton lived on Long Island where she devoted time as a volunteer for the North Shore Animal League , the world's largest no-kill pet rescue and adoption organization. Her dog Daisy --adopted herself from a shelter-- was just one member of Layton's household menagerie.

Edith Layton passed away June 1, 2009, after five years of very private struggles with cancer. During those years, she continued to write her wonderful books, post blogs, and welcome two much adored grandsons into the world.

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In The Passionate Savage, Signet, 1980, Constance Gluyas (1920 March 28 - 1983 August, Arcadia, Los Angeles, CA) features Flaming Dawn, who broke her people's trust by giving herself to the white hunter, Lucien Marsh, and followed him into a white man's world where the price of her desire was unspeakable degradation. And Lady Samantha Pierce, who broke her marriage vows and her social code to possess Lucien Marsh, desperately seeking escape from her gilded cage of perverse passions and shocking corruption. Two magnificent women, so unalike on the surface, yet sisters-under-the-skin in their hunger and their daring. Two exquisite rival heroines in a sweeping epic that moves from the untamed American wilderness to the licentious aristocratic underworld of Victorian London to reach flaming new heights of adventure and romance...

Branded as a runaway, white slave, golden haired Caroline Fane, heroine of Rogue's Mistress, had come with her rogue lover Justin from the dangers surrounding them in England to the unknown perils in America. Now she saw this man who possessed her being and intoxicated her with every with every excitement of spirit and flesh being tempted by the naked lust of an exquisite half indian girl, who seductively led him down a path of insatiable desire...

Read more... )

First Book - Vantage Hall (1971)

Last Book - Bridge to Yesterday (1983)

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Iris Johansen (born April 7, 1938) is an American author of crime fiction and romance novels.

Johansen began writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great success. She had seventeen consecutive New York Times bestsellers as of November 2006.

Johansen lives in Georgia and is married. Her son, Roy Johansen, is an Edgar Award-winning screenwriter and novelist. Her daughter, Tamara, serves as her research assistant.

First Book - Stormy Vows (1983)

Last Book - Chasing the Night (2010)


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