I’m guest blogging with Rocco (who happens to be a cat!) beginning on Tuesday, May 7th. Stop on over and see what Rocco thought of The Heart of A Hero and Nicholas’s six cats. Click here.
Welcome, readers, to my beautiful new website. Keeping it simple and hopefully interesting, this is where you’ll meet the real me and the real Maine—um, before I started rearranging several of the mountains.
Thanks to one of my readers, Joan Valone, we now have a descendents chart to sort out my Highlander, Midnight Bay, and Spellbound Falls Series, since they’re all intertwined. And I am in the process of drawing a map of Spellbound Falls and the new Bottomless Sea, so check back. I’ll post the Letters From LakeWatch you find in the back of my books, but here on the site I can include pictures. And, I am going to actually BLOG (again, with pictures). Of course my books are here, organized by series, along with a printable booklist.
There’s also a sign-up if you want to be reminded when I have a new book hitting the stores, and a box you can checkmark for me to let you know when and where I’ll be appearing here in Maine to read and sign books. And I’ll be running contests through WriterSpace, so sign up to win. (I believe this will also put you on my mailing list if you don’t opt out.)
There’s a link to my FaceBook page (Janet Chapman – For her Readers) that a very lovely lady in Maryland named Vanetta started for me several years ago—out of sheer frustration that I did not have a FaceBook page. Vanetta is still running the page and I drop by when I can. Vanetta loves to run contests, so I’d love for you to also drop by our little community of fantastic ladies and join the fun.
Until later, you keep reading and I’ll keep writing!
A MacKeage, MacBain, Gregor, and Oceanus geneology chart! And a huge THANK YOU to Joan Valone of Massachusetts for making a beautiful, hand-written Descendents Chart for me, which I then copied into a PDF file that you can print out. I will keep the chart updated as babies are born and more time-travelers appear. For now, click on the link below and enjoy!
Book #4 of Spellbound Falls Series
New York Times bestselling author Janet Chapman welcomes her fans back to Spellbound Falls, where no one is immune to the magical powers of love…
Originally from the ancient mythical island of Atlantis, Nicholas has spent the last year deep in the mountains of Maine, serving as Director of Security for the Nova Mare and Inglenook resorts. Fully embracing his life in the twenty-first century, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to a trouble-prone employee, and is determined to keep her safe.
The last thing Julia Campbell needs is a man with a hero complex, especially one as handsome and imposing as Nicholas. All she has to do is keep it together until her younger sister turns eighteen, and then she can focus on her own life. But strange things have been happening at the resort—and it’s Nicholas who keeps coming to her rescue. When Nicholas is suddenly the one in trouble, Julia realizes he’s not quite what he seems—and that she’ll do anything to help the man who’s stolen her heart…
The book titled The Temptation of His LoveThe (which is excerpted at the back of The Seduction of His Wife) was changed just prior to publication to The Stranger In Her Bed. It’s the second book in the Loggers Series. Sorry, if you’ve been hunting for that book.
Some–only SOME–copies of Mystical Warrior are missing the last couple of chapters. If you happen to get one, you can take it back to the bookstore (including Wal-mart and Target), show them the book, and get your money back. Or, you could check the ones they might have in stock to make sure they’re NOT misprinted, and the store should exchange it for you. Or, you can have them order you a new copy in exchange for the bad one. (Except Wal-mart and Target, because they don’t order individual books. You’ll just have to get your money back from them.)
I’m so sorry this happened to some of you. I would be bummed to have read an entire book and have it abruptly stop very near the end. (Someone told me the misprint stops right in a love scene. Yikes! Talk about leaving a person hanging!) But, thankfully, it appears only a few books were misprinted, not ALL of them.
Thanks so much for your understanding.
It has come to my attention that some readers are opening Wedding the Highlander, only to find that the first 20 or so pages are actually the beginning pages of Loving the Highlander — then the book switches to the real Wedding the Highlander. Apparently a batch of reprints went out this way, and I am so sorry for your frustration.
But my editor at Pocket Books has come up with a brilliant solution! Anyone who has a defective copy of the book can send it to her, she will send you back a “good” copy of Wedding the Highlander, as well as any one of my Highlander books that you haven’t read. And if you’ve already read them all, then she will send you one of my contemporary romance novels. How cool is that; two books for one! She needs the defective copy back so the production team at Pocket Books can get to the heart of the problem, and she also needs a list of which Janet Chapman books you’ve already read so she doesn’t send you a duplicate. (You can check my printable book list page on this site to see which ones you’ve missed.) Oh, and also mention where you purchased the book to help them track down the other misprinted copies.
Send to: Micki Nuding, Senior Editor
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Write “Wedding the Highlander” on the outside of the envelope, please, and then sit back and wait for double the fun!
Thanks, everyone, for your understanding.
Until later, keep reading!
I hope that from reading my books, you’ve figured out by now that I like people in general but most especially men in particular. And that’s a good thing, I’m thinking, considering I’ve been living in an all-male household for over thirty years. I’ve recently started getting some estrogen thrown into the mix from my sons’ girlfriends, and boy, have I learned a lot from these young ladies; anything from much-needed fashion help to what’s going on in young women’s minds today. (Which is another good thing, since there’s a danger I could have my heroines thinking like fifty-um-something grandmas.)
You also may have noticed that I have a tendency to populate my stories with characters of all ages, because I like children and old people, too. And animals; cats and dogs and horses and birds—especially crows—and wolves and panthers and orcas and … well, you get the idea. Weather often seems to be an ongoing character in my stories, likely because it plays a pretty big role in my own life. Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing and snowmobiling and camping sneak into my books, as do some interesting careers, a little science, and a whole lot of Mother Nature.
But magic is my vehicle of choice for bringing you along on my journey into the realm of possibilities. I often compare telling a story to packing an SUV with my hero and heroine in the front seats, the back seats filled with a large cast of characters as they all head off on a road trip through a particular segment of their intersected lives. What’s going on outside the vehicle—oh, say the weather, terrain, other travelers they might encounter—certainly has an impact, but the real story is what’s happening inside that truck.
Ever find yourself trapped in a vehicle with someone you didn’t particularly like? Someone who scared you? Someone you hadn’t realized didn’t like you? How about being trapped with someone you thought you absolutely adored only to discover they weren’t exactly what they seemed? Yes, there’s nothing like a nice long road trip to slowly melt away the masks we all hide behind. (Trust me; Robbie and I spent five weeks trapped in an SUV and small camper with two teenagers headed from Maine to Alaska. We made it as far as the Canadian Rockies and turned around; my dear sweet husband saying Alaska would still be there when the boys finally moved out.)
I digress, but it was a very … memorable five weeks.
So back to my books and the role magic plays in my stories; I’ll admit I have a tendency to get a bit outrageous—say, like when I rearranged the beautiful state of Maine to create an inland sea—but there is a method to my madness. You see, I want to make you stretch really far to suspend your disbelief, so you’ll consider the everyday magic you encounter in your own lives to be real. Sound convoluted? Good, I got you!
The magic is real, people; as real as the sunrise, the ebb and flow of the tides, the haunted call of a loon, that unseen fish tugging on the end of a line, the birth of a baby, the death of a loved one. The problem, in my opinion, is that these things seem so everyday ordinary that we forget how extraordinary they are.
What guarantee do we have that the sun’s going to rise tomorrow? We assume it is, because it’s risen every day for the last … what, four and a half billion years? But what if it decided not to make an appearance tomorrow morning? What if the oceans stood still? What if every last loon on the planet suddenly lost its voice? What if babies stopped being born? What if we stopped dying?
What if we woke up tomorrow morning and simply decided not to get out of bed?
That’s what my stories are about; getting out of bed every morning—even on days we don’t want to—and seeing the magic around us instead of … well, I’m not sure what the opposite of magic is. Maybe hopelessness? Despair? Indifference?
As the god behind the machine of my stories, I refuse to let my heroes and heroines give up. If they find themselves stuck in a vehicle with someone they don’t particularly like, they’re going to have to deal with it. Nobody’s going to swoop in and rescue them by pulling that bogeyman out of the truck, or come along and change that flat tire in the pouring rain, or turn all the traffic lights green, straighten out all the curves in the road, and roll back gas prices to a dollar a gallon.
(Well, okay; Maximilian Oceanus could, but he’s not really real. I just made him up to make a point that you will have to figure out.)
And since I’m writing romance, I like for my hero and heroine to realize that if they would just team up, they could conquer the world. Or at least control—maybe even vanquish—most of those demons sitting in the seats behind them. (Didn’t I have one of my characters—a hero, I think—in one of my stories say his mom or gram told him that a problem or burden shared was cut in half?)
And the ‘love conquers all’ equation doesn’t always have to be between the hero and heroine, either, as we learned in Charmed by His Love; Duncan MacKeage’s love for young Jacob Thompson certainly had the power to vanquish little-boy demons.
We’re all in the vehicle, people; every one of us is on the same amazing journey and we’re on it together. Our hopes and dreams and struggles and disappointments are shared by the people in our homes, living next door and down the street, and on the other side of the planet. And like my heroes and heroines, if we would just realize that by teaming up we could conquer the world … well, woudn’t it be a truly wonderful world to wake up to tomorrow? So share the love; in your home, down the street, and across the world, then see if a good number of demons don’t suddenly disappear and burdens get cut in half. I promise it’s a gift that will keep on giving, and you’ll discover that smiles really are contagious.
Until later from LakeWatch, you keep reading about life and love and happily ever after, and I’ll keep writing it.
P.S. My dad passed away last fall, but before you start worrying that I’m sad, please understand that I’m really quite happy for him. He was nearly ninety-four and actually quite eager to head off on a new, fantastical adventure. The only reason I’m even telling you is because at his funeral, Dad’s sister said she had discovered just last year—at the age of ninety-eight!—that she can write poetry. Of course I asked her to send me some of her poems, then asked her permission to share them with you—to which she kindly agreed.
So if the magic not’s real, then explain a ninety-eight-year-old suddenly waking up one morning a poet!
Poems by Ethel F. Taylor
(Went to Aunt Ethel’s 100th Birthday Party this past March! (2013) Spry as ever and still cracking jokes. Her granddaughter read one of her poems–which she is still composing.)
Crafty GalsThey gathered round the table
These gals so fair and neat
And became busy with their craft work
‘Mid laughter gay and sweet.
Laughter and jokes were being exchanged
And gaiety flowed all around
With blissful feeling I watched them
Wishing it need not end.
Families are so endearing
More so as time goes by
May we all meet together in Heaven
And never have to say goodbye.
I’ll hold this picture in my heart
When I’m once more alone
And cherish every moment
‘Til the day that I’m called home.
Then at last the evening is ended
And we’ve exchanged a good night kiss
One day may we all meet in heaven
And not one of our numbers be missed.
Alethea is a beautiful maiden
With a heart as pure as the snow
She fell in love with a handsome Marine
Many long years ago.
Now she wears his engagement ring
And her heart is full of joy
She counts the months ‘til she graduates
Then she’ll marry her Marine boy.
With a bit of sadness
Dad looks at his little girl
He has given her to another
And together they’ll face the world.
The wedding feast has been eaten
And the guests have all gone home
Alethea and Steven run to their car
And the honeymoon has begun.
Mom and Dad wave their goodbyes
With a touch of sadness in their hearts
Their little girl has grown so quickly
And from her it’s hard to part.
They head across the USA
To their little home in the west
Where we all pray they’ll live happily
Like two turtle doves in a nest.
Red School House
The little red school house
Where I went years ago
Brings back fond memories
Of the days of old.
We walked to school in winter
Although it was windy as well
Then huddled round the heater
Until teacher rang the bell.
The Lord’s Prayer was always recited
Then Pledge of Allegiance too
Then out came our reading books
To show what we could do.
When the bell rang for recess
We’d all rush out of the room
The girls all played on one side
And recess was over too soon.
The sun shone with an unearthly beauty
On the glistering trees below
One stood in awe at their majesty
And to think that God made it so.
If God makes such beauty here below
What splendor must be up above
Why are we reluctant to leave this place
And dwell with God above.
The snow will soon be melting
Then spring will once more be here
A time to get out and enjoy the sun
And see the stars so clear.
The birds will soon be singing their song
The grass will be turning green
God has given us so much beauty
Let us open our eyes and see.
Not long after I met my husband – more years ago than I care to acknowledge – I found myself wondering what mysterious force could make a man sit on an ice-covered lake in below freezing temperatures, and spend hours patiently waiting for a flag to signal that a fish had just taken the bait. Summer fishing I could understand; who wouldn’t enjoy spending a sunny day in a boat on a beautiful lake, having nothing to do but read, snooze, snack, and jump in the water to cool off? But when my future husband grabbed his ice fishing traps and bait pail, and offered to take me with him one surprisingly bright winter morning, sheer curiosity had me trudging beside him onto the frozen lake. And that was the day I not only became hooked on winter fishing, but saw the entire world through new eyes.
The magic began with the sound of a gasoline-powered ice auger as it bore through the frozen shroud of ice to suddenly well up a gusher of slush-laden water. I distinctly remember peering down into that dark, seemingly bottomless hole, trying to imagine the watery world a mere ten inches beneath my feet.
How could any ecosystem survive five months of numbingly cold, sunless living? Or was the ice really a cleverly designed shield, protecting the lake’s inhabitants from the harsh winter weather? But even more bothersome to me at the time, had my husband-to-be just opened a painful wound by drilling ten holes in the lake’s protective mantle? (On our lake, each fisherman is allowed five traps – which is why, I inadvertently learned, lots of men encourage their wives or girlfriends to go fishing with them, as the more traps set, the better the chances of catching supper. And here I thought my guy just wanted to spend some quality time with me!)
The regulation book that came with my fishing license that long-ago Christmas, stated that I must tend my own traps; so I was taught how to bait my hooks with tiny minnows, feed the thick lines down those dark holes, then set the flags. (A big fish comes along and eats the little fish, the flag shoots up, and – hopefully – I pull up the line with the big fish still attached.) But instead of five traps, I was told only to set four. Then I was handed a very short rod as well as a plastic bucket to sit on, and shown how to jig over the fifth hole. (Jigging is actually bobbing the line up and down to attract a hungry big fish with the movement of the little fish. I jigged slowly, afraid of making my poor little minnow sea-sick.)
But here’s the really magical part. I was sitting in patient bliss on that bucket in the middle of that frozen lake for maybe an hour, munching down a perfectly cooked hotdog (I still can’t figure out why food tastes better if it’s cooked and eaten outdoors), when something suddenly tugged on my line! I don’t mean a sharp jerk, but a barely perceptible tug that hardly moved the tip of my tiny rod. I didn’t jump to my feet in excitement, but sat staring down that dark hole in awe. Some unseen creature (hopefully a large trout or salmon and not a cousin to the Loc Ness Monster) tugged again, and with a smile of delight I gently returned the gesture. A subtle tug-of-war ensued, and I can’t begin to describe how sparring with something unseen, a mere ten inches below me but an entire world away, made me feel. Words conveying my heart-thumping joy, anticipation, and up until then dormant desire to do battle – and win! – seem inadequate.
I was coached on how to pull up the line without jerking the bait out of the big fish’s mouth, only to find myself suddenly scrambling back with a yelp of surprise when a huge landlocked salmon shot free of the hole and angrily began flopping on the ice. My delighted fishing partner palmed the beautiful salmon, gauged its size, and proudly (as if he had battled the beast himself) declared it a keeper.
I immediately began pleading for him to throw it back.
I don’t know who gaped more, my future hubby or that displaced fish, but with a sigh of resignation, the wonderful man bent down and let the salmon slide free, its tail giving a happy splash as it disappeared back into the dark, watery depths with its belly filled with my bait. (I’ve been ice fishing for nigh on thirty years now, and though I’ve had many fine meals of freshwater fish, I still more often than not plead that my catch be released. Which is why my husband always packs hotdogs in our cooler, or simply refuses to take me with him when he has a hankering for baked salmon.)
But I still remember my first experience on the ice as a day of many lessons: about ice fishing, about how my then future husband’s mind worked, and about my own mindset. How does that old adage go? Before you judge a man, you should probably walk a mile in his shoes? Well, I spent that day seeing winter fishing through another’s eyes; and I learned that in their own way, men are just as spiritual, inspired, and compassionate as we women. But instead of a suit and tie and wing-tips, some men might prefer to dress in long johns, a bomber hat and warm boots, and connect with the universe in the ultimate cathedral.
This was quite an epiphany for me; I learned not to assume that people are weird simply because they have a passion for living each day as it’s given, rain or shine, thunderstorm or blizzard, forty degrees above or twenty degrees below freezing, with nothing more than a gently rocking boat or a plastic bucket to fish from. (I’ve never admitted this to him, but when Robbie released that beautiful fish just to appease my soft soul, I knew I had found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But please keep this our little secret, because he still thinks it was his manly charm that captured my heart.)
So how does one magical day of ice fishing become a romance novel almost thirty years later, appropriately titled The Seduction of His Wife? Each of my stories begins with some tiny insight on my part, that somehow lends itself to a whole host of questions. (And Lord knows, I have more questions about life and love and the human spirit than is healthy!)
So … if spending one simple day with my guy can give me a glimpse into his mind while teaching me something about myself, how might a man attempt to get into a woman’s head, and therefore learn more about himself?
And being not only a writer but an avid reader, this train of thought eventually led me to wonder what men think about romance novels. Do those larger-than-life, tough, sexy heroes threaten men? Intrigue them? Or are guys just plain curious about why we women stay up until the wee hours of the night reading romances? Then again, do men think that if they were to read a romance novel, they might come to understand us women better?
Another consideration I had when penning this book (see how the questions keep multiplying?): Do romance novels ever influence a woman’s everyday life? Do they make us see things differently as we experience the world through our fictional female characters? If not, then what happens to all those romantic tales after we’ve read them? Do they simply evaporate into the ether, never to be thought of again, or do they ruminate someplace deep inside us, giving us a sense of … oh, I don’t know, hope maybe? Anticipation?
Every romance author’s dream is that our work will strike a chord and tug a few heartstrings. I like to call it the ‘aahhh’ factor, where a reader closes one of my books and softly sighs, knowing all is well in that fictional world, so surely there’s hope for the real world.
The heroine of The Seduction of His Wife, Sarah Knight, certainly feels this way. In fact, she lives in constant hope that one day she will become a feisty, confident woman just like the heroines in the books she reads. Sarah’s only problem though, is that she’s so caught up in her fictional worlds, she probably wouldn’t recognize happily-ever-after if it walked up and kissed her on the nose.
Thinking back to my first day on the ice, I wondered what sort of hero it would take to pull Sarah out of her books and into the real world. That was when I remembered this really nice guy by the name of Alex Knight (who happened to be ruggedly handsome and conveniently single) living in the deep woods of Maine. I thought he just might be brave enough (he’d certainly be motivated when he saw her) to challenge Sarah’s deeply entrenched fears about life and love and happily-ever-after. So I decided to marry Sarah and Alex to each other before they even met, then have a bit of fun watching them figure things out on their own.
Until later, from LakeWatch … happy reading!
I have found that sometimes Mother Nature simply refuses to be ignored, and that she’s not above screaming in our ears when she wants our attention. I was reminded of this early last fall, when I was developing my fifth Highlander book. A murder of crows (yes, that’s what they’re really called), nine to be exact, started screaming at me from the trees on my front lawn.
One particular fellow (that I named Talking Tom) seemed to think it was his duty to sit outside my bedroom window and wake me up at 4:00 a.m., and he would caw, quite loudly and nonstop, until I got up, got dressed, and headed across the yard to my writing studio. (Which might suggest why they’re called a murder of crows. Not that I was ever tempted, mind you, but I can see how some people might be.)
It may have taken me the better part of three weeks, but I eventually realized that my crows wanted to be in my book. Or else the noisy buggers had been told I was a pushover, and they merely wanted free food.
Now I don’t know many people who feed crows, but I can tell you that once you’ve started, you had better not stop with the handouts. Which was why every morning for all of last fall and through the winter, I would get up at the crack of dawn, get dressed in multiple layers, and head outside to arrange dinner scraps and little piles of dry cat food on the ground as I made my way to work.
This seemed to appease if not to encourage my black feathered friends, and actually proved entertaining. But that entertainment often came at the expense of my husband, who was enlisted to snow-blow a circular path through the deepening drifts, right through the middle of our front lawn. When people asked Robbie why he was snow blowing his lawn, he would only mutter something about it being cheaper than a divorce.
I got so crazy in fact, that I began devising elaborate menus. I begged for scraps from neighbors (though once they realized what the scraps were intended for, and not caring to be awakened at the crack of dawn on weekends, they suddenly ate everything on their plates), I brought home doggy bags from restaurants, and I even purchased canned dog food, knowing my pets needed plenty of protein in sub-zero weather.
Crows do not like canned dog food, I found out. They wouldn’t touch it. Heck, they took one sniff, looked toward the house, and start scolding. And they don’t like shrimp, or carrots, or overcooked broccoli. But they do like home cooking (smart birds). Broth-soaked beef stew was a winner, spaghetti and meatballs got scoffed up, and their most favorite food turned out to be steak (we ate the steak; they got to pick the bones). I also learned that crows like dry cat food, although my three confused cats couldn’t figure out why I had started feeding them on the front lawn.
But sometime in early December, my nine crows disappeared — right when I was shoulder-deep in my book. Suddenly, I was at a loss. I slept through the sunrises, and I awoke uncertain and directionless, unable to write. The noisy inspirations for my book — especially for one of my main characters, Talking Tom — had abandoned me.
But one week later, quite literally out of the clear blue sky, three of my crows flew in off the frozen lake and landed in a tree overlooking their old feeding spot. The pot-bellied squirrels had eaten everything I’d put out (who knew squirrels liked cat food?), and my crows started to make such a ruckus that I rushed out to give them the leftover stew we were supposed to have for dinner that night.
My crows were back! My book was saved! I immediately headed to my studio and started writing again. And when you read Winter MacKeage’s story and meet Talking Tom, know that he truly does live — not only in my imagination, but in my dooryard.
So what is Mother Nature trying to tell us when she demands our attention? For me, she’s saying listen to the universe, for that is where inspiration dwells.
Sometimes I’ll hear only a whisper, or merely sense an unspoken urge, and sometimes I’ll be blasted with a deafening cacophony that demands I examine my direction and purpose.
Do you ever stop and listen? What do you hear?
Until later … keep reading! …