Saturday, August 10, 2013

Meet my talented friend and a newly published author - Jacqui Nelson!!


 I'm so very happy to be able to introduce Jacqui Nelson. She's a very good friend, a RWA conference roomie and a very talented writer. Jacqui has finalled in and won a huge number of contests including RWA's prestigious and highly coveted Golden Heart. She's one of today's writer's whose dream is to be traditionally published and - no doubt - she will be one day. In the meantime, I know there are many readers who will love her self-published work.

Thank you, Mimi, for inviting me to be your guest today and for hosting me and my anthology partners yesterday as well. When I moved to Victoria in the spring of 2009, it was truly my good fortune to meet you and then (just a few short months later) be your RWA conference roommate in Washington, DC. What a blast I had at my first national conference with you by my side!

Yesterday on Mimi’s blog, my Passion’s Prize anthology partners and I discussed what had inspired our anthology. Today, I’d like to share what inspired the next step—writing my individual novella, Adella’s Enemy.
What inspires me personally?

I adore stories of high adventure, stories that sweep you away to another time and place. So what adventure could I craft around a cutthroat railroad race set in 1870 Kansas?

The starting point

My anthology partners and I began with two ideas:

1) Our stories should relate in some way to the real life construction race between the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad (aka the Katy) and its rival, the Border Tier Railroad.

2) We should aim for stories similar to the “Hell on Wheels” TV series which follows the making of America’s Transcontinental Railroad.

But where to go from there?

Who is my hero?

Every romance story needs a great hero. While brainstorming possible characters as a group, a railroad foreman was mentioned. Many of the men working on the Katy Railroad were Irish, so that was the next logical attribute for my hero. And why not make my Irish foreman a relative newcomer to America, a man who hasn’t lost his delicious Irish accent? But what else?

What motivates my Irish foreman?

I decided my hero would be struggling to understand a new country while dealing with a difficult past from his homeland. Ireland’s Great Famine sprang to mind. Approximately 1 million people died during this famine. Anyone who did survived would’ve known someone who died, someone they might have wished they’d been able to save.

So my hero is determined that no one else will die on his watch. He has a railroad to protect and men to keep employed. And if the Katy doesn’t reach the Indian Territory border before its rival, then the Katy loses the race, and the men lose their jobs. Even worse, they might lose their lives as the desire for rivals to best each other heats up. If any of that happened, my hero would feel he’d failed those who depended on him. Again.

Cormac McGrady was born. 

But who could I throw in the path of my hard-working but tortured Irish foreman?

Who is my heroine?

This actually turned out to be the most difficult part. My anthology partners and I tossed around several ideas: schoolmarm, suffragette, shop keeper. To me, none of the these said, “High adventure.”  Then another word came to mind: spy. A female spy sent to provoke unrest and slow down my Irish foreman’s railroad so the rival railroad could win.

But why is she really a spy?

Because she has a tortured past of her own. At the start of our anthology, the American Civil War had ended only 5 years earlier. Many men working on the railroads were veterans of that war. Could my heroine have a connection to the war as well? Had she been a spy in the war and lost someone dear to her? I decided my heroine was on her own private mission against the man responsible for her twin brother’s death, a man connected to the Katy Railroad.

With this background, my heroine would be a woman with unique talents and a ton of grit. But she just might meet her match in one determined Irish foreman who is as highly invested in keeping the Katy rolling forward, as she is in halting it.

Adella Willows is her name.

Hope you enjoy reading Cormac and Adella’s story!
* * * 

Here’s an excerpt from Adella’s Enemy:  

Adella’s fingers brushed the telegram hidden in her cleavage and she went as still as Cormac. Blast! She’d forgotten about the telegram! She needed Cormac to stay in her hotel room, but she couldn’t let him see the telegram.

“How do you know what I want?” she whispered, stalling for time.

“I don’t. But this is what I want.” In two strides, he devoured the gap between them. Then his mouth claimed hers in a hot, heady possession.

Pressed against the door, all she could do was kiss him back. She did so with abandon. Her skin tingled, and her blood raced as if her body had woken from years of sleepwalking. She didn’t want the feeling to stop. She wrapped her arms around Cormac’s neck and pulled him closer.

He suddenly lifted his head. “I want more than one kiss,” he murmured against her lips. “And I don’t mean merely claiming everything that’s under this dress.” His hand slid up her ribcage to cup her breast.

The telegram! With a gasp, she covered her cleavage with both hands. The corner of the telegram brushed her palm. Thank Dixie. It was still there. But had he seen it? She pressed back against the door.

Cormac retreated as well, lifting his hand to rake it through hair that was already disheveled. Had she done that? He reached for the doorknob and she jumped aside.

“Stay away from the worksite, Adella.” He opened the door without his customary restraint. It banged against the wall. “And, for God’s sake, stay out of trouble. Don’t provoke a man beyond his patience.”

Passion’s Prize—an anthology featuring the novellas Adella’s Enemy by Jacqui Nelson, Eden’s Sin by Jennifer Jakes, and Kate’s Outlaw by E.E. Burke—can be purchased on Amazon at and is also available at B&N Nook store and the Apple iStore.


***For one lucky commenter, Jacqui will be pleased to present a
Amazon gift copy of her new E-book, Adella’s Enemy.
Leave her a message, making sure to include your
e-mail address***

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

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

Jacqui Nelson writes historical romantic adventures set in the American West and Victorian London. Her love of Western stories came from watching classic Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm. Her passion for Victorian London wasn’t far behind and only increased when she worked in England for four years and explored the nooks and crannies of London on her weekends. Jacqui currently lives in Victoria on the west coast of Canada where she works as a book seller. Her previous jobs have included animator, systems analyst and fundraising event coordinator.


Her debut release, Adella's Enemy, is part of the Passion'sPrize anthology and the Steam! Romance and Rails series. She is a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® winner and three-time finalist.




  1. Congratulations on your publication Jacqui . ADELLA'S ENEMY looks & sounds fabulous.

    In answer to the question, it would depend upon why they were enemies in the first place.


  2. Thanks for dropping by, Mary, and leaving a comment! Very wise reply to my novella's tag line: "Can the pursuit of an old enemy lead to a new love?" You are so right!

  3. great excerpt, jacqui! and ain't nothing like a deep irish brogue to set one's heart aflutter...

  4. Hi Jacqui! *waves* Just wanted to stop in and say how much I loved writing with you! Adella and Cormac are a great pair with a great love story!

  5. Yay, Jacqui!!! I just love reading about how characters came to be. Such good stuff!!! And I love the hot excerpt! WOW!

  6. I love this time period in American history and this sounds like an awesome story!


  7. Nora, I do love a good accent...and a heroine who packs a derringer, as you well know. But that's another scene :) Thanks for stopping by and for buying my book!

    Jennifer, thanks leaving a comment! Love the support of my anthology buddy!

    Lani, now you get to see how Cormac and Adella came to life, rather than just seeing my heavily mulled over final draft :)

    Susan, great to meet another fan of the American West. Happy to hear that you think my story sounds awesome!

  8. Happy debut! The story sounds great! You're off on your own high adventure :)

  9. Oooh, I like that -- I'm definitely off on my own high adventure. Thanks, Jessa! And thanks for stopping by!

  10. Great excerpt Jacqui & a fantastic cover. I'm sure you'll do very well with this book.

  11. Thanks, Jodie! It was great seeing you at the VIC chapter meeting today. It's always fun when you are near :)

  12. Hi Jacqui
    I love love love your hero. When you refer to him as Celtic and talk about his eyes, the image of a Gaelic giant in cowboy clothes pop out of the page for me. Can't wait to read your next story.

  13. Glad you enjoyed my Irish giant with eyes "as silver as newly minted dollars," Jo-Ann! It was wonderful seeing you at the VIC meeting. Had a great afternoon catching up with great writing friends. Starting Monday I'm going to be working on getting my two other Western romance novels revised and uploaded to Amazon. So much work will keep me out of trouble...I think :)

  14. Thanks everyone for visiting my guest blog with Mimi. And the winner of the free Kindle copy of "Adella's Enemy" is...

    Susan Macatee!

    I'll be sending you your copy very shortly, Susan. Hope you enjoy reading "Adella's Enemy"!