Secret Child

CHALLENGES OF RE-ISSUING SECRET CHILD for TODAY'S MARKET

"No one provides hotter emotional fireworks than the fiery Ann Major." RT Book Reviews

To get a free e-book by this author go to http: www.annmajor.com

        I thought revising SECRET CHILD (Book 8, Texas: Children of Destiny) would be a piece of cake. It was the first “big book” I wrote for Silhouette Books. It placed on several U.S. bestseller lists when first published. It was extremely popular in Japan where it was reprinted several times with great success. It was serialized in a magazine and eventually earned around six figures.

         I imagined I would have it digitalized, search for typos, have a cover made, write a description and put it up. Easy. Right?

         You guessed it.  Back in 1998 when I wrote this book, nobody knew THE RULE that the hero and heroine had to meet ASAP. Preferably on page 1.

        My two characters don’t meet until page 70. Editorially, I felt I could make this book more appealing by rewriting the beginning and having them meet by page 10. However, that would have involved several more weeks of work. As I got into the book, I found there were other problems that would take time to address.

        I would like to write new things. I need to put out the “new” book in my Lonestar Dynasty series that I am currently finishing.     

         Life is often a compromise, isn’t it? I did spend several weeks reworking Secret Child, cutting (ten thousand words) and simplifying it as much as I could. But I’m afraid I did not spend two or three additional weeks, rewriting the book from the beginning so that it would follow THE RULE, and maybe I should have.

        If only there were more time… Maybe then I could be perfect. But somehow I doubt it.

SECRET CHILD

"Engaging characters, stories that thrill and delight, shivering suspense and captivating romance. Want it all? Read Ann Major."—Nora Roberts, New York Times Bestselling Author

"From the infant stages of the romance genre Ann Major has been a significant contributor. Her name on the cover instantly identifies the book as a good read."—Sandra Brown, New York Times Bestselling Author

"Ann Major's Secret Child sizzles with characters who leap off the page and into your heart.... This one's hot!" —New York Times Bestselling author Lisa Jackson

When Passion and Fate Intertwine in this gripping romantic mystery suspense novel by USA Today bestselling author ANN MAJOR, will two Lost Souls get a Second Chance at True Love?

When a woman with a tragic past is struck by a runaway cab, she gets a brand-new face. Unfortunately, there is a string attached: a pretend marriage to her dangerous lookalike's sexy, Texas cowboy husband. Believing her to be his wife, Jack West is dead-set against her no matter how powerful his attraction to her. Or is he?

Wrongfully sent to prison, Jack has vowed in his darkest hour to punish the wife who put him there. But the woman he finds is so transformed, he soon wants something far more dangerous than revenge from this woman claiming to be innocent. Will the truth destroy him, or set him free? 

The Texas: Children of Destiny western romance series includes:

Passion’s Child
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Destiny’s Child
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Night Child
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Wilderness Child
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Scandal’s Child
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The Goodbye Child
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Nobody’s Child
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Secret Child
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Self-published writer? Hybrid author? Marketing guru? Wife, Mother and Grandmother?: Three secret questions that keep me sane while writing and publishing

Self-published writer? Hybrid author? Marketing guru? Wife, Mother and Grandmother?: Three secret questions that keep me sane while writing and publishing

Self-published writer? Hybrid author? Marketing guru? Wife, Mother and Grandmother?: Three secret questions that keep me sane while writing and publishing

I approach every day with way too much to do and too many things I haven’t a clue as how to do. So, every day I ask myself these three magic questions...

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A Journey Down the Grand Canyon and Back Up Again

Ann Major posing on stairs of the Grand Canyon

I just returned from the Grand Canyon where I hiked to the bottom and back with my three grown children, brother, and husband and didn't have to be air-lifted out by helicopter. (I was told the price for such a rescue is $35,000.) I did have a fall – but no broken bones. 

Since I love to write about cowboys, and Texas, and the Southwest, the Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places. I feel so inspired after my visit there. I hate to say this – but the canyon is awesome. The first morning back home in south Texas, I didn't set my alarm. Since I got in at midnight due to airport delays, I was hoping to sleep in until 8 a.m.

But BOOM! I hit the floor running at 6:30 a.m. feeling charged. INSPIRED. Being in the canyon with my three grown children, all of whom I am proud of, was such a heady experience. When I was a young mother wondering on bad days if my three little savages would ever be responsible adults, I never dreamed that seeing them in that state could be such a profoundly fulfilling experience. 

Ann Major Son posing at Grand Canyon

Beyond the joy of being with my family, there was a spirit on the trail of people helping each other and caring for each other. This felt great, because, yes, on the trail, as in real life, there are real dangers. Twelve people die in the Grand Canyon every year. We met a delirious, exhausted young man who'd run to the bottom with no water and was determined to climb back to the rim on a trail with no water. A group convened to talk him into returning to the bottom where there was water and people to help them. Yet, on that same day, we saw people doing handstands on pebble-strewn edges with drop-offs of 2,000 feet. 

Ann Major posing with husband and grown children at Grand Canyon

Mostly it was good to see people from all over the country, and indeed the world, being friendly and cooperative, and helpful to one another. WAY TO GO!!! Being a romance writer, I loved feeling that there is still a lot of love left in the world. Especially since I, like the majority of people trudging up the trail from the bottom needed positive vibes. Because every time I looked up at the seemingly-endless switch-backs ahead leading up to the rim and realized how far I had to go, I kept asking myself: ARE YOU CRAZY? WHY DID THE HELL DID I AGREE TO THIS? DON'T YOU DARE DO THIS AGAIN!!

When I finally got to the top, I fell into a steaming hot bath tub to get ready for a dinner reservation with the family. The tub was one of those ancient, claw-footed types with high sides. When I decided I had to drag myself out of the tub and get dressed for diner – I wasn't sure I had the strength to get out. 

Dinner was a half-mile uphill, but I made it. 

Lessons learned: When you look at those rock layers that took millions of years to form, you realize how short a human life is in the scheme of things. We don't have much time – make the most of it.

View of Grand Canyon and hiker from back

I truly appreciated being able-bodied enough to make the hike at all and to have lived to complain about it.

One step at a time in the right direction will take you to amazing heights, so keep your eye on your goals. Sometimes it's great to do something out of your normal comfort zone. Don't be distracted by other people's negativity or your own. But if you are – we all have our down moments, use it as an energy source if you will. 

Trust me, at any age you can amaze yourself. 

I came home feeling profoundly inspired – to live, to love, and to write more stories set in Texas and the beautiful Southwest. 


To celebrate feeling inspired and continuing on your journey, I have re-released the bestselling Men of the West series in a box set format. These four fiery novels deal with overcoming obstacles to win a chance at a forever love. Get your copy today and become inspired!

 Men of the West: books 1–4 box set


Deep in the Heart of Texas

One of the first things to consider when writing a new book is the setting. Since my books are usually somewhat autobiographical, maybe it isn't surprising that Golden Man is set in Wimberley, Texas, a small town in the Texas Hill Country located between Austin and San Antonio.

My husband's family has had a home on Cypress Creek outside of Wimberley for over fifty years, so it's an area I've come to love. Since the family has expanded, several cousins and in-laws now have homes on the icy, emerald-green creek fed by a spring starting at Jacob's Well, which hopefully will flow over our dam for many years to come. 

Four generations have enjoyed our rope swing, dam, the music of cicadas and the family swimming hole. Of late our immediate family has celebrated Christmases at Wimberley because it is more centrally located than South Texas where I live and therefore more accessible to family members flying home to Texas. 

loungingoncypresscreek

At some point, Wimberley claimed a big piece of my soul. One of my favorite places in France is Provence - because it smells exactly like Wimberley had has limestone cliffs and sparkling rivers that remind me of the Texas Hill Country. 

I have spent so many perfect afternoons after a family picnic lying on a chaise lounge atop the green lawn beside "our" creek with an ice chest full of drinks at my side. I love to sip and read and then when I get too hot, I take a soothing dip in our idyllic swimming hole. Sometimes I float on a raft downstream to the next swimming hole, then walk or swim back. 

A day at the creek, is like going to the beach, but instead you hang out on a grassy, shady bank beneath tall cypress trees. Thus, you never get sunburned. In the evening, a lone heron flies low above the clear waters on its way to its nest. 

Maybe it isn't surprising I set one of my love scenes in Golden Man at the creek!

cypresscreek

Many family members have retired in the Texas Hill Country. Reasons to move to this part of Texas include lovely winter weather, chilly streams, hills, gorgeous wildflowers, summer float trips on those icy streams, the legendary Gruene Dance Hall, and plentiful wildlife, along with the close proximity of San Antonio and Austin. A few reasons to reconsider a move might be the summer heat and terrible flash floods that sometimes take lives, and the ever constant concerns about a plentiful future water supply. 

But it's the creek that has a hold on our family's heart. 

Golden Man - bk 4 of Men of the West series out now! Her Secret Desire

The past:
Prim and proper Jenny Zachery was the small, Texas town’s preacher’s daughter. Blade Taylor, her brother-in-law, was the local bad boy. What nobody knew was that he’d always been her secret desire.

The present:
Now she’s a widow and in trouble. Because of her, he’s come home for good.  But will she give their love a second chance?

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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Get your copy of Children of Destiny: Bks 1-3 Amazon | Barnes and Noble Nook | 24symbols | Apple iTunes | Kobo | Inktera  | Scribd

Get your copy of Children of Destiny: Bks 1-3
Amazon | Barnes and Noble Nook | 24symbols | Apple iTunes | Kobo | Inktera  | Scribd

While looking back at the novels in these boxed sets, I wondered if I ever write anything that isn't at least a little bit autographical. 

Passion's Child has to do with sailing and so does The Goodbye Child. Growing up in Corpus Christi, I began to sail in the womb – literally. My parents were poor when my mother was pregnant with me. They lived in a tiny one bedroom clapboard house on the west side of town. They didn't even have a car, but my father who was always big into hobbies had always dreamed of owning a sailboat. He'd grown up landlocked in Bowie, Texas before Texans dammed every river and made lakes all over the state. 

lebh Shomea

lebh Shomea

As a child he'd built a model sailboat that he sailed in any sort of pond he could find. So – the first thing he bought when he came to Corpus Christi, was a sailboat. He and Mother would get on the bus with their bags of sails even when Mother was huge with me. The name of the boat was Phantom. Sadly, it sank in a hurricane that occurred after I was born. 

Destiny's Child is set on a ranch near Corpus Christi. One of my favorite places to write is a prayer retreat called Lebh Shomea, which is locate on the former headquarters of the vast Kenedy Ranch which Captain King, who founded the King Ranch, once owned a part of. Through the years, I've spent many weeks there and am very familiar with the cowboy diet, lifestyle, wildlife, history, romance, and vegetation of that area. It is pure TEXAS and an extremely personal setting to me. 

Sailing in corpus christi bay

Sailing in corpus christi bay

Scandal's Child is set in Louisiana. For the first eight years of my marriage, I lived in Orange, Texas, which is prettily located on the Sabine River right across from Louisiana. Back then, I merely dreamed of becoming a writer. 

My husband and I had a sailboat (naturally – it's in the genes) and a canoe and an airboat. We spent hours in the bayous exploring the middle of nowhere on an canoe or airboat. It is lucky we didn't get eaten by a gator. Several slapped their tails at us as if to say SCRAM! Which we quickly did, naturally. 

Beside the gators, the trouble with airboats is you can fly quickly over logs, grass, and mud and get way back into wild country which is a sort of no-man's land. I used to think, if this motor quits, what will we do? There was no sign of human life on those desolate waterways other than a few ramshackle shacks on stilts and a few old tires lying on the banks. 

Well after several years of adventures, we ended up donating the airboat to the Sea Scouts, and the motor went out when they were on one of their expeditions. The leader and his scouts had to walk back, pulling the boat for TWO DAYS, through mud and water. When you step into that mud, you sink a foot. It sucks you down. Not fun. 

Wilderness Child is the least autobiographical of the six books. It is set in Australia and I've never been there. Perhaps I set it there because the King Ranch used to own a ranch in Australia. Or maybe because I've always dreamed of making that journey. 

Get your copy of children of destiny: bks 4-6! Amazon | Barnes and Noble | 24symbols | Apple iTunes | Kobo | Inktera | Scribd

Get your copy of children of destiny: bks 4-6!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | 24symbols | Apple iTunes | Kobo | Inktera | Scribd

Writers don't just write what they know. They write about their fantasies and dreams too. Hey... I'm still sailing. 

Keep On Keeping On...

The following quote by John Quincy Adams inspired me to write a blog today:

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams
My tiny assistant editing our next novel.

My tiny assistant editing our next novel.

In the past year I've certainly put in the patience and perseverance toward my self-publishing career, but the obstacles and difficulties seem to loom as high as ever. Still, "keep on keeping on" was the advice my ninety-year-old grandmother-in-law gave me many years ago. Since I considered her wise, I listened and have followed her advice. 

Her words of wisdom have served me well, although the bumps in the road seem higher than ever.

One's attitude toward problems can make life easier or more difficult. I try to seek solutions or find acceptance – depending on the challenge or setback... or current priorities. If I can't solve a problem, usually I can learn to live with it or learn a valuable lesson from it. Bad or good, I try to use it in some way that benefits me and my goals. Sometimes it's enough to learn what not to do.

Let us not forget what Tomas A. Edison had to say on this subject while trying to invent the lightbulb:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas A. Edison

Still one of the most difficult things to do is to embrace failure. Life coaches teach us to set goals, but when we fail to achieve them, how do we live with ourselves? What do we do?

Sometimes watching little ones work is a reminder not to take our failures so seriously.

Sometimes watching little ones work is a reminder not to take our failures so seriously.

I say embrace your bad result. I don't mean wallow in misery or beat yourself up - although a little wallowing is good for the soul sometimes. Analyze the bad result. If you don't admit you're unhappy with your result... or deny and refuse to face facts with your disappointment, how can you do anything different and change?

It is with these thoughts that I look forward to another year of self-publishing and fresh challenges. 

I will end with a final quote from Thomas A. Edison:

"Restlessness is discontent – and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man – and I will show you a failure." - Thomas A. Edison

Hey, maybe I'm more of a success than I thought.


Check out my newest release!

Children of Destiny: books 4-6 box set.

These three tales from USA Today bestselling Ann Major’s miniseries, Texas: Children of Destiny, old flames burn the hottest!  Don’t miss these three poignant reunion stories.
Order your set today!

The Accidental Bridegroom: Romance inspiration from the Day of the Dead

This Halloween, I decided to republish The Accidental Bridegroom as an ebook because of it's paranormal elements tying it to the mystical Day of the Dead celebration. 

The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday occurring around Halloween.  Those who celebrate this holiday pray for their departed loved ones, give them gifts, and create altars helping them along their spiritual journey. We in South Texas celebrate The Day of the Dead along with the sugar-high Halloween.

I was inspired to write The Accidental Bridegroom after traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico and celebrating the Day of the Dead with friends.  Those celebrating this mystical holiday make sugar skulls and decorate them with vibrant colors. They build beautiful shrines for the dead and festoon them with marigolds; these vibrant flowers are also used to decorate their homes, businesses, streets, and cemeteries.

This holiday of remembrance dates back to the Aztecs. A beautiful woman, Mictecacihuatl, was Queen of Mictlan, the underworld and fabled land of the dead.  She watched over the bones of the departed and presided over ancient festivals of the dead. During modern times, she is known as the Lady of the Dead. Despite her role, she had a tragic life; it is believed that after she was born, she was sacrificed as an infant.  Images of Mictecacihuatl show a fashionable woman with a defleshed body and with her jaw agape.

To others, this holiday and its celebration may sound gruesome, but on our trip to Oaxaca, we went to a cemetery and celebrated with friends at the graves of their loved ones. We chatted and drank, left gifts for the spirits to enjoy, and listened to tranquil symphonic music and mariachis play.  We had an exceedingly merry time celebrating those who have come before. This joy and celebration is evident in The Accidental Bridegroom as the characters find their true love during this unique holiday season.

Lookalike Covers?? Why I can't Wait to Read Carole Mortimer's CHALLENGING GABRIEL (Knight Security 2)

I would have been intrigued by Carole’s new novel even it didn’t look almost exactly like the cover I chose for I Will Find You. I mean, I’ll take any association with the fabulous Carole Mortimer, who just completed her 200th novel for Harlequin and has recently embarked on a career in Indie publishing. She is the most amazing writer.

Recently I enjoyed The Duke’s Mistress (Regency Unlaced 1) and Claimed by the Marquis (Regency Unlaced 2) which she wrote.

So, why are our covers nearly identical? Maybe because we both fell in love with the same premade cover from the same cover designer, the super-talented Kim Killion.

Carole’s stories in her Regency Unlaced Series as well as her stories in the Knight Security Series are so hot she posts a warning.

I’m so glad I didn’t heed the warning because I thought the two novellas were delicious. 

Challenging Gabriel 

When Angel’s son is taken, there is only one man she can turn to for help. Gabriel Knight, CEO of Knight Security. Unfortunately, he’s also the last man she should go anywhere near, ever again. He’s hard and cynical, utterly ruthless, and the last time the two of them met did not end well. 

When Angel Sinclair walks back into Gabriel’s life, utterly beautiful, and just as much of a threat as ever to his ordered life, his first instinct is to tell her to leave and never come back. 

But no matter what happened between the two of them in the past, or how badly it ended, Gabriel isn’t cold enough to turn his back on Angel when she explains her son, Daniel, has been kidnapped. She has been warned not to go to the police, and given a limited time to come up with the ransom money. If she fails to follow either of those instructions, she will never see Daniel again. 

Can the two of them forget the hurts of the past, and work together to save the life of an innocent seven year old boy? 

When I asked Carole why she chose our cover for this passionate tale, her reasons were nearly exactly the same as mine—even though our stories are our own.

To quote Carole: “Because it's lush and ultra-sensual. The hero looks so dangerously sexy, and yet I like the idea of the woman on top, as the guy is confident enough in his own sexuality and skin to allow that impression of domination. It is so, so sensual. Loved it from the moment I first saw it, and I knew I had to use it as the cover for the 3rd book in my contemporary Knight Security series.

Back to me. I chose it for I Will Find You, a short story version of one of my favorite novels, Night Child (Bk 3, Texas: Children of Destiny) which I wanted to publish free for my fans and as a teaser for new readers. I, too, felt this sensual story needed as equally sensual cover.

I Will Find You

Warning: besides being a version of Night Child, this short story has been published recently as one of the stories in Fantasy Lovers

If you haven’t read Night Child or Fantasy Lovers, and you want something short and free, you won’t want to miss this fiery, suspenseful romance! 

Haunted by her past, world-famous ballerina Dawn Hayden has no memory of being torn from Kirk MacKay’s arms and abducted as a child. 

Years later when she’s in danger again, the mysterious stranger, who rescues her seems so dazzlingly familiar on a soul deep level, she can’t resist him. He, however, is on his guard because he remembers all too well. 

So, identical artwork. But two very different stories. Enjoy…

The love of his life betrayed him once. Does he pay her back? Or take her back?

WILDERNESS CHILD (out now)

During April I took another look at Wilderness Child (Bk 4 Texas: Children of Destiny) and found myself really enjoy revisiting this story I wrote quite a few years ago. In this story a doctor who happens to be a strong-minded feminist is pitted against male chauvinist rancher.

 When I was younger, the last thing my husband always said to me in the evening was, "I'm the boss." I believe he does this to inspire me to write romance novels. We have had our fair share of heated male/female "discussions." As women, we are challenged in our present world and naturally, he has his own viewpoint. 

Wilderness Child is the fourth book in the acclaimed Texas: Children of Destiny series about the tale of the Jacksons, a South Texas ranching dynasty, in an area that happens to be my home. To write and dream, I happily frequently go to a large ranch to write so am very familiar with that setting. However,Wilderness Child is set in Australia, a land I have never visited... but long and dream to. Tad Jackson, the dashing hero of Wilderness Child, left Texas because he wants to be on his own, away from the long shadow of his older brother, Jeb Jackson. Unfortunately, Tad married the wrong woman (the identical twin of the woman he really loved to boot!), his wife has vanished, and his beloved cattle station is under attack so he is facing challenges on all fronts.

But, the author, me, can put on her goddess tiara and set things right if she so wills. This goddess-fairy godmother part of being a writer is one of the perks of the job! (Small disclosure: I actually have a wand sitting on my desk near my computer!) So naturally, in my quest to make things right, this is a reunion story beginning with the source of all Tad's problems, Dr. Jessica Bancroft.

During my rewrite of this classic novel, I enjoyed forcing these two strong-minded characters, Tad Jackson and Dr. Jessica Bancroft, to work with each other. They share a strong love and possessiveness over Tad's sweet daughter. Naturally, sparks flew when they came together despite their better intentions. Quickly their passion for one another began to ignite emotions more powerful than the bitternesses of the past.

 

Please enjoy a short excerpt from Wilderness Child published May 2016:

Dr. Jessica Bancroft's first impression of Tad Jackson was that of a primitive male, powerful and dangerous, sinewy muscles rippling in the moonlight.

His unseeing gaze swept the shadows, fixed upon her, and drank in the sight of the shapely perfection of her female form clearly revealed by her transparent nightgown.

The blatant sensuality of the look unnerved Jess.

Her heart froze and then began to pound more violently.

"Jess..." 

Her outstretched arms went around his muscled waist. The shock of unexpected contact with his virile body made her gasp. A tremor went through her and through him, as well. The sheet fell away, and cool fingers touched hot, naked male skin. 

She, who was rarely afraid, was afraid as she'd never been afraid before.

Arousal sizzled through her like an electric current.

She tried to move away, but he drew her inside the steel circle of his hands, flattening her once more against his chest. "Don't go." He opened his mouth, inviting her to deepen her kiss.

Violent tremors of fresh desire warmed Jess's melting flesh as her mouth lingered on his. She felt his fingers stroke her hips. Her heart fluttered with a strange, thrilled wildness. She caught herself sharply, stunned by the intensity of her emotion. The way she lay against him, it was easy to pretend he didn't really hate her. She felt the hard, muscled contours of his shape burning against her body.

His fingers wound in her hair. "Don't go," he whispered raggedly.

Nothing seemed to matter at the moment. The only reality was his touch, his caress, his burning mouth beneath hers tasting faintly of the sugared medicines she'd forced down him.

"I must,” she protested.

But Tad Jackson was a man used to getting his own way. A man who’d never learned to take no for an answer. She struggled no more…

It was the curse of her life that she’d always wanted him...

Some old flames burn too brightly to ever be put out.