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Sunday, July 31, 2011


THIS TIME FOREVER is truly the book of my heart. And this historical has a history of its own. I wrote it fifteen years ago. It was almost sold to Harlequin before it was finished; then rejected because it was "more than a romance." At an editor's suggestion, it was submitted to Mira where it languished for two years and was ultimately rejected there also. Three name changes, several rejections after other submissions by my agent and a revision with severe cuts followed. I set it aside in frustration.

Then submitted it to a digital publisher who accepted it with praise. Before I could sign a contract, said publisher disappeared from the face of the earth. I sent it to a different digital publisher and never heard a word. Only after they accepted another book did I learn they never got this submission. Then it went to Champagne books where it finally found a home. And now it is released as an ebook and will be available in print next month. Somebody knew better than I when its time should come. For this is a Civil War story and 2011 is the first year of the commemoration of the C.W. Sesquicentennial. How's that for unplanned and unexpected timing?

The story:

The Civil War brought casualties beyond the bloody battlefields as North fought South. Philip Burke, against his family's wishes, volunteered to defend the Union and became a prisoner of war who bartered his medical expertise to remain out of prison. When the Union Army invaded Tennessee, Clarissa Wakefield's antebellum mansion became a Confederate hospital. Philip was placed in charge and against propriety she volunteered to stay on and help nurse the wounded. Clarissa's husband was a Confederate soldier and Philip's fiancée waited for him in Oswego but the fire between them soon raged out of control. As the opposing armies fought for possession of Chattanooga, Clarissa and Philip faced their own battle. Caught in the passions of war and love, with hurt inevitable either way, would they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?

Here's a excerpt:
Tip-toeing past the snoring guard, Clarissa stepped onto the moonlit veranda and made her way toward a wicker chair facing the river. It was only as she sat down that she saw the glow of Philip Burke's pipe.

"Oh, excuse me, I thought--"

"That you would be alone? I was just finishing my pipe." He made a move to stand but she said quickly, "Please don't go. It is I who have intruded."

"I scarcely think so. This is your home after all, Mrs. Wakefield." He settled back in his chair and took another puff.

"Let's not belabor such a trivial matter, Captain Burke. I'm glad of someone to talk to."

"Then I'll stay for a while longer with your permission."

"Yes, do. The quiet seems eerie. As if we're suspended in motion, waiting for something to happen."

"Waiting for all hell to break loose." He didn't appear to notice his offensive language and she forgot it with his next words. "I've experienced this before. It's the lull before the battle."

"Do you really think so?"

"It's inevitable, with the Army of the Tennessee on the march and the Army of the Cumberland right on their heels."

"Perhaps General Bragg will just go on to Atlanta."

"With thousands of battle-ready troops at his command?" Philip asked drily. "Not likely."

"When do you think it will begin?" Clarissa asked with dread.

"Perhaps tomorrow. If not tomorrow, soon."

Clarissa shivered. "I wish my son was back at Fleur-de-Lis. What if the Union . . .?"

"Have you forgotten I am a Union officer? You and yours will be safe as long as I'm here."

"Thank you, Captain."

Clarissa silently regarded the man who sat near her, his features highlighted each time he drew on the coals of his pipe. It was difficult for her to remember that he was a prisoner but that must have been the thought uppermost in his mind all these months. And as he had reminded her, he was a Union officer. If the city was captured by the enemy, he would become her captor. It was not a pleasant thought.

The night sounds of early autumn filled the silence--dry flies and tree frogs and raucous insects too numerous to be identified. Clarissa became aware of Philip's eyes on her and a warm sensation began in the pit of her stomach and spread to her breasts and thighs. She watched his slender hand as he knocked the ashes from his pipe and imagined the hand touching her. She felt her heart flutter and said with a catch in her voice, "I should go in now. It's getting quite late."

He stood at the same time she did and they were only inches apart. Clarissa felt his warm breath on her face and dared not look up.

Her hair was luminescent silver flowing about her shoulders in the moon glow and Philip reached out to touch it and willed himself to stop. But his hands with a will of their own moved to her shoulders and she raised her head and met his eyes.

In a dream-like motion they closed the space between them as their mouths slowly met and with a long-repressed hunger they sated themselves. Their bodies melded, soft against hard, silk against wool, and a fire blazed between them that blotted out all else except their awareness of each other. He brought his hand to the back of her head and wove his slender fingers into her silken tresses; the kiss deepened as his tongue became a licking flame in her mouth. When the kiss finally ended, the flame licked the hollow of her throat and the rise of her breast as he pushed aside the fabric of her gown. Fire burned against her flesh in every place his tongue touched and she arched against him, eager to be consumed by it.

"Clarissa, my beautiful Clarissa," he whispered. "No matter how hard I fight this, I can't stop wanting you. There's never an hour that you're not in my thoughts. I am obsessed by you."

She moved her hands from his chest to caress the sides of his face and he groaned with pleasure. "And I you."

He cupped her against him and she linked her arms at the back of his neck as he bent his head to take her mouth again with greater intensity. "I tell myself that you are married but it doesn't matter in what I feel. And I think you feel it, too."

"Yes, oh yes," she whispered.

For more information, you can visit the book's page at Champagne Books.


Danielle Thorne said...

I am in the middle of reading this book and I'm really enjoying it. Linda has a great sense of setting and the two view points on each side of the war is thought provoking.

Deborah Schneider said...

As I said in my post earlier, one of the great things that digital books are giving us is a change of settings. I look forward to reading this when it comes out. It sounds wonderful.

heather said...

Sounds like it's going to be a great book :)

Sarita said...

Best of luck with this, Linda. It sounds awesome!

Anonymous said...

I think that is very fortunate timing. It must be frustrating to wait to hear back from publishers. I wouldn't have the patience.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Laura Ann Dunks said...

SO glad you finally got there in the end because the book sounds amazing. Good luck with it!

Laura xxx

Linda Swift said...

Hello, and thanks to all who have left comments. I hope I didn't leave the wrong impression in my post. THIS TIME FOREVER was released as an ebook July 4 (how is that for another well-timed event?) and the print book will be released in mid-August. So you can read the ebook now if you prefer. It's at the website and at Amazon.
I'll be back soon with replies to each of you who left a comment. Thanks for stopping by my blog post.

Linda Swift said...

Danielle, thank you so much for your nice comments about THIS TIME FOREVER. I happy that you like the book and I think readers with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War can find something to relate to in this story.

Linda Swift said...

Deborah, please check my comments above. If you prefer ebooks, THIS TIME FOREVER is available for you now. Happy reading! Linda

Linda Swift said...

Heather, this book has gotten three 5 star or 5 book reviews. I am thrilled that these professional reviewers have judged it "a great book." And it won LASR Book of the Week a couple of weeks ago. Makes all the hard work worthwhile at last. Linda

Linda Swift said...

Thank you, Sarita. Say, aren't you the Sarita whose blog I've been a guest on a couple of times? The author who wrote that memorable book about an elderly lady and a snowstorm? Linda

Linda Swift said...

Stacie, it is frustrating to hear back on your submissions from publishers. That's what I like so much about digital publishers. It is usually much faster than submitting to NY traditional publishers. Of course, when your submission gets lost in cyberspace as this did to one publisher, then you may wait forever! In this case, the title THIS TIME FOREVER really fit the situation.

Linda Swift said...

Laura Ann, they do say the end justifies the means, don't they? And I suppose this is true but I sometimes felt as it I was fighting my own battle with this book. And the three people I dedicated it to died before it ever got to publication.

Robin said...

It looks great, I'm glad you persevered in getting it published!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Linda Swift said...

Thanks, Robin. And thanks for visiting and reading my entry.

shiderly77 said...

The book sounds great, I'm glad its out there for all of us to read.

JohnF said...

Best of luck; I hope you do well both with the ebook and hardcover!

Na said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book. One of my favourite books was also a war historical. I'm anticipating a passionate and emotional love story which is usually the case with such a setting. Thank you for sharing an excerpt.

Linda Swift said...

shiderly77, I responded to your post earlier and I guess my post got lost in cyberspace. Anyway, thank you for visiting and leaving a nice comment. I appreciate it.

Linda Swift said...

Thank you, John. So far the ebook sales are going well. And I'm really excited about the print book coming out next month. Well, almost THIS month now since it will be released in August.

Linda Swift said...

Na, there is something about the Civil War period in history that just appeals to many of us. And yes, I think you will find lots of passion and action and drama in THIS TIME FOREVER. Thanks for reading it. Linda

Kaye said...

One of the best books I've read recently...great writing!!

Linda Swift said...

Thank you, Kaye. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. And thanks for stopping by.