Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Love and Romance on the Rails

I’m Reggi Allder a writer of romantic suspense and contemporary romance.

Today I’m happy to welcome Jacqui Nelson, a writer of historical romance. We met a few years ago through Romance Writers of  America.

Hi Jacqui, I’m pleased you had the time to stop by. Why don’t you tell everyone about you and your writing?

Thanks for inviting me to be your guest today, Reggi.

I’m a reader who loves larger-than-life characters in stories so vivid they play out like movies in my head. In those imaginary picture shows, a rousing time period can play a huge role. It sharpens the image and adds emotion.

As a writer of historical romantic adventures, I’m always searching for ways to craft a story with that kind of depth.
The grandeur of the railroad (its majestic steam engines and frontier stations that transformed into booming towns) was a time of romance and splendor.

Bright skies and full steam ahead… 

But with every enterprise (especially one as large as building and maintaining thousands of miles of track) came challenges, complications and unforeseen tragedies. This setting is ripe for storytellers. Want conflict (aka the writer’s best friend)? The railroad has it all. 

Unscrupulous promoters, money-hungry investors, competing rail lines, saboteurs for hire, train robbers, displaced natives and farmers, exploited laborers, Mother Nature…the list is endless.

Gloomy nights and slow going… 

With so many options, a writer can become overwhelmed. Hopefully somewhere in that mass of humanity brimming with conflict are characters that standout from the crowd—people who will drive my story.

Who’s going to lead this adventure? 

If you’re lucky like me, two people might step forward.

One might say, “I’m your leading man. My past is far from perfect, but I’m striving to make a better future for those around me.”

And the other might reply, “I’m your leading lady who’s going to make his life difficult.”

Do you have a favorite setting or character from a book, movie or series? I’d love to hear what stories captivate you. Who knows, the railroad might be one of them.

Adella’s Enemy

Can the pursuit of an old enemy lead to a new love? 
The War Between the States ended five years ago, but she still pursues her enemy…

Rebel spy turned government rabble rouser Adella Willows receives her mission straight 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 enters a battle of wits with the railroad’s foreman.

An ocean separates him from his failures in Ireland, but he’s still haunted by those who died… 

Seasoned railroad foreman Cormac McGrady’s sole desire is keeping his workmen safe and employed, which means keeping the Katy ahead of its rivals. But the beautiful spy bedeviling his railroad needs protecting as well. Cormac must choose between winning the race and winning Adella’s heart, while Adella must choose whether she lives for revenge or dies for love.

Adella’s Enemy (a novella) is available in e-book and print on Amazon.

Passion’s Prize
What do a spy, a madam, and an heiress have in common?

Outlaws, soldiers and spies bedevil the Katy Railroad as construction crews race to reach Indian Territory before their rival. The prize—a fortune in land rights for the wining line. Stakes are just as high for three women whose lives hinge on the outcome.

Passion’s Prize (an anthology featuring three interlinked novellas: Adella’s Enemy by Jacqui Nelson, Eden’s Sin by Jennifer Jakes and Kate’s Outlaw by E.E. Burke) is available in e-book and print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Kobo.

Jacqui’s Bio

Jacqui 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. She currently lives on the west coast of Canada where she works in a bookstore. She is a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® winner and three-time finalist.

Her Golden Heart® nominated Westerns Between Heaven & Hell (set on the Oregon Trail) and Between Love & Lies (set in Dodge City during the heyday of the cattle drives) will be released this summer.

Adella’s Enemy – Excerpt

“It’s one of the Joy Men.” The declaration came from the workmen’s leader—a giant of an Irishman—hidden somewhere beyond the wall of bodies between her and the train.

A spy for the rival railroad? If James Joy had sent a rabble rouser from his line, Adella had best learn as much about him as possible. Starting with what he looked like.

She pushed through the workmen. Each man spun with a scowl, ready to berate whoever poked him in the ribs or stepped on his toes. When they saw her, they stumbled back, jaws dropping. She reached the platform’s edge just in time to see the man on the stockcar leap to the engine, run across its back and slid down the cattle guard to the ground.

The big Irishman shoved through his men with a growl. “Why aren’t you chasing after—?” He slammed to a halt in front of her.

He hadn’t touched her, but the sight of him looming over her with a combination of anger and disbelief twisting his mud-streaked face, pushed her back. She teetered on the edge of the train platform, the weight of her valise throwing her further off balance. Many hands reached for her, including the giant’s.

She refused to let go of her valise and accept them.

She fell with a shriek. Her rear end hit the mud with a bruising wallop. She gritted her teeth to stop any additional embarrassing outbursts then, valise still in hand, staggered to her feet. And promptly sank ankle deep in the muck.

A colossal groan rent the air. She jerked round to face the train, as did the workmen on the platform above her. The terrible sound came again, making the stockcar shudder with its force. A crack like gunfire echoed. Chains burst. Iron screeched against iron. And the mountain of rails toppled toward her. Trapped as she was in the muck below, she’d soon be crushed in a muddy grave. Fear devoured all further thought.

A broad hand clamped round her arm and yanked. Her feet popped from the mud, and she sailed through the air before landing on the platform. The hand released her. Shock rendered her legs useless, crumpling her like a rag doll on the boards beside her valise.

With the force of Thor’s hammer, the first rail struck the earth. A shower of mud pelted the platform on either side of her. The clanging that followed left her ears ringing.

“Did I hurt you?” the giant’s now familiar brogue whispered, so close it raised goose flesh.

Lifting her head, she stared into eyes as silver as newly minted dollars, the only difference in a face as muddy as the rest. The man’s massive frame crouched protectively over her. She was bombarded with memories of her mother’s stories, tales passed down for generations of legendary Celtic warriors. She had never dreamed of encountering one of those mythical men in human form.

To learn more about Jacqui and her writing, please visit

Please leave a comment for Jacqui and share this blog with your friends.

And remember to check out my books on Amazon. 
Money Power and Poison Can love win against the odds?
Shattered Rules Does love always deserve a second chance?
Thanks, Reggi


  1. Great blog, Jacqui! You know I LOVE railroad stories. I'm writing the sequel to Passion's Prize right now. The railroad story in America offers an endless cast of fascinating characters and plots, which is why I love our Steam! Romance and Rails series. Oh, and I can't wait for you're two new westerns. I got a sneak peek at those books in the early days and I was hooked from the first chapters!

    1. With characters as great as you write, Elisabeth, I can't wait to read the sequel to Passion's Prize, and see the cover too! Your cover for "Her Bodyguard" is one of my favorites. Looking forward to giving you, and everyone, a sneak peek of the cover for one of my new novels next week!

  2. What a great inspiration for plots-- the railroad! Love this, Jacqui. I hope the comment goes through. It's taken me awhile to learn that some blogs only respond to Internet Explorer vs Chrome...
    I've shared this blog on FB so that others can see the exciting work coming out. Wonderful stories with an array of characters will provide lots of good reading. :)

    1. Glad your comment came through, Jean! And thank you for sharing the news of my guest blog. I'm always interested to learn what inspires others, so I thought I'd share my inspiration as well.

  3. I've long been fascinated by the railroads, too. Your books sound like fun reading, Jacqui. Have you been watching Hell On Wheels?

    1. "Hell On Wheels" was the main inspiration for my novella! My anthology writer partners, Elisabeth Burke & Jennifer Jakes, were die-hard fans of the series when they suggested I watch it with a view for crafting our version of a railroad story full of history and grit and of course romance. Thanks for dropping by, Linda. Always good to meet another "Hell On Wheels" fan!

  4. The trains, romance and history combination is a great idea and sounds like it will make an exciting adventure story.

    1. I found that trains, romance & history really helped me connect with the core story I wanted to write. Plus history is fun to research. A win-win for me :) Thanks for visiting my guest blog, Jen!

  5. Great blog Jacqui. I love the conflict and passion you create between your leading lady and gent. Great stuff. The kind of spark that starts legends.

    1. Thanks, Jo-Ann! Conflict and passion can be a real challenge to maintain (and weave in with all the other story elements) - so I'm glad to hear that you found my story had that spark. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  6. Hi Jacqui, loved the excerpt you posted, especially her fall from grace, so to speak :)
    I'm definitely going to need to read this book,
    Jacquie Biggar

    1. Great call on Adella's "fall from grace"! I hadn't really thought of it that way but now that you describe it as such - it's so true. Very glad you could stop by, Jacquie!

  7. A big thank you to everyone who visited my guest blog and to Reggi for asking me to be your guest. I had a great time!

  8. Adella's Enemy was a terrific read. Looking forward to reading Passion's Prize soon!

  9. Hi all, thank you for stopping by, please come back again soon. And a big thanks to Jacqui for visiting. Best Reggi