For Roberta, From Christopher

Eighteen-year-old Roberta started a long journey across a college lounge to say hello to a nineteen-year-old stranger. She began a friendly, charming and witty conversation. That delightful conversation lasted fifty years until a coyote came to our Arizona window and trotted off with her spirit.

Roberta’s mother descended from 17th Century settlers and pioneers who were in the Oklahoma land rush. Her father’s ancestors were Revolutionary War heroes. Her father was left alone in El Paso at the age of eleven by his own drifter father. His salvation was education and hard work, and the five Helmer children learned that lesson. Among her forebears were a family that loaned Abraham Lincoln books from their small library. Roberta loved her family, its history, and growing up on the farm in Ohio.

A man named Reverend Gale appeared to help guide her education. She never knew how he got involved. She attended a small school near Dayton founded by Fritz Marti, a Swiss educator who was passionate about teaching and wrote extensively on the subject. From there to the Ferry Hall Girls School in Lake Forest, Illinois where she was a lone scholarship girl among the heiresses of Chicago fortunes. Roberta enjoyed the wonderful teachers and curriculum there. Her schoolmates would line up in the hall outside her room for tutoring until lights out and the monitor sent them away. Roberta learned from living in close quarters with these girls to never seek material gain.

In college, she switched from French Literature to Chinese Literature. She was mentored for four years by Dr. Derk Bodde, a Dutchman who was the world’s foremost China scholar. He arranged grad school for Roberta at Harvard; she forsook that to return to school in Ohio to be near her family.

Roberta inspired her husband to appreciate the joy of education, and they graduated on the same day.

She put academics on hold to lead tours to China and work on book offers. Her first effort was a chapter on Chinese art in “The Encyclopedia of China Today.” The London Sunday Times said, “…the chapter on art is lovingly and beautifully written.” About that Roberta said, “It’s a small thing.”

After our son was born she was determined to work from home. She would write a few paragraphs every morning and show them to me at night. The first three times I could tell it was written by her. The fourth time I asked her, “Who wrote this?” She smiled and said, “I found my voice.” She submitted it to Dell Publishing and Maggie Lichota called her immediately to offer a three-book contract. Boy, was Roberta smiling! She loved everything about writing and she loved the great people she met, like Debbie Macomber. Debbie inspired her to do more knitting and Roberta found another great group of friends.

Her greatest love was our son Christian, and her last days were spent advising Christian and his new bride Mary on their life plans.

Thank you Roberta for the countless years.

Love, Christopher

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Are you sick of new year resolutions? Be honest. :-)


2017 is here.

 Happy New Year!

Well…kind of. 

Wait, what does that mean–kind of? After all, it’s a new year and everything is a fresh beginning, right?

But here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of the year and the start of what’s brand spanking new. The way I see it, new is always a good thing. Right?

Kind of.

It should be. It can be. But like it or not, newness can bring all kinds of crazy, tangled up thinking.

So this is my question. Did your new year bring anxiety and rapid breathing rather than eager anticipation?
Were you hit by a storm of impossible resolutions and teeth-gnashing self-criticism?

I say ENOUGH of all that.
Instead of resolutions ( which are usually unrealistic and impossible to keep), why not take some time to pat yourself on the back. Instead of worrying, why not remember all the hard work completed and all the wonderful things discovered over the last year? Count the times you helped a friend or shared a burden. Take a deep breath and acknowledge something you did that made you feel wonderful.

See. That’s a far more auspicious way to start a new year!

As for me, I am nearly done with a new book. I am aiming for a spring release. (Which month, I still don’t know!). Watch for new excerpts coming soon.  And 5 lucky readers are going to win advanced reading copies too! Be sure to sign up for my email and get yourself on the list.

Meanwhile, not to jump the gun, but I really want to celebrate getting close to the finish line. As a mini-celebration, I have one of my favorite historicals featured in a new Amazon and Bookbub promotion beginning tomorrow.  Yay!

Jump over to Amazon  and grab a copy of COME THE DAWN.  It’s the second book in my Dangerous Delameres  series, featuring the indomitable heiress who first appeared in COME THE NIGHT. India Delamere is about to find out that  everything she thought was true was wrong – and everything she thought she had lost was only misplaced. But it won’t be easy.  Because dangerous secrets about to be revealed, and India needs a strong and fearless protector.

Lucky for her, I have the perfect man for the job.



I hope you will enjoy India’s bravery, wit and non-stop adventures in COME THE NIGHT. And while you are cruising Amazon, why not grab a few other titles? 7 different books will be offered at a special discounted price over the rest of this week. Dig in!

Here’s a direct link to COME THE DAWN.

Might as well pick up COME THE NIGHT while you’re there, in case you missed Luc’s story.

Why not pick up SEDUCING THE RAKE while you’re there, too?

You can also find several of my Draycott Abbey paranormals offered for a special promotional price. (Limited time only.)




That’s a lot of books. 🙂


And get ready for a new year filled with wonderful and unexpected possibilities.

Happy reading…

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Are you ready?

For Christmas yet? And for your holiday gift giving?


I didn’t think so!  🙂 Confession– I am definitely not even close.

On the other hand, I have actually started making a few gifts. Handmade gifts take a long time to finish, but I always think it’s worth the effort. There is something so special about a gift made slowly, with care and intention…

Call me old-fashioned!

Speaking of handmades, I will be posting a knitted glove pattern next week. These require very little yarn– but make adorable gifts. Quite trendy right now too.

But first. My special gift to you. 🙂 A Highlander for Christmas is available right now as a free download at Use this link to grab your copy.

Enjoy! But please don’t delay as this promotion will last for a limited time.  I’m happy to say that this sizzling, complex Highland paranormal romance remains one of my all-time favorite stories. Why?

imageOh, that part is easy!

I loved the hero.

I loved the heroine.

I totally loved the dog. 🙂

I’ll post a short excerpt below, with one of favorite scenes.

And I hope that you enjoy this early taste of Highland magic, just in time to start planning for Christmas.

PS. I know many of you are longtime readers, and you probably have the book already. If so, you might consider emailing the link to a friend who would enjoy this moody Scottish romance.  I call it a great way to pass out your holiday gifts early this year!

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…because you asked…


  • It was the fragrance of legends…
  • Every cut crystal bottle fueled passion,
  • duels and wildest rumor! A perfect blend of
  • sweetness, with a layer of smoke and spice,
  • the perfume provoked dangerous affairs and
  • innocent adoration.
  • If you have read my book, Come the Night,
  • you will understand all about the legends.
  • Now you can have the secret too.
  • Fuel your own inspiration.
  • Enjoy.


blogimageforrecipeDownload the pdf with Silver’s Lavender Perfume recipe here

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Ready for a few good books?

Hi wonderful readers!


I’m checking in for a quick chat.

Hope you’re having a wonderful fall and enjoying LOTS of great books! When the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, it always feels like the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

So…here’s a special alert for a limited time Christina Skye promotion. Right now you can grab a copy of COME THE NIGHT, free at Amazon. But better move fast. This offer only lasts a few days.


00008Oh? You’ve already finished that book? Great. You can find the sequel book, COME THE DAWN, in my Dangerous Delameres romantic adventure set also specially discounted. Only for a limited time!


But wait. There’s more!

FREE until September 20th.

seven-nights-with-a-pirate-53116-250SEDUCING THE RAKE (Mad, Bad and Dangerous Heroes Book 2)rake250

ALSO…ONLY $.99 until September 23rd
SEVEN NIGHTS WITH A PIRATE (Mad, Bad and Dangerous Heroes Book 1)




And if you happen to prefer your romance with a paranormal twist… get ready for haunting mysteries and star-crossed lovers.  Follow a trail of magic and secrets back to the rose-covered walls of a haunted English abbey. Deep on the quiet Sussex coast, two sets of lovers will be called by the dangerous beauty of Draycott Abbey. With the help of an immortal guardian ghost and his imperious cat companion, they must fight old enemies and face new betrayals to forge the power of trust and hope.

cover3d250This Draycott series remains a huge reader favorite! Grab this limited time offer now!  Two books FREE from September 16th until September 20th.
ETERNAL LOVERS is a special, limited edition Romance box set with two paranormal favorites — HOUR OF THE ROSE and BRIDE OF THE MIST.

My suggestion?

Pour a cup of Earl Grey, grab a snuggly afghan and enjoy your new fall reading stash!

Happy reading.

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Strange and Unpredictable Fashion–A Look at the Mystery of Undergarments

Amazing fashions through the centuries



Presenting a  very brief look at… well, briefs.



Corsets and Crinolines.

Love them or hate them, they made things hang as fashion dictated…

Christian Dior proclaimed that, “Without foundations there can be no fashions,” and he was a man who should know. He revolutionized the modern female style of dress and created a dynasty in the process.

But what did you reach for when you got up in the morning if you were a woman in 11th century London or in 15th century Paris? If you don’t know, don’t feel bad. Most people haven’t got a clue. My own informal survey shows that of twenty people polled, twelve thought a kirtle was a nouvelle cuisine cooking utensil. Eight people thought a farthingale was an obscure English songbird.


Maybe that’s why so many bloopers make their way into books. I have seen far too many zippers are being unzipped centuries before they came into being. Hint: the first American patent for a zip fastener was not taken out until 1914.
Over the centuries undergarments were especially intricate. But a word of warning. Most historical undergarments were terribly tight, especially if a woman happened to occupy the English throne at the time. Go figure! (Think Queen Victoria and all those abominably rib-crushing corsets.)

The invisible underpinnings were designed to force the body into lines more outrageous than any bustier or shape-wear bodysuit you’ll ever see you today.

Except maybe on on Madonna or Lady Gaga. During a sweaty concert.

Second note of warning. Most undergarments were clumsy and complex. In many eras a female, especially a female of wealth or high birth, couldn’t possibly dress herself alone. There were laces to be tightened, tapes to be secured and whalebone panels to be tugged flat. Getting dressed was serious business. It required knowledgeable assistance to complete what was a visible sign of class, rank and influence. Think multiple levels of skilled servants. (Remember Anna in Downton Abbey?)

If you happened to be Marie Antoinette, the whole business of dress became a stylized social ritual and you invited select intimates to share gossip, enjoy refreshments, plot politics and listen to entertainment while the arduous business of donning high fashion garb was completed.

Les soins de beauté.

For fashionable undergarments, the key was always the waist. When the waistline rise or fell or when bodices were tightened or embellished, the undergarments beneath had to change too.

If you were a woman who happened to live when William of Normandy was depopulating southern England and razing most of York, you probably dressed very simply beneath your loose flowing outer garment. That garment was called a kirtle or bliaud. You donned over-the-knee length leggings of wool or linen fastened by laces and a long, smock-like shift or tunic. The shift, usually made of linen, sported long sleeves and fell to the ankles.

And there was nothing underneath that shift. No underwear for the Norman-era woman.

Put it this way. It meant you had room to run fast if you were attacked by a marauding Norman knight or a Saxon rebel bent on a messy revenge.

Men also dressed fairly comfortably in a loose, knee-length tunic and a white shirt with full sleeves. Under that came the braies, a Saxon term for loose male drawers, usually of white linen or uncolored wool. (Cotton was not readily available as an import in England until the middle of the 15th century.) In addition to their braies, men wore stockings of wool or loose trousers crossed with garters. Not elaborate but it did the job of coverage.

In the next installment we’ll range north to Scotland and tackle the intricacies of the kilt and all that gorgeous thick wool plaid.

Stay tuned for men in kilts!

And while we are on the subject of historical accuracy, I want to recommend a riveting historical fiction series.  (Full disclosure — the author is a good friend and my favorite web expert.)

But my comment remains impartial.  If you love CSI episodes and twisty, meaty historical drama, you will love Lost Innocents, by Denise Doming.

The story?

A leper’s daughter is found in the well of a dying hamlet and the only suspect has fled into Feckenham Forest. But the sun is setting and Sir Alain, Warwickshire’s sheriff, is hunting his new Crowner. That sends Sir Faucon de Ramis and his prickly clerk on a dangerous adventure.  Before long, Faucon finds himself riding into the dark at the sheriff’s side as they hunt for yet another lost innocent.

Denise tells me that she loves writing this historical mystery series because “I have the chance to explore the people who lived in the 12th Century.  No matter their class, they show me their prejudices, their ambitions and their loves.  But what I most love about these books is that I truly don’t know “whodunit” until my sleuth, Sir Faucon, figures out the mystery for himself.  Oh, I think I know but I’m never really certain until that last moment.”

Pick up a copy of Lost Innocents here

Athe-tigers-lady-052516nd one last minute reminder.  My classic Victorian adventure, TIGER’S LADY, will be available for free on Amazon for a very limited time, beginning July 3.  Swing over and grab your copy now.

Reviews are always welcome!  This is an old historical in the sweeping style, racing from the dark, gaslit streets of London to the misty fields of a mountain tea plantation in Sri Lanka, with a hero who is definitely brooding and very dangerous. You might hate him…until you understand what has made him give up on any form of trust.

Happy reading.

Wishing you a wonderful 4th with your family and friends.






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Time is running out for three bestselling historicals at very special pricing

Just a fast reminder. 

Because I am a reader, too, and I love a great bargain like you do!

  • Come the Dawn will leave free at midnight tonight.  Act fast. (Like Cinderella.  Don’t leave your slipper behind.)
  • The companion historical in the family series, Come the Night, is specially priced at $.99 for a very limited time.
  • And don’t forget to grab Seducing the Rake at $.99 for two more days only.


Happy reading.

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In case you wondered what a writer does…


It’s easy.  Just41dfe6d73fa6db9936b3c470fd869bec

write some words.  Anyone can do it.




Or not.




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Surviving after Downton — Part Two

Another suggestion for the ongoing recovery post-Downton


Do something nice for yourself.  Make it healthy too.


French macarons.

Retail therapy at the closest Nordstrom shoe department.

I said healthy, remember?

Try this recipe for an invigorating body scrub:

  • 3 cups organic coconut sugar
    1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 5   drops lavender essential oil
    10  drops grapefruit essential oil
  • (OR
    8 drops bergamot essential oil  — (You will smell like Earl Grey tea, but that’s a good thing, right!)




Stir sugar to break up any clumps.
Add room temperature coconut oil, mixing slowly.
Tweak amount.  You may prefer a less gritty texture.  If so, add more oil.

Now for the fun. Add your essential fragrance oils. Breathe deeply. Repeat.

If you have a favorite oil, don’t be afraid to use that. I happen to love the lavender and citrus blend.


Close your eyes and take another slow, deep breath. Pour a cup of jasmine tea.
Then enjoy a good book.  Preferably one by Christina Skye!

(And try not to think about what Mrs. Patmore will be cooking at the great house for Easter.)

Follow me on Amazon here

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Surviving after Downton

 The day has come.

The banns have been read, and the wedding cake has been cut.  The laughter and tears are gone. The halls of the great house are silent now.

Except in our minds and hearts.

It was an unforgettable journey that changed us a little. Each whirlwind moment of emotion in a time of change made us understand a grand house that embodied the best of English culture.

So how are we going to fill our time now, post Downton?


After much thought, I did what I always do in times of stress. I came up with a list. 🙂

Consider this my own Masterpiece Theater therapy.

I’ll be happy to share my top 5 coping methods, derived from much anxiety and research.(YMMV of course. Some of us had a far deeper addiction love than others did. Raising my hand here…)

The post Downton list

1. Dark chocolate.

No. Just no.

Not a great idea if you want to keep your current dress size or anything close.


.2. Wine.  Actually, this one was not a good idea either.

No further details given.


3. Exercise.  Much better.

Jogging really does work, especially when you are too distracted by an incipient asthma attack to worry about how things are going with Anna and Bates and the new baby.

4. Good books. Lots of good books.

Anything by Mary Stewart. I suggest The Ivy Tree, followed by Touch Not the Cat.

After that grab a Regency by Georgette Heyer. Any one of hers set in that period. The Devil’s Cub remains a particular favorite.

5. After the above four worked, but only minimally, I took up hand sewing.  Seriously.  The detail and fine motor skills are a wonderful way to focus, yet at the same time relax.  Every patient stitch reminds me of  the beautiful costumes lavished on every Downton episode.


I have more to say about costumes and fine textiles and the history of lingerie.  Watch for that in my next post.

Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy a book with romance and historical adventure, modern Gothic mysteries that showcase smart, independent heroines, my Draycott Abbey books are being offered in a special promotion event this week.

 In  memory of Downton Abbey and all we need to do to keep our minds off the the series ending. For this week only, Hour of the Rose and Bride of the Mist are available at the special price of $.99.  Fallen is free this week also.  And look for reader-favorite, Key to Forever, now available for the first time in digital format.


Sign up for monthly updates, book news and contests too.


Okay, the housekeeping is done. I hope you find a good book to enjoy. And now one last, loving look, because I simply could not resist.

Lady Sybil learns to cook.





With happy memories…..


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