The Magic City

The Magic City

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Meet the 2015 Golden Heart Historical Romance Finalists

Cowboys. Rogues. World War II spies. This flight of Dragonflies has gone through time to find the best heroes and heroines to delight readers.  It is my pleasure to introduce the 2015 Golden Heart finalists in the Historical Romance category:

Kimberly Bell
"A Convenient Engagement" by Kimberly Bell

A young lady makes an outrageous deal with a very handsome devil in this sexy debut romance set in Georgian Era London and Scotland.

An independent young woman of means, Miss Hannah Howard is as stubborn as she is beautiful. After she moves to London for her first season among the ton, she immediately finds herself in a heated dispute with her neighbor, the ill-mannered Gavan Dalreoch, Earl of Rhone. Giving the Earl a black eye is a lapse in judgment—even though the Scottish scoundrel deserved it. Now with her reputation in jeopardy, her only hope for saving face is the man whose face she bruised.

Gavan is content to live up to his rakish reputation, but with family pressuring him to marry, he and Hannah agree to get engaged just long enough to appear respectable. Yet as the charade continues with stolen kisses and a trip to Gavan’s Scottish castle, Gavan and Hannah discover that their false engagement may be more real than they imagined.

Kimberly Bell is a 2015 RWA Golden Heart Finalist and 2014 Maggie Award Winner. She writes historical romances from her home near the beach in San Luis Obispo, California. She lives with her shepherd-coyote mix rescue.
Marnee Blake
"A Dangerous Chemistry" by Marnee Blake

Marnee Blake is a 2014 & 2015 Golden Heart® Finalist. She writes action-packed young adult and new adult romance. She used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn’t writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book. Marnee’s writing is represented by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary Agency.
Lori Sanders Foley
"Dragon’s Lair" by Lori Sanders Foley

Set in 1170, Morgan verch Rhodri, a marauder's daughter, finds a half-dead, half-naked warrior wrapped up in the most recent plunder; she doesn't know whether to ransom or run from the wounded warrior, she finds amid the most recent coastal plunder.   The English cape he's wrapped in is a sign of the danger she faces should anyone discovers either of them.  Her grandfather is a Welsh king, which makes Morgan a valuable pawn in the game of kingdoms.

Rann of Galbraith, a mercenary agent, awakens to find he has survived an English massacre, only to be held captive of a woman who orders men around as if she were the lord of the keep. He wants revenge for the attack on his kinsmen.  However, when a mysterious organization,known as the Dragon, draws upon both their pasts, they are cast into a deadly game with high stakes, Morgan could lose her home.  Rann could lose his freedom. They might even lose their hearts...if they don't lose their lives, first.
For Lori Sanders Foley, there is always a story in every adventure. If not writing, she brings stories to life on stage. When not creating magic on stage or page, she travels, looking for her next tale to tell.
Renee Ann Miller
"Never Dare a Wicked Earl" by Renee Ann Miller

Never Dare a Wicked Earl, is about Lord Hayden Westfield and Sophia Camden, a nurse who is sent to his residence to tend to him after an ex-lover shoots him. After Westfield fires Sophia, she dares him to give her a week to prove her mettle.

Sophia quickly realizes the Wicked Earl is willing to resort to nearly anything to win the dare. Hayden soon realized Sophia is a worthy opponent. Intrigued, he’s determined to win the forfeit … a night in Sophia’s bed. But will one night be enough?

Renee writes sensual historical romance. She joined RWA over three years ago. At that time, she had no idea about POV or GMC, but she shared that this wonderful community of writers took her under their wings and got out their red pens.

Renee is represented by Jill Marsal of The Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. You can find out more about her at
Laurie Benson
"A Proper Scandal" by Laurie Benson

    As the daughter of an American diplomat in early 19th century England, Katrina Vandenberg is stuck adhering to the strict rules of English Polite Society. She’s eager to return to America, until she has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious nobleman. There is no denying their attraction, but Katrina is well aware that English aristocrats do not marry American women. She soon discovers resisting a man she is inexplicably drawn to is not easy. 

       Julian Carlisle, the jaded Duke of Lyonsdale, should be finding a bride. Instead he finds himself captivated by a woman Society says is all wrong for him—a woman he cannot resist pursuing, even if she wants nothing to do with him. Now the most disciplined Duke finds himself schooled in proper behavior by an alluring American and wondering if she’s willing to join him in going against centuries of tradition. But for true love to survive they first have to endure mistaken identities, an interfering countess, a matchmaking dowager, meddling friends, an arrogant mother, and an unhinged former paramour. Wish them luck.

Word Count: 81,000

Laurie Benson is a 2015 Golden Heart® finalist and award-winning writer of historical romance novels. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you would ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Aside from writing novels, she also writes about snippets of historical information from the Georgian era on her blog, LaurieBenson’s Cozy Drawing Room. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy. She is currently seeking representation.

Where You Can Find Laurie:
Twitter: @LaurieBwrites
Facebook: Laurie Benson
Ellen Lindseth
"A Question of Loyalty" by Ellen Lindseth

An ambitious O.S.S. agent questions his definition of loyalty after rescuing a mysterious woman who steals his heart in WWII Washington D.C.

After years spent researching Classical Greek and Roman socities, Ellen moved on to the modern era and wrote romantic suspense set during World War II.  When not writing, she is either flying around the country with her husband in his Beech Bonanza, or relaxing at home with her three rescued cats and a bearded dragon.  Ellen is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Agency.
Eileen K Barnes
"Rescuing Mr. Gracey" by Eileen K Barnes

Mary Smyth, the daughter of a Catholic rebel, tumbles into Alec Gracey’s life from atop a ridge—underfed, tattered, shoeless—and captures the imagination of his cynical Protestant heart.  Wrong culture, wrong economic class, wrong religion, Mary is dangerous and forbidden to him. She lives in an overcrowded hut; he resides in the manor down the hill. She works as a laundress; he is seeking office in England’s Anglican parliament, the protégé of the powerful Earl of Roden while her father leads the Ribbonmen, a Catholic organization that causes havoc for the Earl.  Each time those wide, aqua eyes glance at him or her dimples pop with a grin, his poor heart trips as badly as his attempt at to dance. Disguising his name, he will slip into her world, wrapping himself within the web of lies, risking his wealth, career, perhaps even his life.

He calls himself Alec Jordan, but Mary knows he is not who he pretends. He is ignorant of her culture and shockingly clumsy at the simplest native dance. Besides, she is a skinny laundress. Why would a perfect, strikingly handsome man show interest in her? Perhaps he is a spy wiggling his way into her life, seeking evidence against her politically active Da.  Yet, he continues to edge his way into his life—escorting her during evening laundry deliveries, sheltering her in the rain, plowing her father’s worthless field, rescuing her from attackers—and when his mesmerizing gaze floats over her face or his teasing grin makes her laugh her resolve disintegrates. 

Someone waits and watches for the moment to destroy them both, hurtling them into a deadly collision with history.  Can Mary and Alec’s love rise above the ashes that will be left behind?

Eileen K Barnes is a romantic. The sixth child of a large Irish Catholic family, she married her own hero and raised four children. Of course, in between reading and a little writing, life also happened.  She worked for the town government and became a mayor, she wrote for a local newspaper and won an award for best news story, she published several short stories on motherhood and then went back to college and got a degree in Early Childhood and soon started her own preschool. 
But, her romantic soul still hungered to write.  Then inspiration knocked on her door. She ran into a cousin who had been researching their family heritage.  The cousin had unearthed a story that their great, great Irish immigrant grandparents who had to flee Ireland because he was a Protestant Irishman and she was an Irish Catholic girl.  In 19th Century Ireland, mix-faith marriages were illegal and so he left his wealth and family and took his sweetheart to Canada where they raised ten children.  Soon, the tiny framework of a story became a 100,000 novel.  Five years and many contests later, Eileen’s story has earned her a trip to New York.

Eileen is seek representation .  You may find her at 
Sara Leyton
"The Reunion" by Sara Leyton

Sara is a working mom with a big blended family. Her vices are wine, cupcakes and mindless TV.  She has too many favorite romances to pick just one, but in category romance, she is currently working my way through Mary Balogh's Survivors Club.  She is currently querying.
Kim Turner
"Sawyer's Rose" by Kim Turner

As if he doesn't have enough to handle between running outlaws out of Cheyenne, keeping his brother's out of trouble and avenging his father's death, sheriff Sawyer McCade's meddling mother just dumped a mysterious mail-order-bride on his doorstep. One woman can be more trouble than a band of renegades and while this one has him all stirred up, he'd rather get to the bottom of the story she isn't telling.

Rose Parker had it all. Until she discovers a web of danger and deceit that sends her running to Cheyenne, posing as a mail-order-bride. Escaping the evils of New York seems sensible until she meets the unsuspecting sheriff who didn't ask for her, has no intention of marrying her and won't rest until he uncovers her secret and sends her back home.

Kim Turner writes western historical romance, and discovered her passion of writing at the age of eight by writing poems, short stories and journals. Kim graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. Working as a registered nurse educator for over twenty-six years, she enjoys studying the medical treatments of the old west as well as keeping up with the latest western movies and television series. While she loves reading anything from highlanders to pirates, she claims to have an unquenchable thirst for the American Cowboy when choosing her reads. Kim lives south of Atlanta with her husband and calls her greatest accomplishment the birth of one daughter and the adoption of another from China-neither of which came easy. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of American and Georgia Romance Writers and calls her critique group from Southside Scribes the best thing that ever happened to her writing, that and a pretty wonderful group of beta readers. Kim's Motto: It's All About A Cowboy and the Woman He Loves.

Her story Sawyer's Rose was a Maggie finalist in 2014, and will be coming soon to publication from Wild Rose Press. 


  1. Woot! These books sound so wonderful! I'm so proud of all my Dragonfly sisters! Way to represent!

  2. Wow! My to-be read list just got longer and historicals aren't even my go-to reads. Looking forward to meeting y'all and reading your books. Great to know more about y'all and find out Eileen was a mayor and love that you used family history to basis for your story.