Marsha Canham's Blog

February 8, 2014

Together, finally, after almost 30 years.

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence,Uncategorized — marshacanham @ 6:29 pm

I’ve already blogged about how The Pride of Lions and The Blood of roses came to be and the trials and tribulations both books have gone through, what with publishers going bankrupt and bad timing and crappy marketing. The two books have pretty much been shuffled off to a dusty back shelf and forgotten. I remember being so excited about the initial release because I truly had poured sweat and blood into both books. I grew to know and love all the characters so well after working with them for three years, it was like they were members of my own family. You think it’s easy to kill off people close to you? With the exception of asshole ex husbands, yes….it is. I had to make some devastating decisions while I was writing, especially some of the battle scenes in The Blood of Roses. A lot of authors might have let everyone have a happy ending, giving them horrible wounds but all survivable. I knew I couldn’t do that. Not if I wanted the reader to experience the true tragedy and horror of what war was like back then when it was basically all hand to hand–or sword to sword–combat.

I had reams of mail after The Pride of Lions came out because no one could believe I would end the book the way I did. But to me, it was logical and realistic. The only thing NOT logical or realistic was the two year gap before the sequel was available…and even then it was only available for a few short weeks before the publisher went belly up and all the books were pulled from the shelves. If anyone out there has a copy of The Blood of Roses with the red tartan back ground and a girl swanned out on it with a net over her face (don’t ask, I had nothing to do with it *snort*) then you are one of only about a thousand lucky readers who managed to catch it before it vanished.

Kathe Robin over at Romantic Times originally gave The Blood of Roses a very rare five star review.

Great. A five star review for a book that vanished. Not much I could do about it since the publisher’s book list was locked up tight in bankruptcy court. I had to wait until it vanished before I could get the rights back . By then, of course, both books were considered *old* and because they had both had negligible sales, were not even considered as remote candidates to reissue.

I kept trying, however, and one fateful day, at an RT conference, I happened to meet a gorgeous hunk of manhood who was trying to break into the cover model business. He was unknown, but he showed me a portfolio that had my heart doing little pitter pats. He was my Alexander Cameron. No question in my mind. So I dragged him and his portfolio to meet my editor, Marjorie Braman…well, okay, we sort of ambushed her after plying her with a few snorts of wine…and she tossed up her hands in surrender. She agreed to reissue both books and to use Cherif Fortin in the stepback covers!!!!!  Which I would love to show you here, but I’m in Florida and my books are 1500 miles away, but again, if anyone has a scanner and can post them here, that would be delicious.

Mind you, the stepbacks only lasted through the first small printing then were dropped, so again, if you have ’em, you’re lucky.

Leap forward another 15 years and Random House has swallowed up Dell along with all the backlist books of bazillions of authors. When the self publishing wave swept through the ranks, a lot of us scrambled to get those rights back before the print publishers realized that ebooks were here to stay. I was lucky and managed to get just about all of my backlist back, namely because most of them had been forgotten for a couple of decades. Technically an author cannot get the rights back until the book is Out of Print or selling so abysmally it doesn’t earn enough for the company to pay their postage for a week. Most of my books qualified in one or both catagories. The only exceptions were The Pride of Lions, The Blood of Roses, and Midnight Honor. They did not sell enough copies each year to enable me to buy a bottle of Dom Perignon on New Year’s Eve, but they did sell more than the minimum allowed in the contract. And with the advent of ebooks, the publisher quickly slapped the files out as digital copies and voila they started selling again. I wrote to request the rights back but was denied and was locked in by the contract terms…or so it seemed.

Fast forward another three years, when I had about given up hope of getting them back. Don’t get me wrong, there was still no Dom Perignon marking any strokes of midnight, but they were earning more than the minimum. In fact, they were earning…combining the royalties of all three books together…a whopping $3000 per year!!!! That’s $1000 per book. For a year. Kinda hard to budget for mortgages, divorce lawyers, food, clothing etc when you get two cheques per year for around $1500 each. And if you haven’t heard, ad nauseum, the horror stories of how authors are paid, how royalties are broken down, or how authors are screwed and tattooed, I’m sure I have some posts in the archives to tickle your funny bones.

Anyway, by some miracle, I wrote away again in November of last year, taking another shot at getting the rights back, not really expecting any surprises…when whup and whoa, what comes in the mail but a letter reverting the rights of all three books back to me!!!! Just like that. My pups can eat again!!!!

What I’ve done is gone through the files (thank goodness I had them all stored on my yahoo account, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to access them till I got home in April) to do some light editing, then reformatted them for hopefully clean ebook editions, and by clean I mean the original files had some doozy formatting mistakes with sentences that ran into each other and garbled words that whatever software was used to read the print editions couldn’t translate to digital. I would have liked to put all three books up at once, but I thought getting The Pride of Lions and The Blood of Roses up should be my first task. And putting them together in one volume just seemed so RIGHT! No need to swear or gnash teeth at the end of Pride! As Tim Gunn would say, you can just “carry on!”

So here they are, together at last after almost thirty years! Kinda like a love story in itself, two books wandering around, lost, unattached, knowing they belong together but only occasionally bumping one another as they pass each other by on a crowded bookshelf. *sigh*

Midnight Honor is a great book that completes my Scotland Trilogy but because it is a stand alone story and isn’t directly connected to Pride or Blood, it wasn’t essential to release it at the same time. Catherine and Alexander appear in the pages, but as cameo secondary characters so no one should think they are missing a third link in the chain of events.  The heroine for Midnight Honor is Colonel Anne Moy, who, as it happens, appears as a cameo secondary character in The Blood of Roses and because I found her story so fascinating, I knew I had to write a book focussing on her as the main character.

I hope you enjoy the first two books and will keep an eyeball out for the third when it’s ready.

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19 Comments »

  1. I happen to have both! I discovered Pride of Lions in a dusty used bookstore some years back. The cover has a swooning Catherine if I recall correctly. Then that ending happened and I found Blood of Roses with that hunk of burning love on the step back and eventually got a copy of Pride with him too cuz he’s just too purty:) I can’t wait to have the books on my kindle. They are on my keeper shelf. Alexander Cameron is one of my all time favorite heroes *swoon*

    Comment by Giselle Schilling — February 8, 2014 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  2. It’s my opinion now, and has been my opinion since first reading these books those many years ago, that these are the best romance novels ever written. They truly exhibit the writing talent that Marsha possesses, which is prodigious. Her research is exhaustive and thorough; her agility with the language is stellar; and her willingness to make fictional “sacrifices” for the sake of presenting a realistic, graphic representation of the “life and times” are exemplary. Did I find it painful to lose heroes that I had acquired during my reading forays? Absolutely, but it also made my reading experiences realistic, exciting, and exhilarating. I had the pleasure of visiting Marsha when she was preparing herself for writing Midnight Honor. We visited several bookstores together, searching for any historical reference books that would provide authenticity, so I know firsthand the extent to which she goes to be authentic. I already loved her work, but that made me appreciate her even more. It speaks volumes about Marsha to say . . . look at the tenacity she demonstrated in trying to regain the rights to these books and increase that by a thousand-fold, and that will tell you the lengths to which she goes to pen such magnificent tomes. Congrats, m’friend. I’m so glad you “got them back.”

    Comment by SurferGirl — February 9, 2014 @ 1:29 am | Reply

    • Thank you Judi. That almost sounded mushy, but I’ll take it. *s* What I failed to mention was that there was a ten year gap between finishing The Blood of Roses and writing Midnight Honor. I was, literally, emotionally drained after writing the first two and didn’t think I could do justice right away to Colonel Annes story. I hope I did. I think I did. And comment like yours make me almost believe that I did.so thank you again.

      Comment by marshacanham — February 9, 2014 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

      • Oh, yes, you did. You SOOOO did! While Midnight Honor might be stand-alone and somewhat” distanced” from the other two, in my mind, this is the trilogy of all trilogies. Wonder if I made it clear that I kind of like these books? *snort*

        Comment by SurferGirl — February 9, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

  3. Marsha – just wanted you to know: As a rule I don’t read books a second time. I’m weird that way I guess. I CHERISH/LUV them while I’m reading them, but when I’m done, I’m done. I will say though, that if I was going to read a book(s) a second time, it would be these three. I read them close to 10 yrs ago & they knocked my socks off. I still remember the joy & emotion I felt while reading them. Thanks for that. Hugs! (-:

    Comment by Kay Rogers — February 10, 2014 @ 5:49 am | Reply

  4. I have all three books with the Cherif covers. Midnight Honor is my favorite book of all time. I liked the first two and have reread them but I LOVE Midnight Honor. I have reread ALL your books but that one I have read the most. Glad you are able to publish them yourself. Now I am just waiting for Jonas’s story.

    Comment by Julies — February 10, 2014 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  5. What a great cover for the two novels together! So glad you have them back (for you and for us!)

    Comment by quinn — February 16, 2014 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  6. Congratulations, Marsha. I will NEVER read these books again. I don’t think my heart could take being ripped out a second time. So, instead, I push them on everyone else to make them feel my pain. 😉

    Comment by Mel — February 21, 2014 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  7. I was browsing through Amazon this morning and saw that your Trilogy is available now as a set! I just had to come here and see if you posted something about it since you had mentioned several times your struggle over the rights. Congratulations Marsha, this is fantastic news! I only still own Midnight Honor as a paperback but had given away the first two since I never thought I would want to read them again – Blood of Roses especially is an awesome book but so emotionally draining and exhausting. Anyway, I bought the whole set now for my Kindle since I have been thinking about these books on and off for many years and eventually regretted to have given them away. This made my weekend 🙂

    Comment by Tina — March 30, 2014 @ 7:50 am | Reply

    • Thank you Tina! I love hearing from readers who are as happy as me to see these books given a second chance!

      Comment by marsha — April 2, 2014 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  8. I read these books years ago when they were first published and the stories have always stuck with me. They reached inside my heart and won’t let go. That is the mark of a truly gifted author.

    Comment by Judy Parker — May 15, 2014 @ 2:08 am | Reply

    • Thank you so much Judy. I really do appreciate your comment.

      Comment by marshacanham — May 15, 2014 @ 2:49 am | Reply

  9. Pride of Lions and Blood of Roses were some of my very first forays into historical romance back in 2011 or thereabouts, and I was so stunned, I read them both over again – immediately. I go back and reread them periodically just to get my fix. I will have to make a confession – when I first read the sample of POL, I couldn’t stand Catherine, and didn’t think I could read an entire novel with her in it, so I deleted it. Then I went back and tried again and got a little further…….and was sucked into the vortex of their story! So glad I did. I have read about 270-ish historical romances since then, and these still remain on the top of my list. And led me to read ALL of your books. Thank you for the treats!

    Comment by CA — June 7, 2014 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your comments…and for your perseverance. I’m glad you tried a second time to like Catherine. I deliberately created her to be spoiled and selfish in the beginning, and hoped I hadn’t gone too far or made her too TSTL. It was my intent to let her grow and mature into a character worthy of Alexander’s love. He is still one of my all time favorite heroes and I confess to falling for him all over again when I was revising both books for their digital rebirth.

      Comment by marshacanham — June 7, 2014 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  10. Would you consider writing another book about Alexander & Catherine and what happened to the whole clan after the destruction of Achnacarry Castle? I loved both books and through my tears I just didn’t want it to end there. What happened to Harriet and the baby Damien never knew? Did the women salvage their jewels and use it as the basis for survival? Where did they emigrate and would St. Cloud resurface and meet his daughter? I know the old adage is to leave them wanting more but even another epilogue on this site would please me. I just feel the story is untold. PLEASE!!!!

    Comment by Patti Fox — October 1, 2014 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

    • Patti, thank you so much for being so enthusiastic, and I’m very happy you enjoyed Catherine and Alexander’s story, but no, I have no plans to continue or add another epilogue. I thought it best to leave the story off where I did, letting the reader imagine a happier future for them both. I can appreciate the “wanting to know” part, but in this case, I’m just going to leave it to the reader *G*.

      Comment by marshacanham — October 1, 2014 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  11. Thanks for the reply. While I would happily have read that “new” book, I just want you to know how very much your books mean to me and wish you
    much success in your future endevours

    Comment by Patti Fox — October 2, 2014 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  12. After reading Outlander I didn’t think I would find another book that I could snuggle down with and just love, love, love and then…. I found these!!! I just loved Pride of Lions and The Blood of Roses and whilst I was dreading the retelling of Culloden I felt you did it proud and truly captured what a travesty it was and the brutality of the time. But all in all I was so delighted with the end. Yes I’m a HEA person and wasn’t disappointed however it may be a little cheesy of me but I would have loved to get a little glimpse of where the Camerons ended up after leaving Scotland. Thank you for writing such gorgeous books. I can’t believe the journey the books themselves have had…. almost a book in itself 🙂

    Comment by Judy — June 17, 2015 @ 11:32 pm | Reply


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