Against the Tide

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life 8 Comments

It seems a little odd to promote a new book, when my current release has only been on the shelves a few months….but the Fall 2012 catalog from my publisher has recently gone out, and blurbs for Against the Tide will start popping up like mushrooms elsewhere on the web, so I figured I may as well hop on it!  So, without further ado, here is the advance notice for Against the Tide.

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Boston of 1891 is a city of hope and ambition, where mariners, merchants, and dreamers thrive in the cobblestone streets of America’s most historic city.  Within the harbor of Boston’s naval shipyard, Lydia Pallas has become a trusted assistant to an Admiral in the U.S. Navy.  Fluent in seven languages, she spends her days translating documents from all over the world.

Lydia’s remarkable language skills bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man on a quest to rid the world of the scourge of opium.  Only Lydia has the rare combination of language skills and courage he needs to advance his cause.   A man as coolly analytical as he is relentless, Bane never bargained on falling in love with Lydia.   As he battles the bittersweet love that grows between them, Bane’s mission will take Lydia away from everything—and everyone—she ever held dear.

With fast-paced intrigue and unforgettable characters, Against the Tide is Elizabeth Camden’s most romantic novel yet.

A Real MAN: The Presiden’ts Day Edition

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life Leave a Comment

If you are like me, the only reason you know it is President’s Day today is that there will be no mail delivered.  Nevertheless, it gives me an excuse to ramble on about one of my favorite men in history, President Theodore Roosevelt.  

I grew up thinking of TR as the tubby guy with weird glasses…..but as I got a little older and more appreciative of the male species, I found a new admiration for Roosevelt.  He was a visionary and a leader, a conservative progressive in an era before it was fashionable.  He recognized the rugged beauty of America and preserved it through our National Park System.  Beneath the weird glasses and unfortunate mustache, he’s kind of hot.  There it is….. I think Theodore Roosevelt is hot.  I’ve confessed my sin to my husband, who has resigned himself to it.

Theodore Roosevelt was a raw, aggressive man who deeply loved his family and had a passionate relationship with his wife (Both of them.  After his first wife died tragically young, he spiraled into a depression, abandoned his burgeoning political career, and lived as a cowboy on a North Dakota ranch for two years.) 

He wrote one of my favorite quotes about manhood of all time.  Man or woman, anyone who embraces this philosophy and tries to abide by it will do well in life:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Today, I’m raising a toast to, President Roosevelt!


Elizabeth Camden The Lady of Bolton Hill, Writing Life 12 Comments

I’m hugely excited to announce that my next novel, Against the Tide, will feature my all-time favorite character.  Bane Alexander first appeared in the Lady of Bolton Hill as a whiplash smart and lethally dangerous 17-year old troublemaker.   He is now all grown up, has straightened himself out, and is ready to set the world on fire.

If you haven’t read The Lady of Bolton Hill, no worries.  Against the Tide is an entirely stand-alone novel set in Boston of 1891.  The heroine is Lydia Pallas, a translator for the U.S. Navy whose skills Bane desperately needs to unravel a smuggling ring.

It took me a while to dream up a heroine who was a match for Bane.  Bane is such an overwhelming force who was a scene-stealer in The Lady of Bolton Hill, so I needed a woman who could match him in terms of wit, intelligence, and bravado.  She also needed to have a deep gash of vulnerability that would slice through Bane’s tough, cynical hide and make him go weak in the knees.  I think that Against the Tide is the most romantic of any book I’ve written.  Look for it to hit the shelves in October of 2012.  Keep your eyes peeled!


What’s Wrong with a Happy Ending?

Elizabeth Camden Writing Life Leave a Comment

I recently read a book about the art of writing movies (Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting).

What I found interesting was how the same rift that plagues the book publishing world is also a hotly contested issue among screenwriters.  There is a trend among late 20th century screenwriters toward highbrow, morally neutral films that lack a clear protagonist who wrestles with good and evil before triumphing in the end.    Scholarly critics love this sort of film, and tend to give Academy Awards to dreary and depressing films.  Meanwhile the public flocks to Star Wars, Dances with Wolves, Lord of the Rings, and The Shawshank Redeption.

In the book world, most genre fiction is heavily based on values.  Beneath the trappings of space aliens, murder mysteries or steamy love scenes, most genre novels reflect core values of justice, love, truth, fair play, accomplishment and perseverance.  By the end of the novel a fantastically drawn protagonist will figure out what is worth fighting and dying for.  And the American public loves it.  If they didn’t, you never would have heard of Nora Roberts, Ken Follett, John Grisham, Harlan Coben, or Francine Rivers.  The triumph of genre fiction in the market place makes literary writers cringe.  They castigate popular fiction as predictable, simplistic, something to make the reader feel good by confirming their preconceived values.

Lucky for me, I don’t write for critics, I write for the lady in New Zealand who emailed me and thanked me for making her elderly mother happy because she fell in love with Bane from The Lady of Bolton Hill. Or the high school student who wrote to tell me that reading about Clara made her feel a little less like a dork.   I write because of all the wonderful genre writers who have embodied the values of hard work, perseverance, and fighting for a cause who helped me through those stress-filled adolescent years. 

I don’t know if this split will ever go away.  I’m merely glad that there are plenty of readers and writers who still flock toward a wonderful, life-affirming ending.

Saint Jerome’s Splendid Libraries

Elizabeth Camden Splendid Libraries 1 Comment

Normally I reserve the Splendid Library entries for photographs of spectacular libraries I can drool over, but there are quite a few interesting paintings of Saint Jerome, usually depicted in a library.

Saint Jerome (c. 327-420 A.D.) was best known as the man who translated the Bible into Latin. He was born in rural Italy, but converted to Christianity when he went to study in Rome. He lived in semi-seclusion most of his life, working on his translations and studying ancient texts.  Legend has it while living in the desert he removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, who loyally stayed with Jerome for many years….thus, the frequent depiction of a lion in these pictures.

Saint Jerome is also the patron saint for librarians, so without further ado, here are some spectacular renderings of his library.  The first is my favorite by Albrecht Durer:


A Good Fight Scene

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance 2 Comments

What is the most interesting part of a romance novel?  The first date?  The wedding scene?  The love scenes? (sorry folks, there aren’t any in inspirational romances!) 

For me, it’s the best parts of a romance novel are the fight scenes.  I always perk up when the hero and heroine delve into a great, air-clearing, rafter-shaking fight.  As a person who has conflict-avoidance coded deeply into my DNA, fighting is something I dodge in real life, but in a novel?  Yes, please!

Think about the great romantic pairs.  Rhett and Scarlett.  Maddy and David (Moonlighting)  Sam and Diane (Cheers) Barrons and MacKayla (Karen Marie Moning’s incomparable Darkfever saga). 

Some of my favorite fight-scene-writers derive from mainstream romance: Lisa Kleyaps, Judith McNaught, Kristan Higgins, and the aforementioned Karen Marie Moning.  Watching the way a couple argues is a great way to reveal layers of their character and inject a healthy dose of angst into the story.  

A great romance novel should have a variety of good, conflict laden fights.  Not the stupid bickering types of fights (although those can be fun, too!)  I want to see the heart-rending fights, or break down and weep fights that require a good grovel afterwards.  Perhaps most powerful are the arguments where both parties are RIGHT.  I wrote The Rose of Winslow Street with a plenty of conflict that had no easy exit because both Michael and Libby were fighting with Right on their side.  To my mind, these healthy arguments make getting to the finish line of a romance novel that much sweeter!