Monday, August 20, 2007


Elizabeth Lane is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. A descendant of pioneers who settled the West, she grew up in a small town, in a family of people who loved the outdoors. Western romance is a natural for her. Let's see what she has to share with us:

What an honor to be Cheryl’s guest this week! She’s a fabulous lady and author who knows how to keep her readers coming back for more!

It’s also an honor to be writing and publishing historical romance novels. My love affair with the past started decades ago, when, as a teenager, I discovered Anya Seton’s Catherine and books by such great writers as Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Nora Lofts and Phyllis Whitney. This July at the national Romance Writers of America convention, one speaker mentioned that Phyllis Whitney is still living—she’s 102 and is working on her autobiography! I only wish she’d been there in person to see that huge gathering break into wild cheers for the woman who inspired so many of us.

My early books—the first was published in 1980—were historical epics. I could have kept writing them forever, but the market changed to books that were more romance than history. After some hard knocks, I realized I had to change with it. When Harlequin opened up its new historical line and bought my Western, Wind River, I found a new home. Since then I’ve written 25 books and novellas for Harlequin, including three contemporaries.

Writing westerns comes naturally to me—most likely because I’m a westerner by birth and upbringing. My July 2008 Western, The Stranger, is one of my favorite books ever. Caleb, my hero (take a look at him on that gorgeous cover), is just seventeen when the story begins—too young to prevent his older half brothers from destroying the life of Laura, a tender young bride. Caleb is forcibly dragged away, leaving the pregnant Laura widowed and disfigured. But he never forgets her. Five years later, out of prison and determined to go straight, he returns to the scene of the tragedy to find her living alone with her little boy. Caleb has become a man—a man who loves Laura and will do anything to help her. Laura needs him, but there’s something familiar about the dark stranger. Something she can’t quite place....

I hope you’ll read and enjoy The Stranger. To help that wish along, I’m offering four autographed copies as contest prizes. The winners will be drawn from readers who add their comments to this post. If you’ve already read The Stranger, I’d be happy to substitute one of my other recent books. You can see them all on my web site at

Who were some of your favorite early authors? What historical period is your favorite, and why? Which books do you wish had been made into movies, and who would you cast as the hero and heroine? My inquiring mind wants to know.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

To order THE STRANGER from amazon CLICK HERE


  1. Good morning, everybody. Wow, what a beautiful job you did with my blog, Cheryl. This is a test to make sure I can get a comment up. Wish me luck.

  2. Elizabeth, Great covers! I'd love to be in a drawing for a book.
    Early westerns I liked, I've GOT to go with Louis L'Amour. Do you all realize that, the He-Man men's author wrote romance novels. Have you read them. Sure they're male centered, sure there is fighting and shooting and riding. But fundamentally, Louis' books were romance novels.
    I heard his voice a lot when I was writing Petticoat Ranch.

  3. Thanks for inviting me to view Elizabeth's work. I'm always excited about western historical. I also dabble in the genre, but not to the level of achievement you've both reached. I'm still hopeful. Sadly, I haven't read any of Elizabeth's work, but I certainly hope to. Winning a book would be a nice incentive to get started since I can't seem to get my butt out of my computer chair long enough to buy any at the moment. I'm working on Sarah's Journey, a historical that I hope will be my 'foot in the door' and I just finished edits on the re-release of my 2003 debut novel, Prairie Peace, which is coming out September 7th from Eternal Press, a new publisher. I'm hoping they live up to their name. :)

  4. Hi Cheryl! Hi Elizabeth! Hi Mz. G! Hi Everybody! *g* I'm back and thrilled to be here. Looks like I chose to return on a good day.
    Elizabeth, I love Westerns and have several of your books. However I don't have THE STRANGER and would love to win a copy. Excellent cover!
    Some favorite early authors: Madeline Baker, Cassie Edwards, Bobby Smith.
    The 19th century is my favorite time period as I believe I'm reincarnated and was alive then. I also enjoy reading about a lot of the history that took place during that time period. And I have a pirate in my ancestry who was active then.
    There are a lot of Westerns I've read by the above authors that would be great movies and I most certainly would cast Wes Studi in all of them! *g*
    I'm so glad to be back, Cheryl! I've missed you terribly! Kisses and Hugs!


  5. I would love to be entered to win a copy of THE STRANGER.

    Some of the first authors that I started reading were: Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux.

    I adore westerns, regency's and victorians.

    I book I would like to see made into a movie would be Annette Blair's BUTTERFLY GARDEN.

  6. Hi again, it's great to hear from you all.
    Louis L'Amour was great wasn't he? Does anybody besides me remember Zane Grey? When I was in 6th grade I read every book of his in our little library, and there was a long shelf of them. He was, like Louis, a He-Man's writer, but there were elements of romance.
    Good luck with your novel mizging. Loved your hope for Eternal Press.
    Really happy you've read my books, Mel. Here's hoping you all win a copy. I love the authors you mentioned,too, christyjan. Are you aware of the sad news that Kathleen Woodiwiss passed away earlier this summer? She was such an inspiration to so many. Flame and the Flower was a book that rocked the whole publishing world.
    Thanks again for visiting.

  7. MEL! Mel's back! Whoo hoo!

    Hey, everybody, Mel's back! We've MISSED you! Are you all settled in Florida now? What's new?

    I'm so excited that we're having a fabulous turnout for Elizabeth.

    Welcome, everyone!

  8. I agree very nice cover, sounds like a great read

  9. I am a big fan of your books, but have not yet read this one and would the chance to win a copy.

    I love western romances. Julie Garwood, Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, Lorraine Heath, Cassandra Austin, Maureen McKade, Carolyn Davidson, Cheryl St. John, and many more were among my fave authors when I first started reading romances...and still are. Almost all of my comfort reads and keepers are westerns. I was and still am a big fan of the Harlequin Historicals.

    Julie Garwood's For the Roses was the first romance I read (not including the classics) and it was made into a movie ("Rose Hill" starring Jennifer Garner...seeing the film is what led me to read the book not knowing it was a romance...the rest is history...a romance reader was born), but the film was SO different from the book that I wish they would re-do it. That or do Prince Charming by Julie is one of my faves...hmm...maybe cast Naomi Watts and Josh Lucas as the leads...not sure. I have this image of what the characters in books look like in my head that it is so hard to cast them...that goes for all books.

  10. Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey on the Western front. Georgette Heyer - I think that's Regency. Anne Mather and Janet Dailey from my high school Mills & Boon days. And many, many others.

    Please enter me in the contest. I'd love to win a copy of THE STRANGER.

    I'd like to see MY first novel made into a movie - but then don't all writers?! :) I even have a cast picked out... Stop snickering, y'all!

  11. I need hugs. My agent just passed on one of those rejection letters where the editor says all these nice things about you and then doesn't buy your story. I think that's called warming the water before they drown the cat in it. It's nice to come back here where folks are so warm and friendly.

  12. Welcome back, Mel! :)

    I started out reading all of Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney's books but I missted out on Nora Lofts. I'll check her out. I didn't realize Phyllis Whitney is still alive. That's wonderful! I love Kathleen Woodiwiss's books, too, and it's so sad that she passed away at such a young age.

    I have several of your books and really enjoyed them, Elizabeth. I would love to win a copy of The Stranger!

  13. {{{{{HUGS ELIZABETH}}}}

    If it make you feel any better I just got one of those two weeks ago and half a dozen in the months preceeding it. Buy into my philosophy: Sales are a percent of submissions. I don't know the percent, but that's my story and it makes me feel better. So I keep sending more ideas. LOL

  14. Thanks for the sage advice and the hugs! I needed 'em! :-)

  15. Absolutely love the cover! Must have one for my own! My early favorite author was Julie Garwood!My current favorite tends to be whoever I am reading, after Cheryl StJohn and Julie Miller.

  16. Hi Elizabeth!

    That is an awesome book cover!

    I enjoy reading westerns, regency, historicals, suspense, and mysteries.

    When I first started reading romances, I read books by Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Maureen McKade, and of course Cheryl St. John! A wonderful group of authors!

  17. Hi Elizabeth, I love Louis L'Amour. I have his entier collection. I also love to read other western writers. SOme early writers I enjoyed included Kathleen Woodiwiss and Julie GArwood.

  18. A couple of you have mentioned Jude Devereaux. My favorite book of hers is "Knight in Shining Armor." One of the best time travel book ever written (even though the ending was kind of a cop-out IMHO).
    The early great romance books I read were books my mother brought home. She was a teacher and belonged to a couple of book clubs. I credit her for my love of good stories.
    This is so much fun! You guys are the best!

  19. My favorites of Jude's are the Velvet series. You know, I should find those and read them. I haven't had them out for years. The first was by a different publisher than the rest: The Black Lion.

  20. Welcome, Elizabeth! I'm a big fan of western romance. That's an amazing accomplishment to have 25 published books. A cyber toast to you!

    That's a tug at the heart" blurb you posted for The Stranger. It sounds great.

    I started reading romance when I was well into my twenties. The first author was Judith McNaught and then I moved on to Julie Garwood. I bought all of their books that were available and got hooked. I devoured many authors entire backlist during those days. I'm still an avid reader today, but now I tend to mix more so I get to read many different authors.

  21. Cheryl: Highland Velvet was my first Jude Devereaux book...I don't know if I ever read the rest of the series...I have read so many books that it is hard to keep track.

  22. Boy do I know that feeling, Jennifer!

  23. Hello Elizabeth! I'd love to be put into the drawing for your book. It's a great cover. I'm also offering you hugs. Those editors sometimes don't know what us readers like!

  24. Hi, Elizabeth, I just wanted to tell you I loved THE STRANGER. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed it so much I went looking for more of your Harlequin Historicals and picked up a couple of the older titles at our UBS. Glad to see you here!

  25. I started out with Laurie McBain. Remember 'The Devil's Desire'? Oh, those 70's heroes!

    I used to avoid Westerns because a lot of them centered around the civil war and involved widows. It just seemed so sad. I finally picked up a Cheryl St. John after seeing it on tons of 'favorite' lists. I'm so glad I did!

    I'm looking forward to Reading more of Elizabeth's books.

  26. Thank you for all your kind words. I am just basking in them. In our discussion, nobody's mentioned LaVeryl (sp?) Spencer. Her research and the details in her books were just amazing. And her characters were so human and so real. She's always been one of my idols. It was kind of sad to see her retire, but I guess she'd done it all.

  27. Hi elizabeth and Cheryl,
    Thank you for inviting me here. I like all type of romance books but the old one I read was barbara Cartland my flavor kind of book is a vampire or a time travel or a futuristic. Goosh I read alot of book and not sure which one I would like made into a movie but one come to mind and that is Nora Roberts trilogy witch story fire and air and earth. I wished that one was a movie.

  28. Good morning, all! I'm here and will be checking in. It's been great reading all your comments. I wanted to mention another author who inspired me--M.M. Kaye. When I started writing I wanted to write books like her wonderful India books. I did write two big books about China before my publisher shut down. They're among my favorites, but likely somewhat dated now. Looking forward to hearing more from all of you.

  29. Awww, thank you, Cheryl! Thanks, Carol. What a nice welcome!
    Cheryl, I'm back with my fiance and live in RI again. I think we just needed some time apart. We missed each other sooo badly!
    Heard the news about Kathleen Woodiwiss, Alice Borchardt, and Rhonda Thompson. Very Sad. :-(
    I met Anne Rice and her biographer Katherine Ramsland but I never met her sister, Alice. And FLAME AND THE FLOWER was my FIRST romance.
    {{{Hugs}}} Elizabeth and {{{Hugs}}} Cheryl!

  30. I would love to read this book the cover is great.

  31. meljprincess I am so glad you are back I have missed seeing you on here. It has been so long I am glad to know you are okay.

  32. Elizabeth, I haven't read books by either LaVeryl (sp?) Spencer or M.M. Kaye. I'll have to look them up!


    Kathleen, go back to this blog post and read about the first book I read by LaVyrle Spencer. If you've never read one, yu are in for a treat. We fans mourn the day she retired.

  34. And M.M. Kaye (the M.M. is for Mary Margaret) grew up in India when it was part of the British Empire. She wrote these huge, fascinating historical novels. The most famous is "The Far Pavilions". This was made into a TV miniseries which was not nearly as good as the book. So now you know, Kathleen. :-)

  35. Speaking of India, I talked to an editor from Harlequin Historicals about branching out from the westerns I mostly do. She suggested Victorian era novels set in exotic locales like India and Africa. I loved the idea, especially since this is the time I'd most like to have lived. I'd welcome your opinions. Would you read books like that (keeping in mind that this is Cheryl's site and you're here partly because you love her American settings)?

  36. Elizabeth,
    Hi. I'm a lover of LaVryle Spencer's books. All of them! She's my fav, but I also read Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsay, Sandra Brown. Yes, she did write westerns back in the day! And though not western, Katherine Woodwiss got me started on romance novels. You really do get some great covers.

    Big Hugs on the rejection - been there so I can relate. Good luck!
    Charlene Sands

  37. Hi Cheryl, FINALLY figured out the way to your blog so I'M BACK, too!

    Hello, Elizabeth- hope for GOLD to get BOTH autographs to add to my treasures, but happy to win either. {{HUGS to you BOTH}}

    GLAD to hear from Mel!! Welcome back!! MISSED you lots.

    A voracious reader, I started with Zane Grey westerns (learned my first swear word-bastard-thought it was calling someone a chicken. LOL picked one up recently; E-- I read all of his one summer- 6th or 7th grade too); Romance: Georgette Heyer regencies, Emily Loring & Grace Livingston Hill (publish '30-'50's), Agatha Christie mysteries, Mary Stewart (movie Moonspinners w/ Hayley Mills '64), LaV Spencer, yes remember sorrow when she retired, LL Miller, MM Kay (5 hrs Far Pavilions w/ Ben Cross/Amy Irving '84); Agatha Christie mysteries, ANY Harlequin Historicals. Recognize MANY other authors as favorites too, have most of Jude D-will dig out Velvet & Knight from my keeper/TBR BOXES & BOXES. Think Cheryl gave us the sad news of K Woodiwiss' demise. Wonderful that P Whitney is still with us-also love auto/biographies so hope she finishes hers-enjoy behind the scenes. Movies haven't done justice to Nora's 3 viewed last fall and fielded calls from many disappointed fans on Garwood's For the Roses/Rose Hill '97 when I worked w/ Hallmark Hall of Fame. I was THRILLED when I realized they produced "A Season for Miracles" '99 by BIG favorite Marilyn Pappano (w/Patty Duke) and Luanne Rice's "Follow the Stars Home" w/ Campbell Scott & Kimberly Williams '01.
    So here's sharing MY LUCK with Cheryl, Elizabeth, wordtryst for movies of their own!

  38. Elizabeth, you are so thoughtful of Cheryl and her reader/fans.
    Love your idea of settings in India, Africa.
    Reviewed Samsara Moon by male author, SH Post set in India & enjoyed it.
    Hayley Mills & Ben Cross were in '81 movie "Flame Tree of Thika" based on Elspeth Huxley's memoir of her childhood in East Africa. After all, "Casablanca" was set in Africa and movie "The Jewel in the Crown" was adapted from Paul Scott's Raj Quartet novels & movie "A Passage to India" adapted from E.M. Forster were both based on great literature.
    GO for it!

  39. Hi Elizabeth. I love western romance. I have The Stranger on my tbr pile. You have some beautiful covers for your books.

  40. Thanks for the comment on my covers, Crystal. I love what Harlequin artists do.
    Wow, luckylou, I think we must be kindred spirits--or at least close in age. I know and love all the books and movies you named. Rented Jewel in the Crown on Netflix not long ago. It was wonderful. I've been in China, Nepal and Africa but not India. Something tells me I need to go.
    I always wondered if Grace Livingston Hill was a real person or if it was just a bunch of writers cranking out those sweet romances under the name. Does anybody know?
    Hugs to all of you,

  41. Hi E--yes, likely same era AND kindred spirits. Cheryl & I are the Bobbsey twins so join us & we can be triplets Flicka, Ricka, & Dicka. Are you familiar with the Scandinavian boys Snip, Snap & Snurr? (children's books 1950's?)
    Fav Young Adult writers were LM Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables forever!), Louisa May Alcott, & about Trixie Belden, girl sleuth, Need to revisit Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys-still popular so think they are standing the test of time as Grace L Hill is.

    GLH started writing 1877, most from 1908 to 1947; 4 movies 1915-1925 including star Carol Lombard (Clarke Gable's beautiful, funny wife.) Google GLH, informative & surprising, with links to faithful fans-even a reading club.

    Cheryl will not be surprised that I have 52 of GLH'S 100 books & one by her mentor/aunt Isabella Alden.
    (I have 22 bookcases.) Very talented family of writers which may have lead you to think this prolific author had assistance; relative wrote song "It is Well with My Soul" one of MY favorites!!
    E- I skipped church (RARE occurence) to see Far Pavilions B4 we had TiVo-just happened to flip it on at 9 am & watched til 2 pm.
    Have friends who went on mission trips to Africa, Nepal, India & China, plus Mexico.

  42. Yup, I remember Snip, Snap, Snurr and Flicka, Ricka and Dicka. What fun little books. And thanks for filling me in about Grace Livingston Hill. My friends and I read her in high school (we thought her books were pretty racy--kissing, wow!). I had no idea she was real or that she'd been writing that long. She must be the great-grandmother of series romance! (And you must be the ultimate book lady. I hope you have a big house for your shelves).

  43. House is only 2000 SQ Ft but large unfinished basement holds five industrial shelves for BOXES of keeper books, 3 cupboards and two 8' tables. Have 3 boxes of Golden books-old ones with great illustrations. (Want to take a page from CSJ & pare down but fear I'll part with a wonderful treasure in disguise!) LOVE art-I'm very visual-9 framed prints in master bathroom. That's another reason I enjoy movies and great covers like yours.
    Still have to ponder what book I want to see on film & who to cast.
    Sometimes they don't translate well, belying the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words." An actor can't tell you what s/he's thinking unless a narrator assists. James Earl Jones for "the Voice."

  44. << relative wrote song "It is Well with My Soul" one of MY favorites!! >>

    I recall the story that goes with that song was the writer/composer's family had drowned at sea on an ocean voyage. When he took the same trip afterward, he wrote that song when they reahed the very spot where his family was lost.

    Sound familiar?

  45. What a sweet thing to say, Mickey! Thank you so much. I missed you too!
    {{{{LOU}}}} Missed you heaps! Good to see you again and welcome back! :-)

  46. Cheryl- RIGHT- info courtesy wikipedia via google-lyrics are there also. "It Is Well with My Soul" is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford (part of GHL family) & composed by Philip Bliss. This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S. S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, and all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Shortly afterwards, as Spaf­ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh­ters had died.
    *The hymn is one of the main melodies in the song "Flight of Valor" composed by James Swearingen for the victims of United Airlines Flight 93.
    *Christian metalcore band Haste the Day takes its name from the opening line of the last verse.
    *Shane & Shane recently recorded this song live on the the album "How Great is our God"
    *Peace Like a River, a novel by Leif Enger, is named after this hymn.
    *The concert band piece "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss," composed by David Holsinger, is based on the melody of this hymn.
    *The hymn was covered by the South African group Mahotella Queens for their 2007 release, Siyadumisa (Songs of Praise).

    Thank Heaven for cut & paste! LOL

  47. Thanks for the background story of the hymn, Lou. I'm afraid that if I'd been through what he had, all would not be well with my soul. What tremendous faith.
    Just popping in to say hi. I'll be with you till the end of the week. This has been such fun, and I've learned a lot, thanks to Cheryl and all of you.