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Funny how things come full circle.

When I first started writing, I was desperate to find a publisher. Now bear in mind this was twenty years ago, and self-publishing was not even a glimmer on the horizon. If you wanted to be published, to be a real author, you needed a publisher. Or an agent, who would represent you, and sign you up for a fantastic contract.

Well, it didn’t happen.

Fast-forward fifteen years, and I was writing again with a view to being published, and all around me, writers were starting to publish their own works. It was still uncharted waters, with only the brave setting out to conquer the world, and I was scared. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if my books sank like stones?

I needed the validation of a publisher, someone in the know to say, “yes, you can write, and we like your work.” The beauty of the rapid changes in the industry meant that publishers were springing up everywhere. Signing my first contract was both exciting and terrifying. I’d been accepted into the secret-author-club, but that didn’t mean I’d sell. I might still crash and burn.

Time passed, and I collected another publishing house, and then another…suddenly I was represented by three different publishers. At the time, it was the right thing to do for me, but it was also the time I realised it no longer worked for me. Like taking the training wheels off a bicycle, I was ready to go it alone. Go self-published.

After spending years trying to get signed up, I now wanted my rights back. And that’s finally happened. My last contracted book is in the process of reverting (i.e. coming down from the shelves under that label), and coming back to my ownership. I can give it a new cover. Make changes to the script – add a new epilogue, or vignette. Juggle the price, and give away ARC copies. And even more importantly, continue the series the way I want to write it, not the way the publisher wanted it to go (according to their house-style).

First to be re-launched is my Out of Time series (time-travel romance), and the first book in this series, Marc’s Conflict, came out today. The next series to be re-launched is my Love at the Beach contemp romance series. Look out for that soon 🙂

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Marc has been accepted as a ghardian, one of the elite soldiers who protect the timelines of the future. He’s eager to prove himself and experience combat on his first training op to Ancient Europe: joining the conflict and fighting alongside the Gauls against the Roman invaders.

A true ghardian puts his emotions aside, and functions purely on logic, but that lesson is easy to forget in the heat of battle, especially when Marc’s closest friend is in danger.

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Marc sank onto his new bed and waited for Felix to come in, his mind skipping over everything that had happened today. The minute Felix crept in and locked the door behind him, Marc sat up. “What are you doing with Naomi?”

“Good evening to you too, Marc.” A beaming smile lit up Felix’s face, little dimples flashing in his cheeks. “I can’t believe you never realized about her before.”

“Realized what?”

Felix shook his head, as though amused. “I have feelings for her. Strong feelings.”

Ice prickled down Marc’s spine. “We’re ghardians, Felix. We don’t have feelings.”

“We just hide them better.”

Marc swung his feet to the floor and stood before him. “You can’t talk like that. If our commanding officers find out, they’ll…” He couldn’t say it.

“They’ll discharge me? Mind-wipe me? Imprison me?”

Marc nodded.

“She’s worth the risk.

Marc always suspected Felix struggled to suppress his emotions, but never had such concrete proof before. It was a disturbing facet of his friend he’d not seen before. Felix was smart, and had great potential as a ghardian. He could read a page of text and memorize it almost instantly. Marc was the brawn to Felix’s brains, and they worked well together.

Marc took a deep breath and considered his words. “What makes you so sure you’ll be allowed to make a commitment with her? Last I heard, you needed Council approval.”

“I found something—a law that’s being considered and has a good chance of being mandated. Ghardians will be allowed to propose their own partners.”

“And how long will that take to go through the Council?”

He shrugged. “Three years. Four, maybe. By that time, I’ll have made Lieutenant, you’ll probably be Colonel, and Naomi will be a qualified Medic.”

“You believe you can make it work.”

“Yes.” Felix reached out and touched Marc’s arm, pressing his fingers into the sleeve. “You’re the only other person that knows, Marc. I’d trust you with my life. I know you won’t give us away.” His faith in Marc—and in Naomi—was staggering.

Marc clasped Felix’s arm and again sought his words with care. “I swear on the ghardian oath of protection that I will not betray you.”

Hours later, he lay on his unfamiliar bed and tried in vain to sleep. He could only hope his friend knew what he was doing.