The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Readers make my day

A month or so ago, I received a forwarded letter that had been sent to Mills & Boon in London. It was from Joan in Dubbo, New South Wales, who had some kind things to say about The Admiral's Penniless Bride. It's fun to hear from readers, and doesn't happen all too often.  Thought I'd share it with you. It's my birthday today and I can do what I want. I looked up Dubbo, NSW. It's a small town on the Macquarie River, sort of west by northwest of Sydney. Ironically, it's close to Wellington, which is where I live, but 15,000 or so miles away on another continent.  Joan is forever etched in my heart for two reasons: I really enjoy readers, and I especially enjoy readers who know how to use a semi-colon, which she does. Goodonyer, Joan!

To Harlequin/Mills & Boon

   Would it be possible for you to e-mail or Fax my regards to Carla Kelly? I have just finished reading 'The Admiral's Penniless Bride' and I can honestly say I have never enjoyed any book as much as I did this one.
   The sense of humor comes across beautifully. In fact I cannot recall any Historical Story with humor like this one.
   As I have read hundreds of Mills & Book books over the years and hope to have many more years left to enjoy even more; I hope there will be more from this author especially if it contains the same type of humor. 
   Many of my friends also enjoy these books and we pass them backwards and forwards between us.
   These include my mother-in-law -- aged 86 this year and a good neighbour aged 84 this year.
   My age is 72 and many of my friends are in this age bracket.
   At our ages we have the time to sit & read (& enjoy) a good romantic story.
   As I am computer illiterate I cannot write to Carla myself so will hope you can forward this to her.
   Thanks so much for such a varied range of reading matter.
Yours sincerely,


7 May 2013

Dear Joan,

Harlequin /Mills & Boon forwarded your kind letter to me here in Utah. Thanks for your words about The Admiral’s Penniless Bride. I have to tell you – the germ of the idea came from our move to Utah from North Dakota. My husband bought a house that was a total wreck. I had remained behind in North Dakota because I was a) packing  b) finishing up a history of Fort Buford for a publisher. I didn’t speak to him for a few days!

Luckily, we all survived. The house was completely remodeled in stages, with the kitchen finished last summer. This summer, we’re going to remodel the basement. Crazy. Since I’m a writer, I naturally drew from my own experiences, although we never had a house as erotic as the one Admiral Bright inflicted on Sally Paul.  Well, almost not. My dad was in the U.S. Navy, and we lived in postwar Japan for a while. Our first house was owned by a Japanese writer, I believe, who had some oddball “western” ideas. He had a huge statue of a naked woman by the front door. My mom was a bit of a prude, and it gave her quite a jolt. I was 7 at the time, and my sister was 9, and we thought the whole thing was hilarious.

Maybe that’s part of being a writer – we remember quirky events. At the time I certainly never planned to write anything, much less a novel with a naked statue, but it did come in handy, years later!

Here’s another chuckle about The Admiral’s Penniless Bride – every few months, or now and then (it’s random), I get a box of 3 books which is a translation. I can generally figure out the language, but “Bride” came a few months ago in a language I had never seen before. It looked a bit Finnish, but not quite. We finally figured out that the book had been translated into Estonian.  

And yet, it’s not a funny book, not at all. Some readers took me to task because they thought the admiral’s reaction was extreme, but I never thought so. A man used to command and instant obedience is not about to tolerate what he thought was a terrible coverup from the woman he was now in love with.  My original title was “Admiral Bright’s Inconvenient Marriage.”  But Harlequin loves to change titles, for good or ill.

My most recent Harlequin is set at Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory, in 1876.  I had been begging and begging to write something besides a Regency, and Her Hesitant Heart was the result. It’s just out, but doing well. I’m back to writing Regencies, though. Working on one now.

The Fort Laramie story will always be dear to my heart, because I used to work at Fort Laramie National Historic Site as a ranger in the National Park Service. I love the place and know it well.

And you’re from New South Wales. We had to look up Dubbo on our atlas. I have to tell you, Joan, that I have three favorite books, and one of them is Nevil Shute’s novel, A Town Like Alice (I believe it was originally titled The Legacy).  Great book.

I’m a bit younger than you. I’m 66 today, May 7. I write for two other publishers, besides Harlequin. If you were computer literate, you could look me up on Amazon and maybe get some of those books, too.

Best to you, and thanks so much for writing.


 Carla Kelly
I think I might send her another book. I'll do that for someone who understands a semi-colon.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I too enjoy a well-placed semicolon. My job is technical writing with a group of wonderful women. We have a conference call every month to discuss such things as whether to use the Oxford comman or not (yes), is is checkbox or check box (check box), or e-mail or email (email), etc. You should send her your complete bibliography so she can hunt up your books. I have them all and they are my comfort food. Happy Birthday - I am not far behind you. Best, Sandy

  3. There's a special place on Planet Grammaria for semicolon lovers. We are a breed apart, and that's fine with us.
    SandyH, I'm glad you like my books. I vowed years ago that I would only write what I wanted to read, and for the most part, I've stuck with that.
    I could send Joan a booklist, but if she's not computer literate, it would be hard for her to find them. H'mm. I'll have to think about that.

  4. Dear Carla, This comment is late as I just found your website. Happy belated birthday!

    I wanted to write because I too just finished reading The Admiral's Penniless Bride and I absolutely loved it. The relationship you built between Charlie and Sophie was beautiful and warmed my heart. I loved their inner voices always stating what I already knew from what was shown to me through their little touches and actions. The physical descriptions of the admiral were perfect! I loved the hook! Please continue to write books like this one! I'm picking up Marrying the Royal Marine next! I can't wait!

    I apologize if it seems I have overused the exclamation point, perhaps I should have used a semicolon? :) I must say that I did note a semicolon in TAPB and mentally complimented the use of it! (Bottom of page 9, I believe.;))

    Yours very sincerely,
    Lesley A.

  5. Just curious, is planet Grammaria in the Proper Spelling Quadrant?