Sunday, October 18, 2015

Team Work, Dream Work

I'm so pleased to have not one, but two, guests on the blog today! I first met Cary and Deborah in 2013, at the RWA Conference in Anaheim. We were newly published and had a great time getting to know each other. Since then, we've each grown professionally. For Cary and Deborah, that means continuing to write complex time travel novels as a team, and following their own interests with books delving into science fiction and hot contemporary. Knowing how hard it is to write a book by yourself, I'm amazed that these two can write as a team without coming to blows constantly. Let's find out more about how they accomplish that goal. 

How Morgan and O’Neill created the Elizabethan Time Travel series
By Deborah O’Neill Cordes and Cary Morgan Frates

How many writing teams are there? We know of a few, but their rarity speaks to the difficulties of working together to create something as complicated as a novel, let alone multiple series. When we first began to work as a team, we had different styles and ways of approaching a scene. Our individual styles are still different, but we’ve learned to blend and edit our work so readers can’t tell who wrote what.
In addition to the blending of our writing styles we have to deal with the inherent complexity of time travel fiction. Our stories are woven with many threads, and in our Elizabethan series it’s particularly intricate because we have to contend with three separate eras––the present day, the World War II era, and the sixteenth century. They must be blended together on every level to make a cohesive whole.
To make things even more complicated, we wrote the prequel, Begun by Time, after the publication of The Thornless Rose. It came to us that readers would enjoy a firsthand account of the story of Catherine Hastings, Jonathan Brandon, and Arthur Howard in the 1940s.  How did Catherine and Jonathan fall in love? What happened after he vanished? How did Arthur help her move on with her life? We wove this together with the plot of The Thornless Rose, keeping in mind that continuity must be maintained with our work-in-progress sequel, Ever Crave the Rose.
Blimey! Burnouts are avoided by lots of chocolate and wine!

We work hard to create rich and memorable time travel stories, with characters who will not be easily forgotten. We hope you enjoy all of our time travel series: Elizabethan, Roman, and medieval Italian.  Thank you, and happy reading ~ Deborah and Cary, writing as Morgan O’Neill.

The Thornless Rose
An Elizabethan Time Travel Novel
Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical
Publication Date: December 29, 2014
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:
No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancĂ©e—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul....

Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.

It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining...

Here's an Excerpt from The Thornless Rose, an Elizabethan Time Travel novel, by Morgan O'Neill.

In this scene, time travelers Anne Howard and Dr. Jonathan Brandon are thrown together for the first time. Prior to this, Anne has only seen Brandon in an old photograph.

The lights suddenly dimmed, the atmosphere in Westminster Abbey hushed, expectant. She halted in her tracks. Flickering candlelight and deep shadows, no tourists.
What the hell is going on?
“Anne! Anne!”
Stunned, she turned. A man in costume ran toward her.
“Go back,” he shouted, “back where it’s safe!”
She stood transfixed. As he came closer, she recognized him—his eyes, the scar.
He halted and pulled her tight against him. “I love you, Anne,” he whispered into her hair, “but you have to go with him. Save yourself.”
He stilled her confusion with a tender brush of his lips, and she responded instinctively, their kiss deepening as her body arched against his, her blood ablaze with sudden desire, until the rest of the world seemed very far away.
When he finally drew back, he stared into her eyes, and Anne’s heart seized when she saw his pain, the sheer desperation in his gaze.
The feeling was apparently mutual, because he pulled her close and swore under his breath, “Bloody hell, the bastard will pay for this.”
I don’t understand.
He opened his eyes and stared at something in the distance. “Anne, go now,” his voice cracked, “because I can face anything if I know you’re safe.”
His fingers gently cupped her chin, his touch unleashing more heat. He lifted her face for another kiss, and then—nothing. He was gone. She fought for control, her breathing erratic, her legs threatening to crumble. She touched her lips, still feeling his caress, his soft breath on her skin, but he was gone.

Begun by Time
The Prequel to The Thornless Rose
Author: Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:
In 1945, a man disappeared into thin air...

In the final days of World War II, Catherine Hastings meets the man she wants to marry. Flight surgeon Jonathan Brandon isn
t just handsome—hes everything Catherine could hope for in her betrothed. But her dream of a happily ever after is shattered when Jonnie disappears shortly before their wedding...leaving Catherine bereft, broken-hearted, and with a lifetime of unanswered questions.

Arthur Howard is smitten with the lovely Catherine the moment he sees her. He
s certain hes found the woman he wants to marry. Yet behind Catherines sparkling green eyes is a haunted look—the look of a woman who has known loss. But can he love a woman who still grieves the loss of her fiancĂ©? Now Arthur wants answers about the man Catherine intended to marry.
But the truth about Jonnie’s disappearance is far stranger than fiction…


  1. Thanks for the post, Becky.
    Deborah and Cary, it's wonderful that you've worked out the system to make your work flow. Sometimes I can't agree with
    my critique partners on a scene. Continue your smooth sailing.

    1. Thanks so much, Barb. We've negotiated some raging seas, but the finished product is strengthened by our differences. Smooth sailing? Not really. But interesting, challenging, and...never a dull moment. I hope it makes for interesting reading. :)

  2. Thank you for hosting us on your wonderful blog, Becky. I appreciate your kind words and steadfast support of our literary efforts.

    1. It's been my pleasure to host you today, Deb & Cary. I always like to support the authors who write good books and are good people.