Guest Blogger, USA Today Bestselling Author, MARSHA CANHAM!

4 Jun

Hello Passionate Readers!

Joining us to today is USA Today Best-Selling Author, Marsha Canham! 

We are thrilled to have her here and here’s what she has to say about her writing career and about her latest releases…

PR (Shannon Emmel): Welcome to Passionate Reads, Marsha!  Thanks for taking the time to blog with us!

Marsha: Thank you so much for inviting me.  Although I think I sort of invited myself after exchanging Tweets with you one day. 🙂

Shannon (PR): We go back a while and one of the things I love about you, besides your books of course,  is your irreverence.  You have a lust for life that is amazing. You always seem to enjoy yourself and never take yourself too seriously….

Marsha: I tried taking myself seriously once, but it didn’t work out. I see you found a picture of the Norma Desmonds. These ladies are all Loopies…friends who were under contract with Dell more than fifteen years ago and joined an email loop.

We’ve stuck together through thick and thin and celebrated our victories, commiserated with our losses, and simultaneously kicked things while sharing frustrations. In case the faces are not familiar in vamp mode, that would be Julia London, Connie Brockway, moi, Sherri Erwin Browning, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and in the front, the queen herself, Virginia Henley. Missing from the vamp squad are Julie Ortolon and Jill Gregory, neither of whom attended the conference that year, and I’m sure that was the *only* reason they didn’t do the Norma with us.

Shannon (PR): LOL Of course …I’m sure  that’s the only reason 🙂

I’ve been a fan for years, but please, tell our readers a bit about YOU…

Marsha: Hmmm. Where to start for a *bit*?

I’ve been writing since my son turned three, so that would be thirty six years. Wow. Of course it took nearly ten years of writing and culling rejections before I was actually published, so saying twenty six years sounds better. I live an hour north ofToronto,Ontario, for eight months of the year, and migrate south with the rest of the snowbirds toOrlando, Florida, for the other four. I’ve always hated snow, so now that I’ve reached the lofty age of *mutter mumble* I figured it was time I was spared the bone-chilling winds of the Tundra.

I have three beautiful grandchildren who keep me on my toes when I’m home, and when I’m not, they come south to visit LOL. I went through a horrid divorce after thirty seven years of marriage, but in the words of Marilyn Monroe: sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can come together.

PR: You are a classic “Old School” author and one of the great icons of historical romance. How did you get started?

Marsha: OMG, I didn’t know I was an icon *g*.  Certainly never dreamed of ever becoming one. We lived in a marvelous townhouse complex way back then, and most of the women were stay at home moms. We’d gather in the playground to watch the kids eat dirt together, and we’d yak about this and that. One of those ladies, who is still a very good friend to this day, used to read…er…category romances. Not the kind of romances that are written today. These ones were given away free in boxes of cereal and detergent and were Boy Meets Girl, Boy pursues Girl, Girl resists until page 250, Girl allows Boy to kiss her and they vow to live happily ever after, The End.

I read one particularly awful one that involved a baby calf being called a pet so it could stay in a motel room overnight (thus the cause of angst between the hotel-owning hero and the heroine) and I told Diane her brain would melt if she kept reading stuff like that. She challenged me to put my money where my mouth was, and that set me down in front of my dad’s old Underwood typewriter. I hammered out my first book and sent it to an editor at that same category house, who was so shocked she phoned me with the rejection instead of just typing one out. She said she’d never heard of an H book with a murder in it or drug dealing or guns, and good gracious the hero and heroine were doing more than kissing and well before the 250 page mark. She recommended I read some romances by some relatively new authors, Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss, and perhaps I would find a better niche there.

The rest, as they say, is all swashbuckling historical romance.

PR: When did you first know you wanted to write? Who /what influenced you?

Marsha: I really didn’t know that I did want to write. I’d always had a knack of pounding out great stories for creative writing classes in school, and history was one of my favorite courses. So writing historical romances combined the two pleasures and for the longest time, it didn’t even feel like work or a job. It was me immersing myself in a historical setting or period and doing things in the worlds created by my imagination that were impossible in real life.  I also loved old black and white movies with Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power, so all of that mooshed together in my head to get me swashing and buckling.

PR: You’ve seen many changes in that industry during your career. Tell us about some of those changes and how you’ve adapted.

Marsha: *snort* Have I seen changes? Where to start? That would take a whole other blog or five to go through, but the biggest one, of course, is the emergence of the ebook and the ability of an author to self publish. I’ve written a bazillion blogs on my own site about the changes I’ve seen just in the past year alone…good changes, healthy changes, exciting changes that have set authors free to write what they want and how they want to write it.

I’m sure it’s no secret that I was in semi-retirement for nearly eight years. The publishing business had become just that: a rigid business. Authors were told what to write and if they didn’t like it, they were cut loose. End of discussion.

Gone were editor-author relationships that had been nurtured through several books because editors were cut too and replaced with new young things who spouted the company line and were probably on their first jobs straight out of college. Sorry, but a twenty something editor who tells me she doesn’t even like historical romances, and would prefer I write something with less violence, a less intricate plot…oh, and if I could put in some vampires and set it in Regency England, that would be much more acceptable. Pirates? Noooooo. Medievals? Nooooooo. Regency. Vampires. Paranormal.

Oh, and don’t go over 400 pages.

So I retired.

Back then, ebooks were barely mentioned. There were ereaders, but they were big clunky things with batteries that lasted maybe two hours. The screens were gray and hard to read, and no one really took them very seriously.

Along came Kindle and iPad and the universe burped. If an author could get the rights back to books that had not seen the light of day in a decade or more, then he or she was free to reissue those books, to self publish them through Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, and Pubit. For those of us who climbed on the wave early, it was a steep learning curve but a heady ride. We joined Kindleboards and talked with other indie writers, sharing information, links, support groups. Organizations popped up, like the Independent Authors Network, which supports and encourages writers, hosts web pages, Tweets and retweets daily to help promote and spread the word.

Publishing houses went into shock and they’re still reeling. They didn’t see the tsunami coming, they simply assumed their archaic and heavily one-sided system of publishing books would stay around forever, that authors would have no option but to bow to their terms, accept their paltry handouts, write by their rules.

Hah. Watch us now, pillocks.

I have no idea where this revolution is headed or what changes will happen over the *next* year, but I’ve rediscovered the joy and pleasure in writing again.

PR: What about your latest releases and what’s coming next?

Marsha: My latest release was The Following Sea, a book I had wanted to write eight years ago, but was rejected by the rookie editor who wanted vampires and no plot. It is book three of the Pirate Wolf trilogy, swashbuckling tales of the Dante family begun in Across A Moonlit Sea (currently FREE for a limited time) and continued in The Iron Rose.  A fourth book is in the planning/plotting stages to complete the saga.


Those of us at Passionate Reads would like to thank, Marsha Canham  for being with us today and leave everyone with a reminder that  The Following Sea and other books by Marsha are available at :



Barnes and Noble:

Visit Marsha’s website at:

Check out her blog at:

Tweet with her @marshacanham

or find her on Facebook

Here’s a little “sneak peak” of the soon to be reissued The Dragon Tree (formerly titled by the aforementioned preppie vampire lover, My Forever Love. augh.)


Chapter One

A split second before the arrow struck, the girl’s instinct sent her ducking back into the shadow of the cottage door.

The shot had come from one of the half dozen crossbowmen who stood at the edge of the clearing. With lethal calm, their eyes stalked fresh victims and as soon as one was found, they raised their weapons, steadied aim, and fired the stubby eight inch quarrel. Behind them, laughing and shouting encouragement, were four mounted knights, their gray wool gambeson’s devoid of any distinguishing crest or blazon. The sleepy English village, innocent and unaware only moments before, was under attack by knights who did not want their identity known and for good reason. An ambush against unarmed villagers broke every law, defiled every precept of the Code of Honor.

The first flight of quarrels had been wrapped in pitch‑soaked rags and set alight before being dispatched. The gray mist at dawn had been thick enough to conceal the raiders’ approach but the wind had passed through the clearing like an errant hand, sweeping the fog away. That same wind fanned the sparks, sending flames leaping across the roofs and within seconds, columns of coiling black smoke were rising from the cluster of mud and wattle cottages.

The three sway‑backed asses in the village were too old, too work worn to even bleat an alarm as the flames licked across the thatch and ran down the walls. They were also dead on the second flight of crossbow bolts, as was the solitary milk cow and the brace of fat hogs.

As the roofs burst into flame above them, the men ran out of the cottages in a panic, snatching up pitchforks and scythes as if the handmade tools could afford protection against the deadly arrows. They were followed by their women who pushed and dragged children behind them, urging them to run for the perceived safety of the woods. Goats and chickens added to the confusion, for most were too insignificant a target for the archers‑‑seasoned marksmen who wound their bows taut and fired with unrelenting accuracy, choosing the husbands, fathers, sons first.

They were patient killers. They tracked a man as he ran behind the wall of a burning hovel, then waited for the heat and smoke to drive him out into the open again. The women fared no better. Several were sprawled on the ground already, arrows jutting from their backs.

Amie remained crouched in the doorway of the smithy’s cottage, her eyes watering from the smoke, her nose burning from the waves of heat that were sucking the air out of her lungs. Her back and shoulders were being scorched through the threadbare cloth and her choice was to break for the forest or be enveloped by the roaring flames overhead. The trees were fifty paces away, but there was nothing between them and the cottage save for a miserly vegetable patch scratched into the earth.

Clenching her teeth around a half‑sobbed prayer, she darted through the door and ran as fast as she could to the feeble protection afforded by a low mound of hay. Over the sound of her heart pounding in her chest, she heard the telltale thunk of an iron quarrel furrowing into the earth a few inches from her foot, but she was already running again, weaving this way and that in an attempt to elude the archer’s aim. She was slight of build and wiry. The only softness on her body was in the vicinity of her breasts, which were pressed almost flat inside a tunic that was two sizes too small. Her hair was braided and hung in a long brown tail down her back; the hem of her skirt was pulled up between her legs and tucked into her belt so that from a distance, it was possible she had been mistaken for a lad.

She heard a shout, followed by two more thunnnnks as arrows kicked up clods of dirt close on her heels. She felt the spray of pebbles against her bared calves but did not once look away from the bed of ferns that grew in the shadow of the trees. They were thick and high as her waist, covering the ground in a canopy of green, and she knew if she could just make it that far, she might have a chance…

She heard another whoosht and dove for the undergrowth. Something punched her in the back of the shoulder and propelled her forward, but she had barely skidded to her knees on the spongy loam before she was on her feet again, scrambling deeper into the sea of ferns. She ran one way for a dozen paces, then veered sharply to the left for a dozen more. She kept running, changing direction every few wild moments, trying to ignore the shouts and screams that filled the clearing behind her. The wind was a blessing now, keeping the tops of the ferns swaying and dipping in constant motion, helping to conceal the direction of her flight.

Another sound brought her briefly to a halt. She risked a glance behind her and confirmed the dreaded thud of horses hooves scything through the saplings and underbrush. One of the knights had left the scene of slaughter and was pursuing her‑‑with almost lazy confidence‑‑into the greenwood. Even at a hundred paces, he was huge, his black courser was enormous as it trampled an indiscriminate swath through the ferns. The knight had his visor lowered, and there was not much to see between the iron grating that covered his eyes. While she doubted his face would be familiar to her, she knew why he had come. He and others like him had been hunting her for over a month, and now the villagers were paying a terrible price for sheltering her.

9 Responses to “Guest Blogger, USA Today Bestselling Author, MARSHA CANHAM!”

  1. Debbie S June 4, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I absolutely LOVE your books and I am so glad you are writing again! As soon as The Following Sea came out I bought and read it, it was Great. Eagerly awaiting the next. I miss the old style romances of Woodwiss, Rodgers, and yours. I am glad that you can start self publishing maybe some of those will come back. Thank you for such wonderful books. Debbie

    • marshacanham June 4, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Thank you Debbie. And as long as readers keep reading the old style romances, I’ll keep writing them. Corsets are so much more fun than bras anyway LOL

  2. mywithershins June 4, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    I love period romances and these sound exceptional. I’ll definitely have to pick these up! 🙂

    • marshacanham June 4, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      I hope you do and I hope you enjoy *s*. Thank you for commenting.

  3. shannonemmel June 4, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    LOVE the Norma Desmonds LOL!

    …but my favorite “Canham in costume” is still the Carol Burnett/ Scarlett O’Hara green velvet with the curtain rod!


    (Sooooo glad you came to visit us here at Passionate Reads!)


    • marshacanham June 4, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      LOL…yes, and I wish I had taken more pictures of that costume. There were hundreds of flash cameras going off, but I can’t seem to beg borrow or pilfer any good pics from that RT Conference.

  4. shannonemmel June 4, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Reblogged this on shannonemmel.

  5. Marilyn Campbell June 4, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Welcome to our blog Marsha! Have always adored you and your books!

    • marshacanham June 4, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Thank you Marilyn! It was an honor to be invited to blog.

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