Highland Games

by Frances Housden

The early idea for this blog was something with a humorous vein, but for a dark medieval romantic series that began with a ‘Curse’ you can see the irony. It took me until book three ‘The Chieftain’s Feud’ to come up with any sort of high concept for them—‘Game of Thrones’ meets ‘Outlander’.

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So back to book one ‘The Chieftain’s Curse. That began with Morag Farquhar, her son Rob and our cursed hero, Euan McArthur. Strangely enough I hadn’t intended their story to be the first in a series yet as I wrote, all these interesting but unexpected characters began to show up. Starting off with Nhaimeth, then Jamie, then Gavyn all of whom—now that I’ve finished the series with book six—have had their own happy ending. Like they say about life—one thing leads to another.

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Gavyn Farquhar, ‘Chieftain by Command’ who popped up in the last third of the first book as Morag’s long lost brother, took me and my readers on a wild chase in book two. An adventure that incidentally doesn’t end until book six, Chieftain’s Rebel—confused—how do you thinks it felt writing a series that seems to have a life of its own and refuses to tell you what will happen next?

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Of course, considering what I put Jamie Ruthven through in Gavyn’s book, I had to fix it by making him the hero in book three, ‘The Chieftain’s Feud’. And I have to admit he deserved a little love after the villainess trampled on his heart in the previous book. As for the other lads, Rob and Nhaimeth, their turns came in ‘Chieftain in the Making’. I will admit I wasn’t particularly easy on Rob, and as for Nhaimeth—a favourite with readers—I always thought he deserved to have his own sweet romance. That said, weaving all their different threads together into one picture was difficult, but ‘very’ satisfying, especially as this book also managed to point me in the direction of a potential second series.

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I had to be very careful with the time-line while using historical facts, waiting until my characters grew old enough to fit the plot, which was particularly true of book five, my November release and Maggie McArthur’s story. If you read book one, you will remember she was the baby born to Morag and Euan at the end of The Chieftain’s Curse. I brought her back again as a tomboyish teenager—more interested in swordplay than needlework—in ‘The Chieftain’s Daughter‘. I will admit I’m not always kind to my heroes and heroines, but I did love writing Maggie’s story. Perhaps that’s why I was slightly easier on her—slightly.25327

In November I will have five books in The Chieftain Series available at all the usual sites through Escape Publishing, with one more book to come ‘Chieftain’s Rebel’, this is Gavyn’s son Rory’s story—‘Chieftain’s Rebel’ out in March. So where do we go from there? I’m not exactly certain but if it’s anything like the other books in my Chieftain Series I’m sure it will be an adventure.


The Chieftain’s Daughter will be released on 8 November, and is available for pre-order now. 

The other Chieftain books are available for download now for your highland pleasures!

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September springs new releases!

It’s a great month for new releases – and a great month to dip your toe into our Magic Realism sub-genre, with three titles being released under that banner today!

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From best-selling, award-winning author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse...


22032Mixing romance, humour and a sparkle of magic, Juliet Madison is back with a new full-length, Magic Realism romance about a bride-to-be, a mystery and the stripper next door.


22034From Cate Ellink comes a sun-soaked, sandy, seaside erotic novel about a tropical paradise, two athletes used to getting physical, and a sex-filled, no-strings holiday fling. 


22035Magic realism mixes with romantic comedy in this new novel from Sarah Belle about the dangers of internet shopping – and using magic to solve real world problems.


22033A new, quick-witted, quip-heavy romance for grown-ups from Sandra Antonelli about facing your fears — because love is the greatest risk of all.


22036Mixing romance, history, and a touch of the unexplained in a new magic realism novel from Jacquie Underdown about love that needs to cross oceans and time before finding a place to come true.

Do You Believe in Fate? – Frances Housden

I have to confess to regularly reading my horoscope. My husband laughs, ‘How can it be true for everyone in the world born in the same month?’ I don’t care. I do believe in fate—that there is something guiding us but we have the option to follow the advice or not. Right now my horoscope says the next 12 months will be the best period for my career in decades. Who wouldn’t want to believe that, but it’s what we do about it that counts.

Going back to fate, Euan the hero of THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE came to me in a dream. He was yelling, ‘Will this bluidy curse never end?’ Now tell me, what red-blooded author wouldn’t want to find out more?

Discovering Euan took me on a journey into my past, into the history of Scotland, my homeland. It was exciting using a lot of what I learned at my grandfather’s knee, but more than that, many places and characters simply popped into my head, especially Nhaimeth the dwarf—a favourite with readers—and this, long before A Game of Thrones reached our screens. I gave a detailed description of the clan castle in my book and discovered it really existed—fate or latent memories from my childhood? I don’t care, why should I? Everything worked to drive the plot of the very first book in my ‘Chieftain’ series.

This is where I accept that we need to give fate a hand. I went to a clairvoyant shortly after I finished ‘Chieftain’. She told me I had a book that would do really well and since the publishers weren’t liable to coming knocking on my door, I left it to my agent to find one who loved the book as much as I did. Years past, editors did love the book, but didn’t know where to place it—yes it’s a wonderful romance but I like to think it is more. I have to admit the wait was disheartening. Then at the annual Harlequin dinner in 2012, I was sitting near Haylee Nash who told us all about Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia’s new digital imprint. I asked if I could email a book to her and, when she agreed, I sent it off that very night as well as a lot of good vibes.

The rest as they say is history—Scottish History. Without any reviews THE CHIEFTAIN’S CURSE hit #3 overall on iBooks, stayed #1 in Historical Romance for weeks and was an Amazon bestseller, which led to a print edition being published by Harlequin MIRA Australia. Two weeks ago Chieftain was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards and two days ago, it won RWNZ’s Koru Award. How’s that for fate?

I don’t remember the speech I gave, though I’m told it was good. I do know I thanked Kate Cuthbert and Harlequin Australia for having the guts to publish Chieftain, enough said.


8883Nominated for the 2014 RITA Award for Best Historical Romance
Winner RWNZ inaugural Koru Award for Outstanding Long Romance

Euan McArthur is a chieftain in need of an heir.

While still a young a warrior, Euan incites the fury of a witch. She retaliates with a curse that no wife will ever bear him an heir. As he buries his third wife and yet another bonnie stillborn son, Euan can no longer cast her words aside.

Morag Farquhar is a woman in need of sanctuary.Pronounced barren by a midwife, Morag is of little value to her family, but a Godsend to Euan, a lover he can’t kill by getting with child.

Years ago, chance drew them together, and tangled their lives in ways they could never have imagined. This time their destiny lies in their own hands, but it will take courage and strong hearts to see it through to the end.

Available Now!


22037From the bestselling, RITA nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

Frances’ next Chieftain book, Chieftain by Command is available for pre-order now, and releases September 1.