Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Hearts Through History’s Pitchfest

dreamstimefree-typewriter-rfHearts Through History is pleased to host the second and final Pitchfest of 2016. This is a unique and exclusive opportunity for members of the Hearts Through History RWA chapter to pitch blurbs of up 200 words of unpublished manuscripts to industry professionals.

We welcome editor Chris Keeslar of Boroughs Publishing. Thank you for taking the time to visit Hearts Through History and read our pitches. We hope you will find something you like. Happy Pitch Shopping!



Title: Rejecting the Rogue
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian
95,000 words

Portman Square, London
June, 1881

“I’ve got you now, you beauty.”
Philomena Sweet tapped the mechanical drawing spread out across the large desk and grinned. She’d found it, the way to defeat the newest —indeed the most magnificent— safe in history. If her calculations were correct, it would take less than thirty seconds.
She would have savored her victory a moment longer, had the explosion down the hall not interrupted her celebration.
To be fair, it was rather mild, as explosions in her house generally went. Even so, it was strong enough to set the chandelier tinkling and slosh the last of her most excellent Darjeeling out of it’s cup.
She whisked the plans away from the spreading tea. Obtaining the drawings for the newest Dreadstone Superior had been terrifically difficult. It wouldn’t do to lose them before she had the specifications committed to memory. One never knew when one would have the opportunity to try a new safe.
Philomena rolled up the large pages and glanced at the overwrought casement clock she’d inherited from her mother’s maiden aunt. The brass cupids on either side of the face stared back reproachfully. Clearly, they had no appreciation for thievery. She sighed. No time to finish her tea in any case.

Title: An Elusive Enemy
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical romance/historical saga
100,000 words

In December 1943 American troops arrive in Northern Ireland to prepare for D-Day. Irish American, Private Mike Keegan, is surprised to be stationed at an army camp, in a sprawling country estate, in the county where his mother, Annie Murphy, grew up. Hearing a tale of a spirit that has haunted a local Murphy family through the generations and finally drove them out of their cottage to America, he realises this is the family secret his mother was hiding.

When he meets Ellen Corrigan, the quiet eldest daughter of a local farmer, he is captivated by her. But his efforts to win her love and trust are frustrated by disturbing incidents that happen whenever they are together. The spirit knows a Murphy has returned to the county and threatens everything Mike cherishes. Fearful for her family’s safety, Ellen refuses to see Mike again.

Mike is determined to gain Ellen’s love. But, to do so, he must stop the malevolent spirit and soon. The spirit is growing stronger and time is ticking ever closer to when Mike will be deployed to the Western Front. Can he win this battle before he goes to fight for his country?

Working Title: The Girl from Kozani
Genre: Romance / Cold War
Word count of manuscript: 45,000

The Girl from Kozani is a romance set in 1960, during the height of the cold war. To financially support her widowed mother and sister, strong-willed Lia travels from civil war-torn Kozani, Greece to take a factory job in post-war West Germany. Soon after her arrival, she is promoted to work directly for the nefarious factory owner in Berlin where she accidentally discovers a grave secret that endangers her life; but a secret that if discovered could bring retribution for thousands of Nazi war victims and their families. While Lia struggles with how exactly to bring a decades-old secret to light, she meets a dashing American diplomat, Joe, and sparks begin to fly. What Lia doesn’t know yet is that Joe has dangerous secrets of his own. She also doesn’t realize that he is the one roping her into dangerous spy games. Just when they begin to fall deeply in love with each other, Lia discovers that Joe isn’t who he says he is.
Will Lia save the day, save her family and find her happily ever after?

Title: Confess, Your Grace
Genre: Historical/Georgian
82,159 words

A legendary investor, the Duke of Westmead does not desire a wife. The last thing he wants is to risk his heart again, or reveal the carefully hidden desires that lurk beneath his self-control. But when a malevolent rival becomes next in line for his title, he must sire an heir – quickly – to protect his estate.

An ambitious spinster nurserywoman, Poppy Cavendish does not sign on to build Westmead a garden because she is looking to fill the position of his bride. Her lifelong dream is to secure her independence by importing exotic colonial plants to England. But to achieve it, she needs to find capital fast.

When scandal threatens Poppy’s reputation and financing, Westmead proposes an unconventional solution: marriage of convenience. She’ll provide an heir, he’ll provide her capital, and emotion need not enter the equation.

But when the two begin to fall in love, Westmead must choose between protecting his secret appetites and giving in to passion. Poppy must decide how much pride and independence she can afford to risk by revealing her true feelings. And when saving their business becomes a matter of life and death, no heart – or secret – is going stay safe for long.

Title: This Is Us
Genre: Historical romance
105,000 words

September 1942
Darr Aero-Tech Flying School, Albany, Georgia

Dressed in men’s flight coveralls and boots, the women crouched behind a clump of bushes on the side of the barracks, waiting for a clear shot to the flight line. Vivian motioned for Zanna to push her curls further up under the aviator helmet.

Sneaking into an Army Air Force pilot school to take up one of the planes was maybe not the best idea. After all, there was a war on. The place was literally teeming with uniformed men.

It wasn’t actually Vivian’s idea. She wasn’t even the pilot. Her friend Zanna needed to log more flying hours, and she wanted company in this escapade. So, here they were.

Three soldiers clad in white undershirts and fatigues loitered outside the rear door of the mess hall.

“Wish they’d move on,” Vivian muttered.

How long could it take to empty out the trash? One pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket and passed it around. A smoke break by the smelly garbage cans? Turning toward Zanna, Vivian pinched her nose and screwed up her face.

Check back for updates to see which pitches caught the eye of the editor.

Good luck to all who participated!


Entries #1 & #3  received requests for FULL manuscripts from Chris Keeslar at Boroughs Publishing. Partials were requested for all the other submissions. Congratulations to all! Here’s hoping for future book deals.

Hearts Through History’s Pitchfest

NWH RF typewriter 2Hearts Through History is pleased to host our first ever Pitchfest. This is a unique and exclusive opportunity for members of the Hearts Through History RWA chapter to pitch blurbs and the first 200 words of unpublished manuscripts to industry professionals.

We welcome editors Erin Molta and Robin Haseltine of Entangled Publishing. Thank you for taking the time to visit Hearts Through History and read our pitches. We hope you will find something you like. Happy Pitch Shopping!


Title: Celestina’s Burning
Genre/Subgenre: Historical
Word count of Manuscript: 100,000

Italia 1492

Celestina DiCapria jumped, the marble bowl of crisp biscotti almost flying out of her hands. The moan of Montanina, the mammoth black bell in the Tower of Boscoli, echoed through the city of Florence. One strike signaled a beheading was to take place in the prison courtyard.

Bong. Two meant a heretic was set to burn in the Palazzo della Signoria.

Bong. The tail end of the sound hung in the air. Three clangs were rare. Three clangs were a call to arms for the youth to rise against a new tyranny.

“Madre mia.” Celestina set the cookie bowl on the bakery counter. “Mother of God, Montanina is calling me.”

In the room behind her there was a thump. She rolled her eyes. Batting a thick rope of dough against the worktable was her grandmother Simona’s way of making a point. “Forget about that bell. Start more biscotti.”

The hairs on Celestina’s arms stood like an army of Cypress trees. She hated it when Simona shouted at her from the back room.

Outside there was a pop. Celestina dashed to the window. A black dress burned on a stake in the center of the street.

Title: This Is Us
Genre/Subgenre: Historical/WWII
Word count of Manuscript: 105,000

Sneaking into an Army Air Force pilot school to take up one of the planes was maybe not the best idea. After all, there was a war on. The place was literally teeming with uniformed men.
It wasn’t Vivian’s idea. She wasn’t even the pilot. Her friend Zanna needed to log more flying hours, and she wanted company in this escapade. So, here they were.

Dressed in men’s flight coveralls and boots, their curls hidden beneath aviator helmets, the women crouched behind a clump of bushes on the side of the barracks, waiting for a clear shot to the flight line.

“We’re gonna have to just try to blend in. Hank’ll be meeting us in five minutes. Besides, we look like regular cadets,” Zanna said. Zanna’s brother Hank, one of the flight instructors, had arranged clearance for their flight with a buddy in the control tower.

“Cadets with boobies and no facial hair. I’m sure that won’t draw any attention at all on a base with hundreds of men,” Vivian said.

“Just look purposeful. Hank will walk us to the flight line, and then we’ll get in a plane and be on our way. Easy-peasy.”

Except this wasn’t like usual.

Title: The House Carpenter
Genre/Subgenre: Historical/Civil War
Word count of Manuscript: 85,000

Lilly Roberre shook her hand free from Gideon’s and turned to watch the train rumble into the Philadelphia Baltimore depot. A whistle screeched. Bells clanged. Soot stung her eyes and made them water. She wiped the wetness away with the sleeve of her best dress, the cream silk she had sewn for her wedding. It would be ruined. But what did she care? He was leaving. There’d be no wedding.

“Please. Forgive me.” Gideon put a hand on her shoulder and brought her around to face him.
She peered up into eyes as gray as the rain clouds above—a farm boy, turned stranger, in his uniform of Union blue. Ignoring the hundreds of people around them, she ran her fingers along his smooth-shaven cheek. The man she loved was the least likely of soldiers—a dreamer, not a fighter—and he was leaving for war and might never come back. She stood on her toes to kiss him one last time.

Their lips joined and melded together. The length of his body pressed against hers, his heart thumping wildly. Longing burned through the layers of cloth separating them. The world stood still, and all her regrets scattered like the smoke rising from the huffing engine.

Title: Tangled Up in You
Genre/Subgenre: American Historical, non-western
Word count of Manuscript: 89,000

Missouri Territory
April 22, 1840

Nothing in Mercy Hallowell’s years with the finest tutors of New Haven, Connecticut, nor her stint in a New Orleans finishing school, had taught her how a woman in danger should navigate the world. A hasty escape from St. Louis, disguised as a young man, a river rat more precisely, had succeeded well enough in daylight, so long as she held at a distance any person who might spy the woman beneath the disguise. Even in the confines of a steamboat under the shadows of night she kept faith in the protection of her disguise. That faith vanished at the thought of entering the warm, dry and entirely masculine domain of the gentlemen’s cabin.

She stared out at the rain, pounding with enough ferocity on the deck to splash her pantaloons though she stood against the wall beneath the ample eave, another reminder of how her luck had run out. Reaching inside her coat, tucking her hand beneath her vest, she dug her fingernails into an itch. The boy’s clothes, allowing her more freedom in movement, were made of cheap fabric that abused her skin. A flash of lightening crossed the night sky, exposing her.

Title: Lord James’ Challenge
Genre/Subgenre: Historical Romance
Word count of Manuscript: 80,000

Lieutenant Lord James Forster stood at attention before the board of inquiry and wished to hell that someone would start a war. Any time now would be fine. In fact, right now would be perfect.

The admirals ranged across the table from him like a line of battleships with all flags flying. They must have been born elderly. Otherwise, they would have had understood what it felt like to make a tiny error from over-exuberance. This dim room fitted them perfectly; it reeked of tradition. He could almost smell the whale oil and pomade from wigs worn in centuries past. The lone sunbeam that had strayed in through the window did nothing to lighten the atmosphere—even the damned dust motes circled the sunbeam in a stately manner.

“Well?” A stern voice rang out from the darkness across the table. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

What the hell. He took a deep breath. “My lords. The fireworks display might have started precipitately. If there had been adequate precautions against fire, there would have been little property damage.”

He spread out his hands in a gesture of appeal. “And it was only a minor consulate, really.”

Title: Dance With Destiny
Genre/Subgenre: American Historical
Word count of Manuscript: 70,000

Susannah Myers pummeled her husband’s shoulders as her lips pressed together in a tight, angry line. “Running off to war and leaving me alone to care for our four little ones is not right. I can’t do this on my own. How will we ever survive? We are only good if we can face our hardships together.”

William took hold of her hands and stilled them. He kissed her callused fingers and then grazed her lips. She stopped fighting him and laid her head on her husband’s broad shoulder, letting her hot tears fall.

“It’ll only be for a few months, Susannah. Summer’s coming on, so it won’t be so hard for you to get by. There are plenty of chickens for food and eggs, I’ve stocked the smoke house with deer, and Jacob can start on the planting, so you’ll have potatoes and fresh vegetables. I have no choice as to whether I stay or go. I have to volunteer. Daniel was out here just the other day to make sure I’d sign up.”

Susannah straightened up and took a deep breath. She moved away from him, trying to distance herself from the feeling of abandonment. To get used to the feeling of abandonment.

Title: Rebel Girl
Genre/Subgenre: YA Historical
Word count of Manuscript: 35,000

“Over here, Red. I’m in need of more drink.”

Kathleen O’Malley turned toward the person who had issued the order, although she didn’t need to. There was only one man in this tavern who thought he owned the place. Owned her. British General Aloysius Broadman.

Kathleen tried to affix a smile on her face before she arrived at General Broadman’s table. And almost got there. As she reached across the table to pour more ale into his mug, he pinched her bottom. She jumped and her aim faltered, spilling ale all over the table, and onto the general’s uniform. She clamped a hand over her mouth and backed away, eyes wide.

“Beggin’ your pardon, General.” She handed him a napkin.

He snapped it from her hands and wiped away the liquid from his front. His beady eyes grew even smaller, reminding her of one of the rats who lived behind the tavern.

“You ignorant Irish lout. You did this on purpose. I’ll tan your backside for it.”

He reached out and grabbed one of her pigtails, pulling her toward him.

Out of nowhere, a tall, handsome man appeared at the table and removed the general’s hand from Kathleen’s hair.

Title: Gold Lust Conspiracy
Genre/Subgenre: Historical Romance
Word count of Manuscript: 106,000

It was a gorgeous day in May, 1880, the kind of day inspiring hope, the kind you can get lost in. It was the first day Jessie Blackstone dared to dream. Love was a dangerous, intriguing illusion dangled in her face, so she was pursuing it. She didn’t deserve it but she had a shot at happiness. She was taking it. Mama, be damned!

Jessie entered the secluded ‘personals’ closet on the steam engine train, did her business and exited to return to her seat.

Swish! Hot outside air assaulted Jessie. The connecting door between cars had opened and closed. Before she could turn to see who entered, rough hands gripped her shoulders. The intruder spun Jessie around, slamming her against the wall. Stunned, Jessie blinked. A gasp caught in her throat. Her heart skipped a beat. She shook her head clearing her vision.

“What in tarnation!”

A burly man in soiled deerskin leaned into Jessie. A wicked grin exposed what was left of rotting teeth.

Yuck! An array of revolting odors assaulted her, the stench of perspiration and something….dried blood and urine? Smothering steamy breath reeked of cheap whiskey and decay. Jessie shivered despite the hot weather.

Title: Stormy Hawkins
Genre/Subgenre: Historical Western
Word count of Manuscript: 67,000


Startled out of his dreamless sleep, Blade Masters jerked his Stetson off his face and stared into the mouth of two cold steel barrels.

“On your feet, mister,” a sultry voice ordered. “Keep your hands where I can see them.”

Blade drew a quick breath of relief. Female bandits plying the Missouri River usually wanted money, not blood. Still, he’d not expected to be robbed at dawn on the windswept prairie.

The rising sun silhouetted his attacker, and he was hit with another surprise. Instead of black petticoats and lacy neck chokers, this brigand wore denims and a faded boy’s shirt. A battered, wide-brimmed leather hat topped braids as red as a St. Louis firepumper.

She held the shotgun steady as he clambered to his feet, took a half step forward and extended his hand. “Name’s Blade, ma’am. I’m looking for the owner of this fine property.”

“And I’m a can–can dancer,” she scoffed. “You bank boys know darn well this is Hawkins Ranch land.” Pride, as well as possession, rang out in her voice.

Quickly, he assessed what she’d just revealed. She was in financial trouble, and the Hawkins Ranch was big.

Title: Silver Sky at Dawn (Silver Sky Ranch Saga #1)
Genre/Subgenre: Western Small Town
Word count of Manuscript: 53,500 words

Lorena Bernhardt is certain of only two things: her cheating husband’s refusal to change his ways and her undying love for her two children. If Lorena and her children can escape their war-zone of a home with their lives, she knows they can survive anything.

Danny Silver Sky’s heart refuses to heal as he lives everyday with the memory of his late wife on the Oregon cattle ranch he built for her. However, when an icy accident brings Lorena crashing into his life, something rekindles in his broken spirit.

Despite resistance from the women and Danny’s life and the constant worry of Lorena’s ex-husband finding her, can Lorena and Danny leave their unwilling pasts behind in hopes of a future together on Silver Sky Ranch?

Title: The Rake Who Wed Me
Genre/Subgenre: Regency
Word count of Manuscript: 50,000

Algernon Saye, Lord Severn, straightened up from his half-lounge on the ottomane couch, for Marrack’s widow was entering the salon. A tight bodice holding her generous bosom drew his eye. It was a dark affair, with lace that lay against flawless skin. Her skirt flowed beneath it, made of some silvery spangled stuff that clung to her slender hips and long legs.

“Delicious armful, eh, Gerry?”

Severn smiled. Viscount Garland, one of his two rakish companions on the couch, was a noted connoisseur of widows.

The other, Baron Blackpool, was more direct. “Hunt over Marrack territory by day and sport in the widow’s bed at night—not a bad prospect.”

While she exchanged greetings with the hostess, the older man on her arm raised his quizzing glass in the direction of the ottomane couch. Severn acknowledged the gentleman’s regard with a nod and was completely ignored.

But not by Mrs. Marrack.

“Careful, Gerry,” Blackpool murmured, “she’s buried one rake already—and Jack Marrack was a nasty piece of work.”

He scarcely heard, for Mad Jack’s widow was coming nearer, the curve of her full lips enhanced by a pair of sparkling gray-blue eyes—and a question wrinkling her delicate brow.


Check back for updates to see which pitches caught the eye of the editors.

Good luck to all who pitched!


Entries #1, #4, #5, #9, #10, & #11 all received requests for FULL manuscripts from three different editors at Entangled Publishing. Partials were requested from the other submissions. Congratulations to all! Here’s hoping for future book deals.