|Coming on Jan. 2|
We’re 16 days away from the reissue of the second book in the MacKinnon’s Ranger series, Untamed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, it tells Morgan’s story. The middle son of the three exiled MacKinnon brothers, Morgan has always felt his duty was to serve his older brother, who, by rights, would be The MacKinnon if the family hadn’t been sent into exile.
Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
In the tradition of The Last of the Mohicans... and honoring the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Ticonderoga...
The sequel to SurrenderUntamed
They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties. Untamed
Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.
The cool thing about the book’s original release was that it happened during the 250th anniversary year of the Battle of Ticonderoga, which is the battle that ends Surrender and serves as the genesis for Untamed. I felt that very keenly as I wrote the story.
|Here I am standing at the gate at Fort Ticonderoga.|
I was lucky enough to pay a visit to Fort Ti shortly after completing the story and was given a very personalize tour by the curator of the museum there, where I got to see real Ranger gear including Robert Rogers’ powderhorn, which made me burst into tears. (Rather embarrassing.) Rogers was the father of the Rangers. Though there were other Ranger units, he codified their method of warfare into Rogers Rules of Ranging, which are still standing orders (slightly modified) for the U.S. Army Rangers today. The Rangers were the original special operations forces in North America.
I love the cover of the new version of Untamed, and I thought I’d share with you what’s different. With Surrender, I added new scenes, decompressing the book somewhat, but the plot didn’t change. That’s not the case with Untamed.
When I originally finished writing the book, I got the news that the original publisher had AGAIN decreased the maximum page size of their novels. They wanted to cut 100 pages. I told them they couldn’t do that. Period. No. So they played with fonts and page design and told me that I had to cut 25 pages.
A chunk was cut from the beginning of the first chapter. A chunk was cut from the epilogue. There were other bits and pieces sliced out. And then the final confrontation between Morgan, our hero, and the villain of the story was also cut.
In the version of Untamed that all of you have read, the villain dies in different way that what I originally wrote. That’s a huge change, in my opinion, because readers (and authors!) look forward to the villain getting his comeuppance. When it happens in an unsatisfactory way, well, it’s just not as fulfilling.
The whittled version of the story still received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which was nice. Given how popular Surrender had been, I was horribly afraid of disappointing readers. (I’m feeling the same way about Defiant now.) But I really hated the changes, especially given that they weren’t part of an effort to improve the storytelling, but an effort to trim expenses.
The reissued version of Untamed not only includes the best historical cover I’ve ever had, with a bit of Fort Ti in the background, but it also has all the cut scenes restored including the original villain death scene.
Some people have said the cover isn’t romantic enough. I think the man’s body makes it pretty sexy. But you all secretly suspect that deep inside I’m a historical fiction author — and it’s true. To have the actual site depicted on the cover, to have a hero wearing period attire, carrying a musket... I love it. I really love it.
There’s so much more I could say about this story and the history behind it. The period of the French and Indian War is a deep passion for me. I could sit and talk with you about it for hours non-stop, as the poor curator from Fort Ti discovered, after I asked questions for probably four or five hours.
There is so much drama, so much conflict in this period that it’s a fiction writer’s dream.
But for today I wanted to share with you what’s new in the story. Unlike Surrender, there is one major plot change in Untamed 2.0 — the way the villain dies. You’ll enjoy this a hell of a lot more!
Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m staying offline to battle my way through the ending of Defiant. I want it done by Christmas.
OK, so to make this fun, I’ll give away a signed copy of Surrender to one commenter. To be entered for the drawing, post below and tell me the your most hated romance villain ever.
The restored prologue and first chapter of Untamed
Decorating Christmas cookies with the I-Team guys