Category Archives: Blog

Amazon Giveaway of ‘The Chief’s Maiden’

Release month giveaways have officially begun. From the Secret Book Lover’s Giveaway with over $100 in prizes to an Amazon giveaway of ‘The Scot’s Secret’ predecessor, ‘The Chief’s Maiden,” there’s plenty of chances to win signed paperbacks, digital downloads and romance novels galore. Enter them all, and good luck!

Find out about all Border Series giveaways and get exclusive content by becoming a CM Insider.

Alpha Male Romance Heroes: Manspiration for Historical Romance Novels {Giveaway}


What is manspiration?

Manspiration is the inspiration for a romance novel hero. My first step to writing a medieval romance such as The Thief’s Countess is to pin the mansipration and the heroine he will eventually love, and all of my alpha male romance heroes have one thing in common- an extra dose of hotness. Having a visual representation of both the looks and personality of the hero springboard the process for me as I flush out the hero’s physical and personality traits.

Border Series Manspiration

So far, these are the lucky men to have made the cut in order of the novels:

The Ward’s BrideChris Pine

The Thief’s Countess Henry Cavill

The Lord’s Captive Jonathan Rhys Meyers

The Chief’s Maiden –  Jason Momoa

The Scot’s SecretChris Hemsworth

Book Five – Richard Madden


Manspiration Criteria

How does one choose a new manspiration hero? The Border Series is a medieval romance series set along the 13th-century Anglo-Scottish border. As such, it may not come as a surprise that my heroes are all alpha-males. According to Wikepedia, “In studies of social animals, the highest ranking individual is sometimes designated as the alpha.” In romance, alpha males are large and in charge. Cue the Border Series boys.

Manspiration Blog Hop

Just in case the above mansipration is not enough for you, click on over to romance author Rachael Tsoumbakos who is featuring even more manspiration goodness. In fact, if you complete the loop and come back here and leave a comment on this post, you will automatically be entered to win all four historical romance book pictured below.


GIVEAWAY RULES: Click on this BLOG HOP link, follow the four-blog stop and come back here to comment. Want an extra entry? Just use the share buttons to share on social and leave an extra comment for each one. Easy peesy. No purchase necessary. Ends 10/24/17.

Every Scottish Romance Author’s Dream: Hanging with Sam Heughan

As a former educator, I simply can’t resist the urge to administer a short quiz to my Scottish romance fans. So here goes:

The (relatively) young lady in the images below:

a. is unfazed by the fact that Sam Heughan’s hand is around her waist.

b. could not offer her own name if asked at the time the photo was taken.


If you guessed “B,” give yourself a gold star.

As a Scottish historical romance author, I was in a unique position last week. Sam–we’re on a first-name basis after an extremely lengthy 5-minute conversation about my books, Scotland and his tenure as a Barbour ambassador–is, of course, Sam Heughan from Outlander on Starz.

At this point, you likely fall into one of two groups.

1. OMG. Why are you standing with James Alexander Malcolm Montgomery Fraiser?

Simple. Vera Sweeney is the single greatest human being in the world and facilitated this unparalleled moment as Sam launched his collection for Barbour. As their global brand ambassador, his partnership culminated this year in a line of waxed jackets, city sweaters, and fitted button-down shirts like the shirt Sam is wearing in the above image. Just get to know Vera and magically, good things will happen to you.

In any case, this group *gets it.* They understand the monumental nature of these photos and will be giving his new collection a hard look. They know items such as the sexy jacket picture below will take them one step closer to falling through those legendary stones.

sam heughan scottish

Behind the scenes at the Sam Heughan by Barbour launch at Macy’s NYC

2. Group #2. “Wow, he’s pretty cute.” 

Pretty cute? A friend of mine (former friend) actually uttered those words. Listen, if you don’t watch Outlander or enjoy reading Scottish romance, that’s fine. Maybe you don’t have Starz or don’t like to watch a massively handsome and talented Scotsman who occasionally takes off his shirt on TV. (If this is the case, you likely don’t read the Border Series either which is an entirely different sort of travesty.) But those in this camp can surely recognize the ingenious of Barbour to recruit Sam for the single greatest partnership ever according to the Heughligans (Sam Heughan super-fans.) This group must understand the appeal of a line of clothing that is just one plane ride removed from feeling like they’ve been thrust into the Scottish Highlands.

Whichever group you fall into, just please remember one thing. If you ever find yourself thrust up against the single most spectacular spokesman in the history of any clothing line ever, despite his charming personality and devastatingly good looks, you can still speak. Just prepare yourself with answers to seemingly easy questions such as, “What is the title of your most recent book,” and all will be well.

Think I’m exaggerating? Walk into a room to this and see how you fare…

Sam Heughan’s signature collection is available in stores and online at Macy’s, as well as in Barbour retail stores. Sam himself is less available but if you’re a verra lucky lassie, you just never know.

Historical Romance Readers: The Chief’s Maiden Has Arrived!

Today I celebrate a birthday exactly two years to the day I wrote “The End” on The Thief’s Countess. It’s hard to believe two years have gone by already. My publishing journey has led from retirement after twenty years in education to a full-time historical romance writing career, and I could not be more excited. Writing in a genre I love, researching medieval England and spending my days with Scottish romance heroes, like Toren in this current release, hardly feels like work. Instead, I’m writing on Sunday (and my birthday) not because I have to, but because it brings me joy to make the stories in my head come alive.

I’m often asked if it’s difficult to think of new stories. Just the opposite. The hard part is making my fingers move fast enough across the keyboard in order to tell the next tell. In this current book release, the Border Series finally has a Scottish hero, Toren Kerr, chief of Clan Kerr. When he’s sent to the Tournament of the North in England to kill the English warden who upsets the tenuous peace along the border, he falls in love with none other than the warden’s daughter.

Fight for your king or the woman you love?


historical romance new release


He faces a difficult decision, but you can find out what Toren chooses by reading The Chief’s Maiden, a brand new historical romance for medieval romance fans, for free in Amazon Kindle or grabbing at its special $2.99 launch price (expires soon!) If you do read and enjoy the book, I’d love to know what you think. Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to comment back. Now it’s off to find that chocolate and peanut butter cake my mother orders every year which will be desert today and breakfast for at least two days to come. That’s totally legitimate, right?

Join me TONIGHT for a Book-Lover’s Pinterest Party + Prizes!

What goes better than books and Pinterest? Maybe prizes too? Join me tonight from 9:00-9:30 PM EST for a “Chief’s Pinterest Party” where I’ll be giving away a book lovers tote, a The Chief’s Maiden signed paperback and more! Joining in on the fun is easy. Just follow this board and log in a 9:00 PM. I will post an image every 5 minutes. Comment and be sure to fill out the winner’s form at the end. See images that inspired the book and even get a hint at Border Series book #4 coming in February.

Know a friend who loves books and Pinterest? Share this post with them, and see you tonight!

No Kindle? No Problem.

Why can’t I buy Border Series books on iBooks/Nook/Kobo?

Cecelia’s books are only available on Amazon because she participates in their exclusive author program. As such, the Border Series books are listed in Kindle Unlimited for romance readers who prefer to pay one price each month for unlimited reads.

But I don’t have a Kindle

No worries. You can download Amazon’s FREE Kindle app which works on smartphones, tablets, and computers.

I’ve downloaded the app. Now what?

Go ahead and purchase the Border Series book from Amazon, watch it appear in your app, and voila! Just don’t stay up too late reading.

Manspiration GIFs: These Historical Romance Readers Rock

This is why the Border Ambassadors are the #1 group of historical romance readers.

jon snow gif


I asked them in The Chief’s Maiden Pre-Launch Party for manspiration GIFs for future books.

And boy, did they deliver…

jamie from outlander gif


And then a Border Series reader independently left this on our Manspiration challenge post:

jamie from outlander gif
So basically the Border Ambassadors + Border Series readers = Ultimate Hot Guy (Manspiration) Finders. If I was still in the classroom, I’d give Ann, Jen and Maggie gold stars. Unfortunately, some of the other “finds” are not PG-13 rated. Otherwise, Tina would get an A++ for this assignment.

Become a CM Insider to find out more about the very difficult job of finding new hero inspiration for Border Series books including a secret Pinterest page of future manspiration picks.

Like Outlander? Try These.

I’m such a fan of Outlander that I once started a blog called Outlander Obsessed. Blogging since 2007, creating new sites was somewhat of a hobby for me until this little matter of becoming a historical romance author crept into my life. But I know as well as anyone how difficult between seasons and even between Sundays can be. So I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite fixes for those who like Outlander. Be aware, however, that even though the show (novel) is not categorized as romance, I am unabashedly a romance fan. The relationship between Jamie and Claire is what keeps me coming back, so the following list will be decidedly romance-leaning.

outlander fans


The Highland Guard Series

I can already hear my friends groaning. “We know,” they’re thinking. “Enough about Monica McCarty,” they’ll say. OK, so I may be a fangirl, but in case you haven’t heard of this series, go out and buy the whole thing right now. Then come back to thank me later.



Oh dear. Researching images for this particular pick, I found an old board on Pinterest I’d forgotten about. So I may have started an Outlander Obsessed board with a Poldark pin I adore. In any case, Poldark is perfect for your mid-week Outlander hiatus.


The Tudors

Despite the fact that King Henry VIII is not a very nice protagonist, beheading one of his wives and all, The Tudors is absolutely my favorite historical period drama. Lots to look at (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and fall in love with here.



Laugh if you will, but I recently re-watched my #1 favorite movie of all time, and it’s still spectacular despite its historical inaccuracies. Hey, even our Scottish tour guide this summer said he loved the movie. Worth a re-watch.


My Friends

Any Scottish-lovers post would not be complete without a mention of my author friends (see, full disclosure) who are the best in the business. No, I’m not (terribly) biased. Check out Keira Montclair, Emma Prince, and Madeline Martin if you’re hunkering for a Scottish book boyfriend.


Last But Not Least…

Any article involving swoon-worthy heroes, strong female leads and the sweeping Scottish/English countryside must include the Border Series. If you haven’t checked them out just yet, either start with a .99 series-starter novella or the newest release, ‘The Chief’s Maiden,’ coming September 14th. And yes, these are mine.


Which of your favorite Outlander-like books, TV shows or movies did I miss?

Best Medieval Romance Novels- Old School

Although lists of the best historical romance novels are not hard to come by, ones specific to medieval romance are a bit trickier to find. I do personally love all kinds of historicals— Regency, Scottish, even time travel. But medieval England continues to be my favorite time period and location both to read and write about. So if you’re a Game of Thrones fan but also love romance or a romance novel lover that has stuck mainly with Regency, the most popular sub-genre at the moment, add these to your TBR list and be sure to come back and let me know what you think.

Without further ado, here are some of the best medieval romance novels of all time:

A Kingdom of Dreams


A Knight in Shining Armor


The Prize


The Wolf and the Dove


Prisoner of My Desire

While these books are canon for medieval romance readers, if any are new to you, grab, read and report back here. The links are affiliate ones. Looking for newer medieval romance reads? Here’s a quick tutorial on how to discover free or inexpensive new reads on Bookbub.



England and Scotland and Ireland…Oh My!

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to visit the castles that I read and write about. A trip to the English and Scottish countryside, as a medieval romance author, was truly magical. Even more so since my family took a Disney Cruise around the British Isles ensuring the kiddos even enjoyed themselves on the ship after a long day of castle and history hunting.

Some of the highlights including standing with one foot in England and the other in Scotland in the very place where the Border Series takes place: Northumberland, England. We also visited the Scottish Highlands and the castle which inspired Kenshire Castle in The Thief’s Countess, Bamburg.

With only a brief stop in Dublin, I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to discover much of Ireland, and the cruise did not visit Wales, but our time in the English countryside including the inspiration for Hogwarts, Alnwick Castle, as well as some amazing towns such as one of my favorites, Salisbury, was truly a dream come true.

The video below hardly does such an amazing trip justice, but it’s a small taste of a most spectacular place on the planet that I hope to someday visit again.