Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Please give a BIG Casa welcome to award-winning author Jeanette Baker. She is one of our Casablanca Classics authors--titles that have been out of print for a while that we are happily bringing back to readers! NELL, an RWA RITA award winner, is hitting stores this month!
I’m so pleased that Sourcebooks has resurrected NELL, my favorite and finest Irish novel. After NELL won the RITA, it was never re-released and many disappointed readers sent emails requesting copies. My stash was quickly depleted and, sadly, too many were disappointed. Now, thanks to Sourcebooks, NELL is available again with a beautiful new cover.

Readers are often curious about the balancing of my life between Southern California and County Kerry, Ireland where I spend my summers. California is…well, California, a place where I teach school, visit friends, steep myself in family and appreciate my choices. Ireland, on the other hand is an adventure, small villages, dimly lit pubs, music, afternoon tea, friendly people with lovely brogues and, for me, the biggest draw of all, a thousand years of history. It is also, for an American, extremely inconvenient. Garbage disposals are nonexistent, as are window screens, Splenda, ice in drinks, coffee refills, maple syrup, temperature-controlled buildings and Starbucks.

I know my way around the tiny, traffic-clogged streets of Tralee, the town where I live. I drive on the other side of the road, negotiating roundabouts with my manual transmission. I convert Farenheit to Celsius like a pro, grocery shop daily and grow fuschia and hydrangeas like the natives, but I’m still a stranger, a blow-in, they call me, one of those who is not and will never, be “a local.” Except for my soon-to-be husband, the primary reason for my annual trek, I know no one beyond a pleasant, “Hallo,” and I like it that way. In Ireland, my days are my own. It is in Ireland that I wrote NELL.

My house sits on the edge of town, a town established in 1283 by Dominican monks. I wake to the drizzle of a soft rain and spread Kerry Gold butter and marmalade on my toast. I look out the window and watch happy cows munch on green hills. Disregarding the rain, men in tweed caps cycle the narrow streets and women in jogging suits wheel baby prams toward the center of town.

Carrying my tea upstairs, I settle in for a morning of writing. My fingers move quickly across the keyboard. Hours fly by quickly. Later, in need of exercise, I pull on leggings and tennis shoes and walk toward Ballyseedy Woods, a primeval forest whose Yew trees have witnessed the events of Ireland since before written history. On the rise of cleared land before entering forest, I stop and look around at this land of mist and battle, of poets and prophets, of legend and history. The inspiration is enormous. Around every bend of the road, every lichen-shrouded castle, there is always another story to explore and reveal. NELL is one of those stories.

When I first heard that NELL had been nominated for the RITA, I was pleased, but not hopeful. The RITA, as far as I was concerned, was an elusive award, saved for authors whose names were household words. Later, when I reviewed the list of paranormal nominees, my skepticism strengthened. How could my book, with its two ghostly apparitions materializing only a very few times between the 16th and 20th centuries, compete with those offering witches, vampires and demons?

I have no memory of those moments when I walked across the stage to claim my RITA. But I have the video and I have my RITA, so it must have happened. NELL has been called many things: a love story, a time travel, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, a combination of Irish wit and Irish legend, a story of family loyalty, medieval pageantry and modern political intrigue.

NELL is all of those things, but most of all it is the tale of two enduring love stories that transcend time and change the course of Irish history. Everyone who reads NELL understands its theme: never make the mistake of underestimating a woman.

Thank you, Jeanette, for joining us today! Aren't you all jealous of Jeanette's home in Ireland? I know I am :) To enter to win one of two copies of NELL, tell us in the comments where you would pick your dream vacation home-or let us know if you already have it! Please leave an email address so we can contact you. Winners will be announced in the comments and via email on Monday, 4/16. Good luck!

The Love of a Lifetime...

He came upon her in the light of the silver moon and knew instantly she was the one. It was right, he thought, that they should meet without the trappings of wealth, family, and formality. For in the end, in the sweetly scented darkness, it would be just the two of them. Donal O'Flaherty didn't see English versus Irish. He say only Nell, and that was enough.

But Fate had another plan. Soon Nell is swept away from the treacherous Tudor court. Yet through the centuries and across generations, she would prove that neither prison bars nor the hands of time could stop the power of a love meant to be...
Praise for RITA Award Winner Jeanette Baker
"Baker is a forceful writer of character and conflict."—Publishers Weekly
"A shining example of Ms. Baker's exceptional gift for storytelling."—RT Book Reviews

Jeannette Baker has held countless readers spellbound with her RITA Award–winning tale that weaves past and present into one evocative love story that surpasses the bounds of time.
Author of fifteen novels, JEANETTE BAKER has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as a forceful writer of character and conflict whose novels are “irresistible reading.” Jeanette lives in California during the winter months where she teaches literature and writing, and in County Kerry, Ireland during the summer. For more information, please visit


  1. Congratulations on your release and the RITA. Your readers will be ecstatic. Ireland has always intrigued me and your post was absolutely wonderful.

  2. Congrats Jeanette on what sounds like it should be in my greed little hands right now. I can actually feel Ireland in my blood as my paternal Grandfather and his siblings were all born in Drogheda. They came here in their the 1920's with the hope of peace, freedom and prosperity. I have always loved the stories the family told of their rightful home so far away. I do hope to go there someday.

    Thanks for such a wonderful post. I love it when authors can make you use all your senses and waunder off mentally.
    Terra Studer

  3. This looks great, I love the new cover! I'm glad this book is available again so folks like me can have a chance to read it!

  4. I love that Sourcebooks has a selection of Classic titles for those of us who missed them the first time.

  5. I was blessed to visit Ireland a few years ago. The lovely memory of your fair land never fades.
    Congratulations on the reprint of such a special book.

  6. I would have to pick Sicily. All my grandparents came from a small town called Cefalo (near Palermo)and I've heard so many wonderful stories. Nell sounds like a wonderful story.


  7. I would definitely pick a vacation home in the English countryside, or maybe Scotland. I'm not sure I'd ever be done with vacation though. :D Nell sounds like a wonderful book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  8. my dream vacation home would be just about anywhere but home!!!! i love to travel & still have sooo many places to go see!!!

    thank you for this giveaway!!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  9. Congratulations on the book! I'd pick a vacation home in France.


  10. Ireland sounds lovely! I want to go. Congrats on the re-release. I can't wait to read it!

  11. Thanks so much to everyone for commenting on Jeanette's guest post! Our winners are Nise and Barbara E. I'll be emailing you both shortly.