Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Tracey Amey!

Today we’re welcoming another Mermaid, Tracey Amey, a finalist in the Historical Romance category with MY LORD MERCENARY.

Tracey comes by her knowledge of Regency life honestly. Growing up, she spent many sunny afternoons in her Nan’s front parlor in the Regency town of Cheltenham, England. With her summer visits often came trips to the cities of Bath and London, and hence began her love affair with the elegance of the architecture, the spa rooms, and the fashions of the Regency period.

Now she lives in Pennsylvania where she works as the director of a college library. When she’s not writing, she and her husband are hammering, sawing or soldering her old house back into livable shape. Her daughter and a variety of household pets watch with amusement.

Here’s the blurb for MY LORD MERCENARY: 

Heiress Lady Skye is determined to marry someone who loves her, not her money. Lord Lyall, social outcast and unrepentant mercenary, is just her man—he only needs a little convincing.

When an extraordinary sword comes into Skye’s possession, she is certain the weapon is a sign of life from her long-missing brother. After she’s attacked in an attempt to steal the sword, the second thing she’s certain about is that someone doesn’t want her to have it. The only person she trusts to help her discover what the weapon truly means is her brother’s old friend-turned-professional soldier, Lyall.

What Skye doesn’t know is that Lyall has been hired to find the very sword she’s asking him to protect. He wants out of the mercenary life, and the lucrative contract to find the sword will provide him just that. If Lyall’s clever enough, he can convince Skye to give him the sword for her own protection and collect his payment with Skye none the wiser.

There’s one problem with Lyall’s plan—he’s fallen in love with the woman he plans to deceive.

When Lyall’s employer goes after the sword himself, Lyall must decide if he is truly a mercenary or if the heart of the hero he once was still beats beneath his hardened exterior. Even if he saves Skye, he doesn’t dare hope that a woman who risks all for those she cares about would love a man whose past is rife with disloyalty.


Oh, delicious!! I love a good intrigue-y Regency!! I’m getting very eager to see these Mermaid books up for sale!

Tracey’s here today to share a very moving story about heartbreak and second (and third) chances, and finding your true self.

Leave a comment below to be entered into a random drawing for Tracey’s prize today: a box of assorted British chocolates, biscuits and teas (Cadbury, McVities, Twinings, etc.). 

Take it away, Tracey!


TEA_500Even the short version of my life as a writer is a story full of confessions, second chances, and reincarnations. I want to share some of these with you.

Let’s start with my first confession. Twenty years ago, in 1996, I made the Golden Heart finals with my paranormal tale of sinful angels and delightful devils. I had a different name then, a different husband and lived in a different place, a lovely home by the seashore.

In the beginning, my first adult life was magical. I was in love with my husband and my writing. How easy to write about love when I was living a fairytale. That first book didn’t sell, but I kept writing, won a Maggie for my third book and got so close to a contract with Dorchester (anyone remember them?). An agent wanted to represent me. I was on track to be published!

Then, like Bluebeard’s bride, I opened a locked door in my marriage, and the secrets and lies came tumbling out. My world crumbled around me. Once I saw the truth of who my husband was and who I was becoming, I had to leave almost everything I loved to save myself. I took only my dog and a basket of laundry and I ran.

I left my marriage, my home by the ocean, and my convertible (the one Gabrielle Luthy, a fellow Mermaid, and I tore down the Jersey Shore in). I also abandoned my writing. I didn’t believe in love any more. I was cynical and bitter and miserable. I cried my pain into my dog’s soft fur instead of on paper and that was enough for me.

Or so I thought.

Because if I wouldn’t write romance, fate decided I should live it. A hero re-entered my life; an old friend who knew me better than I knew myself, and though time, distance and life choices had always kept us apart, the moment was ours at last. Love flowed through me once more and within a few weeks, I found myself pregnant.

Enter that classic romance trope, the secret baby (confession #2). My soon-to-be-ex husband was determined to exact his revenge for my desertion. He was already using everything he could think of to delay our divorce, and I feared my unborn child would become another weapon to use against me. My new man & I whisked ourselves away to hide in the mountains until the divorce papers were signed. The judge finally ordered my ex to sign or he would give me all our assets, none of which I wanted.

My new husband & I loved those calm, cool mountains so much, we stayed. With a new marriage, a new home, a new job and a new baby, my second adult life was too busy for writing! Yet, the seeds of stories germinated inside the endless, churning loads of laundry that had become my life. A friend showed me pbwiki, and my thoughts took to print again, this time in the cloud.

One summer day, waiting to pick up my daughter from elementary school, I met a muse. On the outside, she seemed cute and quirky—from her curly dark hair to her Violent Femmes T. But to me, her real form became one, like a Grecian Goddess bestowing wisdom and encouragement like fine wine in a golden goblet. The first time we chatted, she said, “I’m a freelance editor, though I’m mostly editing romances right now. What do you do?” I blinked like a slow-moving lizard. “I write romance.”

That was a half-truth (confession #3). I had only written about 30 pages in the year before. But meeting my muse spurred me on. The more I wrote, the more I remembered all the things I love about writing; hitting that perfect ending to a chapter, creating the snappy exchanges between my hero & heroine, and watching my characters fall in love. Even, and my last confession is this one, letting the villain’s joy of creating friction and chaos become my own source of entertainment.

Twenty years, two husbands, one child and two lives later, I entered the Golden Heart and made the finals again.

The story should end here with a HEA, right? Fate is too much like my villains.

In January 2016, I started treatment for a breast cancer tumor. I’m still in treatment as I write this piece. I’m not writing much now, as surgery, complications and radiation have sucked most of my energy, but this time, as I say goodbye to yet another me (pre-cancer me), I await the emergence of my third adult life. My dog, my beloved companion in some of my earlier darkest days, is no longer with me to cry my pain into, so these tears have been falling onto paper.

There’s a new character I keep thinking about as I hang my laundry to dry. One who has a close call with death and finds she can’t return to her old life. She has to grieve who she was and discover the new person she’s becoming and how love will form her new life. I don’t yet know what her story will be, but I know I will write it.

So I ask you to think about the following question and to share the answer if you like: what confessions, second chances or reincarnations have you had in your writer’s life?



Connect with Tracey on social media, and learn more about her tales of fearless women, dangerous men, and impossible love in Regency England:


56 responses to “Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Tracey Amey!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Tracey!! Your story brought about three different kinds of tears to my eyes. It’s amazing what we can go through and climb up from.

    Finding real love is the absolute prize in all that!

    And you know you’re going to have a lot of new folks sending up prayers and good vibes for you to be strong and heal and get back to writing your wonderful books!

  2. Melonie says:

    What an amazing story, and you tell it with such rich, crisp detail, I’m hungry for your books as well! Sending love and support for this latest chapter of your life.

    I don’t know if I’ve had reincarnations or 2nd chances…I haven’t been at this all that long(probably 5 years total), but when my father passed away suddenly 3 years ago it knocked me off-kilter and sent my muse into hibernation. Recently I came out of what has been a very hard couple of years for my family. The muse has returned from whatever dark cave she was hiding in, I can feel the sun on my face, and I’m ready to play.

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Hi Melonie!

      Sudden loses hit us and suddenly, we’re in a place we’ve never been before. But it makes you appreciate that sunshine all the more when you feel it once more. I’m so glad your muse found you again!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      So glad you got yourself back into the sunshine, Melonie! And no doubt more powerful emotionally than you were before. Grief and hardship dig us out deeper, and we can draw from that deeper place.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    Once again, your writing makes me cry and laugh. I’m filled with gratitude that you’re a finalist this year, not *just* because it means I get to see you in San Diego, but because it takes you one step closer to getting your work out to the world. Love you! (But ohmigod, I still can’t believe you left that sweet little Golf behind!!!)

    This final is a second chance/reincarnation for me. I had so much happening when I moved back from Paris, so much uncertainty and disruption, that I wasn’t ready to be a finalist in 2010. I am now. On y va !

    • Tracey Amey says:

      My darling Gabi, both of us have been through the ringer and back. I’m looking forward to drinking many a toast with you in SD, to RWL (the best listserv ever!), to Paris, to my convertible and to Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run! Love you, sister!

  4. Terri Osburn says:

    What an amazing story. And even in this blog post I can see amazing talent. Congratulations on the final, and healing prayers and thoughts are flowing your way. My mom and sister have both faced down that disease and come out the other side.

    I don’t know you but I have faith that you’ll do the same. Thank you for sharing your stories.

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Thanks, Terri!

      You and your sister, your mom and I, we’re all in a different sisterhood of survivors and supporters. No one wants to be in it, there’s a hell of an entry fee, but its some of the strongest, most amazing women you’ll ever meet!

  5. Elizabeth King says:

    I had tears in my eyes reading your story, Tracey. You sound like an amazingly strong woman and I wish you all the very best with this battle you’re now facing.
    Like many others, I lost a very dear friend to cancer a couple of years ago and that completely derailed me from writing for almost a year. I finally found my muse again, only to find out recently that another close friend has terminal cancer. We’re all taking things one day at a time – what more can you do – but I know that even if the writing takes a break again at some point, I’ll never give up on romance novels – reading a great romance never fails to brighten my day a little, no matter how dark things might seem.
    I look forward to meeting you in San Diego.
    Fellow mermaid

    • Tracey Amey says:

      That’s the wonder of writing and reading romance, isn’t it, Elizabeth? Even in dark times, we can read about love and experience joy through the characters we write and read. It’s why I will forever love romance.

      Please take care of yourself during this difficult time and hold your friend close.

  6. Tracey, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I’ve lived such a mundane life myself, and I’m always awed by the strength and perseverance of people like you. And I’m really glad you’ve joined our chapter! 🙂 I look forward to getting to know you even better.

  7. Jen Gilroy says:

    Your story touched my heart, Tracey, and your courage and resilience inspire me. I am sending you positive thoughts as you tackle this most recent challenge on your journey.

    My writer’s life has been full of second chances and reincarnations, most too personal to share here. However, what I can share is that those experiences have not only shaped me as a writer, but have also reaffirmed my commitment to my writing life. And when life is dark, my writing helps me through.

    On a lighter note, I also spent a large part of my life in England so three cheers for biscuits and tea! Waving a virtual Hob Nob and some England bunting your way!

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Jen, I hear you on sharing the very personal parts of our lives. Believe me, I closed my eyes when I hit the “send” button on this one. One of the changes I’ve discovered in the new me is a new willingness to be open, and its enhanced my life so I’m very grateful for it.

      I raise my hobnob (chocolate coated on 1 side, of course) and my cup of Earl Grey to your second chances and reincarnations!

  8. Seana Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Tracey! It was beautiful and harrowing. As you are living a romance novel’s plot, you can rest assured that your HEA is on its way! A good friend of mine kicked cancer’s ass last year. Her strength and hair returned (curly this time) and she feeling, and looking, stronger and more beautiful than ever. I have the utmost faith that your story will soon be the same!

    As for second chances in writing, I started out MANY years ago writing short stories because I just couldn’t hit upon a story I liked for more than a few days. It wasn’t until seven years ago, when looking to bury my head in the sand from my own medical issues, that I began to write an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Romance! I’d hit on why those other stories years earlier were so boring and flat. I was supposed to write romances. And now I am 🙂

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Thanks so much, Seana. I’m counting the days until I’m finished!

      I love urban fantasy and romance mixed. I’ve always thought of My Lord Mercenary as an Urban fantasy meets Jane Austen tale, so who says you can’t mix genres, right? I look forward to reading your story when it’s published!

  9. Tracey, thank you for sharing your story. It was so beautifully told, and I love your voice, the way you related the details and emotions.

    And then there’s the resilience and persistence. So much beauty in that, too. 🙂

    As for confessions, I haven’t had my coffee yet, so I probably shouldn’t even be on the internet, but you moved me to comment. 😉 Congratulations on moving on, on having the strength to fight, and on persevering!

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Aww, thanks, Ann Marie. I’m glad my story moved you. Especially if it was before coffee. My goodness, I used to love that first cup in the morning.

      You’re right about resiliency, too. There is beauty it. What a lovely sentiment.

  10. Such an incredible tale of courage and faith. My heart goes out to you. I feel as if this year is a rebirth for me, too. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your story. Hugs!

  11. Tracy Brody says:

    Wow. Great writing and I’ll be cheering for the 3rd Tracey to be the charmed one that gets the HEA with publishing.

    Reading your post and some of the others about having to step away or losing writing mojo for a season of your life hits me. My daughter had/still has health struggles that consumed a lot of my time and energy. It was hard to come up with the creativity to want to write in that stage but I did. Only it’s incredibly hard to write a sex scene when your own libido is in a coma due to everything life has thrown at you. Makes a romance writer feel a little like a fraud. I may write that story idea some day – the romance writer who’s sex drive needs resuscitating. 😉

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Thanks for the good wishes, fellow Tracy! I have to say, the idea of a romance writer who needs a libido kick-start is hilarious and appealing!

  12. Wow! I wish you strength and success. What you have overcome and are now facing have molded you into an incredible woman. Best wishes in the Golden Heart!

  13. Ah Tracey…I knew just a sliver of your story, and like many of the other commentators, I had tears in my eyes reading your story!

    I was privileged to read a portion of MY Lord Mercenary in a different contest, and selfishly, I want you get published so I can read the rest!! Pretty sure I wrote in my judges comments that you’d better have entered the GH with it! Lol And, yes, you write an amazing villain.

    I haven’t been writing that long, but I think any writer who has been around awhile can attest to the fact it’s like traversing a mountain range, highs and lows one after the other and oh so challenging…

    I’m SO looking forward to meeting you in SD!

    • Tracey Amey says:

      I’m really looking forward to meeting you, too, Laura!

      You’ve been an inspiration and a mentor to me and I appreciate all your support.

  14. Wow, Tracey, you are one strong woman. I’m not sure I could have survived everything you have. But I’m glad you found happiness somewhere along the road. My hat is off to you. May you continue to fight and win the battle, and may you flourish.

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Thanks for the kudos, Vicki. You and everyone at CPRW (Go Central PA!) were so welcoming to me when I came in just over a year ago. You’ve been awesome, fun and just a blast to get to know.

  15. Melanie Novak says:

    Wow. This little piece packs a punch. Your talent is on full display. I wish you the best of luck and thank you for sharing your story.

  16. Rayn Ellis says:

    Wow, Tracey. What a powerful piece! Your light and love and amazing talent shine through in every word! I cannot wait to read your novel! Congrats on your second GH final.

    And now, I see why you mentioned the other day that you like second (and third)chance stories. I love your philosophy of being open and sharing…those are the most powerful tools we have as humans to help each other.

    Writing second chances? Too many to count. Seems every time I am ready to toss my WIP in the trash, some wonderful miracle happens: I win a contest; a windfall of money finds me; the right class appears; the perfect CP comes along.

    This time I think getting to know a wonderful woman (you) with such strength and resilience (like tons!) is the second chance I needed to remember to fight hard for what I want and dig deep to make it happen. You never know what’s around life’s corners.

    You ROCK, my Mermaid sister! Now go kick cancer’s ass!

    • Tracey Amey says:

      The morning I received my finalist call from RWA, I was at such a low point I thought of quitting writing forever. Everything I’d been dealing with had become too much for me at that point. And yet, I was watching Ice Castles and thinking of Gabi Luthy, our fellow mermaid and my dear friend and then that a few hours later I received my GH call.

      Second chances – yeah, they rock!

  17. Geri Krotow says:

    Thank you for sharing your strength and wisdom with us, Tracey. Your spirit and inner fire inspire all who meet you. Can’t wait to see you accept the Golden Heart!

    • Tracey Amey says:

      You are definitely one of my inspirations, too, Geri! You have shared your experience, wisdom and hope with me and I’ve loved getting to know you better.

  18. McCall Hoyle says:

    Tracey, I love, love, love this post. I love your honesty and your strength. I’m wishing you great success in your personal and writing lives. I can’t remember who all is going to be in San Diego, but I’m certainly hoping to meet you in person, Sister!

    I have so many confessions and reincarnations I’m not sure where to begin. I guess one of my greatest confessions is that I frequently feel like a fake–like a pretend writer. I recently told a stranger that I was a writer, and I almost cried. I’m sure the woman thought I was a lunatic. But it was truly this grand emotional moment in my life–like I was making some grand coming-out into society. <3 <3 <3

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Oh my goodness, McCall, do I know what you mean about feeling like a fake. The terrible imposter syndrome strikes everyone, I think.

      But, honestly, one of my new outlooks is I don’t let myself think that any more. I’m a writer. Better or worse than others doesn’t factor into anymore. My voice is as unique as everyone else’s and I am owning who I am.

      When I finished my book, I started off using a pen name. Part of the reason was I didn’t want my academic colleagues to know I wrote romance. After the diagnosis, I started using my real name. I want to acknowledge and be open with every part of who I am. What others think of me is simply none of my business anymore.

  19. Wow, Tracey, thank you for sharing your confessions with us! What an inspiring story.

  20. Liz Talley says:

    How beautiful and powerful your story is. And such a testament to the power writing has in our lives. Congrats on finding yourself again. Keep writing when you can, fight hard and cling to all the good things that come your way.

    Enjoy being a finalist 🙂

  21. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks so much again, Tracey, for being with us today and for sharing your brave and beautiful story!! We’re all rooting for you 1000%!!!

    The winner of your prize is Jen Gilroy! I’ll put you guys in touch via email.

    • Tracey Amey says:

      Thank you so much, Elisa and Ruby Sisterhood for having me. I enjoyed myself so, so much.

      Everyone’s support and good wishes brought many tears to my eyes and I can’t wait to meet many of you in San Diego!

  22. Nicole Hohmann says:

    Late to the party here but loved hearing about your story and your life journey. The stories behind the stories are often even more compelling and isn’t it amazing how those muses get planted in our way at times. I wish you lots of strength and healing and look forward to meeting you and reading your stories!

  23. Congrats Tracey on your 2016 GH final!

    And your book sounds fabulous. I thought I’d stopped by yesterday but I never hit send (sigh – too many open windows on my computer) – so I’m a day late, but glad to have had the chance to get to know you better and look forward to seeing you in San Diego!


  24. Brooke Salesky says:

    I love it! Real life romance. So cool you have your own romance trope and real life hero enter your life. Your book sounds amazing, and looking forward to meeting you at Nationals!

  25. Tracey, What an incredible person you are. Thank you for sharing your tale of resilience. I’m sending prayers and hugs and know you will get through this as you have every other thing tossed in your path to your HEA. Hugs!


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