Hold Back The Night

ISBN13: 978-0-9896574-6-4
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Recipient of the Romance Writers of America RITA award as well as a rare 5 star review from Romantic Times magazine, Hold Back the Night, formerly titled Dragonslayer is the story of a minister who has lost his faith in God and a woman who, despite being surrounded by poverty and gang violence, has never lost her faith in humanity or the Corners, the inner city neighborhood where she grew up.

Thomas Stonehill and Garnet Anthony couldn't be more different, ice and fire, but both are determined to make the Corners a neighborhood where residents will be safe to enjoy a wealth of opportunities. After a personal tragedy Thomas, once the minister of a megachurch, forms a ragtag congregation in an abandoned store, despite his own doubts that God listens or cares. Garnet, a nurse, runs a maternal health clinic that she's carved from nothing.

When warring gangs threaten Garnet's clinic and personal safety, Thomas takes action to protect her, despite his conviction that he must remain a man apart. Neither of them is prepared for the startling outcome.

Reviewer Melinda Helfer, of Romantic Times (now RT Book Reviews) wrote: "Innovative plots can often open gateways for an author, but they can never take the place of the human experience that the very best books bring to our hearts."

Hold Back the Night is a subtle blend of romance and women's fiction. But most of all it's a novel about the human heart and the mysterious healing power of love.


Some years ago I was happily writing romances for Silhouette Books when my editor tapped me for a new promotion. Did I have a profession I would like to explore? I immediately volunteered to write about a minister.

Be careful what you volunteer for. It's rarely as easy as it sounds.

At the time–and still--I was a big fan of ministers, having been married to one for years. Churches are microcosms of the world around them, with the same problems and possibilities. And the men and women who serve them professionally are saints and sinners, sometimes in the very same day. Like the rest of us, they get discouraged, angry, depressed, but they also find inspiration and sustenance not only from their relationship with the holy, but also by trying to make the world around them a better place.

I didn't want to preach, and I wasn't interested in writing about anybody who had all the answers. In fact the more I got to know the Reverend Thomas Stonehill, the more I realized he had few. The answers he'd found earlier in life had all been destroyed by a personal tragedy, leaving him an empty shell. Then in walked Garnet Anthony, a maternal health nurse as different from the women he'd know, as fire and ice. Put them together in the inner city where gangs roamed the streets and opportunities for a better life were few, and Hold Back the Night, originally titled Dragonslayer, came into being.

The year after publication my book won the Romance Writers of America RITA award, and just as thrilling, one of Romantic Times magazine's extremely rare 5 Star reviews.

In the words of Melinda Helfer, one of RT's top reviewers: "Innovative plots can often open gateways for an author, but they can never take the place of the gifts of the human experience that the very best books bring to our hearts. Every reader has their own set of books that have significantly influenced the way they look at the world. Without question, Dragonslayer is one of mine."

I hope that you, too, find this story compelling, and that the characters' struggles will resonate with your own, as different as they may be. In addition to changing the title, which readers found confusing, and added a brand new cover. I've made only a few revisions to help make the details more relevant for today's readers. But the story is the same, and all these years later, I'm still delighted I wrote it.