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Archive for the ‘Their Graces’ Craft’ Category

Duchess Release – Scoundrel Ever After

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00035]Welcome to the drawing room today! I’ve been snowed in since Thursday (we don’t do snow in the Pacific Northwest–at least not like the midwest or northeast), so I’m thrilled to have company, even if it’s virtual. I was browsing the Duchess’s library for some inspiration (or maybe just to see how snazzy my new release looks next to all the other great books by my Duchess pals), and it’s evident we  like to write about scoundrels and rogues who are wicked and scandalous. Not all of my heroes are rakes or reprobates, but I suppose they all have a sliver of something that makes them at least a teensy bit devilish (yes, I’m swiping words directly from duchess titles, what’s your point?). And of all my heroes, Ethan Jagger is by far the most devilish of the lot. In addition to being your classic romance novel bad boy, Ethan is a reformed villain–or so he hopes. I absolutely love, love, love watching a villain go from zero to hero. (Devil in Winter, anyone? Sigh.)

Scoundrel Ever After is the sixth and final book in my Secrets and Scandals series. It’s my first series conclusion, and I’m a bit sad. I loved creating this world and coming back to it for every book. I especially loved developing the character arcs of these two people in particular–the heroine, Audrey Cheswick, first appeared in the second book, His Wicked Heart, and Jagger debuted in the third book, To Seduce a Scoundrel (if you haven’t read them, never fear, there’s a giveaway!). Alas, because I simply can’t walk away, my next series (coming this summer), Regency Treasure Hunters, will take place in the same world and who knows, maybe some of the Secrets & Scandals characters will pop in for a visit.

I know every author approaches their writing differently and sometimes there are plans and there are hijacked plans. Writers might talk about characters taking over or somesuch nonsense, but I swear it’s true! I never really expected Audrey or even Lydia, the heroine from book five, Never Love a Scoundrel, to be heroines of their own books, but after introducing them as secondary characters in book two and then bringing them back in book three, they began to demand to have their stories told. My next series is planned as a prequel novella followed by three full length novels. But you know what happens to the best laid plans…

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What are your favorite book series? What do you like best about a series–coming back to a familiar place, following a group of people, something else?

THREE lucky commenters will receive the first three Secrets & Scandals books in the Volume 1 boxed set. This is an ebook only giveaway and the format may be selected by the recipient. Comments entered prior to midnight EST on Thursday, February 13 are eligible. Winners will be announced on Friday, February 14–what better day to read a romance!

Pick up your copy of Scoundrel Ever After today for just $3.99! (As of this writing, it’s pending sale at Kobo and iTunes.)

Amazon | Nook | Smashwords | All Romance eBooks

Join me at my Scoundrel Ever After release party on Facebook this Thursday, February 13 from 7-10 pm EST! There will be fun guest authors (including fellow Duchess Leigh LaValle!) and giveaways galore!

Pitch Perfect

Something writers must learn to master is how to pitch. We do it when we want an agent to represent us. In turn, our agents pitch to editors. Then editors make a pitch when they want to acquire and they need Marketing to get on board. Then the Marketing Department pitches our book to buyers to stock our books. There are many ways to pitch, but the more you boil your plot or characters down to a few choice words, the better. One way to accomplish that is to compare our story or characters to a well-known or currently popular story or characters. For example, the first book of my Secrets & Scandals series, Her Wicked Ways, is about a highwayman who steals from the rich to support the poor and a rich Society girl plucked out of her comfort zone and dropped straight into the backwoods. I described this book as Robin Hood meets Paris Hilton (in The Simple Life). I really sort of hated using the Paris Hilton comparison, but when I used those characters to convey my basic story conflict, people totally got it. And, more importantly, they said, “that sounds awesome!”

Anna Campbell was kind enough to call my second book, His Wicked Heart, “Cinderella meets Fight Club.” You get a very specific idea from that, don’t you? Now, my hero does not (Fight Club spoiler alert!) have a split personality, nor does he fight himself. He does, however, seek and use violence as a sort of catharsis. Someone might ask if stereotyping or analogizing could drive our plots or characterization. My answer: sometimes, yes. I didn’t read or watch Fight Club and think, “I’m going to write a Regency version of that.” I had an idea for a very straitlaced hero who needed to sort of explode emotionally. I wanted his arc to go from very proper and stoic to incredibly passionate and maybe even a bit reckless—or at least finally finding the ability to indulge his desires and own that indulgence. So I decided he should get in a fight. That’s how Regency Fight Club was born.

They say there are no new stories, that we’re all just rewriting the same basic ideas, emotions, tropes, etc. That’s true, but there are endless ways in which to tell those stories. If there weren’t, we could all use the same pitches! But we don’t, and we find new and exciting ways to reinvent the wheel. In fact, I liked the elements of Regency Fight Club so much, I wrote another book about it—To Seduce a Scoundrel. It’s not just Regency Fight Club II, however. It opens with what I call a Regency Date Night, if you saw that movie starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. And that’s one instance where I saw a movie, and it inspired what I wrote. I knew how I wanted Scoundrel to open, and then I thought a roller coaster ride of a night would be a lot of fun. So I put my hero and heroine through the ringer and let the fallout drive the rest of the book.

Finding the right pitch has driven more than one writer to the brink of lunacy. So let’s have some fun with it! Leave a comment with the worst pitch you can think of for a Regency romance, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win my debut, Her Wicked Ways.