More Questions…and Answers

The other day I did questions and answers about my writing in general, today I’ll answer a few about my books.

1. In His Contract Bride, isn’t it a little stereotypical and superficial that Regina falls in love with Edward just because he’s a blond?

Absolutely! But I don’t think that’s why she fell in love with him. At the start of the chapter, it just says that Regina would never forget the day she fell in love, not that it happened the instant she set eyes on Edward. I personally think he caught her attention with his dashing looks, and held it when he showered her with his undivided attention (something she’d never experienced before), but I think at the end of the chapter is when she actually falls in love with him:

Edward Banks, forever the ideal gentleman in her mind, was running, not walking, in the direction of the school to seek help—sans coat. It was at that moment she knew for certain he’d captured her heart and would hold it captive until the moment she took her last breath.

I think this is when she knew she was in love. He wasn’t standing and gawking at her friend’s bared breasts, he immediately took off his jacket and handed it to her while averting his eyes and instead of sauntering back to the crowd to find help, he was running. To Regina, he was the perfect hero.

2. Would Caroline really say the word “erection”?

Yes. Why? Because she’s really scientifically-minded. Let’s face it, that word isn’t new. It was also used very candidly back then for things such as buildings or towers, because well, they were erected therefore they are considered erections. With how scientifically minded she was, I’d be surprised if she hadn’t heard that word in connection to that. She likes biology, she studies it. She reads things young girls shouldn’t. I just don’t think this is a stretch–especially when you consider the conversation she has at the end where she explains to Alex how it’s possible for a lady to conceive even when some things are left undone. As a side note, I struggled with this at first, too, and discussed it with a friend who writes in the same genre who I thought might try to talk me out of it. Without me saying anything, she mentioned all the same points that I mentioned. So I decided it stays. Would it fit any other heroine? Not likely. (Well, maybe Emma after she read Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.) But it certainly fit Caroline and her personality.

3. Who was Lady O’s baby’s daddy?

Mr. Robinson, Marcus’ former valet.

Marcus flashed her a smile. “Actually, if you’re interested in the truth, the baby isn’t his, or at least that’s the story she tells. She claims my former valet, Robinson, is the father. I would have doubted her claim if he’d stuck around and told me otherwise. But, since he ironically disappeared earlier that day, I couldn’t ask him.”

He wouldn’t have left if he wasn’t guilty!

4. Is it possible to die from a spider bite or was that embellished for the sake of a plot device?

Actually, yes, it is possible to die from the bite of a fiddleback spider (brown recluse). This was seen in The Officer and the Southerner, the heroine was bit by a spider and very soon thereafter (within in 24-48 hours) she had an escalated fever and an open sore. These spiders are real and they really do eat your flesh. Today this is treatable for the most part, though still very painful and not without leaving scars where the flesh was eaten away. (Most likely a skin graft will be needed, too.) Back then, such a nasty, incurable, rapidly growing infection coupled with a high fever, it’d kill a person in a matter of days unless the limb was amputated. Then again, there’s all sorts of infections that can result from amputation, too.

5. How dare you kill off Edward without an explanation!

I’m assuming this question might have come from someone who has only read the Banks Brothers’ Brides series where Edward is alive and well in the first two (Contract and Yankee), but is only mentioned that he’s deceased in Jilted and Brother’s without a lot of explanation. Quite simply, he had some sort of infection in his chest–probably by today’s standards lung cancer. All the details of his illness are seen in Her Sudden Groom, which was written before His Contract Bride and His Yankee Bride–both of these were written later as prequels. Had I written these two books first, Edward probably still would have lived; however, since I wrote Sudden first and a major plot point was Alex dealing with the sudden illness and death of his father, I had to stick with the storyline in all future books. I did not, however, want to go into great detail about his death again because it was hard enough the first time! Besides, it had happened approximately five years before either of those books, so there was no need to rehash it.

6. What’s been the hardest intimate scene for you to write?

All of them. I am not even kidding. I struggle with these in the worst way. Are they too graphic? Wait, now is it too vague? Are people going to know what’s going on? Is it getting too long? Did it go too quick, is someone going to think he has a problem of the embarrassing variety… Okay, I think he’s gawked at her enough, let’s get this show on the road. Now hold on a second, he can’t just charge in! There’s a science to it, and to just put all pride aside, many times when I read back over these scenes for editing, my eyes start to bulge, my face heats to 1,000 degrees and I think to myself I wrote that?! Then I take a deep breath and try to forget that anyone of my personal acquaintance will ever read it and think I do any of it. On a side note, I’ve been told by a handful my scenes are just flat out nasty–shameful. This always makes me feel awkward. However, I’ve also been told (and not just by 20-something year olds, but by ladies ranging all the way up to their 70s) that my scenes are very tame…almost G-rated compared to most others. So, at the end of the day, I just shrug and go on. Sorry, not really the answer this asker was looking for, but it’s true, they’re all difficult to write. But I do think I winced during John and Carolina’s (battering ram, anyone?) and started to itch while writing Marcus and Emma’s (okay, seriously, outside sounds great, but grass is itchy, folks– just saying).

7. Why are so many of your heroes virgins?

Because it’s what I like. I know, I know, it’s not the norm. But it’s my niche and if you ask some of my long-time readers, it’s what I’m known for. Why do I like that so much? Several reasons: 1. I kind of like to see the guy to be just as vulnerable as his lady. Not to make fun of guys, but I like to see them unsure or not get it “perfect” on her first time. I also think this adds to their relationship and growing together–probably boosts her confidence, too, that she’s not totally unsure what to do while wondering what his expectations for her are. 2. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that a guy who’s been carelessly sewing his wild oats is suddenly going to change for one woman. My mind just can’t comprehend that. Not to say it’s not possible, but in my mind, I don’t see that working out long term. Nor do I really want to know anything about any of those past lovers he’s had. 3. I’d rather not wonder if he has any STDs he doesn’t yet know about that he’s about to share with the heroine… Yes, I know it’s fiction, and admittedly, I, too, expect people to bend the rules of reality and allow the “it’s fiction” umbrella to come over them when they read my books, however, these are personal hang ups for me. Am I able to read (and enjoy) a book with a Casanova Hero? I absolutely can. I can push back reality and do that. But, when I write one it’s a little harder because logic comes into play and as I’m getting to know my hero I have to decipher these things: Just how many lovers has he had? Does he still have a tendre for one of them? Do any of them still have a tendre for him that might threaten his new relationship? How does he know he doesn’t have a bawdyhouse disease? None of this is particularly romantic for me to think about, so I’d rather not. It’s just a personal preference–love it or hate it, it’s what I like so it’s what I write. (And yes, I have had a handful of experienced heroes, but the majority aren’t.)

There have been more and I’ll try to get to them soon, too. Feel free to ask others in the comment section or email them and be sure to have a wonderful weekend!

A few questions…and answers

Following my open call for questions last week, I had dozens roll in. Some I’ll use an entire post to answer and others I’ll combine and answer quickly.

1. Do you write more than one book at a time?

No. I’ve tried. But I can’t. At least not long term. When I’ve been “stuck” on one, I’ll work on two at a time for a while so I feel like I’m getting somewhere. However, once one starts taking off, the other is put on hold while the one that’s taken flight gets finished.

2. Will Marjorie and Gabriel get a story?

Yes. I plan to re-visit Charleston after I finish Passions of a Gentleman and see if it’s the right time.

3. How far are you into Passions of a Gentleman?

Not far. I’ve begun outlining, that’s about it. I didn’t want to just jump right into this one until I was completely done with Desires of a Baron.

4. What date should we look for Desires of a Baron?

May 13th, 2014. Originally, I said the 15th, but the problem with that is that I’ll be away at RT so if something doesn’t go right, I won’t be able to fix it or make sure everything uploads properly.

5. Do you (and other authors) actually read emails from readers?

Yes! Well, at least I do. I can’t say the same is for everyone else, but I try to schedule 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night to respond to readers. If I’ve ever not responded, it’s been purely by accident of not receiving the email or while I was away from home and *gulp* forgot to flag it.

6. Will Sarah Ridgely get her story?

Eventually. Kind of like Gabriel and Marjorie, I’m just not there yet… Since she didn’t fall into series I was already working on, she has to wait. This is another idea I plan to revisit after Passions.

7. Do you listen to music when writing?

Yes! If I didn’t, I might go nuts.

 8. Do you re-read your own books for entertainment?

Not usually. Early on I did, but after book four, I stopped. By that time the first three were out and I was feeling the first “pinch” as I tried to finish book 5 (Her Reluctant Groom) by deadline. From there, I’ve head deadlines and responsibilities that I just haven’t really had time.


Anyone else with questions, feel free to ask!

Her Secondhand Groom Now on Audio!

I’m not sure I’ve ever had an audiobook take such a short time between my approval and delivery to the storefront! Nonetheless, Her Secondhand Groom is now available!

Her Secondhand Groom audio

This audiobook can be found for immediate download at the following:

Amazon   iBooks

(A five minute sample is available on each of those sites as well.)

What he wanted was a plain and meek wife to take care of his children and stay out of his bedroom. What he got was a fiery temptress who, despite her plain appearance, was far more desirable than he could handle.

Patrick Ramsey, Viscount Drakely, is used to having everything go according to his plans. And usually, it does, except when it comes to his three young daughters who are in desperate need of mother and governess. In an attempt to find a suitable woman, he stumbles upon the perfect woman for the post: Miss Juliet Hughes. Juliet, a local village girl, has been educated at London’s most highly respect school for young ladies, and better yet, her plain features will make it easy for him to keep his hands off of her.

But what Patrick doesn’t realize is this plain young lady from a humble background is anything but the docile, biddable young lady he bargained for, and if he’s not careful, he’ll lose his heavily guarded heart a little more with each encounter they have. With unshakable confidence and a strong determination, Juliet has no intentions of letting this lofty lord run roughshod over her and will stop at nothing to remind him that they may have been born at unequal stations, but where it counts, they’re matched perfectly.

What’s in a Novel: Open Invitation Round II

As it’s become quite apparent due to my spastic posting as of late I’ve run out of books to feature for Sample Sunday, Wicked Wednesday and Fun Fact Friday. I had hoped to have an idea of what to blog about when that ended, but alas I had nothing. Instead, I sat quiet and waited for inspiration to come…

Fortunately, some of my best thinking comes when I’m not trying to think and yesterday it hit me. About a year ago I was working on this on-going series “What’s in a Novel” where I’d explain writerly things in a way I hoped would be of interest and informative to readers or aspiring writers.

I’m thinking, but not too hard because I’d hate to hurt myself, to revive this series by updating the topic links I already have, review what I’ve covered already so I don’t get too redundant, and start working my way through the ones I never did.

However, I also wanted to make an open call for anyone who wasn’t reading my posts then but has a question they’d like to see answered to email or comment and I’ll try to answer it.

These questions can be about anything: writing in general, my specific writing method/routine, how I pick names, handling stalkers, what do you do when the characters don’t behave or don’t want to do anything (writer’s block is what some people call this), etc. It doesn’t just have to be about books/publishing in general nor just about mine specifically. It can be either way. Just anything you’d like to know.

My Faux Pas!

Yesterday I listed all the things I was currently working on and neglected one very important thing: My next book! A huge thanks to Debbie Mccreary for calling me out on that one!

For the rest of this week I plan to get caught up on personal matters: tax records, bills, scheduling repairs around my house, etc, but starting on Monday (if I can wait until then), I’ll start working on Passions of a Gentleman. Currently, I have no idea where I’m going to go with this one so I’ll need to daydream for a while about it over the weekend.

More updates!

For those of you who get my monthly newsletter some of these won’t be so new, but for the rest…

1. I have finished Desires of a Baron!

Or so I think. I have definitely finished the majority of it. Last Thursday I got to the end and on Friday I did prelim edits and let it sit until Sunday afternoon when I started my first read-through. I finished my first-read around lunchtime today. I must say that is the quickest I’ve ever done one, which was because there just weren’t a lot of changes. It is now with Bob (my husband), getting a man’s take. He’s finished about half and claims he’ll be done tomorrow so it can go on to the next person in line. These, are the “quick” parts. later in the week, it’ll go to the first person who has a life beyond my books and she will spend several days combing through the book for errors (mechanical and with content). Then I plan to ask for some feedback on a few areas I’m not 100% sure about. It happens. This is where some potential re-writing and further editing might happen.  So…I can safely say that May 15 it should be available in most (if not all) major eBooksellers.

Once I have a chance to sit down and ponder, I’ll come up with an extended description to post!

I do want to add this as a note, like Secrets of a Viscount, this book takes place in time parallel to some of the Banks family (and this one does have a heroine we met in the first series), but this is not a Banks book. There will be no John and Carolina or Alex and his obsession with hedgehogs or heaven forbid verbal sparring between Andrew and Gateway. It just won’t happen. That said, there are a handful of references to an earlier book and its hero and heroine, but that’s where it stops.

2. Her Secondhand Groom will soon be an audiobook!

After almost nine months since my last audiobook came out I approved the narration for Her Secondhand Groom last week and it should be available late May or early June. I absolutely loved this narrator which is a good thing because she is now hard at work on Her Imperfect Groom. I think I mentioned this before, but in case I didn’t. These two will be  my last audiobooks for a while.  Without giving everyone a case of the doldrums, I’ll just say that ACX has recently made some changes that don’t make audiobooks very profitable for me in terms of my time and the money I have to front in hopes they take off.

3. Her Sudden Groom will be available in German in June. 

This has been a lengthy process, but the end is now in sight! Last week I was sent an update on the progress of Her Sudden Groom’s translation (it’s now being proofread and packaged for sale). I was also sent the German cover:



4. I will be *deep breath into a paper sack* making a few public appearances next month.

May will be very busy for me. (Yes, I just laughed. It seems like 2014 has already been a blur for me, but hey, what’s a few more things, right?) From May 14 to 18 I’ll be at the RT Convention and holding two spots in Club RT to sign books and give away some of my goodies. If you’re there, check your schedule and come see me. I will be bearing tons of books that I do NOT want to take back home with me.

Two weeks later, I’ll be in Chandler, AZ speaking at a writers’ conference (Building the Dream) and just a plain-Jane attendee at the reader’s conference (Arizona Dreamin’). For my two speaking engagements, I’ll be talking about the rules of historical romance, when it’s okay to break them and when you really shouldn’t. For my second class I’ll discuss treating your writing like a business. While writing is undeniably fun, for a good number of us, it is also how we support ourselves or our family and we need the tools to know how to be successful. If you’re in the area, come join me!

Since it isn’t feasible for everyone to attend either of these workshops, I do plan to post some of my material on here about treating your writing as a business.

That’s all the news, good, bad, or indifferent I have for today. I hope you all have a wonderful end to your Monday!

Updates on what’s going on!

1. Desires of a Baron is moving along nicely!

A few days this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) were slow-going, but last week was amazing and so was yesterday. I’m hopeful to get a nice word count in today, too (hopefully I’ll hit and surpass the 1/2 mark). If this continues, I should be done with it by mid-April and have it ready for publishing in mid-to-late May.

2. Passions of Gentleman is still the next book I’ll work on, but not sure which book I’ll after that…

As you all know, I love to write my books in order. I’ve tried to write this book, then go write one in this other series and come back and frankly, that just doesn’t work for me. So, I’ll do Passions of a Gentleman (Simon and Henrietta’s story), then I’ll move on to a new series, but I’m not sure which one yet. There was a series I started to outline almost three years ago which is promising, but I also might go back to do a few other “additions” to series I already have done–Elizabeth Banks’ story or Gabriel and Marjorie. Then of course there is Sarah Ridgely who needs a happily-ever-after. There are definitely possibilities and I’ll see which pulls to me the strongest when the time comes.

I think that’s all. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!