Tag Archives: historical romance

Do You Remember…?

Do you remember all your plots? I mean, if you had a backlist that dated from the mid-80′s, would you remember every character, every storyline?

Several years ago at an RWA conference, I was talking with a reader who in the course of conversation told me that one of my books she liked best was the one with the nun. I said there was no book with a nun. She insisted. I was firm. She was certain. I held tight. No nuns.

A few months later, for no reason I can say, I picked up ANGEL EYES, the fifth of my five backlist reissues now available in Kindle eBooks, and there, in the opening chapters, Angelene, my heroine, in a bold move to escape the murderous future her mother has planned for her, disguises herself as a nun to try to make her way to her wealthy grandmother in England.

Really. I couldn’t believe I didn’t remember. I felt like an idiot, remembering my conversation with that reader. How could I forget a detail like that?

Since then, I’ve reread several of my backlist titles, and it was like reading someone else’s books, I was that far removed from the writing of them. They felt new, It was fun to read them, and it was interesting to see the evolution of my writing and my perspective. I kept thinking, did I really write that — then? Did I honestly get away with that scene? Those words? That many pages of foreplay and sex?

Apparently I did, and at a time when the language was much more circumspect and hard core words were tacitly not used. That my early books were reviewed as “spicy” and several years later, “erotic” is still amazing to me and a testament to how powerful everyday words can be.

These first five backlist books are all westerns.. But as I’ve written previously, my true love is antebellum romance. I wrote three of those, which are still to be released, and I’m beyond excited that these backlist titles — anyone’s backlist titles — can now have a second and longer shelf life on-line and with it, a new generation of readers.

Thea Devine is pleased to announce the following titles are now available in KIndle eBooks: Reckless Desire, Ecstasy’s Hostage, Relentless Passion, Montana Mistress and Angel Eyes. She’s currently working on an erotic contemporary romance.

THE BOOK I HAVEN’T WRITTEN

Thea Devine today.  I’m working on a variety things, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the book I haven’t written.  We all have one of those, the one you started, wrote, rewrote, set aside, tackled again, fell into a rut long before the middle, and packed away because you knew you were absolutely going to finish it — someday.  I think mine is buried in the attic right now just because I’m itching to get my hands on it and of course, Murphy’s Law, I can’t.

I started this book back when I was working for that big multi-national advertising agency I wrote about previously.  In fact, nearly everyone in the copy department, when they weren’t working on copy, was writing a book.  I had no idea what I was doing — I was maybe twenty-three or four.  I just loved to write and the intermittent stabs I made at writing advertising copy petered into one interesting idea one of my bosses used in a tv commercial she pitched which ultimately got shot down.

So definitely not copywriter material (remember I was very young).  But a book … that was a whole other story.

There was small branch library across the street from where I worked, and there I came across a pictorial history that piqued my interest.  From that I devised a scenario with an unconventional heroine,  her male friend, a missing family member (little did I know then that I had one too), an ambitious father, a prim and proper older sister, the daughter of a family friend who comes to stay with the heroine’s family, a housekeeper with a mysterious past, a stranger in town who falls for the heroine, and the town madam.

Sounds promising, right?  I had NO idea how to write it.  I started with the heroine and her male friend on an adventure, but that seemed to go nowhere.  I wrote a prologue with the missing family member, a brother, which made more sense, but then what?  Okay, so what about the daughter of the family friend?  Or better yet, what about the interconnections between the families, and why was the old friend’s daughter even there?  Yikes.  Now I had to go back and account for that somehow, but if I did that, I’d throw some other plot points off kilter.

So — send the family friend daughter back to her father.  But then, the only ones the heroine is at odds with are her sister and her father and maybe the housekeeper.  I also had the mystery of the long-gone brother permeating everything, because the heroine wouldn’t let go of the hope he’d return someday.  Well, okay.  But what if he didn’t?

Put the mss aside for a bit.  And then — start the story with the stranger coming to town who will fall for the heroine.  How do they meet?  Should they meet?  What’s his business in town anyway?  Is he a good guy or is he dangerous? Did I really have to know all that before I started writing about it?

You bet.  And worse, as I continued flailing along, the daughter of the family friend started taking over the story. She was beautiful, greedy, outspoken — that girl could have been the heroine but that wasn’t how I envisioned the story. I wanted unconventional girl to be the heroine.  She flouted conventions.  She was at odds with her family.  She had more at stake.  Wait — what did I mean by that?  So time to put the thing down and think about it some more.

So I thought about it some more — like, oh, 40 years, and now, even though there are days I don’t think I know what I’m doing, I do think I finally know how to write this book. I think it could be pretty good.

I could be wrong.

I still haven’t found the original mss pages I wrote, but I do remember the plot points.  I’m thinking I should just start all over, divef in and see what happens. We all should start all over and see what happens.

After all, we all know how to write it now.

Do you have a book you haven’t written?  Or you want to write?  Or never want to tackle ever, even though the idea of the story haunts you?

Thea Devine is working on her next erotic contemporary romance (and peripherally the book she hasn’t written).  Her sequel to The Darkest Heart. Beyond the Night, will be a September 2013 Pocket Star release.

Interview – Debut Author – Gerri Brousseau!

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here with a special guest -  debut author Gerri Brousseau! Stay tuned until the end to find out how to for a chance to win a Gerri’s contest!

Tell us about your debut novel – A Pirate’s Ransom?

Despair filled Lady Catherine as she boarded the ship for England, and toward marriage to man she’s never met—the Duke of Devonshire.  But the sea is no place for a lady.  She’s captured by the Pirate Captain, Edmund Drake and held for ransom; a ransom that has nothing to do with coin.  But when she’s stolen from him, he realizes she has captured his heart. She becomes the pawn in a dangerous rivalry between two pirates—the handsome pirate Captain Edmund Drake and his notorious and fearsome opponent, Blackbeard.  How far will Captain Drake go to reclaim his prize?  Which pirate will decide her fate?  And who will pay … A Pirate’s Ransom?

And if you think this story ends with the clash between Captain Drake and Blackbeard, let me tell you a little secret … there is so much more. The Duke has a large part in this tale and who the heck is the Contessa Theodora de Lorenzo?  Guess you’ll just have to read it to find out.

Favorite pastime when not writing?

When I’m not writing, I like to read and watch movies. I enjoy reading books written by my friends and fellow authors. I enjoy watching movies that inspire me and stretch my imagination.

Guilty pleasure?

Chocolate, Vampire Diaries (especially Ian Somerhalder) and Project Runway.

 Sexiest man on earth? Sexiest woman?

That would depend on the age group. Isn’t it so unfair that when men age they become distinguished and when women age they become hags. Let’s see … sexy men, so many men, so little time.  I do not believe anyone would be surprised to find that I love Johnny Depp, but I also love Antonio Banderas, Gerard Butler, Robert Downey, Jr., Oh there are too many to mention. Why only one?

Women: Hmm, I don’t generally find women sexy, but I’ll give it a shot here. Sofia Vergara (who reminds me a lot of another sexy woman, Sophia Loren).

Who would you cast to be in a movie version of A Pirate’s Ransom?

I have never given that much thought since if Hollywood sought to make a movie, I would probably not be consulted. There are many handsome guys out there in Hollywood. I would like to be present when they do auditions though!  Does anyone have Gerard Butler’s phone number? Oh, did I say that out loud?

What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?

Oh, that would be the Ceeeee.

And now for an excerpt!

Scene set up: Lady Catherine speaking to the Quartermaster, Tobias Smith:

“To devil with the Captain and his orders.”

“Me Lady, I must insist,” the Quartermaster replied.

I realized too late that his sideways glance served a warning.

“Is there a problem here, Mister Smith?” Captain Drake asked.

“Nay, Captain.”

“Yes, Captain, there most certainly is a problem,” I contradicted.

“Countess?” He raised an eyebrow.

I longed to slap that smirk from his face.

Mustering what I considered to be my most authoritative and condescending tone, I replied, “I wish to go ashore.”

“Unfortunately, that is not possible.”

“Why not?”

“It is far too dangerous. You and your maid shall remain here aboard The Lady Victoria together with a few of the crew, who have ever so graciously volunteered to remain aboard as your guards.”

“Guards? Surely you cannot believe I have any intension of trying to escape.”

“It is not an escape that worries me, but rather an abduction.” He started to walk away.

“Captain,” I called after him.

“Countess?” he said, facing me.

“Are you telling me that you fear someone will abscond with your kidnapped prisoners?”

“Yes.”

“And of course your men will be far too engaged in drinking and whoring to guard me so that I might be afforded the joy of a day ashore.”

“Precisely.”

“Captain, I demand to be allowed to go ashore.”

“Countess, why must I continually remind you that you are, in fact, my prisoner, and as such, you are in no possession to be making demands? Now, if you would kindly excuse me, my crew awaits.”

He left without another word or even a backward glance and climbed into the launch, which was lowered down to the water. I watched the men rowed away from the ship and toward the island, and anger burned deep in my gut.

“You shall be sorry, Captain. I know not how, but I swear it … you will regret the day you denied me and left me behind,” I said aloud, slamming my fist on the rail.

~~~

Something I would like to share with your readers:

I’m having a contest! Make sure to visit my website www.gerribrousseau.com and click on “Claim the Ransom” to enter for your chance to sail away with all the booty.

About Gerri:

Gerri was born and raised in Connecticut. She attended Central Connecticut State University, majoring in English Literature.  Although she lived on the west coast for several years, she relocated back to her roots and birth place of Connecticut, where she presently resides with her two pugs, Mimi and Milo and her cats, Louise and Harry.

As a young girl growing up in Waterbury, Gerri spent her summers writing stories and often times, together with neighboring girls her age, would present original plays for an audience of their parents.  When she moved back to Connecticut, Gerri took a job that required her to commute 4 hours a day by train to and from work.  After a year of reading a book a week, she decided to make the time work for her, when one night after a strange dream about a dream catcher, she was inspired to write her first book.

Lest you think all of her time is spent in contemplative pursuits, freefalling out of airplanes gave a whole new meaning to the word “adventure”.  Yes, a former skydiver who chose to retire from the sport, Gerri assures us that freefall is totally exhilarating and one of the most amazing and thrilling experiences anyone can have.  Her energy and zest for life is found in the imaginative and page turning adventures she writes.

A Pirate’s Ransom is available now from Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble

According to Legend will be released in November, 2012.

Thanks for being our guest today! Have a question for Gerri? Don’t be shy!

A Lifelong Affair with Love

Hello Scribblers!  Long time no write.  Vivienne Ylang here.  I’ve got something exciting coming up and I wanted to tell you a bit about it.  On July 1st, I’m kicking off a new writing project.  I’m putting the finishing touches on an old project now and I’m Thrilled!!! to be starting something new.  My new characters are chomping at the bit (well, they would be if they were horses.  They aren’t.) and I’m looking forward to all kinds of fun stuff.  This new project brings me back to my reading roots ~ romance. 

The romance industry has changed dramatically since Kathleen Woodiwiss published The Flame and the Flower in 1972.  I was MUCH too young to read romance back then (or read at all) but about ten years into the genre, I was a young teen bugging my mother for something to do one summer day.  I must have been bugging her a lot because she chucked her book at me and sort of screeched, “Read this!” before stomping back into the house.  Being the dutiful daughter I have always been, I immediately flopped down into the lawn chair she had vacated and opened Lost Lady by Jude Deveraux. 

WOW!  What an eye-opening book for a 15-year old!  :)  Let me take a look-see at my copy (I still have it!).  By page 18, just into chapter 2, our hero and heroine have met and are having sex.  Quite graphic sex.  Somewhat against the heroine’s will – well at the last minute, anyway.  But the sex aside, I loved this story and became a voracious reader – of historical romance.  I did try a contemporary romance once, Jude Deveraux had written one long before the contemporaries she writes now, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.  By the time I went to college, I had read hundreds and hundreds of romances.  I was hooked. 

Sure, I had learned a lot about romance novels by that point.  I had favorite authors – those author’s whose books I purchased the day they were released, in $25 hard cover versions.  Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught.  There was a second tier of writers in my mind too – Kathleen Woodiwiss, Theresa Mederios, Jill Barnett, Constance O’day Flannery, Constance O’Banyon – if only because there weren’t as many of their books available.   (I read Velvet Chains by O’Banyon so many times that the pages fell out of it.  I may actually have to buy a new copy…hmmm)  And eventually, I became a romance snob.  There were authors I wouldn’t read if someone had paid me to do it. 

Many of these authors are still on my list of favorites – some for their current works and some for more nostalgic reasons.  By the mid 1990′s new top romance authors were making names for themselves.  Julia Quinn and Lynn Kurland are certainly my two favorites these days. And it’s because of Lynn Kurland and this very blog that I’m about to begin my new WIP.

Last fall, we at the Scribes interviewed Lynn Kurland (part 1 and part 2) and after a crippling ice storm sent most of Connecticut back in time (at least from the perspective of having no electricity!) I sent Lynn a note with an idea for a story.  She very kindly wrote back saying that I should write it.  Well, friends, I am.

These characters and their problems have been percolating in my mind for nine months, waiting somewhat patiently for their turn on the laptop.  And in two short weeks – their time will arrive.  I’ll let you know more as things develop – and if you see me word sprinting, you’ll know why! 

Today’s Secret: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  to all the wonderful romance writers who’ve gone before and inspired me.  I promise not to head hop!  ;)

Today’s Question: Who has inspired you to reach for your dreams?

Brushes With Greatness

Hello, my loves. Suze here. Welcome!

This weekend my extended writing posse, Connecticut Romance Writers of America (click here for more information!), is having a very special guest visit our monthly meeting: Historical Romance Goddess Julia Quinn! Woohoo! (If you live within driving distance of southern Connecticut, there’s still time to get a ticket)

The fan girl in me is salivating at this opportunity to meet JQ. And it got me thinking about other brushes with greatness I’ve had. Here’s my list:

1.  Janet Evanovich and her daughter Alex.  Sister Scribe J Monkeys and I drove out toward Beantown, had a long boozy lunch, then went to Janet’s book signing for Wicked Appetite. We visited with Alex while we waited in line for our turn to meet Janet. Awesome!  Still hoping we absorbed some of that magic …

2.  Doug Henning. The youngsters among us may not recognize the name, but back in the day he was quite a famous illusionist.  I was waiting to go up into the CN Tower in Toronto, and Doug and his very Bohemian girlfriend/wife — she actually wore a beret and a peasant skirt — were

Wish upon that star, baby!
in front of me.  I recall he had a HUGE head of long, black, curly hair, and kind of a bunny-like smile. He was extremely thin, and very short. I’m only five-three, and he was shorter than I if you subtracted the high eighties hair. Did not get free tickets to his show. Crap.

3.  Unknown 1950s/60s comic. Mr. Suze and I got married at a resort hotel in New York State. There was a gentleman getting some quietly special treatment when we went to breakfast the next morning. He looked familiar, and we knew he had to be some comedian from the Red Skelton era, but we never did figure out who he was. This is one of those things that will likely bug me forever!

4.  Richard Chamberlain. I went to NYC with my bestie from back home to see The Sound of Music. We were in a very small theater, and we had really great seats, right up front. Now, raise your hands. Who was in love with Father Ralph in The Thorn Birds? Every one of you, right? Well …. hang onto those memories because he didn’t look so great a few years ago as Captain Von Trapp. I mean, I know the man was getting up there in years, but he was wearing an inordinate amount of makeup that did NOT help the situation. Also guyliner.  Let’s just go back and think about Father Ralph again, shall we?

5. Katherine Hepburn. Mr. Suze and I used to keep a boat down at the shore, until I “made” him sell it (still a sore subject in our house). While we were out on Long Island Sound once, we were traveling behind a yacht. Up on the top deck sat an elderly woman, bundled up against the wind, all alone save for her captain at the helm. There was no mistaking her. She looked happy. She didn’t invite us back to her place for tea. Sigh.

So spill! What celebrities have you seen up close? Was the experience monumental? Or was it monumentally disappointing?