Friday, November 17, 2017

The Earl Who Loved Her Giveaway

Celebrating The Earl Who Loved Her, I'm giving away an ebook, tote, Christmas recipe book and other goodies. For a chance to win, just click on the link below.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How to plot your romance

Now that you have an idea for your story, it's time to turn it into a manuscript. Because guess what: you cannot sell an idea to an editor - unless you're really famous and your book is going to sell millions of copies while you sleep.
Gathering your thoughts into a coherent plot that grabs reader interest and keeps it for 300+ pages, is no simple task, but if you have a pen and some paper handy, it can be accomplished.
Here's how I do it, and I'm not saying this is the best way or the only way. It's just one way - the one I'm going to show you.

First, before I start plotting, I decide how many words I'm going to write in total. My full length novels range from 90,000 to a little under 100,000 words on average. So let's say I'm going to write 94,000 words and I want to do it in two months (eight weeks discounting weekends = 8x5 = 40 days of writing. So, 94,000 divided by 40 = 2,350 words per day. I bet you were wondering when you would get to use those excellent math skills of yours - right :)

Now that I know how much I HAVE to write per day (I usually write more - somewhere closer to 3,000) and how long it will take me to complete my first draft, I start plotting. Generally, my chapters are roughly three thousand words long, so 94,000/3,000 = 31.33... So let's say the book will contain 32 two chapters for the purpose of plotting.

Part 1 - Jot down the key characters. These are:

The hero

The heroine

The villain (if there is one)

Part 2 - Make sure you know who these characters are! Understanding them and giving them depth will go a long way toward getting your reader to care about them as much as you do.

Part 3 - Jot down the key plot elements. These are:

The problem the protagonist faces

The protagonists first attempt at solving this problem

Further complications of the problem

The protagonist's second attempt at solving the problem and additional failure

Worsening of the problem

Dark night of the soul - the part where all hope seems lost

The brilliant moment when the protagonist rallies, overcomes the obstacle and wins

Part 4 - Grab some paper and jot down the numbers 1-32. Next to each of these numbers, write a paragraph outlining each corresponding chapter, distributing the above mentioned elements throughout and adding hooks. This will make you think more clearly about each aspect of your book and whether or not it will make sense or leave you stranded in a corner you can't write your way out of. Remember - and this is based on experience - the more action a chapter outline contains, the easier it will be for you to spend 3,000 + words on it. By that I mean, jotting down - hero meets heroine in the park - doesn't really involve much writing unless they have a specific reason for meeting there, something interesting to discuss that pushes the plot forward and maybe additional information to reveal to the reader.

Overall, this plotting process takes me a few days because there are always problems that have to be muddled through, but if it's done well/thoroughly, it helps me stay on track and avoid having to re-write too much of the book later on.
Any questions? Let me know in the comment section below and I'll do my best to answer them in a timely fashion. Thanks and good luck with your plotting!

Release Day Giveaway - win a Georg Jensen advent candle and more

The Governess Who Captured His Heart is on sale today for only $0.99! This is a fun Regency road trip romance featuring a governess and the heir to a dukedom. Both will discovered that neither is what the other expected and that a week long carriage ride can lead to so much more than a mere destination. 

Temptations or Priorities…?

Determined to help her oldest sister make ends meet, Louise Potter accepts a governess position in the northern part of England. If this means accompanying an older gentleman on his travels, then she will. There’s only one problem: Louise is about to discover that her travelling companion is not the elderly man she expected, but rather seduction itself… 

Alistair Langley has no desire to share his carriage with his niece’s newly hired employee. But the matron he expected to find at his door is instead a beautiful young woman, one he knows he can’t travel alone with. After all, he’s going to visit his brother who is pressuring him to marry and produce a Langley heir—or be cut off from inheritance. When he confides in Louise, together they form a plan. But the closer they become, the more temptation beckons… 
Until finally a choice must be made: Love or money? Or is it possible to have both?

To celebrate this new release, I am giving away a grand prize to one lucky winner. You can enter the contest below.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Five easy steps to becoming a published author

If you're reading this post it's most likely because you hope to write a book one day. Maybe you have a story in mind or maybe getting published is item number 3 on your bucket list. That's how it started for me. Writing a book and getting it published was just something I wanted to do at some point. Never in my life did I imagine making a career of it, yet here I am, twenty plus years and a whole different career path later, writing for one of the biggest publishing houses in the world. Is it hard work? You bet. You cannot become an author without putting in the necessary time it takes, which is probably why a lot of people who dream of becoming authors, never do. But if your heart's in it, then the following steps should help you achieve your goal. At least, this is how I went about it, so here goes:

1. You've probably heard this before and it is in fact the most obvious part of becoming an author, and that is sitting down on a chair and actually writing. As Nora Roberts eloquently put it when The New Yorker questioned her about one rule of writing, "Ass in the chair." Do that, because even if you feel as though the words you're putting down are awful, they're better than no words at all :)

2. Set word count goals. I have been doing this since the very first book I wrote - the one that will never see the light of day because of how bad it is. Even if getting published might feel like a distant dream, it will remain so unless you finish a manuscript, which you will do if you decide to write a certain amount of words per day. In the beginning, I wrote about 1000 per day. I now get 3-4K down depending on what other things are happening in my life. We all have family, friends, obligations and possibly a day job or school, but unless you take your writing seriously and give it the time it deserves, no one else will and, more importantly, you probably won't get published.

3. Be determined. Decide that this is what you want to do and do it. Sounds simple, right? It actually is. Even if you don't land a contract with a big publisher, there are so many other options today. Just look at how many authors are self-publishing with great success. And remember, the more you write and the more you publish, the greater your chances of one day grabbing the attention of a big deal editor, if that is what you dream of doing.

4. Get used to criticism. I have never been criticized as much by people I don't even know as I have been over the last five years since I published my first book. The moment you put your thoughts out into the world, even if they are in the form of fiction, they will be judged. The important thing, is to avoid getting hurt or offended, but to use this feedback in a positive way. Because maybe there is some truth to what some disappointed reader out there had to say. Maybe your book was filled with anachronisms or other inaccuracies, or maybe the characters lacked depth or your plot was boring. Whatever the case, being made aware of your shortcomings as a writer (even if you choose to disagree) will help improve your future books and ensure that the next reviews you get are better. So don't sweat it and don't worry. Every author I know has received negative reviews. Because guess what? You cannot please everyone. It's literally impossible.

5. Read. Read as much as you can and then read some more. Pay attention to what makes a book memorable. Why are the characters so interesting? Why is it impossible for you to put down? How does that first paragraph grab you and draw you into the story? There's a lot of extra reading on this out there in the cyber universe, but the best books are usually the ones that elicit an emotional reaction in the reader. They have to relate and they have to care until they've read the last page. It isn't easy, but it can be done. As long as you go back to rule number one of this list and sit down and start writing.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wilde In Love by Eloisa James

What a stellar beginning to a new series! The characters were well written (the hero utterly swoon-worthy) and the plot so intriguing I could not put this book down after picking it up. Fun and incredibly well-written, this story really showcases Eloisa James' skill as an author.

Lord Alaric Wilde returns home after years abroad to discover that he has become the most famous and desirable man in England. Women flock to his side, prints of him have become collectibles and the trendiest play in town is the one depicting his time in Africa. Horrified, Alaric seeks refuge in his father's castle. There he discovers that escaping celebrity is much more difficult than he expected and that the only woman he wants has no interest in him whatsoever.

Willa Ffynche enjoys her books and her privacy. She is an intellectual whose indifference toward Alaric's return could not be made more plain. Since her parents died in a carriage race years earlier, she has determined to steer clear of a reckless lifestyle. Instead she hopes to one day marry a man with whom she can enjoy a quiet and peaceful existence without the sort of adventurous behavior Alaric is so renowned for. But as she gradually gets to know him better, she begins to discover that there might be more to him than she initially thought and that resisting him will not be as easy as she had expected.

Filled with witty dialogue and an wonderful journey toward a well-deserved happily ever after, this book stands out - a definite must-read for any historical romance enthusiast!

Monday, October 9, 2017

On Sale for only $1.99 - A Most Unlikely Duke

Take advantage of this offer while it lasts and save 67%!
Grab the ebook copy of A Most Unlikely Duke on Amazon and B&N for only $1.99 while you can!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Douglas by Grace Burrowes

This is the first Lonely Lords book I've read and there's no doubt I'm going to grab the rest in this series. Grace Burrowes is an excellent author who stays true to the period in which she writes through wonderful usage of time-appropriate language and dialogue. If you really want to feel as though you've been swept away to the past, then this is the romance author for you!

Douglas Allen, Viscount Amery, has recently suffered the loss of his brothers, both of whom helped squander the rest of the family fortune. Determined to make a go at turning his situation around, he decides to seek advice in property management from a woman who comes highly recommended through a distant relation. But the lady in question is not at all ready to lend her assistance. She is standoffish and would rather show him the door than travel with Douglas to the property he needs help with. Cracking her prickly facade and securing her expertise will require cart-loads of charm, honesty and kindness on his part.

The cruelty Guinevere Hollister suffered years ago at the hands of a man still haunts her. It crushed her sense of self-worth and resulted in her seclusion from society. Since then, she has been taking care of one of her cousin's estates where she lives in blissful privacy with her daughter. The last thing she needs is a viscount intent on spending great lengths of time in her company. She especially has no desire to spirit away with him to some run-down manor where he might presume to take certain liberties. But as he convinces her that she isn't really living, but hiding, and because she owes him a favor, she eventually agrees to put her mistrust aside and accept his proposal.

I truly loved this story. The characters were compelling and lovable, the comic relief featuring dialogue between Gwen's cousins, thoroughly entertaining. A great read that I would highly recommend!