I’m on the downhill slide to finish my Marquess and the Governess book and my friend Emery Lee aka Victoria Vane kindly volunteered to guest blog for me. How cool is that? Do you know what is even better? She’s giving away a free download of her new erotic Georgian novella, A BREACH OF PROMISE to one lucky commenter chosen at random.
Give a warm welcome to Emery Lee/Victoria Vane!!!
Since this blog is very much about risk taking, I am posting today about my own huge and exciting risky transition from romantic historical fiction to erotic historical romance, and to share a bit about my naughty new novellas.
How it all began… Late last spring I found myself in both a crisis of confidence and already floundering in a writing career that had only just begun. As many authors are aware, the oh-so-wonderful publication of that first novel is only the beginning of one’s struggles. Often the second and third book deals don’t come much easier than the first. While I had sold and finished my second novel, FORTUNE’S SON
, and was continuing to write my little heart out, my publisher had taken a “wait and see” stance on my proposed third, fourth and fifth novels, leaving me sitting impotently on my thumbs. To make matters worse, my agent quit the publishing business altogether, leaving me high and dry.
It was during this frustrating dry spell that the wonderful Diane Gaston suggested I try writing something short to help bridge the gap until I could sell another of my full length novels. While I had read a number of the Historical Undone titles, it had never occurred to me to write anything short. To be honest, I didn’t know if I even could. Novella length romantic fiction presents some serious challenges—to fully develop characters and a plot readers will embrace in 50-100 pages is no easy feat. Yet, it seemed a logical and productive use of my time, so I decided to give it a go.
Loosely inspired by The Belle’s Stratagem
, a Georgian era play I had read, the result of my efforts was a 15K word story about a broken engagement. Believing it “perfect” for Harlequin’s Historical Undone line, I joyfully sent it off. Unfortunately, Harlequin didn’t share my sentiments! But by then, I had already submitted to several other publishers, certain that one of them would snatch up my short masterpiece. Wrong again. I got several more rejections.
Having by then decided to write it all off as a “failed experiment,” you can imagine my shock in receiving a conditional acceptance from an erotic romance publisher who loved the story but felt it needed more development and a higher heat level. Develop the romance and make it longer? (Big smile.) No problem! Amp up the heat level to erotic level? (Gulp.) I was terrified.
You see, I had never written steamy love scenes. While having strong sexual tension, my other books are pretty much PG-13. Yet, armed with a burning desire to see something, anything,
published to keep my career moving forward, I accepted the contract with the promise to deliver a scorching hot historical romance that readers would love. Easy, right? NOT!!!
After working tirelessly for weeks, I submitted my revised manuscript only to receive 8 pages of notes back from my editor! I was crushed. Where did I go wrong? What was lacking? While I had adopted the more graphic language used in erotic romance and had the “mechanics” in abundance, my editor described the weakness in the manuscript as lacking the “sixth sense,” or the emotional connection the reader must feel. In any great love scene, the reader must be engaged with the characters’ emotion not just visualizing the act. Engaging the reader in this manner is one of the most difficult undertakings of any writer, but to integrate this into sex scenes is exponentially harder. It is a true gift when done well.
Wanting very much to learn how, I set out to find authors who meld strong emotion into explicit love scenes, authors I wished to emulate. While the idea was truly daunting, I also perceived a golden opportunity to stretch myself as a writer. It was time for a crash course in Sex Writing 101.
I began by reading- devouring actually- works by bestselling erotic romance authors to learn what they do and how they do it. I discovered authors like Robin Schone
, Sylvia Day
, and Charlotte Featherstone
, who combine beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua
who I much admire for her creative vision in melding real history with eroticism.
Armed with what I had learned from these amazing authors, I went back to work on A BREACH OF PROMISE with the goal of writing an erotic level romance my own way— with a well-drawn and emotionally compelling plot, sympathetic characters, witty dialogue, a touch of humor, and scorching heat without the “kink factor.”
Released a month ago, my “naughty little novella” has had an incredible early reception and has already scored me a three book deal with another erotic romance publisher. Me, a purveyor of high quality smut? Who knew? ;P
A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. She also writes non-erotic historical fiction as Emery Lee. Erotic Historical Romance Titles:
A BREACH OF PROMISE
, Ellora’s Cave
A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE,
a sexy rollicking Georgian romp – Coming soon from Breathless press
A BREACH OF PROMISE by Victoria Vane
WHEN CHARM AND PERSUASION FAIL… ONLY SEDUCTION REMAINS….
On the night of her betrothal, Lydia Trent receives just a taste of what ecstasy will be at the hands of her fiancé…and then he leaves her wanting. After waiting six years, and tired of being neglected by her exceedingly reluctant husband-to-be, Lydia decides to break it off. When Marcus, Lord Russell, receives Lydia’s letter requesting a release from their contract, he is stunned by her audacity. Confident he’ll have her eating out of his hand with his usual wit and charm, he’s determined to repair the damage. However, the headstrong woman she’s blossomed into is equally determined to thwart his every effort to win her back. Marcus discovers, in spite of her conviction to end the union, Lydia is more responsive to his touch than he ever imagined. He just needs to get her alone to unleash the promised passion he sees within his wanton virgin. Marcus will use any tool in his arsenal to exploit her weakness—his kisses, his hands, his mouth…her own body. In short, he’ll just have to ruin her!
“Reckless hearts, battling wits, and plenty of steam in a wonderfully well drawn Georgian setting.” -NYT Bestselling author Grace Burrowes