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Tag Archives: Dedication

First, here’s the new cover for Dedication, coming from Loose-Id next month, and you’ll hear all about it as time goes on. There’s more information on my site. Isn’t it pretty!

My task of the day is coming up with a blurb for another book that will be out sometime … soon. It’s called The Malorie Phoenix and was originally written as an option ms. for Signet Regencies (remember them? Polyester dresses, no sex?). So on p. 7 the hero and heroine (who was, uh rather young, but the age of consent then was 12… No, of course she’s not 12! But she’s not 21 or 31, but inexplicably she’s a virgin) are at it. And I was going to send this to Signet? Thank goodness the line ended.

I can’t but help think of this in tabloid language which isn’t helping me with the blurb.

Earl’s Son Bonks Virgin at Vauxhall Gardens
“I didn’t ask to see ID,” says Benedict de Malorie, officer in some regiment or other. “I thought she was doing her bit for the Napoleonic war effort.”

Suspected Criminal Tangles with Aristocracy
Alleged pickpocket Jenny Smith, who refused to give her age, today accused the younger son of the Earl of T— of fathering her child. “And he was pretty incompetent in the sack,” Miss Smith reported as she emptied her pockets of three handkerchiefs, a fob seal, and a cravat pin. “Where the heck did these come from? I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

Vauxhall Gardens Shock Horror
… and so on.

So let’s take a look at a few tabloid interpretations of favorite books

Red Carpet Shocker at Meryton Assembly
Neither Fitzwilliam Darcy nor Elizabeth Bennet were available for comment following their encounter at the Meryton Assembly. Ms. Bennet, described by close friends as “in remarkably good shape following a night of dancing” has been seen working at her embroidery.

Willoughby Does It Again!
“I’ve no idea what her problem is,” John Willoughby said after accusations made publicly last night by Marianne Dashwood. “She obviously came out of rehab too soon.”

Just Friends
Pooh and Eeyore denied any romantic entanglement again today after they were seen sharing honey and thistles in an intimate thicket. “I think we should give them their privacy to work things out,” commented John Watson, long time companion of hottie Sherlock Holmes.

OK, now it’s your turn…

I’m following Caroline’s lead in the business of shameless self promotion by showing you the book trailer I made for Dedication:

And now we have that over with, I’ll share the secrets of my plotting process with you. First of all, I have a visit from the Idea Elf. The Idea Elf whispers in my ear something like “Why don’t you write a book about …” and then his colleague, the Plot Fairy, comes to visit.

Yes, really. They are little people dressed in green and the Plot Fairy has lovely gauzy wings. They flit. They are cute. The Idea Elf tends to come around when I’m halfway through something and I have to tell him to go away and then he sulks. The Plot Fairy is a shy and wondrous creature whose visits are always unexpected and infrequent. I don’t know why the Idea Elf is male and the Plot Fairy female but it provides an excuse to post a pic of Orlando Bloom (who isn’t nearly as pretty as himself and the Idea Elf is rather more sort of green and wizened).

So here’s the latest from the Idea Elf:

As you know, a single woman, a friend or sister, was often invited to accompany the happy couple on their honeymoon. So Character A, companion to Character B, is in love with Mr. C. and then to her astonishment he proposes to Character B. B invites A to accompany them on their honeymoon. Now this is interesting because it could go a number of ways and so could they. It could be extremely sexy. It could be tender and reflective. It could be… calling the Plot Fairy. Come in, Plot Fairy. Plot Fairy, are you there?

Character A (a completely different A) is a woman whose reputation is dodgy because she’s had a string of failed engagements. Current fiance B turns up and begs to be set free because he’s gay and the guilt is driving him nuts. She suggests: a threesome … a drive in the park to clear his head … that he find her another potential husband superquick … Mayday, Plot Fairy. Are you receiving me?

Downton Abbey done right in the Regency: a houseful of conniving servants, upstairs-downstairs love affairs, and then … a body in the library (the butler done it with a blunt instrument!) … missing jewelry … a rude parrot … trapdoors … secret passages … a gaggle of women invited by the hero’s mother to try out for the position of bride … I’m actually writing this one and where is that Plot Fairy when you need her?

A terrible virus attacks the hot Dukes of Regency London, turning them into small brown dogs. The plucky heroine, an amateur scientist, joins forces with a renegade doctor to save the flower of England’s aristocracy but her heart is torn between him and a hot Duke whose DNA may provide the cure.

Now, are there any of these you’d actually want to read?

It’s a historic day–actually two days ago it was a historic day when the digital, rewritten, heated up (but it was always hot) new version of Dedication was released.

Isn’t it a fabulous cover? You can buy it here and watch the book trailer here.

Just for giggles, I’m reposting excerpts from the original Riskies interview from 2005 when the first edition (strangely a Signet Regency–a trad!) was released, when this blog was a mere infant. Updated comments in this color.

Q. How did you think of writing this particular book? Did it start with a character, a setting, or some other element?

The first scene–that of a man knocking at the door of a London house early in the morning– came into my head strongly enough that I was able to build the plot and characters from there. I don’t know why it works this way for me, but it does. Heck I wish it still did. Somehow that was very evocative.It’s one of those classic beginnings, like the hero leaves town and/or the stranger comes into town: think about how many books are constructed like that.

Q. How long did it take? Was this an easy or difficult book to write?

It took years, the luxury of the first book! It was a much revised book, but it was always easy to write. It began first as a single-title regency set historical, and had a rather convoluted plot. Adam was a codebreaker for English intelligence, and Fabienne his major suspect as a spy. I also had the villain eaten by Adam’s pigs, something I’ve always regretted losing. I had a near miss with an editor who suggested I drop the spy plot and make it more a comedy of manners, so I revised it and she rejected it via form letter (one of those character building moments). It was never was a comedy of manners, and it continued to bomb until it won the 2004 Royal Ascot Contest (sponsored by the Beau Monde) and Signet made me an offer for it later that year. I had to chop off 20k words, so the subplot almost disappeared, but at least almost all the sex stayed intact! Then I got the rights back and dithered around with it, missing the phenomenon of self-pubbing by selling to Loose-Id. I rewrote fairly extensively and restored some of the subplot and expanded upon the sex. I repaired, I hope, the gaping hole near the end which reviewers kindly attributed to the drastic shortening of the book; it wasn’t. It was a combination of me galloping to the finish line and being a lousy plotter. Anyway, with this version you get, er, more bang for your buck.

Q. Tell me more about your characters. What or who inspired them?

I’ve no idea where Fabienne and Adam came from. I think they were based on what I didn’t want to write about or read about. I was interested in characters who had had experience in life, including good relationships with other partners, friends, and family, and who had not been holding grudges or harboring revenge plans for decades. In other words, fairly complex and healthy people, who were mature enough to solve their own problems but were also human enough to make mistakes. So that’s how I ended up with a heroine in her late 30s and a hero in his early 40s, both widowed. And that was really unusual seven years ago, amazing though it may seem. I had to have a hero of a certain age with viable sperm, it’s central to the plot, but I think he’s one of the sexiest men I’ve written (glasses, cries a lot, nice hands–my sorta guy). And in this version I could actually show Fabienne with one of her lovers, something that was only hinted at in the original version, because in 2005 only minor female characters had an adventurous love life and they usually had to pay for it by coming to a sticky end. Sadly, the double standard is still with us, I think.

So the contest–I’ve told you about Adam, my favorite hero. Now tell me about your favorite sort of hero. Easy. I’m giving away two downloads of Dedication as prizes!

The fine print: You must include a “safe” version of your email address, eg riskies at yahoo dot com in your post. I will announce the winners here on Saturday morning, giving you two full days to tell your friends about this fantabulous contest. I will email the winners directly to ask about formats. If I don’t hear back from you within a week you’re toast. Sorry! 18 and over.

I’m off to the 2012 Love of Writing Conference today so I must count pairs of underwear and remember to pack my toothbrush. Having turned my office inside out and upside down I found one of the many cables I own that enable a mac to talk to a projector, so that’s one big relief. Whew.

So here’s an excerpt from Dedication on sale now! Now! for Kindle, Nook, and at LooseId. When I first wrote the book nearly everyone commented that there was a hole at the end. So there was. The hero Adam is challenged to a duel by the heroine’s brother, because, tsk tsk, she’s pregnant. So naturally after the duel he has to do the honorable thing…

The next morning Fabienne sat at her writing desk, a tisane at her elbow. She could not stomach coffee, formerly one of the great sensual pleasures of her life, and regarded both the blank page and the cooling cup of herbal tea with distaste. She sharpened her pen again to delay writing. Her mind was dull and sleepy. Even so simple a task as writing to a friend to borrow half a dozen footmen for her salon seemed beyond her. So she had sat, indecisive and nervous, searching for words, the first time she had written to Mrs. Ravenwood.

Mrs. Ravenwood. She grimaced. What a train of events she had set in motion.
The sound of an opening door and male voices came from downstairs—Ippolite, her footman, and another voice that despite her anger and resentment caused a familiar sizzle of excitement.
She laid her hand on her belly. “Your papa is here, and for your sake, I shall remain calm.”
Sure enough, her footman scratched at the door. “Mr. Ashworth, ma’am.”
Before she could speak, Adam had pushed past him, opening the door. She noticed that his hat and gloves were in the footman’s hands, suggesting that Adam’s visit was to be of some duration, before the door was firmly closed in the servant’s face.
“I trust I’m not interrupting you,” he said. “I’ve come to discuss our wedding.”
“Our wedding?”
“Yes.” He wandered over to her desk and drummed his fingers on the wooden surface. She could feel his warmth as he leaned against her chair. “To whom are you writing?”
“It is none of your business.”
“If there’s nothing written, it can be no one’s business, unless you use an invisible ink. I wonder that I ask, but I’m not myself. I lost a fair amount of blood yesterday, and my sister and daughter drive me mad fussing over me.”
“Sit down, Adam, and tell me what you want.”
“Very well.” He sat and reached into his coat, clumsily, for he used his left hand, and she wondered, with a pang of sympathy, if his injury pained him. He handed her a document. “I had this drawn up. It states that I make no claim on your fortune when we marry, for you are a French citizen and subject to French law, under which a married woman controls her money.”
“When we marry? Should that not be if we marry?” She laid the document aside. “A fine gesture, Adam, but I doubt it would stand up in court.”
He glared at her. “Then you shall have to trust my word in the matter of your finances. As unpleasant a prospect as it may be, yes, Fabienne, you shall marry me, by God. It is a question of honor. My honor. I am damned if our child shall be born without my name, and I let your brother skewer me like a stuck pig yesterday for that reason. My ballocks ache still from his defense of the Argonac family name. Pray do not argue. We marry, and that’s an end to it.” He flung another document onto her lap.
“A special license,” she said.
“This afternoon.”
“I’m in a hurry. Surely you don’t need more than a couple of hours to get ready. Put a bonnet on and we’ll be on our way. Ippolite will stand as witness. I gather you no longer adhere to the Catholic faith? Good.”
“I’m not even dressed!”
“Beg your pardon, ma’am. I can’t always tell with ladies’ fashions as they are.” He leaned back, stretched out his legs, and crossed his feet at the ankles. He gave her an appreciative, masculine look, gaze sliding from her casually tied-back hair—she had washed it that morning, and it fell in drying tendrils around her face—to her loose gown and embroidered Indian slippers.
“Oh, you…” she said, torn between a sudden fierce urge to fling herself onto his lap or to rail at his officiousness.
“I love you,” he said. “I have reason to believe you love me too. Come, Fabienne, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t fight me.” He reached for her hand and rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “You have nothing to fear from me.”
“I can’t possibly go to the country. I have my salon next week.” But she let her hand lie under his.
“Of course. You’ll come to my house later. Whenever you wish.”
“I’m not sure I wish to live with you,” she said, as much to provoke him as anything else.
“I should be most happy to provide conjugal visits at your pleasure, but wouldn’t you prefer to lie-in in the country? It’s far healthier, and we have an excellent doctor nearby.”
“So I tell her, Mr. Ashworth.” Susan bumped the door open with her hip. She laid a tray of tea things on the low table in the room. “I don’t hold with cows and so on, but I’ll go to the country if I must. Mr. Argonac says you’re to drink tea, Mr. Ashworth, and keep your strength up. Anything more, ma’am?”
Fabienne shook her head, and Susan left. “I am surrounded by conspirators.”
“Conspirators who love you.” Another amorous glance, lingering on her breasts.
She frowned and wrapped her shawl more closely around herself.
“You’re looking very well,” Adam continued as he poured tea. “Do you quicken yet?”
“No,” she lied.
“Mags was a glory when she was pregnant. Like a lovely ripe plum. And amorous. Good heavens, she was insatiable.” He smiled fondly. “Asleep over her sewing half the afternoon and a raging succubus after dinner.”
“How charming. I feel no amorous urges at all,” Fabienne said, very aware of the slow stroke of his thumb on her knuckles. “Besides, my doctor advises me that such activities are injurious to the child.”
He blinked at that barefaced lie—she had not yet even consulted a physician—and laughed aloud. “More fool him.”
She attempted to move her hand from beneath his and succeeded only in drawing his hand closer to her belly where the child fluttered and quivered deep inside her. She was fairly sure he could not feel anything through her dressing gown and shift, but he gave a slow smile as their hands came to rest in the warmth of her lap.
“No amorous urges?”
He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, where a drying curl escaped the ribbon she had tied around her hair. “You’re very beautiful. You looked tired before, but now your hair is delicious—is that sandalwood?—and your skin glows.”
“I feel well enough.”
His lips brushed hers, lingered at the corner of her mouth. “Get dressed. I want to marry you. I have a very nervous clergyman waiting for us, drinking all the claret at my house. We need to get there before he becomes insensible.”
Their joined hands pressed between her thighs, and she couldn’t help a small gasp of excitement escaping her lips.

“But of course, I forget. No amorous urges.” He reached for his teacup and drained it. “Come, madam. I’ll help you dress.”

Question for you. Do you think dressing can be as sexy as undressing? Why? 

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