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indexRevisiting an old story intent on revising it can be a scary journey full of rocks and potholes. I’m deep in the throes of revising my old Signet Regency, The Magnificent Marquess, and I have to tell you, the process isn’t pretty! It’s not just the mess of annotated pages scattered over my dining room table and all the handwritten notes that are keyed to them, but also my precarious state of mind.

What do you think about “new and improved” versions of older books? Have you ever picked up a new version of an old favorite and read it to see if you liked it better? And did you? If you write, have you gone back to previously published work and significantly changed it? I’m not talking about just a minor tweak or correction here or there. Were you pleased with the result? Please let me know in the comments!writers-block21

While I am firmly convinced this original book can be greatly improved, I am also terrified I may make it worse rather than better.

There seem to be two schools of thought about reissuing backlist books. One is that old books are like old friends and should just be sent back out again in the same lovable form they originally presented to the world. The other is that reissuing them offers an opportunity to improve them –to fix mistakes, enliven the writing, or even indulge in the deeper surgeries (or expansions) required to improve plot, character, or motivations. What’s your experience with this, as a reader, or a writer, or both?

writing_as_professionalMost of my old Signets packed a lot of plot into a relatively short book format –the length was a requirement of the publisher’s line. I believe that by expanding The Magnificent Marquess, I can tell the story more effectively. Too much had to be left out of the original version. But one of many dangers then becomes losing the pacing, not to mention the challenge of keeping the writing tight. All the same problems of writing any original version!

I just keep reminding myself that even though these characters and their story are old friends of mine, for readers who never read the first version, this revised one will be brand new. I’ll let you know when it’s ready!! happy reading 2 peeps




Yesterday I turned in my revisions for Not Proper Enough, the sequel to Not Wicked Enough, which I hope you have all rushed out to buy, because I could use another couple of sales, let me tell you.

Whenever an editor says to me something along the lines of “My revisions are really light, I don’t think they’ll take long,” I kind of die inside because that inevitably means there are 3-4 offhand comments that require massive rewriting to properly address. Likewise, I’ve had revision letters that apologize for the huge changes requested and then when you look at them, the huge changes take a couple sentences to fix. Literally.

This time was an in between case. Yes, the revisions were thought to be light but I revised A LOT on my own and to support the revisions requested. Plus the day job required a kind of dreadful amount of my time and attention, so wow. It’s been a tough 2 weeks.

The good news is, as I was working through the MS, I kept thinking, gee, this is WAY better than I remember. And way hotter.

I am brain dead mostly.

And now, as the kitty sez. We all wait for the awesomeness that is Not Proper Enough. September 2012.

I am in the middle of revisions so this will be a fairly short post. About, uh, Regency stuff. Like uh,

Handsome men!

Google books to the rescue.  I found this bit of dialogue to be very funny. Well done, Elizabeth Inchbald! (1815)

Sadly, searching Google Books for “handsome man” 1800-1820 was an exercise in disappointment, other than the above. Most of the references were misogynistic in the extreme. Alas.

So, who’s handsome?

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Last night as I was plugging along on my revisions, I discovered AN ERROR, one I could not ignore, even though maybe only about two readers would recognize the error.

From the beginning of this book, my villain was a general in the British army and his son, the mini-villain, was his cowardly aide de camp. I thought I was so lucky because I put him in charge of a regiment, the Royal Scots (1st Regiment of Foot), while my hero was in the East Essex (44th Regiment) and they both fought at the battles I needed them to, including Waterloo.

A couple of days ago I also discovered that these two regiments fought at Quatre Bras as well as Waterloo AND they were in the same brigade. This fit perfectly with some changes I’d decided to make.

Then last night I noticed something. The real commanders of the regiments were all colonels. After about two hours of searching the internet and my dozens of Napoleonic War books, I verified that, indeed, colonels commanded regiments, not generals, and colonels do not have aids de camp. (I also phoned my friend Eugene Ossa who knew all this stuff off the top of his head)

So I had to revamp a few things and go through the whole manuscript to make sure I fixed everything.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep last night….

This is what I learned.
Armies were made up of Divisions (and Artillery, but that’s a whole different ballgame)
Divisions were made up of Brigades
Brigades were made up of Regiments
Regiments were made up of Companies.

Armies were led by important people, like Wellington, called Field Marshall Wellington in this battle.
Divisions were commanded by Lieutenant Generals
Brigades were commanded by Major Generals (inferior in rank to Lt. Generals)
Regiments were commanded by Colonels, assisted by Majors.
Companies were commanded by Captains, assisted by Lieutenants.

Of course, each regiment had surgeons, bandsmen, clergy, a paymaster, but I didn’t need to know that to solve my problem.

I sent my manuscript on time, then got permission to go through it one more time, just to polish the prose (and hope that I don’t discover another ERROR)

But first I’m going to sleep…..

So…has this ever happened to you?
Do you understand the British Army in 1815???

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