The Earl’s Wallflower Bride is Now Available!

(My thanks to my awesome editing and beta reader team!  You’re all wonderful to work with!)

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This is Book 3 in the Marriage by Agreement Series.

Helena, Melissa, and Chloe are arranging marriages, but not all will go smoothly on the way to a happily ever after…

Warren Beaufort, the Earl of Steinbeck, prides himself on having the best of the best. From his furnishings in his townhouse to his clothes, he chooses everything with the intention of impressing others. And more than that, he has amassed a fortune that is the envy of many in London. One thing he lacks, however, is an heir. In order to get the heir, he’ll need a wife.

Lady Iris, the Duke of Hartwell’s daughter, has money, but she lacks both grace and looks. One thing she does have, however, is the good sense to know a gentleman like Warren is all wrong for her, which is why she’s horrified to learn she’s been matched with him for marriage. But the Duchess of Ashbourne and her friends assure her that she and Warren have so much in common they are an ideal match.

Having no way out of the marriage her father has arranged for her, she has no choice but to marry Warren. While she might have to give him the heir, she will never, under any circumstance, give him something far more precious…her heart.

You can find it at these sites:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

For easy reference, here are the other books in this series:

His Wicked Lady (Marriage by Arrangement: Book 1)

his wicked 1

In this book, I introduce Lord Steinbeck and Lady Iris (the hero and heroine in The Earl’s Wallflower Bride).

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords

Her Devilish Marquess (Marriage by Agreement: Book 2)

Her Devilish Marquess ebook cover

In this book, I go more into Mr. Malcolm Jasper’s friendship with Lord Steinbeck and show a more “irritating” side to Steinbeck. I say “irritating” because Steinbeck doesn’t officially become a hero until The Earl’s Wallflower Bride.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords

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Character Tropes

character trope

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What is a character trope?

As I was researching the subject of character tropes, I narrowed down the definition of a trop to be as follows: a trope is something done so much that it becomes common.  It’s something that is easily identified by the average person.  In a nutshell, it’s a stereotype.

For example, if I tell you I’m writing a Regency about a rake, those of you familiar with Regencies will probably come up with an image of a hero with low moral standing.  He probably sleeps around with multiple women, gambles, drinks, and “lives it up” on a nightly basis.

Another example, if I tell you that a hero in my contemporary romance is a geek, you probably have an image of someone who loves the pursuit of knowledge, is a virgin (and probably hasn’t dated much, if at all), is socially awkward, and most likely wears glasses.  The trope not only conjures up personality traits but physical ones as well.

So when I talk about a character trope, I’m talking about using stereotypes to your advantage.

 

Why do we have character tropes?

The purpose of a character trope is to give your prospective readers an idea of whether or not your story is a good fit for them.  Not everyone wants to read about a certain character.  I know women who love the bad boy trope in romances.  Me?  I hate them.  Give me the good guy over the bad boy any day.  So if I see a romance with a bad boy trope, I won’t pick it up.  Does this mean the bad boy trope is bad?  No.  It just means it’s not interesting to me.  Just as some women don’t care for the good guy because the good guy is often portrayed as boring and predictable.  The bad boy is exciting and sexy.

The character tropes in fiction can be used to your advantage.  It will help narrow things down.  Your job isn’t to attract every single reader on this planet.  Your job is to find the readers interested in the kind of characters you like to write about.  (This goes along for the plot points and genre, but for this post, we’re dealing with characters.)

So when picking the character types you’re using, think of your author brand.  What kind of writer do you want to be known as?  If you’re a romance writer, do you want to be known for writing about the bad boys, or do you prefer to write about the good guys?

I’m not saying you need to pick the same character trope for every book, but there should be a consistency somewhere in the kind of stories you write.  For example, an author known for writing about good guy heroes will shock her readers if she suddenly chooses the bad boy hero.  Why?  Because the readers will expect a certain type of story when they get used to the author’s work.

The same works for genre.  If you’re known for writing romance, you’re going to have a hard time selling horror.  And the same also works for how explicit your books are.  If you’re known for writing clean romances, you’re going to piss off a lot of readers if you suddenly add sex scenes.

My advice: pick the thing you enjoy most and stick with it.  You have some leeway in what you can do, but you have to know your target audience’s expectations enough so you don’t upset your core readers.  If in doubt, ask them what they like and don’t like.  I do this in beta reads and in Facebook.  The best way to find out what works and what doesn’t is by going directly to your readers.

Do character tropes have to be stagnant?

When you use a certain trope, does that character have to be that way through the entire book?  For example: once a bad boy, always a bad boy?

The answer, I’m happy to say, is nope!  Characters should be 3-dimensional.  They should be as varied and complex as real people.  People change over the course of a lifetime, so characters can change over the course of the book.  Not all characters have to change, but you can definitely use change for some of them.  For example, your bad boy can become a good guy by the end of the book.  This is often why rakes are popular in Regencies.  The hero doesn’t stay a rake for the whole book.  In the end, he becomes a good guy because the heroine often changes him for the better.

The character doesn’t always have to change for the better.  Depending on your genre, you can have good guy who, for one reason or another, decides to turn dark.  If you end the book with the hero turning into a villain, then what you have is a sad ending.  (Note: this will not be a romance.  In romance, a villain can become a hero, but a hero must never become a villain.  The readers will not be pleased.)  So if you choose to let your character change, then be aware of the genre you’re writing in and the expectations of that genre.

Keep in mind the culture where your character comes from.

This is very relevant because we’re moving into a global market with ebooks.  So when you’re writing, you may want to keep in mind that your culture’s definition of a certain character trope is different from another’s. For example, the roles of men and women are different in different cultures, so what a character can get away with in one country might not work in another.

Should this stop you from writing the story that you want to tell?  Of course not.  But if you are going to write a story about a character in another culture, then it would be a good idea to research how that culture views the kind of character you’re writing.  What does a geek look like in another country?  If you’re writing about a character in India, how will the geek be similar or different from one in the United States?

This applies to historical times as well as contemporary times.  For example, when I wrote a series on a Native American tribe (the Mandans), I learned the bride’s family owned the lodges, the husband was to move in with her (and oftentimes would marry her sisters), and the wife/wives could throw out the husband for any reason they wanted.  The husband only owned his horse, clothes, and his hunting gear.  That is a different culture from the white people who inhabited the United States at that time.  So to pretend the white culture and the Mandan culture were the same would have been a disservice to both sides.

I’d like to ask you about tropes in your own genre.  

Browse through the genre you write in and check the description of the bestselling books that pop up in your search.  Do you see certain character “types” emerging?  Readers of genres tend to prefer certain kinds of characters more than others.  I’d love to hear what you discover as you do your search.  Do any images come to mind when you think of those tropes?  Do you like them?  Hate them?  Do you plan to use them?  And if so, how?

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Updates

The Earl’s Wallflower Bride will be out July 17!

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Click here to pre-order!

It’s hard to believe, but it’s only nine days away from coming out.  This is the last book in the Marriage by Agreement Series.

For those who like to wait until the entire series is complete before reading it, here’s the order:

  • Book 1: His Wicked Lady
  • Book 2: Her Devilish Marquess
  • Book 3: The Earl’s Wallflower Bride

The Marriage Agreement is off to my awesome publisher!

The Marriage Agreement ebook cover

Click here to pre-order!

This one is still coming out August 7.

I just finished up with the edits (thanks to my terrific editing and beta reading team!), and I have emailed the book to my publisher this morning.  This gives the publisher plenty of time to go over it and get it uploaded for the release date.

This is Book 2 in the Pioneer Series.  I’m currently working on Groom For Hire, which is Book 3.  (Wagon Trail Bride is Book 1.)

The Unofficial Epilogue to The Marriage Agreement will come out on August 7 as a flash fiction story!  (It will be free.)

Ingrid ebook cover with subtitle

For those of you on my email list, I did do an epilogue featuring the hero and heroine in The Marriage Agreement.  That epilogue goes off to those on my email list.  If you’re not on my email list yet but would like to be, go here.

I won’t spoil The Marriage Agreement, but suffice it to say this 1,200-word story extends the happy ending for another character (rather than the hero and heroine).  Since it is so short, it will be free.

I just finished the first draft for The Accidental Mail Order Bride!

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Click here to pre-order!

And yes, I did reveal who killed Lydia Richie in The Mistaken Mail Order Bride.

Thanks to everyone for being patient with me for making you wait.  I think when you read the book you’ll understand why the hero in this particular book had to have a hand in solving the mystery.

This book is due out September 4.  I should have it ready for my editing and beta reading team next week.

The Accidental Mail Order Bride is Book 3 in the Chance at Love Series.  (The Convenient Mail Order Bride is Book 1, and The Mistaken Mail Order Bride is Book 2.)

I’ve just started a new Regency series!

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Click here to pre-order!  (Only on iBooks right now.  Will be on other sites soon.)

The new series is the Marriage by Bargain Series.  This is book 1.  I already have an idea for Book 2 and Book 3.

If you read The Earl’s Wallflower Bride when it comes out, you’ll be introduced to three characters who will play a major role in this series.  There’s Lord Wosley, his sister, and his sister’s friend.  Each one will be getting their own book, starting with Lord Worsley (aka. Anthony).

Groom For Hire will finish up the Pioneer Series!

Groom for Hire

I expect that this will be out in December.  It is Joe’s story.  Joe was the one who had wanted to marry Amanda Larson.  I felt bad for the poor guy, so he’s getting his own story.

(This is Book 3 in the Pioneer Series.)

I will start The Bargain Mail Order Bride next week!

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Click here to pre-order!

Finally, I will get to Carl Richie’s book. I’ve been itching to write this story ever since I was writing that scene where he and Abe Thomas got into the fist fight back in The Convenient Mail Order Bride.  I love watching a “bad” character evolve into a hero, and this is one of those heroes.

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