Malcolm (hero in His Wicked Lady) is about to learn a very important lesson: Always Meet the Lady Before You Marry Her

Today’s post comes from a current work in progress, His Wicked Lady, which I expect to have out in January.

Malcolm is Melissa Jasper’s brother.  Melissa was the heroine in Ruined by the Earl, and if you’ll recall, Malcolm wasn’t at all happy with the gentleman she married.  He’s still not happy with the match in this book.  I don’t know if that will be resolved or not.

But it’s now time for him to have his own story, and as it turns out, he will have it in His Wicked Lady.  Today, I wrote this scene which takes place in Chapter 5.  (This is in first draft mode.)

Needless to say, his refusal to meet with the lovely–and mischievous–Lady Cantrell will come back to haunt him. But let the record show, he was allowed to see her before marrying her. ;)

His Wicked Lady ebook cover

Two days later, Malcolm was in his den working on his ledger when a familiar knock came at the closed door. “You may enter as long as you didn’t bring your reprobate of a husband with you,” he called out to his sister.

She opened the door and peaked into room. “How did you know it was me?”

“Because you use the same series of quick taps every time you knock.” Since she hadn’t fully entered the room, he narrowed his eyes at her. “Is that cad with you?”

“No. Logan doesn’t like to be here any more than you like having him here.”

“Then why are you partially hiding behind the door?”

“Because I important news to tell you.”

That made no sense at all, but then his sister seemed to have taken loss of her senses ever since Logan came into her life. “Well, come on in and tell me the important news.”

She did as he requested, hiding something behind her back. Before he could ask what it was, she held out a piece of parchment to him. “We’ve selected a wife for you!”

Surprised by her excitement, he took it. “Is she unbelievably wealthy or something?” There had to be a reason she looked as if she was ready to jump up and down in glee.

“Well, she is. You’ll be delighted at how well she manages money.”

“All right,” he slowly replied, not sure why this wasn’t as reassuring as it should have been.

This wasn’t his sister’s typical odd behavior ever since marrying Logan. This was something altogether different. He lowered his gaze and saw the contract for his approval for the choice the Duchess of Ashbourne made in picking a wife for him.

Lady Cantrell.

He didn’t recall the name. Glancing back up at his sister who was still grinning from ear to ear, he asked, “What’s wrong with her?”

“Nothing. I got a chance to meet her, and she’ll be perfect for you.” She clasped her hands. “I’m just excited about this. A better match couldn’t be made in all of London.”

He relaxed. Since she put it that way, he supposed he couldn’t blame her for being enthusiastic. He read through the contract.

“You can meet her before the wedding,” Melissa told him. “We can do the banns or get a special license.”

He thought over the options then ran through the long list of things he had to do. “No, that’s all right. You picked Lady Cantrell for me, and that’s enough. I’ll just meet her at the wedding.”

“I knew you’d pick that option,” she said. “That’s why I had Helena mark it down for you to initial.” She leaned forward and pointed to the paragraph. “You can get a special license, and we’ll arrange the rest.”

“What about Lady Cantrell?”

“Oh, she agreed to the marriage as soon as we told her your name. She’s more than willing to marry you without meeting you first. She signed her agreement to the special license.”

Surprised, he asked, “She did?”

“Yes. She knows exactly who you are, and she said she couldn’t be happier with the match.”

How was it possible Lady Cantrell knew about him, but he had no idea who she was? The answer came to him as soon as he finished the thought. He was well known and respected in all of London because of his business prowess. He had friends like Warren, and Warren was one of the most influential gentleman he’d ever met. So naturally, she knew him. She, however, was an unknown lady who probably remained in the corner somewhere during balls.

“Is Lady Cantrell shy?” he asked Melissa.

“No, but she’s a widow with a child, so she doesn’t engage much socially.”

Oh, that explained a lot. No wonder he’d never heard of her.

“I assured her you are good with children,” Melissa added. “In fact, my son couldn’t ask for a better uncle.”

“What’s not to like about children? They don’t represent the unpleasant aspects of London.”

“I wish you wouldn’t be so difficult when it comes to Logan. He’s actually quite sweet.”

He grimaced and signed the contract. “You and I will never come to an agreement on him.” He handed it to her. “Let me know when the wedding is, and I’ll show up.”

If Lady Cantrell was as happy to marry him as Melissa claimed, this would be a very suitable match indeed. Lady Cantrell, after all, was already showing him what good taste she had.

“I’ll do that,” Melissa promised then ran out of the room, and if he was right, she was cheering the whole way out of his townhouse.

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“When The Going Gets Tough…

The tough get going.”

My mom said this a lot while I was growing up.  She went to be with the Lord at 48, and though she’s no longer a phone call away, a lot of her words live on.  This particular phrase she often repeated in my childhood has been echoing through my head all day.

Recently, I moved to Montana.  In Nebraska, my husband and I moved into a house that required a lot of work. The same is true for my new place.  I haven’t been able to get a lot done due to the repairs we’re doing.  Today is the first day in a couple of days I’ve been able to sit at the computer.  As you’d expect, stress makes it harder to write.  So I’m cleaning up emails the best I can.

But anyway, back to the whole thing about “The tough get going”.  I think there are two ways we can respond to any situation.  Sure, there’s the period of shock.  Stress, I notice comes more into play by a lack of planning.  I feel much better and relaxed after I’ve been able to plan out and enact a proper strategy to deal with the problem at hand.  In this case, it’s getting someone qualified to take care of the septic system.  The most stressful part is finding that someone, which is surprising since I happen to live in an area that has 60,000 people.  You’d be amazed at how backed up companies are when you really need them.  Or maybe not.  Chances are, you’ve been through something similar or know someone who has and were told, “The soonest we can do anything to address the real problem is in about 1-2 weeks.”

So I guess it’s normal you go through this phase of disbelief.  Seriously, if you had known the problem would come up, you would have called well in advance to reserve your slot on the waiting list.  But alas, like a lot of things in life, this comes without warning and in the middle of a long list of other things that need to be done.

Life is seldom ever boring.

But I guess what we can do is either stay in that place of limbo (aka. inactivity) or do something about it.  Yes, I know with a septic situation, you pretty much have to do something to resolve the issue.  If you don’t, you need an outhouse, and I can’t think of anyone who wants one of those in their backyards.  Nor do I want to go without my washer and dishwasher.  I might write about the old west, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

So after making the plan, I suppose the next step is whether to complain about it or to choose to look at the positives.  I did catch this while it is warm enough to dig into the ground.  That’s definitely a plus.  Nothing is flowing out of the toilet that shouldn’t.  Another positive.  The kids are in good health.  (No one worries more over kids than their moms.)  The list would go on.

When I was in the 8th grade, my teacher gave the class an analogy of how things work.  (I went to  private school, so this had a spiritual application, but I think it can work from any other perspective.)  When you’re starting out, you’ll get a small obstacle.  You manage to overcome it.  In the process, you learn and grow from it.  You become stronger because you stuck it out.  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Then you are confronted with another obstacle.  This one is harder and challenges you more the previous one.  If you overcome that, then there’s another obstacle.

The cycle repeats over and over in the course of a person’s life.  People can choose to let these things make them bitter or better.  It’s up to everyone to decide what they’ll take away from everything that happens.  Troubles will come.  That is inevitable.  And in the moment, it hurts and it’s okay to have that period where you’re serious bummed out.  You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t cry, get angry, complain,  or react in some way to the obstacle.

Once the obstacle has been passed, though, we can be stronger and better for it.  I know everyone reading this has had their share of troubles.  I guess I just felt it was a good post to write today.  Probably because I needed this reminder the most at this time.

Out of curiosity, I searched the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and found it to mean when a situation gets hard, the strong will work harder to rise to the challenge.  To do this, I find it helpful to do another saying.  This one wasn’t from my mom but something I heard on the radio a while back.  “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Sometimes focusing on the end result will help you be strong enough to deal with the challenge you’re facing or will face.

As a sidenote, I recently heard that when you dream about going to school again, this often means you’re about to be faced with the opportunity to learn something.  So if you haven’t been to class all semester and are suddenly faced with an exam, maybe you’re about to come across one of these obstacles.

The obstacles are never fun.  I don’t look forward to them than anyone else.  I’m just trying to remind myself to see the silver lining around the dark cloud.  I don’t know if this helps anyone else or not, but it was the only thing I could think of to write today. :)

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Updates

Wagon Trail Bride is finally flowing!

wagontrailbrideebook2

Since I’ve had so many problems with this book for two years, the fact that I hit chapter 7 today was amazing.  LOL  I guess it was the main issue of what got Richard and Amanda to marry in the first place that was holding me back all along because once I gave in and let the original reason be the one, things have been falling into place.

A quick diversion on why stories don’t often go the way writers expect:

Writers really are not in full control of the story.  Yes, we write it.  Yes, all the elements in it come from the writer’s mind, but so much of it comes at a subconscious level.  That’s why writers are often surprised by the unexpected twists and turns that pop up, and that is why it often feels like we have to cater to the characters’ whims.

So much of writing is instinctual.  Maybe that is the way of all creative arts.  The story ends up being what it wants to be.  What I’ve learned from all of this is that the subconscious mind is a lot more powerful than I gave it credit for.

The reason I say all of the above is because when it seems like the writer should have gone in another direction, the truth is, no, they couldn’t.  The story is going to be what it’s meant to be.  I don’t know how many times I’ve told people, “The reason the character did X is because that is who the character is and what the character wanted to do.” If I, as the author, come in and try to change that, the story comes to a complete stop and never gets done.

Case in point, Wagon Trail Bride.  As soon as I stopped telling the characters what to do, I could finally write the story.  You’d think after writing over 50 books (not all romance but most of them being romance), I would have gotten that by now.  I guess it only goes to prove how much we can learn, no matter how far along we’ve come. :)

Back to topic:

If things continue as they have been, I’d like to get this out in mid-t0-late December.  This one is going to my publisher, Parchment & Plume.

His Wicked Lady

His Wicked Lady ebook cover

I’m in chapter three now, and love how well everything is coming along.  This book seems to be coming together easily, and part of that might be because it takes place in the same Regency world that my other Regency books do.  I’m already familiar with the characters and the way things are set up.  I know which characters are determined to keep their reputations clean and which ones couldn’t care less about propriety.  It’s even more fun when I get to mix the two types together.

I’ve already had Malcolm meet his future wife, though he doesn’t know it’s her because he never did get her name at the ball.  It’ll be fun to see his reaction when he realizes he’ll be matched up with her, especially since he was shocked at her brazen behavior.  (To him, that means she had the nerve to come up to him, grab his hand, and lead him to the dance floor without asking his permission first.)

I want to get this out in January.

The Convenient Mail Order Bride

the convenient mail order bride ebook cover

Well, in the last post I made it a point to say this was going to be a standalone romance.  Then as I was writing chapter two, a character popped up unexpectedly, and I already know this is going to be the hero in a future book.  So this will be book 1 in a new series.  I just have to give the series a title.

I’m still waiting for the heroine to meet the hero of this particular book.  I honestly don’t know how he’s going to react to seeing her because he was never told someone posted a mail order bride ad on his behalf.  All I know is why the person did it.  (I can’t say it because it is a spoiler.)  I also know the hero of this book is going to marry her because it’s a romance.  See what I mean about the writer really having no control?  I find things out as I go along, and more often than not, I’m surprised by what develops.  This is why writing is so much fun.  You never know what will happen in any given writing session.

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Updates – Back To Writing Romance

The Enchanted Galaxy Series is Done!

(And due out in November)

I am now done with the last book in the Enchanted Galaxy Series, which puts me right on schedule.  This doesn’t often happen. royal hearts ebook coverthe royal pursuit ebook coverroyal heiress ebook cover I’ve set the publishing date for all of these in November.  This way my editor has enough time to go over them, and I can get them all out at once.  I could delay each book by a month, but to be honest, since fantasy isn’t what I’m known for, I see no reason to spread out their publication.  I’d rather focus my energy and time on romances.  While other genres are fun, my heart will always be with romance.

I’m halfway into Chapter 1 in His Wicked Lady

His Wicked Lady ebook cover And I’m already having a lot of fun with the characters.  I’ve figured out how I’m going to get Malcolm to agree to be paired up with a wife by using Helena, Melissa, and Chloe’s matchmaking service.  (I’m not calling it a matchmaking service, but that’s basically what it is.)  I already knew why the heroine (Regan) will be using it.  His was the piece of the puzzle I hadn’t figured out until I was writing this morning. On a strange side note, I keep wanting to type in “Matthew” instead of “Malcolm” for the hero.  I have no idea why, but apparently, choosing “Mathias” as the name for his nephew has only made it that more difficult for me to remember he is Malcolm.  Thankfully, there’s alway the Find and Replace function on Word.

Trying To Decide Where To Go On This One (Again)

wagontrailbrideebook2 I might have to change this one again.  I won’t have to rewrite anything I’ve done in this version, but I might have to go with my original reason for Richard marrying Amanda.  That is probably the hardest part while writing this book.  It all has to do with backstory, and it’s hard for me to figure out the best way to go.  And I can’t say what it is because it’s a huge spoiler.  I don’t know why, but this is one of the toughest books I’ve ever written.

Starting Chapter 2

the convenient mail order bride ebook cover I’m not far along, but at least I’m on a good start and know where I’m headed.  I have it set up where Phoebe has to go out to the Colorado Territory to marry a man she believes posted a mail-order bride ad.  I say “believes” because the ad was placed by someone who wants to see the hero married off because the hero is causing problems for him. The hero, by the way, has every right to cause problems because of the injustice he’s been through. However, not knowing this and the hero not realizing someone posted an ad on his behalf will cause some problems in and of themselves.  I’m looking forward to the moment they realize they’ve been deceived.  I believe that will come in chapter 3.

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Updating the Blog for an “Other Genres” Category and Writing

I’ll have to update my website, but for now, I focused on updating this blog because this is my main hangout.

I have changed the “pen name” tab on this blog to “other genres”.  I decided to do this so I could have a place to put the books in the Enchanted Galaxy Series.  This way I can neatly tuck in my other genre books in one place.  From time to time, I’ll get a question about Return of the Aliens because people can’t easily find it.

returnofthealiensnewcover

It’s not a popular book.  I’d say it’s one of my least popular (which makes sense since I focus so much on writing romance).  But at least now, I have an easy way to help people find it.  I’m going to start adding it to the list of books at the end of my books, and I added it in the chronological order of books on this blog.

As for the nonfiction writer-type books, I should probably put those up at some point.  I just hate to mix fiction with nonfiction on this blog and my website.  LOL  That’s probably a weird quirk.  I’m going to wait and see if I still want to do it in a few weeks.

What I want to try my hand at (hopefully next year, but we’ll see) is horror.  I’ve read horror, and so much of it has the sad ending.  I want one with a happy ending.  Also, so many people die.  Maybe that’s supposed to be the point, but I like the idea of more people living than dying.  I’d like to do a more psychological horror.  The closest I’ve done to it is the Return of the Aliens book.  But in this one, I want romance to be a central theme.  I’ll probably scribble something down and see how it goes.  If it fizzles out, I don’t need to finish it.

His Wicked Lady ebook cover

In the meantime, I’m done updating this blog and am almost halfway done with the last book in the Enchanted Galaxy Series.  I jumped ahead and wrote two pages in His Wicked Lady.  Malcolm’s father is anxious to see him married off, and I have an idea of what will lead him to seek out a marriage matchmaking service (which is pretty much what Helena, Melissa, and Chloe agreed to set up at the end of the last Regency series).  So this series will pick up where the last series left off with the same group of lovable (and sometimes mischievous characters).

As much as I’d like to work on the other two romances I’ve picked, I don’t have that much time in the day.  Maybe tomorrow.

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Planning Out What To Write Next

I’m probably about 1/4 into the last book in the Enchanted Galaxy Series, and already, I’m thinking over what to work on.  Here’s what I finally narrowed it down to.  Since I do best with three works-in-progress at a time, I decided on these:

1. Wagon Trail Bride (Pioneer Series: Book 1)

wagontrailbrideebook2

I’m going to pick back up writing this one.  I remember exactly where I left off, and sadly, I’m still stumped on where to go from that place.  Hopefully, I’ll think of something as I go along.  I know where I want to be, but there has to be something to bridge the gap.  Often I think of a story as hills and valleys.  You have your intense moments where emotions are running high then that’s the lull where the characters are granted a chance to catch their breath (so to speak) before they are forced to through another emotionally intense scene.

So I need to figure out what the lull after a particularly intense scene should be.  If I have to jump ahead, I will.  I don’t often do that except when I know exactly where the book is heading.  I did it in His Convenient Wife and Boaz’s Wager.  It looks like this will be another one of those books.

I already have characters set for book 2, and they play a role in Wagon Trail Bride.  For those of you who like a more serious story (such as Eye of the Beholder or Bid for a Bride), this will be for you.  It has some serious moments in it, but above all else, it is romance so there is a happy ending.

2.  His Wicked Lady (Marriage by Arrangement: Book 1)

His Wicked Lady ebook cover

I think those who appreciated the humor in Ruined by the Earl will get a kick out of this one.  Ruined by the Earl featured Logan and Melissa, and if you’ll recall, Melissa had an uptight brother named Malcolm.  What Malcolm needs is a lady who isn’t afraid to laugh in the face of scandal.  Only then will he be happy.  Oh, I could pair him up with a nice, demure lady, but there would be absolutely no plot.  Part of writing is pairing up the right type of people.  And in comedy (at least as I write it), it’s best when the most unlikely couple are forced to get married.

This series will have the doctor who delivered Chloe’s baby in The Earl’s Stolen Wife.  (I can’t remember his name at the moment.)  I’m going to kill off his brother so he gets the title and has to get an heir.  I don’t know which book he’ll be the hero in, though. Since that’s the case, I’ll try to wiggle him in somewhere into this book.

3. The Convenient Mail Order Bride

the convenient mail order bride ebook cover

This was the hard one to pick.  I have so many to write, but since I do best with three at a time, I forced the list to three main books. This was the one that made the final cut.  This is probably going to be a standalone book.  From time to time, I like to do standalones because it’s nice to take a break from the series.

Series are great, too, because they allow you to weave a theme or two in more than one book, and it is fun to work with the same group of characters.  One of the reasons I enjoy the Regencies so much is that I’m working in the same world where a past character can make an appearance.  After working with a character, it’s like seeing an old friend, and I try to bring them in whenever possible.  I can’t always fit them in, but when I can, I definitely do.

Anyway, I expect this to be a standalone.  If it turns into a series, great.  If not, that’s fine, too.  I don’t think every book has to lead to a series, so I don’t force it to be one if it’s not meant to be.

Now, from time to time, I’ll take one book (or series) and use characters from another series for fun.  A case in point is bringing Eva Conneally and Rachel Larson from the Nebraska Series (specifically, Isaac’s Decision) into Boaz’s Wager (which is in the Montana Collection).  I keep thinking it’d be fun to do a quiz on all the books where characters overlapped into other books and see who’d get all the questions right.  One of these days, I’m going to do a giveaway and those who get all the questions right will win my next release.

***

For the time being, I’ll be working on these three books once I finish up with Royal Heiress.

As a side note, Stephannie Beman did all of these covers for me.  She definitely has a gift for this kind of thing. :)

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The Enchanted Galaxy Series is One Book Closer to Being Done and Published

I’m done with The Royal Pursuit!

Book 3 in the Enchanted Galaxy Series

Book 3 in the Enchanted Galaxy Series

Now I only have one more book to go in the Enchanted Galaxy Series.  Then I can get back to romances.  The good news is, Royal Heiress is shorter than the other three books in the Enchanted Galaxy Series.

Starting today on Royal Heiress

royal heiress ebook cover

Book 4 in the Enchanted Galaxy Series

I wasn’t originally going to do this, but I couldn’t figure out a different way to end The Royal Pursuit, and there’s a cliffhanger (of sorts).  It’s more of a prophecy, really, and there’s no reason why I can’t publish Royal Heiress with the other books in the series.  So that is why I added this to the list.  But this completes the entire series.  I have no intention (at least not anytime soon) to write another fantasy.

Publishing Plan for books 2-4 in the Enchanted Galaxy Series

royal hearts ebook coverthe royal pursuit ebook coverroyal heiress ebook cover 

I’m going to publish them at the same time.  My estimated publishing time frame in November 20.  If it can be sooner, that will work, too.  I’m only using one editor for this series because it’s fantasy.  I don’t feel like delving so heavily into everything since these have been published in the past under the pen name Amanda Winters.

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