Finished The First Draft of The Earl’s Stolen Bride Tonight and Should Finish A Groom’s Promise By Monday

Due out the End of June!

Book 4 in the Marriage by Deceit Series.

Book 4 in the Marriage by Deceit Series.

I’m happy to say I’m finished with The Earl’s Stolen Bride. I’ll give everyone a heads up. I did end this book with a lead in to the next series.  I don’t make it a habit of doing this, but this particular situation was unique because three heroines in this series (Helena, Melissa, and Chloe) have decided to go into business together to arrange marriages for people who would rather not go through the hassle of going through the formalities of the Season.

I don’t know if leaving this particular book (and the Marriage by Deceit series) makes me a stinker or not, but I couldn’t think of any other way to end it.  Plus, when I look at these Regency series, they all seem to follow a common thread through all of them with the same characters in the same world.  Old characters weave in and out from time to time, some taking more of a prominent role in the next story than another while other characters seem to fade away.  So for me, though The Earl’s Stolen Bride completes this series, it isn’t the end of the Regency world overall.

Anyway, I’ll have this out and ready for my editor by Monday evening.  This puts me right on track to get this out before the end of June.

Should Finish This by Monday!

a groom's promise

This will be my 49th romance! The next one will be 50! :)

Looking at my novellas and full-length novels, I will be finishing up my 49th romance with my story in this anthology.  I really want to say I wrote 100 romances, but I’m only almost halfway there.

 I’m just below the 50,000-word threshold.  I know there’s a debate on whether a full-length novel is 40,000 or 50,000 words, but I call a full-length novel 50,000 words.  (Other genres probably consider 50,000 words to be a short story.  I know there are some books that span 150,000 words or more.  How anyone could write a book that long boggles my mind.)

Anyway, I think I came up with a title for my story this time.  The Bride’s Choice.  I liked someone’s suggestion about the choice the heroine has to make because ultimately, she does have to put her foot down and do something or her father wouldn’t relent and the guy she doesn’t want to be with wasn’t much help either (when you read the story, you’ll know what I mean by this last part).  Since someone said Maybell made them think of a cow (which made me laugh because I remember there being a fake cow by that name in my grocery store in the milk section when I was a kid), I felt the safest bet was to go with Bride.

I did, however, get an idea for a future book that will be called The Rejected Suitor, thanks to the comments I got.

I want to thank everyone who gave me ideas because it did help a lot in getting my brain thinking outside the box.

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New Title Needed for my Novel in the A Groom’s Promise Anthology

a groom's promise

I have been going back and forth between names for my story in the anthology, A Groom’s Promise.  I’m not happy with The Shy Groom.  I want to do something else.

This morning, all I could come up with is The Rejected Suitor.  My question to all of you is, is this title something that would grab your attention if you were browsing for books?  Or is there a better title I can use?

Here’s the brief description I came up with: She and awkward Jack Warren has finally found the woman of his dreams, but her father wants her to marry his brother instead.

Here’s the long description:

This is a story about a stuttering hero who has a tendency to bump into things when he’s nervous.  Since he’s endured a lot of ridicule, he and his brother decide to make a new start in a place.  His brother comes across an ad looking for hired hands in Lincoln, Nebraska, and with this position comes the opportunity to buy some acreage from the owner.  This is Jack’s chance to live out the rest of his life in peace since he’ll be far removed from others.  What he doesn’t count on is the owner’s attractive daughter who happens to be available.

When the new hired hands arrive at her pa’s farm, Maybell is immediately drawn to Jack.  Though he wasn’t the most graceful of all men to work for her pa, there’s a certain charm and sweetness about him that appeals to her.  Her pa, however, has other ideas.  Certain someone as timid as Jack wouldn’t make a good husband, he rejects Jack’s suit.  Instead, he plans for her to marry his brother, and he’ll do everything he can to make that happen.

****

So that is the information about the book.  Does The Rejected Suitor fit for a title, or is there something better?  I’m open to any suggestions. :D

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Update on My Progress for The Earl’s Stolen Bride and A Groom’s Promise

I’m hoping to finish up with both of these by the end of next week.  *fingers crossed*

Book 4 in the Marriage by Deceit Series.

Marriage by Deceit Series: Book 4

I just finished Chapter 20 in this one.  I pretty much hit on the major climax of the book already, and everything from here is resolution, which basically means I’m resolving all the points of conflict that I introduced earlier in the story.  I’m not sure how many chapters are left, but I’m at 53,700 words now, and I don’t expect to hit over 65,000 words.  So that hopefully gives you an idea of how close I am to the end.

I was going to put this one on pre-order, but because I don’t want to wait all the way to August to get it out, I’m not going to do a pre-order on this one.  I’d like to get it out in July.  I already have my editor reserved to work on it in June.

a groom's promise

This one is quickly nearing the 50,000-word mark, which will make it a full-length novel.  I got almost 47,500 words in.  I have just reached Chapter 20.  I should have either 3 or 4 chapters left.  So this puts me at an estimate of 54,000 words total for this book.

I have struggled a lot with the title of my story in this anthology, and I finally just settled on The Shy Groom.  I really can’t come up with anything else that fits.  So The Shy Groom, it is.

During June, Janet and I will be going through this book, and we’re expecting to have it to our publisher in July.  From there, it shouldn’t be too long before it’s out.

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Why Characters Matter So Much To The Story

As I was writing The Earl’s Stolen Bride today, I suddenly realized the only reason why Lord Hawkins married Chloe (heroine in The Earl’s Stolen Bride) in The Earl’s Secret Bargain was because she was beautiful.  More than that, she was extremely beautiful.  I know Toby (Lord Davenport) didn’t think Chloe was as good looking as Regina, but then Toby was going to marry Regina so, of course, he thought she was better looking.

It’s all about perspective.  Over and over, Orlando has been telling Toby that Chloe is far more attractive, but Toby has refused to listen, which he should because he’s married to Regina and should think Regina’s better looking.  But when I brought in a minor character into The Earl’s Stolen Bride, he made a comment that made me realize Orlando was right.  Chloe is the prettier of the two.  In fact, she’s the prettiest heroine of all the ladies I’ve featured in all my Regencies.

And this was why Lord Hawkins (the gentleman who ran off to India right after marrying Chloe in The Earl’s Secret Bargain) married Chloe.  It’s also why he had no real interest in consummating their marriage.  To him, beauty was to be looked at and put on display, not touched.  Had I ever written Lord Hawkins’ point of view, I might have figured this out sooner, but I never did write in his point of view.

I’ve been in Orlando’s point of view, and he has been in love with her since before she married Lord Hawkins.  He’s spent the past three books of this series longing for her.  She had attracted a lot of other gentlemen, too.  I had a lot of them gathering around her everywhere she went, but I assumed it was because she knew how to flirt because that’s what Orlando thought.  Now I know it was because she’s incredibly attractive.  Had it not been for Dr. Harvey talking to Chloe, I would never have known this.

When I talk about writing in a character’s point of view, this is what I’m referring to.  It’s best for a writer to be so immersed within that character (seeing everything only from that character’s point of view) that they aren’t aware of what the other characters are thinking unless the characters either say something or if the writer writes in the other character’s viewpoint.  In real life, we only know what we are thinking.  We can’t read other people’s minds.  The only way we find something out is if someone tells us.  We can guess, but we can’t ever truly know.  (This is why they say, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”)

Finding out these surprises is one of the reasons why writing is so enjoyable, and it’s why secondary characters can really add something fun to a book.  Writing a story isn’t just telling a story.  It’s about living through a character, feeling and thinking everything that character is.  It’s being inside the character and seeing the story from their perspective.   The story is not the writer’s story.  The story is the character’s.  This is why I love the story as much as I do.  Without the character, the story has no meaning.  The story is only a series of events.  The character is what gives the story heart.  This is why I believe the character is the key to the entire story, and the focus should always be on the main characters.  Secondary characters support the story, but the main ones are the ones that really count.

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Making Good Progress on The Earl’s Stolen Bride and A Groom’s Promise

Obviously, having incentive can do wonders to kick a writer’s behind into gear.  I made awesome progress in The Earl’s Stolen Bride and my novel in A Groom’s Promise.  At the end of this month, my mother-in-law is coming for a visit and I have a conference in Arizona.  I want to get the first drafts to both done by May 23.

The Earl's Stolen Bride I am now at chapter 16!  (I just hit the 40,000 word mark today.  The total word count is supposed to be 65,000 words.  This puts my chapter goal around 22-24 chapters.)  So I’m well over the halfway point.  My goal is 1500 words a day (at least).   If I can keep up that pace, I can make my goal.  *fingers crossed*

I am in love with Chloe and Orlando.  I’m really enjoying their story.  When I introduced their romance back in The Earl’s Secret Bargain, I never expected to be as wrapped up in their romance as I am.  I fall in love when my characters do, but there are some couples whose love seem to run a little deeper than the others, and this is one of them.

a groom's promise

My story in this anthology will definitely be a full-length novel.  I’m very pleased with the way this story is playing out.  I have seventeen chapters in this so far.  I’m expecting there to be about 21-23 chapters total.

This story has not turned out at all like I expected.  The hero starts out as so awkward and shy, but then he decided he doesn’t want to stay that way.  As soon as he realizes the heroine returns his feelings, he developed this newfound courage I never saw coming.  I’ve been writing long enough to know that if a character is going to be a certain way, then I need to let him be that way.

Not to give away too much, but it really put a damper on the wedding night since I had hoped he’d hide in the barn to avoid her.  That was supposed to be really funny scene.  But now I can’t use it.  Maybe I can do it in another book.  (Sometimes I hate it when characters won’t let me do the incredibly awesome scene I wanted to.)  But Jack wins.  He gets to the wedding night his way.

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Update on What I’m Doing

At the moment, my attention has been focused on two books, A Groom’s Promise and The Earl’s Stolen Bride.  I was writing in four books at 500 words a day, but the momentum picked up in A Groom’s Promise and The Earl’s Stolen Bride so I decided to go with it and let the ideas come as long as they’re willing to.

A Groom’s Promise is longer than I expected.

a groom's promise It was supposed to be 35,000 words.  Now, I’m almost at 40,000 words, and there’s still more to do.  So I am estimating 50,000 words.

One perk to being in full control of my content is that if I need to make a book longer, I can.  Likewise, I can make it shorter if it needs to be.  There’s nothing worse than a book loaded with fillers that end up being boring.  Second to this is a book that feels rushed to get to the end.  It’s why I’ve learned to be flexible on deadlines or a certain word count.  Whenever I filled up a story or rushed it, I ended up regretting it, and after writing 48 romances, I’ve finally learned the very important lesson of letting each story be as long or as short as it needs to be in order to tell it.

I guess this begs the question, “How does an author know when the story is done?” My rule of thumb is when I am satisfied with it.  I’m not sure if other authors have the same answer, but it’s mine.

~~~

For the first part of The Earl’s Stolen Bride, I had a limited idea on how I was going to proceed with it.

The Earl's Stolen Bride

Thankfully, I now know what’s going to happen.  The breakthrough came a couple weeks ago, but it didn’t gain momentum until this week.  I stalled for a while because I had to work through a major transition point between the time Orlando and Chloe are at his country home to when they go back to London.  Now that I crossed this major hurdle, things have gotten a lot easier to write.  What a relief.

~~~

In case anyone is wondering about Janet Syas Nitsick, her husband is home from the hospital, but he’ll need to have surgery.  I don’t feel like it’s my place to go into details in a public place.  I just wanted to give a quick update and ask for prayer on their behalf.  Thanks. :)

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The Rambling Post

This post is more of a “got to clear my mind” post than anything else.  I have tried private journaling, but for some reason coming onto this public blog and getting stuff sorted out helps a lot more.  Weird, I know.  But it’s how things are for me, and I might as well do what works.

Going Back to Pre-orders (except on Amazon)

After going through an entire day of publishing Ruined by the Earl with multiple formats (one for Amazon, one for B&N, one for Kobo, and one for Smashwords) and having to resize my cover at one place, I realized I need to simplify my life.

I think I’ve had enough of going through all these channels independently.   I’ll do it if I have to.  Like if the book is supposed to be on Kobo or B&N but isn’t for some reason, I’ll go in and upload it through that retailer.  (This happens about 10% of the time when I publish the book through Smashwords, but most of the time, things work like they’re supposed to.)

So I made the decision to go back into pre-orders.  It was nice to be able to publish on just Amazon and Smashwords.  I forgot what a pain it was to do four retailers.  I would rather spend more time writing than trying to work out all the kinks I need to in order to get the book “just right” for every channel.

I want the book to be available on the same day at Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks.  In order to do that, I am going to upload the book to Smashwords 5-6 weeks out.  That should be enough time for it to go up on all the sites so it’s available on the day I’ll be publishing it on Amazon.

I am not doing pre-orders to gain any traction or make extra sales, so I’m not going to worry about doing this on Amazon.  My only goal is to have the book on the channels on the same day.  So I won’t be posting any links until the day it’s actually available.

*The exception to this will be the books I submit to my awesome publisher, Parchment & Plume.  I don’t have control over the distribution on those books.

I am way behind in my writing schedule.

And I’m extremely frustrated because of it.  Words can’t describe just how frustrated I am.  So much has been going on in my personal life.  There’s nothing serious.  It’s just a lot is going on, and it keeps on coming.  I feel like I’m plugging up a hole in a dam only to realize there’s another leak.  I finish one task and think, “Good, now I can write.” But then something else pops up, and I have to tend to it.  So yeah, frustrated is the best word I can come up with to explain how I’m feeling.

What’s worse is that when I finally do get a chance to sit and write, my mind draws a blank, and I don’t even know what to type next.  It usually takes me an hour to write 1,000 words.  Now it’s like 250 words.  The answer (as ironic as it seems) is to keep at it.  I know it’ll get easier.  If I take a break, it’ll actually be harder to get back to.  The answer (for me) is to keep at it and plug away.  This, too, shall pass.  It’s just getting it to pass that is going to be the grueling part.

The Books I Would Like to Publish For the Rest of This Year

Now that I’m coming up toward the mid-point in the year, I can get a clearer picture of what I might be able to publish for the rest of this year.  And since I need to sort this out (probably more than anything else), let me list that in this post.

The Earl's Stolen Bride

This probably won’t be available until August.  I know.  It’s not as soon as I was hoping.  I was hoping for May.  Then I pushed it back to June.  Then I said “this summer”.

See why I’m frustrated?  Believe me, no one is more upset about it than I am, but I don’t want to publish an “eh” kind of book, which is what it would be if I rushed it.   So that means pushing it back to mid-to-late August.  I need to give myself enough time to get it through pre-order and such, too.

a groom's promise

This one might be out in July.  Janet Syas Nitsick went through two funerals in her family and today her husband is in the hospital.  This, of course, affects her writing.

Since this won’t be in pre-order, it should be out before The Earl’s Stolen Bride, unless something serious happens to her husband.  We don’t know what is going on yet.  He went in this morning.  If you’re inclined, she could use the prayers.

wagontrailbrideebook2

This will also be with the publisher, but I’m thinking it will be a September release.  We’ll see how things play out.

royal hearts ebook cover

I have this planned for November.

the royal pursuit ebook cover

And I have this planned for December.

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