The Viscount’s Runaway Bride (Marriage by Bargain: Book 1)
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I’m almost done with this one. I did have a hold up for the past two weeks because I wasn’t sure how to wrap it up. I had to do some revising of several scenes and insert two additional chapters about 3/4 of the way into it.
Without spoiling the book, part of the goal for this series is to turn two very unlikable ladies you met in The Earl’s Wallflower Bride into heroines worth rooting for. If you remember Miss Celia Barlow and Miss Loretta Bachman (the two who gave Iris a difficult time), then you know this isn’t going to be an easy task. I have to introduce them in this book as spoiled, selfish, and condescending because that was how they were in The Earl’s Wallflower Bride. Part of my goal is to change them, and in order to do that, I had to bring them into this one enough so the stage can be set for their books.
Loretta will be the heroine in Book 2, and Celia will be the heroine in Book 3.
For those who have been asking for Candace (Lady Hedwrett from Her Counterfeit Husband) to get her happy ending, I’m happy to say that she’ll be the heroine in Book 4.
I would like to have this book out at the end of October, but it might not be out until the first part of November. Being that this is a pre-order, I have to have the finished version uploaded to the retailers about two weeks in advance. So we’ll see how things play out.
Groom For Hire (Pioneer Series: Book 3)
This is currently not on pre-order, but my goal is December 18 for a release date. To do that, it needs to be with my publisher no later than December 1. I think I’m around the halfway point right now in this story. I might be more like 40% of the way in. At any rate, I was surprised to learn the heroine had an immediate attraction to our hero Joe Otto, who was nursing a broken heart after Amanda married Richard (if you’ll recall from Wagon Trail Bride).
I decided to be a stinker and let the heroine in this story look a lot like Amanda. I know, I know. It was mean to do. But it felt right for the story, so I went with it. And yes, this makes Joe want to stay as far from her as possible because all she does is remind him of what he couldn’t have. So the initial conflict was set up, but that could only be sustained for so long before it gets boring.
Fortunately, this week the heroine decided to take things up a notch and challenge Joe on his assumption that just because she’s a woman she can’t handle doing tasks that typically go to men (such as helping keep the lookout during the night or participating in hunting for food). Some of the retorts she throws at him makes me chuckle. (She might look like Amanda, but she’s nothing like her.) At the moment, she’s annoying Joe to no end. Good stuff! I love to see sparks fly.
The Bargain Mail Order Bride (Chance at Love Series: Book 4)
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I haven’t done much in this book for the past two weeks. I’ve been focused on getting The Viscount’s Runaway Bride worked out and forcing Joe to deal with the heroine in Groom For Hire (since he would have ignored her for the entire book if I let him). That left me know time to work in this book.
However, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in this book. The truth is, I’ve been excited about this book ever since I finished The Convenient Mail Order Bride, which was released in February. I’ve had to write the other books in the series before I could get to this one, and with that in mind, I worked on setting things up so we can transition Carl Richie from bad guy to hero.
I also had to get rid of his wife, Lydia. Lydia was not redeemable at all. There was too much bitterness in her. She had been forced to marry him, and she never got the kind of life she thought she deserved. As a result, she blamed him for everything, and over the years, it removed anything good that had once been inside of her. I am a firm believer that tough times will either make people better or bitter, and in her case, it ultimately destroyed her.
She had managed to cause significant emotional damage to Carl, which I am excited about exploring during the course of this book. I could only give a glimpse of how severely damaged he is in the other books. He really feels like he has no one in his life that cares about him, and the only thing that keeps him going is the dream of getting that gold so he can get away from the town and all the bad things associated with it. His thinking is that if he can only have money, he’ll be happy. (This is a false belief, of course. Money itself does not create happiness, and he’ll learn this by the end of the book.) But it will take having someone who is willing to give him a fair chance in order to be open enough to learn this very important lesson. This someone, of course, will be the heroine of this book.
Most interesting to me is how sexually damaged he is. We don’t often think of men as being damaged in this way. We typically think of women who are. But as I writing the wedding night in this book, I realized just how broken he really is, and the process that he’ll need to go through in order to heal is particularly intriguing to me because it’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced as a writer.
Sex isn’t just sex. At least not in my books. I have a purpose for every single sex scene I add to the story. There are so many layers to it. So much is going on emotionally between the characters during the scene where they make love. Sometimes the character learns something new about him/herself. Sometimes the character learns something about the husband/wife. But there is always something the character learns during the act that the character can’t learn any other way. In this book, I actually cried when Carl forced himself to consummate the marriage. Carl got absolutely no enjoyment from the process because Lydia had robbed that for him by the way she treated him in, and out, of the bedroom. I would never have known just how bad off he was had it not been for that scene.
I learn things during the sex scenes I write that I didn’t know about the character before. There’s always the “aha!” moment, and I believe it makes the story richer and deeper, and the character is more real because of it. I understand not everyone views sex scenes the same way I do, but I don’t see a sex scene as a means to erotically entice the reader. I see it as a way to convey something new about the character’s emotional development within him/herself or with the hero/heroine that I can’t show any other way.
Okay. I’ve rambled on long enough. As you can probably tell, I’m super excited about these books. Every time I sit down to write, I feel like a kid on Christmas day just waiting to unwrap the present to find out what’s inside the box because I never know what the characters will do until I’m writing.