Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Reluctant Bride edits - officially signed off! And 1850s dress...

Of course it's too early in the morning to have a celebratory champagne (although as DH isn't around no one would know, of course) so I'll just have to pour out me huge excitement at having officially signed off on The Reluctant Bride at 7 o' clock this morning.

I've had such wonderful help from my publisher and from my editor, Rachel Skinner. It was so great getting to meet her at the RT Booklovers Convention when she graciously allowed me to share a room for the six days, so as edits were due to begin around that time it was wonderful to have that personal connection.

And she's been great. I've been working on this book for years. It's a spying romance set during the Napoleonic wars with layers of mystery and intrigue that span the years from the French Revolution to the Battle of Waterloo, and it's written from three different perspectives, so getting the timeline right was a nightmare I might not have stumbled through had Rachel not been so enormously clear and concise on where I needed to tweak. 

It's also the first book of mine where I've totally fallen in love with my hero, Major Angus McCartney, a rather withdrawn soldier and former prisoner of war with an enormous sense of honour but carrying a terrible burden. His desperation for atonement leads him to make a marriage offer to my heroine, Emily, who is mourning her dead fiance but is in no position to refuse.

As usual in my novels, there's a strong redemption theme.

So, now I can get back to my other side of life: critiquing the work of my students and making my two daughters 1850s dresses to wear to Sovereign Hills' Christmas in July dinner on Friday.

Here's Lillie's not quite finished dress. I saw a picture of an original dress on the internet and tried to recreate it without a pattern which took longer than it should have. Once the neckline is finished I think it'll look very cute. I'm also making her a matching 'ermine' edged and lined cape.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New contracts, new courses, new releases

Completely unrelated, but why not since I've just celebrated
20 years of marriage and here's an odd wedding
picture I've just stumbled across.
I used to be so good at keeping a diary. Now everything happens so quickly I can barely keep up.

Of course, there was loads to catch up on after returning from the AbFab holiday of a lifetime - California and RT. Not least of all, sleep. Not that I've had a lot of that lately. No, I've had edits... and final edits... and final checking of final edits.

Finally, finally, though, I finished those while working away at the table of our hotel room at the Park Royal. It was nearly 8pm and I'd arranged for our lovely houseguest, Camilla, to look after the kids overnight so I could join Eivind the night prior to him leaving for LA. Ironically, though we live in Melbourne, he's officially Sydney-based and it's only when he flies out of Melbourne that he gets a hotel room. Thus, on this occasion, wifey decided it would be nice to celebrate finishing edits with a meal in a nice restaurant.

Ha! I'm forever miscalculating the time it takes me to finish edits. For days I'd had 'just a couple more hours' before I'd be finished. Eivind was very patient though, as he was careful not to rush me, even though I could hear his tummy rumbling as I kept him waiting for dinner. (He really is such a darling.)

At 7.45pm I pressed send and had my hand on the door handle waiting for that lovely 'whoosh' sound that tells you your file is out of your hands and winging its way through the ether.... meaning, 'there's nothing I can do about it now'.

So Eivind and I had a lovely juicy Wagyu steak to celebrate washed down with a bottle of wine.

No sleep-in unfortunately the next morning as I had to race back home to the country to get the kids off to school. And no sleep-in since as I'd promised Total-e-Bound a 'Free' read for their newsletter.

I've just finished it now and must say I think it's rather OK. I had no idea what to write but now it's a tale of treachery set shortly after the French revolution in which my heroine is preparing to seduce and murder to avenge her parents' deaths, thinking my dashing hero Silvain Guilbeaux was the informant whose testimony sent them to the guillotine.

Only here's the catch (as if it wasn't half obvious that this is exactly where it would be)... it's not!

Does he die? Does she? Does she have second thoughts about following through with her dastardly plan? After all, she's a well trained spy, now, and she's got pretty good at discovering men's vulnerabilities. The more arrogant they are, the more she relishes her role of meting out justice. Though that said, this will be the first time she's actually planning to administer the poison and wield the dagger. Every other time she's simply rendered the villain (and they've been genuine villains) insensible before dispatching them into the hands of the authorities.

So, I literally finished it five minutes ago and have raced to get 6000 words done in a marathon two days... Hopefully my Free Read will draw in a few readers to try Rake's Honour and Her Gilded Prison and The Cavalier.

Other News

Yes, The Good news is that Carrie, my editor from Ellora's Cave, has contracted Dangerous Gentlemen, the sequel to Her Gilded Prison. I'm happy to see that it appears to be selling quite well now.

So here's the initial premise


Dangerous Gentlemen

An innocent debutante, embroiled in the Regency underworld, becomes a prostitute to save her own life but when her new “protector” is falsely branded an enemy of the Crown, there’s nothing she won’t do to see his name cleared.