Monday, January 20, 2014

Editing an entry from second last to winner

Ta da! Here's the fabulous new cover for my new book, Rake's Honour, originally published by Totally Bound.

If you've ever seen the Australian classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock, the mansion in the background is Martindale Hall. The story surrounding the building of the house is wonderfully romantic. Apparently a wealthy Englishman in the 1880s was so in love with his English fiancĂ© he'd finally secured her consent to be his bride on the basis that he build a home just like the one she lived in back in England. So he did, bringing out materials and workers from England to the Clare Valley in South Australia.

Sadly, she never did marry him in the end.

Anyway, the house is not far from where we have our 80 acre property and my talented photographer/designer sister incorporated this photo she took, with the clinch couple I liked. (My daughter is horrified and thinks the couple should be standing up with their hands behind their backs.) 

Initially titled 'The Courtesan's Daughter', Rakes Honour bombed in the first Romance Writers of Australia competition I ever entered. After opening the envelope containing the dreadful feedback while outside our inner city Perth townhouse, I remember sobbing on my husband's shoulder as we stood on the pavement, me heavily pregnant with our first child.

The following year, after reworking the story according to all the feedback - which was mostly that Fanny was too bitchy and conniving for anyone to care what happened to her - I won the same competition and got a request for the full manuscript from Avon.

That meant rushing to complete the full novel but my plot became convoluted and involved duels in the forest and lovemaking on rocks beneath waterfalls - ridiculous stuff!

I let it languish and in the meantime wrote three Regency Historicals which were published by Robert Hale before returning to rewrite Fanny's story. I'd always loved Fanny who reminded me so much of cunning Becky Sharp, teetering on the brink of respectable society in Thackeray's Vanity Fair.
Rake's Honour is now a 38,000 word racy Regency romp with a sting in the tale ending - which has made a few reviewers laugh out loud, apparently.

It was a fun book to write - but with a 4-flame rating it's a lot hotter and sexier than anything else I've ever done so it's not to be confused with the romantic adventures and intrigues I write under my Beverley Eikli name.

Anyway, here's the revised blurb:

It’s spirited debutante Fanny Brightwell’s greatest gamble and the stakes are high: marriage to the man of her dreams or a life beholden to loathsome libertine, Lord Slyther. 

When a jealous contender for her affections embarks upon revenge, Fanny’s mission to convince dashing Lord Fenton she’s his perfect bride seems doomed. 

But salvation comes from unexpected quarters. 

Battling spurned suitors, conniving debutantes, exacting mamas and a peagoose of a sister on the verge of destroying the Brightwell reputation, Fanny proves that a little cunning goes a long way. 

*A racy Regency Romantic Comedy shortlisted Favourite Historical for 2012 by Australian Romance Readers Association.

And you can buy it for only $2.99 here.

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