Welcome to the Drawing Room

Hello! I assume you are here desiring an audience with Lord Heartless? He is out at the moment but I anticipate his return at any time. Until then, find a comfortable chair, settle in, and enjoy a spot of tea. Browse through the available reading material, learn what you can of the heartless duke, and decide if you really want to meet him. Please leave your calling card in the form of a comment.

It was lovely to see you! Please stop by again.

***Please BEWARE*** If you have yet to read Heartless, certain aspects of the story may be inadvertently spoiled for you here. Please take care while exploring.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Heartless Paperback

Heartless is now available in paperback!! YAY!! It's in several Amazon stores worldwide and I've linked each and every one of them on my website

Here's the print cover, in case you're interested in seeing it: 

Click the image to see the LARGE version. 
A bit of Heartless cover trivia: 
The pink fringed tulip from the original cover (and now the back of the new cover) was one my mother gave me from her garden to brighten up our house a bit a few months after we moved back to Michigan. I thought it perfectly represented Hart's love for Leandra, beautiful but rough. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Adventures in KDP Select (Part 3)

Wow. My first free days were completely nerve-wracking. I forgot to eat, didn't want to sleep, neglected my kids and my husband—only remembering to feed any of them when they complained—and felt like garbage physically the whole two days. That said.... 

WHAT A RUSH!!!!!! 

Screecap of Amazon's Top 100 in Historical Romance lists

Heartless peaked in the US Kindle Store at #1 in the Top 100 Free in Historical Romance (shown above) and #14 in the Top 100 Free in the Kindle Store (shown below—sorry for the HUGE pic). 

Screencap of Top 100 list in Amazon's Kindle Store

My final download counts:
  • US: 12,415
  • UK: 1062
  • DE: 344
  • FR: 15
  • ES: 8
  • IT: 14
  • JP: 1 
Grand total: 13,859 downloads worldwide. Besides that, 31 copies of my other books sold in the two days Heartless was free. (That may not seem like much to some of you more successful writers out there, but for me, that's AWESOME!) I think I can count this as a successful two-day promotion, don't you?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adventures in KDP Select (Part 2)

So, wow. Really, really WOW. Approximately 30 hours (out of 48) of my first free days are over. Here are the stats for the first day.*

Heartless sat in the #2 spot on Amazon's Best Sellers in the Top 100 Free in Historical Romance list (as shown in the image above). It also had the #37 spot in the Top 100 Free in the Kindle Store. That was with over 6400 downloads in the US store. 

click image to enlarge
I will post again with the final counts tomorrow morning when this is all over. ♥

*I am giving these numbers and images from the point where I finally went to bed last night, about 1:30 am (EST). That was pretty close to 24 hours after Amazon started the first free day, which was supposed to have been around 3 am (EST). 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventures in KDP Select (Part 1)

I promised a good friend that I would share my KDP Select experience, and though I still don't care for Amazon's exclusivity agreement, I will say that [so far] it's been a great way to promote a new book—or the re-release of an old one. 

I'm not sure how much credit I can actually give Amazon. The initial sales, I believe, can be mostly attributed to my loyal fan base anxious to get their hands on another of my books. (I LOVE YOU, FANS!!) Perhaps the book does rank higher on Amazon searches because of the "Select" thing. Who knows. 

The really interesting thing is what's been happening since I started promoting the fact that I have a couple free days coming up. I whipped up this ad... 

...and Saturday (11/24) I shared it on my FB author page, asking people to share and help spread the word. Since that day I've had 79 shares and 12 new followers to my page. I was not expecting that much activity and am beyond pleased with the result. The other thing I expected was a pause in sales as people wait for the book to become free. Sales have slowed down but they haven't stopped.

All in all, this has been a very interesting experiment. I will be sure to share the results of my first two free days, which as the ad says, is Nov 28-29. Be sure to CLICK HERE and grab your FREE copy then!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Re-Releasing Heartless ~ KDP Select

I promised I'd explain my reasons for choosing to enroll Heartless in the KDP Select program, thus making it unavailable at any other eBook retailer for at least a 90-day period, and here they are....

KDP Select....

Amazon has a program called KDP Select in which Amazon receives exclusivity of an eBook for 90 days. For those 90 days the eBook is given more attention on Amazon than it would if it wasn't enrolled in Select. I'd also have the option to do free days, days in which Heartless would be free for up to five days. I can even space these days out throughout the 90-day period. Meanwhile, the title could be borrowed (for "free"*) by anyone who has Amazon Prime. 

Now, anyone who knows me knows I despise the exclusivity part of the KDP Select contract. DESPISE IT. I believe exclusivity should only be granted to a publisher, one who has the goal of getting the book listed in as many eBook retail sites as possible. The Select agreement even states that I can't give copies away on my own site. That particularly irks me.

That said, I want to get Heartless into as many readers' hands as possible and I do think the Select program can help me get a jumpstart on that. So Heartless will first be released in the Kindle Store for 90 days, kind of like a pre-publication test run. When the 90 days are up, it will then be removed from the Select program and uploaded to all the other eBook retailers through Smashwords. 

I apologize for the additional wait for Nook, Kobo, Apple, and Sony readers. It will reach those outlets, I promise. I refuse to allow Amazon exclusivity longer than 90 days. I also refuse to deny my non-Kindle readers the ability to download the format they prefer. However, if you just can't wait, Amazon has many free reading apps for the purpose of reading Kindle books without a Kindle.

All that said, Heartless will appear in the Kindle Store very, very soon.

*I say "free" because Amazon Prime costs an annual fee, thus it's not really free. However, some have received a free Prime subscription to get them "hooked" or because they are a student.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Heartless excerpt....

This past Saturday (11/3), I posted a Sweet Saturday Sample on my author blog. The excerpt was from the revised edition of Heartless. It's not a romantic excerpt, but part of a scene between the duke and his cousin, taken from chapter 15. 

Click HERE if you'd like to take a look. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

A heartless blurb....

I finally came up with the back cover blurb for Heartless! I agonize over the blurbs and they seem to take far more out of me than any other aspect of the publishing process. But with the help of my two best friends, two very talented writers themselves, I finally nailed this one. Happy dancin' here, let me tell you! 

Without further ado, here's the final blurb: 

A dark stranger....
Finding herself abandoned after the death of her father, Leandra Harcourt takes the greatest risk of her life. She accepts the marriage proposal of a complete stranger, the Duke of Derringer—a man the world calls Lord Heartless.

A heartless proposal....
A desperate girl with no prospects seems the perfect solution to Derringer's most recent problem: marry before his 30th birthday to gain his rightful inheritance, though marriage is the last thing he needs. The need to find his missing cousin takes priority over any silly marriage and he quickly abandons his new bride in the wreck of his family estate.

A perfect love....
Two people were never more suited for each other than the duke and his wife, but will they discover it before it's too late? With an assassin dogging his heels and a suitor wooing his wife, love will not have the luxury of time.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Re-Releasing Heartless ~ Step 2: Review Copies

My final read-through is complete and Heartless has been sent off to get formatted for Kindle, so now it's time to get busy with the pre-publication promotion. I owe e-copies to a few people from over a year ago, lovely people who volunteered to beta read. One of those lovely readers will get a paperback edition—I have yet to select the winner. That's neither here nor there, however.

Review Copies....

For one part of my pre-publication promotion plans, I am willing to send e-copies of Heartless to anyone willing to post an honest review (negative is fine as long as it's honest). I do require that you indicate in your review that you received a free copy from me, the author, for the purpose of providing an honest review (this is also a requirement of the FTC). I have no preference in regard to where the review appears, whether it's a blog, Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, or any of the other sites out there that cater to the book-loving world. I also have no requirements as to the number of blog readers your review blog has. Everyone is eligible. However, I reserve the right to refuse anyone's request for any reason whatsoever. I find it highly unlikely that I will refuse anyone's request, but just so we're clear.  

If you're interested in a copy to review, please comment on this blog post with your email and preferred eBook format. (I need your email so I can send you your copy. I will not sell your email address, share it, add it to my mailing list, or otherwise misuse it. If you are uncomfortable typing it below, you can email me your request at jaimeygrant {at} yahoo [dot] com.)

Your eBook choices are:

  • PDF (Adobe, but works with many eReaders) 
  • EPUB (Nook, Kobo) 
  • PRC (Kindle) 

If there's another format you prefer, indicate it in your comment and I'll see what I can do. Review copies will be sent out right before Heartless is enrolled in KDP Select.* The exact date will be announced here when I know it. After it's enrolled, I won't be allowed to give copies away.

So get those requests in! If you use an EPUB format eReader, I strongly urge you to take advantage of this review copy offer. That way, you'll get a 3-month jump on the availability of this title. I will update this post when this offer is no longer available.

For those who purchased a copy of Heartless in the past, paperback or eBook, I have good news for you. Stay tuned for my follow-up blog post to find out how you can get an e-copy for FREE.

*I will explain the details of my decision to enroll Heartless in KDP Select in a future post....

Edited 11/2/2012 to add: I am no longer accepting requests for review copies of Heartless. Thank you so much for your support! ♥

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Heartless: What I'm Doing Now....

Covers for other authors have been keeping me pretty busy lately. That's not a big deal since I rather enjoy the cover design work I do. It does take my time from writing/editing, however, so Heartless has fallen temporarily to the wayside.


I have received the notes from my final proofreader and I fully understand now why it's recommended that several pairs of eyes proofread a manuscript prior to publication. Each reader spotted different typos and had different questions. While applying their suggested changes I spotted a few typos that NONE of them caught. Which means Heartless will be getting one final read-through from me before it gets formatted for eBook publication. I am now several chapters into that final read-through. 

Which leads to another question. How do you stop your overly critical inner-editor and only fix typos? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Re-Releasing Heartless ~ Step 1

There are a number of things that must be done for the actual release of a new (or revised) book. 

The first step is the highly anticipated 


Just as I've been working on the revised edition of this book for over a year, I've been working on the cover too. So here it is, my lovelies, the cover of the new revised edition of Heartless

So what do you think? Would it stop you in your tracks while perusing those shelves at your favorite book store? Would you pick it up, turn it over, see what it's all about? If you saw it on a website, would you click over to find out more? Better question, would the cover alone make you buy it? 

And no, you don't have to answer any of those questions. I love the cover, love the story, and I hope you do too. 

Now that the reveal is done, I will get the final edits done (just fixing typos and whatnot). This has been one consuming task. 

Thank you all so much for your PATIENCE. ♥

Friday, August 31, 2012

Today's [supposed to be] the day!!

Yeah, Heartless was supposed to see the publishing limelight [again] today. 

Not. Gonna. Happen. 

I'm sorry for that, truly I am. It's my fault for thinking I could get it done in the one month all year that I'm busy from Day 1 to Day 31. Bah! 

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that the proofreaders have the book and I'm waiting to hear back from two of them. Hopefully, there will only be typos to correct and not major plot issues. There's the chance a plot hole snuck its way in. You just never know sometimes especially when you LIVE in the story but you're ripped out of it for irritating and mundane chores like eating, sleeping, and showering. The nerve of these things! 

So that's all I've got for you now. I know the Heartless delays are reaching into the Realm of the Ridiculous but I really appreciate your patience and understanding. ♥ 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Slow and steady....

Two more solid days of Heartless work (it would have been three days but Sunday was spent working on Part 2 of The 11th Commandment, the serial Regency I'm writing for InD'Tale Magazine) and I still have 30 pages left to edit. This is rough going, as I have to tie in certain mystery elements that I didn't have to before, and all because I decided to remove the prologue, which gave a lot away at the very start. 

At this point, I think it's going well. I should have it in the hands of proofreaders by next week, if I can continue at this pace. Too bad vacation is gonna eventually get in the way of this productive pace. 

Oh well. 

Family has to come first at some point and I have a fabulous family. Hubby pushes me though he doesn't approve of this Heartless revamp (he said it was perfect as it was and I shouldn't have touched anything) and my kids give me a lot of space so I can work. It's nice that they have such varied interests, even though they're only 6 and 8. 

So despite my slow start, I just may win this race. I'm steadily working through this difficult section of the book and I think it's smoothing out nicely. I just hope the readers will agree. 

The turtle pic is mine. If you take it, you're a thief. Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The countdown continues...

Just under 50 pages remain of this major edit.

YAY, ME!!!! 

I'm getting into another spot that requires everything from major rewriting to simple sentence restructuring, some clarification, and probably a bit of scene shuffling. I can't say how long that will take even though the previous 50 pages only took two days.

And though I tried to approach this project objectively, I still laughed and teared up at certain points. 

I've also figured out how to let people know this story, while remaining the same, is substantially different from the first edition. This edition will include the subtitle new revised edition.

I think that's it for now. Have a productive weekend! ♥

*Thumbs-Up Guy and Wow Gal are licensed for my use, not yours. Don't steal them. That means don't copy them, right click and download them to your computer, or screen cap them. That's stealing and it's illegal. Thank you for understanding. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The end is in sight....

I am 100 pages from completing this edit on Heartless


Now, that doesn't sound like much but I know there's some work ahead of me. 

Hubby pointed out several inconsistencies, solutions that were just too easy and too convenient for belief. Those will need to be addressed when I come to them and that may require the addition of a scene or two. 

Oh, and did I mention there's a release date for this bad boy? That's right, New Heartless has an official release date and it's probably an INSANE one. Oh well. I'm nothing if not insane. 

Watch for this one to hit the virtual shelves [again] by.... 

August 31

Until then, I'll be working my tail off to get this one ready and that also means a cover reveal very soon. With a billion family-related things going on this month, and the fact that I'm easily distracted, this is truly a challenge. But enough is enough and Derringer wants to get back out there, have his [second] chance in the limelight.

*This is Wow Gal. She is not yours to take, so don't do it. That would make you a thief. I licensed the use of her. You did not. I cut her out of her background. You did not. I added my watermark. You...get the idea.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

HUGE Leap Forward

I spent yesterday with Heartless and managed to get through the rest of chapter eight. I then moved on to complete nine, ten, and eleven. I'm reaching the halfway done mark. So here's that thumbs-up guy again, 'cause wow. I might actually deserve a thumbs-up this time. :O) 

Meanwhile, I may need to select another excerpt to tide y'all over until this book is back on the shelves. Let me look through what I've edited so far and see what I'm willing to share. ;O) 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Narcissism and ADD

Chapter 7: DONE! 

Chapter 8: two pages away from DONE! 

You may wonder why I didn't just finish the final two pages of chapter eight but that's because you don't know me nor the nature of the ADD beast that rides me. Yes, it's that bad. Thus the reason Heartless is not back on the market. 

I think I deserve an enthusiastic thumbs-up, despite the paltry amount I accomplished. So do you, nameless reader of my narcissistic little blog. What writing task have you accomplished today (or this week, month, or year)? 

Again, please do not steal my guy. He is licensed, not owned. If you steal him, you are a despicable human being. Just saying. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another chapter done!

  Thumbs-Up Guy*
  Chapter six of Heartless is officially edited and I'm halfway through chapter seven. YAY!! 

 Meanwhile, inspiration struck, compelling me to write the first 1000 words on one of my many other Regencies, specifically Flawless. A major plot change demanded a full rewrite, thus rendering the 30k I'd already written worthless. (In case you're wondering, Derringer is not in Flawless, though he does [will] get a mention. He's out of the country at the time Flawless takes place.) 

  So, that's it for Heartless updates, for the moment, anyway. I hope to get back to it later today. 

  *FYI, this is Thumbs-Up Guy, here to give me a big thumbs-up for my itty-bitty accomplishment ... hence the name. You may see him from time to time from now on, as I work my way through this and other stories of mine. He makes me smile. If you've accomplished something today, he's giving you the thumbs-up, too. ☺ Please don't steal the image; I don't own it, I've only licensed the use of it. Thank you. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

What does one do...

...when one's real-life lover tells one to spend more time with one's fantasy lover? One listens, of course! 

Allow me to explain. 

Before my husband left for work this morning, he told me I need to work on Heartless, get it back out into the hands of my readers. He often teases me about Derringer being my true love to which I reply Derringer is based on him. (It's true, though my husband looks nothing like Derringer.) Heck, all my heroes are pieces of my hubby but none so much as the Duke of Derringer. 

None of this is to the point. Hubby told me to work on Heartless today, so that's want I'm gonna do. When hubby tells me to do something, as a submissive wife, I have to do it. Unless it's housework. Then he's just being a tyrant. ;O) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

I did it!!

Before you get your hopes up, NO, I did not finish the edits on Heartless. No, indeed. I did, however, finish chapter 5 which was a major hurdle for me. Remember why? Yeah, total rewrite. Info dump to the nth degree. The info dump is now gone (sent to the real dump) and I believe I have now captured the gist of what I was trying to say without describing every room in the castle. (What was I thinking!?) 

So edits have now begun on chapter 6 and those aren't nearly so scary. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Surely, there's an easier way...

Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go quite as planned? I'm having one of those years, I think. It all started when I edited the first four chapters of Heartless, started rewriting chapter five and then lost everything I did when my flash drive decided to croak. 

I have since started over on the editing and have just completed chapter four. Not bad for six+ weeks, huh? (I'm rolling my eyes here.) I've a great start on the rewrite of chapter five but let me tell ya, I was so tempted to crapcan the whole d*** project and my writing career too, for good measure. Can you hear the frustration I'm suffering under here??

*deep breath*

OK, now that the whining's out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks. Heartless MUST return to his rightful place at the top of bestselling lists everywhere. I admit, he was only at the top of search lists on Amazon (thus inciting venom from a tiny-minded fellow writer-type) but I'm determined he'll see the top of bestseller lists too, upon his re-release.

So....back to editing his brains out. *snort* (Now you're rolling your eyes too. We're all in this together.) 

While I'm doing that, why don't you click over to my author blog and weigh in on a very serious subject. How do you define sweet, traditional, and clean when it comes to romances? Is there even a difference? Click the pretty little rose to hop over to my other blog and let me know what you think.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Heartless Setback

Ever hear of someone losing all the progress they've made on a manuscript due to a technological malfunction? It's never happened to me. 

Until last night. 

I rebooted my laptop. When it came back to life, I opened my Heartless file only to discover nothing after January 12 was saved. Why it chose that date, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's the flash drive I use as a take-everywhere-with-me means of saving my book files. I try to back up my flash drive on my various hard drives (current hard drive count is three) but the last time I saved to a hard drive was Jan 7. 

Woe is me. 

I suppose I should have anticipated the flash drive crapping out at some point. It just figures it would be during a major MS overhaul. 

The only change it saved was the removal of the prologue. Hubby said God was trying to tell me that I was making too many changes. Nice thought but I don't believe God gets that involved with humans. This was just an unfortunate technological backfire. And like I said, it happens to everyone eventually. 

That being said, though I saved every 30 seconds or so, it made no difference. This was unavoidable. It sucks but I'll get past it. It will cause yet another delay in getting this book back into the hands of my readers. For that, I apologize. 

I'm gonna get back to work on it today, see if I can't dredge up the changes I'd made from the dank recesses of my mind. (Yeah, that sentence isn't structured properly but my mind's fried so cut me a break.) I hope I make it out alive. It's scary in there. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Trip to the Dump

I need to share my Heartless progress. OK, I don't really need to. It's not like I'll die if I don't. So, I want to share my Heartless progress. 

I've begun editing chapter five. Fabulous, right? I'm thrilled, believe me. But now, despite my joy in my characters, I've come up to another HUGE decision regarding this MS. 

In chapter five, we're with our heroine, learning how her days are spent since becoming a duchess. There are more room descriptions in this one chapter than in all my other books COMBINED. It's shocking, believe me. 

In the critical writing world, this is what's known as an information dump. The problem with info dumps is they're boring. The reader usually loses interest at that point and if the dump is long enough, the reader might even set the book aside. 

There are times an info dump works but those times are quite rare. It can be a challenge determining when and where to place one. The better, safer bet is to take that information (if it is, indeed, important) and lace it throughout the story itself. 

For example, in Heartless, where Leandra's lamenting the horror that is the Egyptian Salon, instead of devoting an entire paragraph to this in chapter five, I could mention her loathing for it later, when she instructs the butler to put Hart's mistress there. (Oops! Not a spoiler. Not really.) Or I could work it in some other way.  

So chapter five might find itself shorn down quite a bit, perhaps deleted entirely and rewritten from scratch. Not the type of major edit I'd envisioned when I started out on this path but, what else can I do? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Progress...of a sort

I've finished editing... 

Chapter One

Why, when I'm determined to get something done, am I that much more likely to get distracted? Why, when I'm determined to get something done, do I get more cover orders than I can shake a stick at? And why, when I'm determined to get THIS interior edit/format done, do I want to work on the COVER?? 

There is no understanding me, even for me. 

I will go to my other computer now and endeavor to complete at least one more chapter before dinner. Can I do it?? Probably not. But I'll have fun trying. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heartless Revamp Step 1 : Read Through ~ DONE ~

So I did it. I read Heartless cover-to-cover. And with no tears shed, though I think that had everything to do with my determination not to shed a tear. Funny how when you read a book objectively, emotion takes a backseat, and the whole reading experience is far less enjoyable.

Before you read further, please be assured that I value each and every one of my fans, followers, and readers. I love that you love this book and love the other things I write. Please do not take what I am about to say as an insult to you or your opinion. I am in no way denigrating your views on this work. As is often the case with authors, we are our own worst critics. This can be a good thing.  

My thoughts? Needs a little work. The issues:
  • I think the prologue gives too much away right up front, taking away from the natural question as to WHY the hero acts the way he does. 
  • I think the passive voice is a tad overdone. 
  • There are words and phrases that weren't used at the time. For example, Hart mentions he's "working with a deadline." The word DEADLINE didn't come into use until the American Civil War and it referred to the "do-not-cross" line in war prisons. Deadline in the sense of a "time limit" was newspaper jargon that came into use in the early 1920s. Then there's the use of handicapped in reference to people with disabilities. Yeah, the word existed then but not in that sense. There were a few more but I think I made my point. 
  • There is an excessive amount of characters. Servants, family members, friends, all named and given a few lines each. Sheesh.
I think these flaws are easily overlooked in the natural draw to the main characters. I totally agree that I CAN write characters. Dang.

Possible "fixes":
  • Prologue: Do I really want readers to forgive Hart for everything before they actually get to know him? I don't think I do. I think I want them to start out hating him a little, getting to know him as the story goes on, and then realizing he's severely warped for good reason. 
  • Passive voice: This is one of those "little changes" I mentioned in a previous post. Some sentences will get some restructuring to allow for more showing, rather than telling. 
  • Historical inaccuracies: Of course these will have to go. I mean, what was I thinking??
  • Excessive characters: I do believe that removal of names would go a LONG way in clearing up some confusion on this one. I'll try that and see what happens. 
So that about sums up my initial thoughts on the simple read-through I did. Next step, edit out the redundancies, inaccuracies, passivity, and prologue. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

That is the question. 

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that you should never start a book with a prologue. As far as writing tips go, it's one of the worst I've ever heard. Many stories really work with a prologue. Some don't, true, but many do.

Just as every writer is different, so is every story. Write what's best for that story, not what some blowhard thinks is best because they believe they're some kind of writing expert. (For the record, I don't remember who said it, and I honestly don't care.) 

OK, rant over. Sorry about that. 

As it stands, Heartless has a prologue. It takes place more than 20 years before the bulk of the story. It tells us why Hart's a jerk and lets the reader easily forgive most of his bad behavior while reading the rest of the book.

My problem? I'm not sure I really want to let the reader have that excuse so early on. Wouldn't it make for a better "mystery" (so to speak) if the reader doesn't know up front why Hart's such an a$$?

This is the only major change I'm considering. And it might end up that I leave it in. I'm not entirely sure. I do know that some readers do not care for the opening line. ("You lying b****!" is a bit of a slap in the face just starting out in a story. Though hubby's pronouncement was, "Best opening line EVER!" Men.)

Any thoughts, lovers of all things Heartless?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Heartless Duke makes an unscheduled appearance!

That's right! Hart was spotted in a recent installment of My Lady Coward. He behaved just as badly as anyone could expect (or hope). 

You'd think a lady would be safe driving in the park (the public park!!) with a gentleman. Unfortunately, Maria discounted the rumors surrounding the Duke of Derringer, somehow forgetting that rumors are often based in truth. 

This short story takes place several years before Derringer's marriage. Perhaps that's why he's such a... well. Won't you pop over and see how Maria handles herself with the heartless lord? The image here is linked to the story and there's another image at the top of this blog's right-hand sidebar. That will get you there as well. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Then and Now

In re-reading Heartless, I realize one very HUGE thing. 

I am not the same person I was when I wrote this. 

It's a strange realization. This is my most popular novel, by far my bestseller. It features an emotionally battered man, a man who believes he's just as terrible as rumor suggests. And in that opinion, he's almost correct. In Hart's characterization, I think he's the same he could ever be. He is what he is. 

The story execution is another matter entirely. There are things I would change, sentence structures that could be reworded to offer so much more impact, over usage of other words or types of words that make some scenes feel steeped in redundancy. I have learned so much since I first put this story out there. 

And more than one person pointed out the excessive characters. OK, I had a point in placing that many characters in this story. Ever feel completely alone in a crowded room? Welcome to Leandra's world. 

However, I think I realize WHY the extra characters feel so...cluttered...to some readers. 

The names. 

I used an excessive amount of names to describe these people. One character in particular, having only two lines in a single scene, is described by her title, her relationship to the hero, and by her first name which, quite frankly, is totally unnecessary. Added to that, I kept referring to the heroine as Leandra, the duchess, her grace, and a few other things that almost made it sound like she was more than just one person. Sheesh.

Names are not always necessary, at least not in the final draft. In notes, sure. It helps the author keep track. The reader, however, doesn't need that info. So, I think I have a fix for the "excessive characters" problem. 

Unnecessary names will be removed. I don't think we need to know the first name as well as the title of a character who has one scene and only two lines in that scene. I think title and relationship to the hero/heroine will be sufficient...and sometimes not even that is necessary.

But what of the MAJOR issues? I know there are some. How could there not be? I self-published this title back in 2008 (I wrote it in 2004) and made the same mistake many other self-pubbed authors did. I jumped the gun. 

I considered making some major changes but fans have indicated their displeasure at the idea. Perhaps this is one of those only-make-the-changes-the-publisher-suggests situations. 

While I respect all the opinions I've received on this matter, my gut is telling me not to make any story altering changes, even if some of those changes would make more sense. I don't know. What do you think? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

~Getting to Know the Duke~ The Proposal

Just because I'm feeling oh-so-generous tonight—oh, it's after midnight here, so...this morning then—here's an excerpt from Heartless. This is the ever-so-romantic marriage proposal Derringer bestows on Merri (Leandra). Enjoy!! 

“You sound like a gentlewoman,” he remarked lazily.

“I was raised in my father’s house. I was sent to Miss Forester’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies when the time came and given every benefit of a daughter of the house. Then papa died and his wife threw me out after the will was not found. Everything of papa’s went to his son, the new earl.” All this was said prosaically.

Her voice changed subtly as she continued. Derringer thought it would have gone unnoticed by anyone but him. “I was told he left nothing for me but I refuse to believe my father would not take care of me. We were very close and he assured me I would always be taken care of, that I need never fear poverty. Well,” she shrugged fatalistically.

“And you had no one else to turn to when you found yourself in straitened circumstances?”

She hesitated. “I first went into the village to see my beau, Mr. Hubbard,” she confessed reluctantly. “He had heard about the lack of will and let me know that he was no longer interested in marrying me. But he was more than willing to give me a much different position.” She shook her head and shrugged. “So now I am alone and apparently at your mercy, sir.”

“So you are,” he agreed with an assessing look, uncomfortably surprised at his sudden desire to tear Mr. Hubbard limb from limb. “Marry me.”

Leandra dropped her fork. It clattered onto her plate and her eyes flew up to stare at the crazy man sitting across from her. “Are you daft, sir?” she asked with her normal candor. “I mean, are you an escaped bedlamite?” She didn’t give him a chance to reply, adding quickly, “I thank you for the meal and the sympathetic ear, but you needn’t feel that such desperate means are called for in helping me. I’m sure you like to help people, but marriage? Is that not going much too far, my lord? I assume you are a lord of some sort based on the landlord's attitude but perhaps you are escaped from your keeper? I mean, even lords can lose their minds. The newspapers overflow with such stories...” Her voice drifted to silence.
How was that? Besides my overuse of words ending in —ly, that is. 

This scene made me laugh all over again and reminded me why I love this book so much. I'm having a blast re-reading it, even with the "errors" I see. And it's very, very true that writers are their own worst critics. Well, most are. 

The preceding is (c) copyright 2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Heartless Update

Ah, my faithful readers and diehard lovers of all things Derringer. I am here to let you know that I finally picked up my personal copy of Heartless and opened up to page 1. And while I cringe at my overuse of the word 'was' and the number of historically inaccurate words and phrases that slipped past my guard, I still laugh and sigh and fall in love with my heartless duke all over again. 


You will be pleased to learn that this book is #1 on my list of Writing Goals for 2012. Also, I have plans to finish Intrigue, a Regency that is part of my "series" (falls between Deception and Spellbound chronologically), in which my Lord Heartless stars, before wife and marriage settle him down. 

Intrigue is Gideon de Witt's story, a friend of Derringer's who made his debut in Deception. Derringer gets into all kinds of trouble, says all kinds of shocking things, and becomes the unwilling "hero" of a teenage boy. Lots of Regency fun!