Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Behind the books

This week, I will be adding another of my previously published novels to Amazon for Kindle, and I thought I would like to present something about each book's behind the scenes events which few people are aware of. 

I know, not the greatest sentence structure in the world, but I save that for my paid works--and this is not.  In 1990 I sold a manuscript to Avon Books called Wilderness Heart.  My editor was Maggie Lichota, then executive editor.  This book sold through what they call the "slush pile" in 3 weeks time.  I was lucky, but by then I'd written the damned thing 4 times--every word.  The current version--available now exclusively for Kindle, is the 5th and FINAL rewrite.  Rough and Tender as a title, was not my choice.  And for a few years, I couldn't say it aloud without poking fun at it.  The spanking scene, was also not my idea.  Some editors like it rough.  Heh, heh.

Embrace The Wild Dawn was my 3rd Avon book, and it was published the year the midlist crashed and burned.  That same year, the cost of paper soared to 6 times what it was previously, and contracts for authors who weren't big names were dropping like flies.  This book had the ugliest freaking cover I have ever seen.  It was baby-shit yellow, and the artwork looked like it was done by a 6th grader.  The tree behind the couple was a big reddish-brown thing, and didn't look like a tree.  And though when I first wrote ETWD, Quintana's hair color was red, my editor asked me if I could change it to fit a cover that was already done, so I did, and she became a blonde.  Yet, when the cover arrived, her head looked like it was on fire.  They turned her back into a redhead without telling me--AFTER I'd made the changes THEY had asked for.  So, goes publishing.

My second editor at Avon, Ellen Edwards, farmed me out to someone who was free-lancing as an editor.  She nitpicked her way through this book.  I threw my dictionary across my office, and broke its spine.  Then, I drank a little more rum than I usually consumed, and quietly threatened to send her a dead rat by Fed-Ex.  Somehow, the book survived it.  But, without backing and with a lousy presentation, my numbers took a nose dive.

Just goes to show that the only thing a writer can control is her writing.  And this book is one of my best historical romances.  Draper is sexy, and romantic, and when he goes to England to bring back his commanding officer's daughter, his life is on the line.  He is facing a court-martial on a number of charges levelled at him by a man he detests.  A man who is responsible for Draper's young brother's death.

From the moment he steps into Quintana Wade's parlor, the conflict starts.  Quintana hates her estranged father, and has no intentions of going anywhere.  Years of pain and bitterness--and secret longing for the father she never knew--had hardened Quintana.  Her coolness is a protective shell, to keep her from being hurt again.  And though she makes every attempt to resist him, she soon finds she isn't immune to Draper's charm.

There is of course, a lot more than hand-holding going on.  But the sex--to me--took a backseat to the emotional punch in this story.  Embrace The Wild Dawn is more than just a romance.  It is a story about a young woman unfolding, and unbending, evolving, and learning how to adjust, and in the end, how to sacrifice herself for the welfare of someone she loves very deeply.  It also has the most poignant ending I have ever written.  As a reader I am hard to please.  As a judge of my own work, I am nearly impossible to please, but I have to say, I still LOVE these characters, and this story.

I hope you will love it too.  AND hey, it has a dog in there.  You knew that was coming!  Frazer, my Shetland sheepdog likes this one, too.  Sparky doesn't know that I'm a writer, yet.  He thinks I'd reading email.  And Boo?  Boo is my Absolute Fraquard (read the book to get that one).  He guards the perimeter and looks tough.


  1. You have a trove of great works! I loved The Fortune Hunter!! Can't wait to read these...part way through Rough and Tender--really moving! So glad for ur literary rebirth--we are lucky readers!

    1. Thanks, Kathie. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It came out as a Precious Gems release, and I never gave it the attention or affection it deserved. in re-formatting-editing, I was very pleased with what I saw. I liked James and Lizzie.