On letting your characters lead

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. My characters have a mind of their own. A dear friend advised that I let Alex and Grace tell their own story and that has resulted in some pretty interesting results.

Basically, they’re much more interested in hooking up than I thought they were. And Grace is quite bold in how far she’ll go to bed the duke. Alex is a bit of an exhibitionist. Really not at all what I had in mind when I was first planning the story!

I guess it goes to show you that an author is merely the vessel through which a story is told.

The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #4)

Another excerpt for my lovely readers! If you want to catch up on other parts of The Duke’s Dilemma please check out my other excerpts. This one is a bit saucy, so I’ve placed it below the break. Nothing too scandalous, that’ll come later, but a little something to whet the palate.

Continue reading The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #4)

Starting from Scratch

Things have been quiet here. My keyboard has been quiet. I haven’t written at all in a few weeks. For some reason, I wasn’t satisfied with the way Grace and her duke were falling in love, or rather weren’t. It didn’t feel like a romance novel to me. I’d had a few plot bunnies running around and I went as far as to add them to character sheets, but felt no more creative than that.

And then this morning came. I was sitting and reading a book and a new thread of plot came to mind. A new way for our dashing pair to meet. And I began to write. I wrote nearly a thousand words in less than an hour. It was miraculous.

And then I paused. I realized that this change in plot, though it made the story stronger, would necessitate me throwing out around a third of my already written story.

So, I moved the now obsolete scenes out of my manuscript and continued to write. Sometimes starting from scratch is the only way to find a way forward.

Shocking events rock small town Ohio (or why it’s hard to write with a murderer on the loose)

Apparently when there’s a murder only a few minutes walk from your house and the suspect isn’t caught, it’s a bit hard to write romance. For whatever reason, locking all your doors and windows and keeping a giant kitchen knife on your bedside table doesn’t exactly conjure to mind seduction and bodice ripping.

When I sat down to write last night, safely ensconced in my locked bedroom, my characters developed a disturbing proclivity for adventure. All of a sudden, Grace wanted to climb the outsides of castles and Alex mounted up to fight Napoleon. Pausing, I realized this was not the turn I wanted to take while acquiring a first pony for Eliza so I put my work down and just went to bed. It was a weird feeling to just not write. I know I talked about slacking off last week, but that felt okay because I knew I had Friday to make it up.This week, however, I have family coming to visit and Columbus Pride so I know every bit of writing I can do ahead of time can help me stay on track.

I’m hoping to pass 20,000 words today (and am about 600 away so it’ll definitely happen before bed) which marks the 25% point of my writing. This is kind of crazy to think about since I still have two months left until my self imposed deadline. Hopefully this means I’ll be able to do a first round of edits before my mind becomes consumed by college again.

If you’d be interested in reading The Duke’s Dilemma as it’s written, please let me know! I’d love to share it with you. And if you have any advice on how to stop your characters from tearing off on ill fated adventures, please be in touch. I’ll take all the tips and tricks I can get!

The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #3)

As lovely as it had been to imagine the taste and feel of Miss Grace Claridon, Alexander knew it had to stop. He knew that she was a respectable woman who deserved to be thought of honorably.

He moved towards her, his long steps eating up the distance that had existed between them. Taking her hands in his, he looked her in the eyes and said “I have overstepped the bounds of our agreement and I apologize for my transgression. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me, Miss Claridon?”

Shocked, Grace stammered before granting him forgiveness. “I suppose I can forgive you, Your Grace. As long as you ensure that this will not happen again.” With the duke in close proximity to her, Grace was treated to the woodsy scent, tinged with undertones of sandalwood, that enveloped him. She also spied the smattering of dark hair visible where his shirt was unbuttoned. His hands were large and callused in hers. His nails were neat and clean but his palms told a story of work done for love of land and not for profit. “Yes,” Grace said once more, “I forgive you.”

“Thank you, Miss Claridon.” He slowly raised her hands, giving her every opportunity to pull away, before brushing lips over first one hand and then the other.

Her breath caught as she watched his mouth pass over her hands and in the silence that followed, she could hear her heart pounding in her ears. Regaining her senses, she pulled her hands out of his and raced back to the house without another word.

Alex was left standing alone in the stables, stunned.

Writing Update: June 7th

Hello everyone!

I’m hard at work on The Duke’s Dilemma. I’ve just passed the 15,000 word mark! I consider it a mildly impressive feat considering it took me only a week and I am working hard (and trying not to write) during my nine-to-five job.

Our heroes are feeling the first sparks of attraction. The duke is rather enamored of the governess and trying his hardest not to dishonor her. Grace, for her part, is completely oblivious all around.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks heading your way!

The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #2)

“She must be well educated, genteel, and of refined bearing. I would prefer her old enough that marriage is out of the question, but young enough to feel comfortable playing games with Eliza. She should at least have a youthful spirit.”

“Any care for her appearance?” Grant asked off hand. “It might not be amiss to want someone pleasing to the eye joining you here at Woodmere.” At Alex’s baffled expression, Grant elaborated. “Perhaps you might require extra responsibilities pertaining to yourself.”“Are you implying she warm my bed?”

“Why are you scandalized? It’s a common practice amongst those of your ilk to tup the help.”

“Kit, the governess’ sole focus will be Eliza.” Alex adopted Grant’s nickname in an attempt to mend the conversation. “No matter what ‘those of my ilk’ might do, I should hope by now you know I am not like them.”

“You live like a monk, Alex. Don’t you want something more? Wouldn’t a wife serve much of the same purpose that a governess does at this point?” Grant was not wrong. Isolated at Woodmere, Alex did not interact much with the fairer sex. The estate was run with a reduced staff as the duke had no interest in a social presence. Since the death of his wife in childbirth, Alex had been focused solely on the maintenance of his holdings and the rearing of his child.

“A monk I may be and a monk’s habits I will sustain. You know I have no time to find a wife. And my last experience with wedded bliss was not so wonderful that I’m anxious to head to the church again.”