Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Now Hear This...

I'm so very happy to announce the release of my second audiobook - A SCANDALOUS CHARADE! Yay!! (Throws confetti and dances around my desk...ahem...OK, I'm good now.)

Audible  |  iBooks

For those of you who haven't heard me say so before, there's nothing quite like hearing your words being read aloud by an actress, the sound coming through the headphones of your computer. In a word, it's SURREAL. When I first heard my narrator's sample chapter, I had to get up from my computer and step away. It was slightly unnerving.

The narrator was wonderful, don't get me wrong. It was just so very, here's that word again - SURREAL. But I sat back down and listened to every word of my novel come to life as Ms. Zimmeman read my words aloud.

Audible   |   Amazon   |    iTunes

Early last month, my first novel - A SCANDALOUS WIFE was released in audiobook format. And I couldn't have been happier. Like most authors' first books, this is the book I labored over, struggled with, poured my heart into, the book that gave me my first lessons in the craft of writing. A lot of authors call that first book the "book of their heart", and that was true for me too. In fact, my tortured heroine, Lydia, was inspired by my grandmother as a girl; and therefore she is a character who is very close to my heart. Thought I relate more closely to some of my other heroines (personality-wise), Lydia's struggles are more personal to me than perhaps any other heroine I've ever written.

Lady Juliet St. Claire, the heroine of A SCANDALOUS CHARADE, is much more closely related to me in real life. She is sarcastic, she is strong, determined, a little on the spoiled side of things, and slightly unsure of herself when it comes to falling in love with Luke Beckford. (Not that I fell in love with Luke Beckford...I mean, you kind of fall in love with each of your heroes, but...Well, I think you get what I'm saying.) Anyway, I loved writing Juliet. I loved getting to know her strengths, weaknesses, and watching her grow.

These two heroines are as different from each other as night and day. Lydia was raised in a poor, unconventional, and sometimes very frightening home. Juliet is the second daughter of a once powerful duke. Lydia sees the world as a dangerous place for the weak. Juliet is much more singularly focused on her brother, sisters and her own small circle. Both are strong women, in their own way, however. And both are exceedingly loyal.

As an author, it's always fun to explore different sorts of characters from one book to the next. For me, it keeps the stories exciting and hopefully fresh for readers. What sorts of heroines do you most like to read about? Do you prefer to read about heroines who are like you or those who have a different outlook on life than you do? What characteristics, in your mind, makes for the best sort of heroine?

Back of the book blurb for A SCANDALOUS CHARADE:

Handsome ladies’ man Lucas Beckford has agreed to help his friend, an impoverished baron, win the affections of an icy heiress. It should be a simple task, especially for a seducer of his reputation. However when Luke catches sight of the enchanting lady, he is captivated with her pretty brown eyes, quick wit, and sharp tongue; and his desire to see his friend marry the girl quickly evaporates. Now he just has to find a way to convince the penniless lord to turn his attentions elsewhere—leaving the Ice Princess to him.

Lady Juliet St. Claire has always believed that her fortune would protect her from ever having to relinquish her freedom in marriage. Though fortune hunters endlessly hound her, Juliet’s outwardly cold demeanor keeps most of them at bay, licking their wounds or patching up their pride. However when Luke charms his way into her life, he easily melts more than just her heart. Unfortunately, the rogue is of the love ‘em and leave ‘em variety, and leaves Juliet’s tender heart in pieces. But when her fortune lands her in danger from an unscrupulous foe, Luke returns to her side, offering his help and protection. Now Juliet has to decide if her heart is strong enough to trust the rogue a second time.

*Originally published at LadyScribes 5/28/2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Had a Dream...

I know it LOOKS like I'm sleeping peacefully. 
…Well, not an inspiring or populist dream that will be memorized and quoted by school children until the end of time.

But I had a dream, just the same. Actually, I’ve been having very strange dreams lately. In the good ol’ days when I first started writing, I had dreams about characters. I had dreams that inspired books. And I very, very rarely had dreams about myself. Most of my dreams have always been like films, looking in on someone else’s life like a bystander, sitting in a dark movie theatre with popcorn.

But recently, not only have my dreams been strange. They’ve been starring yours truly. And perhaps that’s why they’ve stuck with me longer than my usual dreams. I even told Jerrica about a dream I had about squirrels in one of our ROMANCE RAMBLINGS webisodes.
(For those of you who don’t know… I hate a squirrel. I HATE A SQUIRREL) I even coined a new word to discuss this particular dream – Freudianly. I know it’s not really a word but it so should be!

Anyway, for the last few weeks, we’ve been moving The Scientist from his house into an apartment. He could have moved in with me, but the plan is to wait until my angsty teenager graduates. Not that any of you care about this, I’m sure.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh, the moving. Right. Ok, so we’ve been moving stuff for days and I’m a little more tired than normal. So this week, after I dropped my teenager off at high school, I’ve returned home to grab an extra half hour/forty-five minute nap before work.

Have you ever had a dream where you’re doing exactly what you’re doing? Did you follow that? Well… I had a dream that I was sleeping in my bed, in the exact position I was really sleeping in. And a man came into my house. (I watch a lot of crime TV, don’t ask me why. I don’t know.)

Anyway, from the front entryway, a man grumbles, “Where’s the dog?”

Now adrenaline is coursing through my veins. I mean, I’m just 5’2. If a couple of men break in, I’m in trouble. I didn’t have the energy to even get out of bed, I was so tired. So instead of hiding or calling for help, I decided that the best way for me to deal with a pair of uninvited robbers was to scare them off before they got to me. Because if they get to me, it’s too late. I’m done for.

Are you following me in the dream? The man says (presumably to another man) “Where’s the dog?”

So I loudly answer, with all the sarcasm and bravado I have in me, “Reading, #*$%er!”

Yeah, that’s right. Some burglar wants to know where my dog is, and my answer is that the dog is off READING. And then I call the man one of the most vile things you can call anyone in an attempt to scare him out of my house.

Ended up the man was my ex-father-in-law bringing my son home sick from school. (All of this was a dream. While my son has a cold IRL, he's been at school all week.)

Anyway, I have laughed for days about the idea of my dog lounging around, wearing a smoking jacket in the backyard with a worn out old copy of War and Peace or maybe a little Pride and Prejudice for a lighter read.

But, seriously, these dreams are going to make me batty (if I’m not already). I need to get back to dreaming about characters or people I don’t know. Or maybe I should just lay off the crime TV.

Now I know they say no one cares about anyone else’s dreams (unless they have a starring role in said person's dream)… but I’ll be nice and ask anyway. Have you had any strange dreams lately? What do you think they mean Freudianly? (It is a good word, isn't it?) But most importantly, do you own a dog who likes to read? (Because mine would like to start up a book club with his peers. Maybe something they can do after their late night poker games.) 

* Originally posted at LadyScribes 5/17/13

Image credit: <a href=''>damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo</a>