Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Best-laid Plans...

Write what you know and know what you write.  As an author, I’ve heard that my entire life.  But some things, the things that are the hardest to write about, are the things you know the best. They’re also the hardest things to share with the world because they’re so personal. You have to go to a place in your heart you don’t like to visit and tap into something you’d rather forget.

I encountered that very thing this past year as I was writing my Christmas-set novella A Bit of Mistletoe (which can be found in the recently released A PACT BETWEEN GENTLEMEN). I had every intention of writing a happy, fluffy Christmas story, until I realized my heroine wasn’t one who could ever be free enough from her past to be as light-hearted as all that – Christmas or not.

I could have scrapped that idea and started over with someone else; but in my heart I really, REALLY wanted Miss Theresa Birkin to have a happy-ever-after. Tessie deserved a happy-ever-after. She deserved so much more than she’d received up to that point. She isn’t so much my most flawed heroine as she is my most careful. She’s had no choice but to be so, however. You see, she made the mistake of falling for a rake and ruined her life in the process. 

I know what that feels like. To make decisions based on promises and then have the rug and my carefully planned life ripped out from beneath me.  And I’m intimately familiar with silver-tongued liars.  Don’t get me started!

The catalyst for the Christmas Pact Anthology collection (A PACT BETWEEN GENTLEMEN and A GENTLEMEN’S PACT) is that 6 gentlemen make a pact to remain bachelors after the death of their friend. You see, Lord Arrington, their friend (of the philandering silver-tongued variety) was caught cheating by his wife and then promptly murdered by her with the help of her fire poker. The 6 gentlemen in question feel the best way to avoid the same end to their lives is to simply to avoid marriage in the first place.  But you know what they say about the best-laid plans (or pacts, as the case may be)…

I posted the dedication to this book on my Facebook page the day the book was released, but I’d like to share it here as well…

For every woman out there who has been cheated on or abandoned ~ A few years ago, my husband of 12 years told me he was leaving me for another woman. I know I’m not a novelty in that regard, but when you’re going through a situation like that, you certainly feel like you are. So as unseemly as it is to admit, I do feel a little kinship for Lady Arrington and her fire iron. While I could never harm anyone myself, I certainly understand the emotions that could lead one to that place.
At the time, I had some wonderful friends who promised to help me hide the body should I decide to “knock him off” (in jest, of course). But their friendship, their commiseration, their support helped me through the most difficult time in my life, and I will always love them for it. Every woman should be as lucky to have such wonderful, devoted, and loyal friends.  Had Lady Arrington had friends like mine, I’m certain she wouldn’t have ended up in Newgate Prison.
I am here to say, however, that as hard as it is to believe when you’re recovering from that sort of betrayal, there really are some decent and truly good men out there. I am honored to know a number of them. And after rising from my ashes, I am very fortunate to have found an honorable hero of my own.  
Though Lord Berkswell isn’t the soft, cuddly sort – and flawed, though he is - Berks is decent and a truly good man who cares for and loves his family with all his heart. I hope you’ll love him as much as I do.
  ~ Ava

I am a baby, in that every time I read that dedication I cry. I hate to admit that, but it's true. Try as I might, I can never forget the betrayal and utter shock that went through me when my then-husband told me he was leaving me and for whom - a woman I knew, a woman I'd had at my house for holidays and graduations, a woman I never would have suspected was that sort of woman.

Because I had been through that particular situation, it made me anxious to give Tessie Birkin a well-deserved happy ever after, but it also hurt a little to write, getting into her head, feeling her emotions. She'd been betrayed and I knew exactly what that felt like. Tapping into that emotion can be painful, but also a bit cathartic too. Still, it had to be done. Good people don't always get happy endings in real life, but as an author of fiction, I can certainly make sure that good characters get the ending they deserve. (Bad ones too for that matter, though that's cathartic in a different way.)

Have you ever REALLY identified with a character in a book?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yay!! I Can Finally Say...

For a while now I've been saying that as soon as A SCANDALOUS PAST hit the audiobook shelves, I'd be screaming the news from the rafters. (Consider this post said rafters).

I know you'd expect every author to say this, but... I really love this book. I adore the heroine, who I think was a bit similar to me when I was younger. A more loyal girl, you'll never find. But I also loved the triangle she finds herself in - torn between good boy Lord Clayworth and bad boy Lord Haversham. Really - I'd take either one.

It has been a wonderful journey, listening to audio versions of my SCANDALOUS series be born. It has been so much fun re-visiting these books in a new form and hearing Stevie Zimmerman - audio producer extraordinaire - transform these characters and stories into something different, something new. 

Though A SCANDALOUS PAST is the last in this particular series, it certainly isn't "the end". Very soon, I hope to announce that my connected HEROES RETURNED series will also be finding its way to the audiobook shelves. 

Audible  |  Amazon  |  iTunes

After years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Cordelia Avery knows the only way out is marriage to the perfect man. A man who will allow her all the freedom she has ever craved. And she has the perfect man picked out. The scandalous Marquess of Haversham might not be perfect to anyone else, but taking the man’s black reputation under consideration, Cordie believes she’ll enjoy all the freedom she’s always wished for in his disreputable arms. If only she could get her heart to go along with the plan and to stop leaping whenever Lord Adonis…er…the Earl of Clayworth is nearby. But the very proper earl is most assuredly the wrong sort for her purposes. 

Brendan Reese, the Earl of Clayworth, has no intention of ever marrying again. He's still trying to clean up the mess his first wife left him, even years after her death. To all the world, Clayworth is the epitome of the perfect English gentlemen, and he so wishes that image was the truth. But the truth, as it often can be, is ugly. After all, a perfect English gentlemen would never have a traitor for a mother. And unless Clayworth can find the evidence his late-wife hid, he could face the gallows himself. But a chance encounter with the reckless Cordelia Avery give him the best lead he's had in years to finally put his family's past to rest. Unfortunately, focusing on anything other than Miss Avery seems a nearly impossible task. 

Also available in the Scandalous Series...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Romance Ramblings: Planning for Thanksgiving

During this week's Romance Ramblings, Jerrica calls Ava a "baby woman" more than once and lives to tell the tale. They talk voting, cynical teenagers, planning for Thanksgiving, and bedside manner.
Today's preparing for Thanksgiving question - How many place settings do you have? 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Romance Ramblings: An Homage to Film Noir...

This week during Romance Ramblings, Ava and Jerrica discuss worst/best Christmas gifts, projects for the new year, and Ava's impending sainthood (thank you, Christi Caldwell.)

What is the worst gift YOU've ever received?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Romance Ramblings: Seriously Off the Cuff...

This week Ava and Jerrica (along with "That Guy") are imbibing once again. And you know what that means... ONE LIVELY EPISODE OF ROMANCE RAMBLINGS. This week we talk Snapchat (and why Ava can't get her user name and other more sordid details thanks to Eric), discuss how to sound properly German, the fun of audiobooks, and family trees!

What do you think is the next big social media "thing"? And Eric would like to know your Snapchat user name. ;)