This past month or so I discontinued my weekly pondering and thoughts on life and writing here in this spot in favor of more frequent newsletters. I plan to continue that, but for those of you who read this column but don’t subscribe, plan to repeat the column here.
As 2020 continues to work its Black Magic, Beloved and I continue to stay close to home, avoid stores, and confine our restaurant time to outdoor seating, although I do go to church. I suspect I’m not the only person who has found the election draining if not debilitating. I voted two weeks ago so, as it gets closer, I am shutting it out as much as I can. Otherwise, the girls in the basement hide, and I have writing to do.
After getting comments from two beta readers, I edited the third draft of The Wayward Son. I have a folder littered with leftover bits called “new start,” “old start,” and “rejects,” and the draft of a delightful story of a man who returns home after fifteen years to find things aren’t as he expects. This book is an entirely new start for me, and, after some soul searching, I decided to submit it to a new publisher. I created a summary not only for this book but for some as yet unwritten sequels—always an agony—and sent it with the first 50 pages to Dragonblade Publishing.
Imagine my surprise when, four hours later, I was offered a four-book contract. The series title is The Ashmead Heirs, and it centers on a will in which a deceased earl snubs his legitimate children in favor of his bastards (one of them that wayward son), most residents of the same village and surrounding countryside. After months of trying to write books for two series, short stories, and some novellas, flitting from project to project, I have focus. I plunged into Book 2, The Defiant Daughter, and it is humming along.
Earlier this month I did something I’ve meant to do for over a year. I commissioned a new cover for Christmas Hope, one of the best I’ve written, with stellar reviews, but one that hasn’t caught on. The new cover, which you can see in the left hand menu, better reflects the mood and the themes of the book.
Meanwhile, the Bluestocking Belles keep me busy. I’ll be adding not one but two Belles’ collections to this website for pre-order this week. (The newsletter folks already got the links)
In addition, the Belles have begun having brunch time discussions every Saturday at 1 PM Eastern on various aspects of historical romance and the writer’s craft. One of my favorites was on secondary characters—the mentors, foils, sidekicks, villains, sounding boards, and enrichers that make our stories well rounded and emotionally rich. The Ashmead Heirs has given me an opportunity to invent several that cut across all the books, some emerging as heroes or heroines.
So I’m off to write. But first, coffee!