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Category: About writing

Blake Ashton

I often get lovely emails from readers, some of them asking for Marcus’s story (from the Devil Riders) and some asking for Blake Ashton’s story, (from the Chance Sister series). In fact an email asking about Blake Ashton arrived today. It included this question.

BUT, I asked myself at midnight, will that lonely fourth member of the Flynn Trading Company, Blake Ashton, ever get to stop sailing the seas, come home to England and find a nice girl to marry? 

This is what I told her: 

Serendipity! *g* As it happens, I’m writing the last few scenes of Ash’s story at the moment. I’ve been playing with the idea of a novella for him for several years, writing it in bits and pieces between my other books. I’m not a fast writer, and for some reason I can only concentrate on one book at a time, and so I have to work on my already contracted books for Berkley, not a novella that, for contractual reasons, I’ll have to self-publish. 

When I first envisaged the Chance Sister series, I thought I’d like to play with the notion of four “sister” brides for four “brother/friend” grooms, but the early stages of a series or a book are always pretty fluid for me, and by the time I got to Jane’s story, I knew her much better, and I realized that she needed a different kind of hero, and that Ash wouldn’t suit. So he got left behind. Which kind of suited him at the time.

But I’m now on the home straight with Ash’s Christmas story. It takes place in the middle of the series, when Max and Abby are having their first Christmas as a couple, Freddy and Damaris are still honeymooners, and Jane hasn’t yet met Zachary Black.

I’m making arrangements for a cover design, and I’ll get a couple of writer friends to read it over before I format it for self-publication — all new territory for me. I’m not sure when it will go up — probably late for a Christmas story (most of them go on sale in early October), but I’d really like to get it out there this year.

Stay tuned — I’ll keep you posted with my progress, and when I get a cover design, and more details, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, I’m madly killing darlings to bring my new book (as yet untitled) for Berkley down to a better word length — the good news is that my editor has read it and said she loved it, but agreed that it should be shorter.  So I’m cutting . . . 

The Trouble with Marcus

In a comment earlier, Neva asked about a book for Marcus, Earl of Alverleigh, from the Devil Riders series. I get so many letters asking for his story, and though I always answer them, I decided it might be worth while explaining here.

The trouble is, Marcus’s story was never in the original publisher’s contract for the series, which is usually written before I’ve started writing.  I’d imagined his role to be as a vaguely villainous distant character-in-the-background, but then as I was writing the other books in the series, he gradually became more important to me. Then in Nell and Harry’s story (His Captive Lady) he really stepped forward and showed himself to be a hero-in-waiting. And then he did it again in Nash and Maddy’s story (The Accidental Wedding). By then I really wanted to him to have his own story. 

When I was in New York, I talked to my editor about it, and she said “fine, go ahead” and so I started on the story. But my publishers then came back a few weeks later and said they didn’t want Marcus after all, and that I should move on to the first book in the next series that they’d approved, starting with The Autumn Bride. So that’s what I did.

I’ve had so many letters asking for Marcus’s story, and I really do want to write it — and I will, one day.  I have had the broad strokes of his story —and his heroine— in my mind for ages, and the prologue and opening is drafted. And somes scenes scribbled down in my notebook.

But I’ll have to self-publish it as an e-book, and my contract restricts me from self-publishing anything longer than a novella (30,000 words). I’m pretty sure Marcus’s story will be longer than that — unless I get frustrated and squish the poor fellow into a novella. But I’d prefer to let the story be the length it wants to be.

The other thing is, as most of you have realized, I’m not a fast writer, and I write one story at a time. I’ve tried doing what some writers do and switch from story to story — one friend of mine writes one story in the morning, and in the afternoon edits a different story. I’ve tried doing that, and it really doesn’t work for me. I need to dwell in the world of my story and the heads of my characters — one story at a time. It’s when I’m “in the zone” that some of my best scenes come to me, and they’re not usually ones I’ve planned. Characters step out and do things that surprise me, but are right for them — and that’s the best part of writing for me.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to train myself to write faster. I’m planning to put out a few novellas and learn  indie-publishing — I’m hoping to write a Christmas novella for Ash (from the Seasonal Brides series) after I’ve finished my current book, which is the first in a new series. But a full novel will take more time and thought. However I DO want to write Marcus’s story, and as I still get a couple of letters every week asking about it, there’s no chance I’ll forget. 

When I do write Marcus’s story, you guys will be the first to know.
In the meantime, stay safe and keep healthy.


Since I sent out my newsletter the other day, with the cover for MARRY IN SCARLET, I’ve had a number of emails from readers who weren’t sure about George having short hair on the cover.

She had short hair in the previous stories, but they thought it wasn’t a very Regency look.

But short hair was fashionable in the Regency.

On the right is a photo of Lady Caroline Lamb, notorious for her scandalous affair with Lord Byron. 

But Lady Caroline wasn’t the only fashionable lady who cropped her hair.
(Not that George cropped hers to be fashionable—she wasn’t particularly interested in trying to be fashionable.)

Here are some portraits of several other fashionable short-haired regency ladies.

Finally, here’s an image I would have loved for George’s cover, but alas, French actress Audrey Tatou wasn’t available.<g>