Hope this brief note finds you well, Dear Reader! Busy times, but I wanted to take a moment to say hello. I don't know about you, but I am sooo happy to see the flowers popping out everywhere and the trees beginning to bloom. Wishing you (in advance) a happy Easter or Passover or Earth Day or whatever it is you happen to celebrate.
At the moment, I don't actually have that much to report. If you've been wondering why I haven't been on Facebook as much lately, it's because I've been intensely focused on my storytelling these days, even more so than usual.
I write 7 days a week, and my daily routine these days looks like this. For about 3 hours in the morning, I am writing, writing away on the next Moonlight Square book, DUKE OF SHADOWS. For about 2 hours in the afternoons, I do my businessy things (like this blog). And for about 3 hours in the evenings, I am going over the fabulous complete manuscript that my co-author Jaz Kennedy sent in of Harmony Falls, Book 2, BELONG TO ME.
Did I ever tell you about our working methods together? Here's how we go about writing our books together:
1. We brainstorm and plot the book together. This is super fun, especially since we enjoy meeting at a cozy coffeehouse and getting yummy pastries. Everyone knows that chocolate and caffeine are great for creativity. (At least that's my excuse, lol. Helloooo, pain au chocolat!)
2. Once we have our character arcs hammered out, along with the storyline for at least up to the first major turning point, Jaz takes the ball and runs with it, writing the first draft (aka The Hard Part, as far I'm concerned!) She dives into the research for the book, which is more extensive than you'd think, and checks in with any questions or dilemmas as she moves through the story.
3. She sends me chunks to read as she completes them, I comment and make sure it's all on track, and we might meet or have long phone conversations a few more times throughout her draft.
4. Once Jaz's draft is complete, she hands it over to me, and I do a sweep through it. (And add The Naughty Bits, lol. It's so funny, she can't bring herself to write a sex scene. Fine by me! But it's cute. I get to the blank part in the manuscript where she'll put in all caps for me to fill in: THEN THEY START KISSING AND STUFF... :) Lol. Yet my sister is the one with two kids, so I think she MUST know something about these matters, whether she wants to admit it or not! Ha, ha. I like to tease her.) Anyway, for a new writer, it's been amazing to see what huge strides my little protege here has been making, far faster than I would've thought possible for anyone. But hey, we've got the same DNA, so there's that, and maybe I'm doing a good job mentoring. It's the big sister in me. Though I'm sure I drive her crazy at times. *gg* What are sisters for?
5. I also do a 3rd draft to polish it up, and then off it goes to the copyeditor. That's about it!
Anyway, I look forward to telling you much more about both stories once I'm done with them. Those who've been with me for a while probably know by now that I have "a thing" about not talking about my books too much before they're finished so I don't jinx myself.
I will say that both are going surprisingly well, knock on wood! It is our fondest wish to have both BELONG TO ME and DUKE OF SHADOWS out this summer. Fingers crossed! But I will keep you posted.
Then there's this...
Lovely New Translations!
My agent sent along two beautiful new translated editions of some of my past books. On the right, in Slovak, once more by Slovensky spisovatel, is the book that my English-speaking readers know as HER ONLY DESIRE, Book 1 of the Spice Trilogy, featuring feisty Knight family cousin Georgiana (named after her scandalous aunt, the Hawkscliffe Harlot!). Headstrong Georgie is paired with the easygoing diplomat Ian, Lord Griffith, boyhood pal of all the Knight brothers. These are both such beautiful editions, and I'm thrilled about the hardcover. Don't you just love that crisp little snick that a hardback book makes the first it's opened?
On the left is a reissue in French of what English speakers received as MY IRRESISTIBLE EARL, Book 3 of the Inferno Club. This has been reissued by my terrific French publisher, J'ai Lu. (Alas, I forget my French verb conjugations from the 3 years of French I took in high school, but the publisher's name means "I read," which is an excellent name for a publisher, n'est pas?) I love the new title they gave this one ~ Charme noir. If you can guess in the comments what that means, I'll give you a gold star. *g* In this book, the hero was the debonair spy, Jordan, Lord Falconridge, and the heroine was Mara, the first mom among all my heroines. She was a widow with a toddler-aged son. The only OTHER mother I've had among my heroines (prior to getting together with the hero, that is) was Gin, the heroine of SECRETS OF A SCOUNDREL, who had a young teen boy, Phillip, who would've fit right into one of my fantasy adventure novels for kids!
In any case, I'm excited to show these off. I remain amazed at the universality of the romance genre. As different as our lives may be in far distant countries, everyone loves a good love story. It's interesting that these two happened to arrive together because, come to think of it, Ian and Jordan kind of have a lot in common. Hmm...gentlemanly quiet types with impeccable manners and all sorts of brooding depths underneath under the polished surface.
Anyway, whatever language you speak/read, I hope you enjoy my stories! And, last but not least, a note from my dog...
GROOMING DAY, MR. BINGLEY!
Besides being the first day of Spring, it's also a major anniversary for me...
I can't believe it's been this long, but 29 years ago yesterday, on the last day of winter, I met the love of my life. I just wanted to use this blog post to send a very Happy Anniversary to MY hero, Eric. Without him, I would never have become a romance writer, and frankly might not even be alive.
Our day-we-met anniversary is actually even more meaningful for me than our wedding one. Even though I was still just a teenager, I was in a time in my life when it really did seem like "winter" would never end. I had been through a succession of pretty terrible things all in a row and was definitely in the darkest moment of my life, when finally God (as I fully believe) threw me a lifeline in the form of a smiley blue-eyed young man who changed everything. :) Everybody needs that one person who lets you know you're not crazy and everything's going to be all right.
Eric's always been my rock, and there's nothing in my life for which I am more grateful than our love. If I have any regrets, it's only that I was so squirrelly about actually getting married. We waited a looong time before making it official. Honey, it's an honor being your wife.
So that's all for today. :) I hope my blog visitors don't mind me posting this mushy tribute to my one-and-only E. He's my best friend and soul mate, and, Dear Reader, if you have benefited in any way from my understanding of love as expressed in my novels, he's the guy to thank. If I am able to portray the healing power of love, he taught me pretty much everything I know. As they say, write what you know. Which is also why I get steamed about people writing romance novels cynically, just for money or whatever, because for some of us, love is sacred and has been literally a matter of life and death. But I digress.
Today we all can celebrate that WINTER IS OFFICIALLY OVER. At least up here in the Northern Hemisphere. The dark days are gone. It's the first day of Spring, the birds are signing, and I hope your path is filled with sunshine, and your skies are blue.
Hi guys! Just wanted to share some of my behind-the-scenes tidbits that I came across while writing, imagining, and researching DUKE OF SECRETS. Enjoy!
German-born violin maestro David Garrett seemed like a great inspiration for Azrael. Looks + talent + passion = Hero material. :)
Fun with Raja
Now here's what I call a cat video!! This little vid from a Big Cat Sanctuary reminds me of Azrael playing with his pet leopard, Raja. So cute. The juvenile leopard here is gorgeous. Then there's the South African hottie. This is just way too much handsome all one one blog post, lol. (Is there such a thing??)
This very beautiful French actress, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, was my "model" for the physical appearance of Lady Serena Parker in Duke of Secrets, although Serena's hair was darker, actually black. I love writing about complicated heroines.
Moonlight Square Map
Time for another stroll through Moonlight Square, Regency London's most romantic garden park, home to many an aristocrat. I had this map created for the series and I find it helpful to go back and refer to it from time to time. On the left, you can see the Grand Albion, a fancy hotel with ballrooms a la Almack's upstairs and an exclusive gentlemen's club a la White's on the ground floor. On the right is St. Andrew's (a la St. George's of Hanover Square), a small but highly fashionable place to get married! Right in the middle is the little park itself -- including the fanciful white folly where all sorts of things might happen...
NeoGothic Regency Interiors
I got the inspiration for the neo-gothic interior of Azrael's house in Moonlight Square (Duke of Secrets) from the famed Strawberry Hill in London, the home of Horace Walpole. It was recently restored to its original glory, and its website is full of fascinating pics from one of the masterpieces of the Neogothic interior style.
MOUNDS, TOMBS & BARROWS, OH MY!
Much of the intrigue in my new book, Duke of Secrets, centers around mysterious doings at an ancient barrow. People in the 19th century were as curious about these strange earthworks as we are today. This period engraving via the Heritage Trust shows Regency folk exploring the Bartlow Burial Mounds in Cambridgeshire.
You can link to the full article on the Heritage Trust here, but I especially loved this part:
The noticeboard at the foot of one of the mounds records that, “The seven mounds covered extraordinary rich burials containing a collection of wonderful artistic objects, the best found in Britain. Mound IV, the largest, is 45ft high and 144ft in diameter...
In 1815 Busick Harwood “excavated” Mound VI to provide work for the unemployed… They began at the apex and digging down at great labour to the cist despoiled it of its contents, which were distributed and no account of them taken”.
Hmm! I wonder whatever happened to those ancient artifacts and what they might've been like...
Hope you enjoyed these little Bonus Extras. I have more to share soon! Thanks again for reading my books.
Fun poll to celebrate the release of Duke of Secrets! Cast your vote below...if you dare! *g*
Do feel free to comment below. This could get interesting... *gg*
PS: Chapter 1 Sneak Peek is posted below the poll. Scroll down to check it out, and thanks for visiting today! Enjoy your weekend. :)
DUKE OF SECRETS is officially out today! I'm very excited about this book! A juicy winter's tale with gothic undertones, a dark, tortured hero, a sharp, determined heroine -- and cameo appearances by certain Inferno Club members from my last series (you won't believe why!!) Thanks in advance if you decide to go and check it out. It's been a long time coming! :) ~xoxo Gaelen
DUKE OF SECRETS
Everything Lady Serena Parker thought she knew about her own life has just proved a lie. Now, only one man can lead her to the truth… But at what price?
When shocking family secrets emerge, they turn Lady Serena Parker’s world upside-down, sending the bold, raven-haired beauty on a quest to find answers. Ironically, her search soon points her right across the street, to the home of her most mysterious neighbor in Moonlight Square — the elusive and solitary Azrael, Duke of Rivenwood.
The rich, enigmatic nobleman alone may possess the knowledge she craves, but Serena knows she must approach with caution. For, shadowed by rumors of a dark and tragic past, Azrael is heir to family secrets even more dangerous than her own. Once she captivates the duke’s smoldering passion, however, gaining his help may cost Serena more than she ever dreamed…
Welcome back to Moonlight Square ~ Regency London’s most intriguing address!
Dear Reader, I am thrilled to unveil Chapter 1 of DUKE OF SECRETS for your entertainment! The release is right around the corner, so I thought I'd take a moment to tell you a bit about the story.
This is a juicy winter's tale with gothic overtones, a dark and mysterious hero, and a sharp, determined heroine. Fans of my Inferno Club series will be happy to hear there are certain cameos in here that you may enjoy! More to come, but for now, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into DUKE OF SECRETS...
Occasional musings on books, life, writing, and a general Whazzup! from your 'umble author.