NEWS, BLOG & LIFE AS A CREATIVE
January News & Announcements
Hi guys! welcome, and I hope your 2020 is off to a great start! First, I have two big news items to announce this month, and then, farther down the page, you'll find my January Musings, where I share some thoughts about opening new stories. But first, the news!
News Item #1:
Amazon has picked DUKE OF SECRETS (Moonlight Square, Book #2) as a Featured Deal for January in both the US and Canada. It'll be just $1.99 throughout the month of January!
About the Book:
This is a wintry gothic-style romance with one of my most enigmatic heroes.
If you've read the Inferno Club, then you'll remember that the heroes in that series were members of an elite secret unit of warrior-spies fighting for the Crown, called the Order of St. Michael the Archangel. You may recall that their age-old foes were a sinister secret society of international elites called the Prometheans.
Our good guys in the Order finally defeated these bad dudes by the series' end. But I always wanted to explore the idea of a good man born on the wrong side of that fight: a potential hero who, through no fault of his own, is born as the heir to one of these evil, rich, powerful, Promethean families. Duke of Secrets is that story.
Azrael, the Duke of Rivenwood, is the heir to a dark heritage. His evil father (who named him after the angel of death! thanks, Dad) was the terror of his childhood, so he's kept his distance from all efforts to reestablish this sinister, high-level cult. But he has to keep a low profile, or he knows the few remaining stragglers who managed to survive will kill him without a second thought. As a result, he's become known as an eccentric recluse who prefers the company of his pet black leopard to that of humans.
But when the beautiful Lady Serena Parker finds out that her family was tied up in this dark stuff, too, (she had no idea!!) she is determined to find out whatever Azrael is willing to tell her about it. Together they have to fight their way through the aftermath of this darkness they've inherited and reach a future together of love, light, and redemption.
Intrigued? You can get your copy of Duke of Secrets on Kindle now for just $1.99.
PS: If you do decide to read this book, keep an eye out for the settings ! Just a writing-wonk sort of note, but I worked extra-hard to come up with cool settings for many key scenes in this book (especially the Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night stuff!) and I've gotta say, I'm actually kinda proud of how they came out. ;)
News Item #2:
I'm delighted to announce that HarperCollins/ Avon has decided to reissue ROYAL BRIDESMAIDS in mass market paperback, hitting shelves near you on Tues, Jan. 25!
This is an anthology of three novellas centering around royal weddings, and featuring the wonderful storytelling of "the" Stephanie Laurens, "the" Loretta Chase, and your 'umble author.
You can order ROYAL BRIDESMAIDS online or keep an eye out for it at your local bookstores or at Walmart, Target, etc. Enjoy!
And now, on to the topic of the month....
Thoughts on Opening a Story
The start of the new year and a whole new decade has me thinking this month about one of my favorite aspects of writing: starting a new book!
In a romance, of course, that means setting up an engaging and memorable “first meet” of our two new, destined lovers. Writing romance is so much fun. :)
When I first start a new novel, it’s true it can be daunting to realize I’ve got 500+ pages to produce. I try not to think about that too much, though, and just take it one scene at a time.
Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter if I outline the story beforehand—it still takes me a good hundred pages or so before I feel like I really know my characters. That’s why I always end up going back to make two or three more (many more, lol) passes over the opening chapters before I’m happy with them.
Most authors will freely admit that setting up the story in those first three to five scenes can be extremely tricky. It’s a balancing act between getting the hero and heroine firmly established in their own separate lives, and then getting them onto the page together as quickly as possible so the story doesn’t drag.
After all, their “first meet” is the true start of every romance. It seems like once you get the opening right, writing the rest of the story just flies.
Not long ago, I was having a conversation with some fellow authors about the challenges of writing novel openings. Some of them felt that showing the hero and heroine separately (before the first meet) was just fluff, and that it’s best to bring them together ASAP. (This was the advice several of them had received from agents and critique partners, fwiw.)
But, for me, after reflecting about it, I realized that my preference, as both a reader and a writer, is to have at least one scene of each lead characters in their “single” lives, before they meet their future spouse.
It’s kind of like those dramatic “Before/After” pictures you see of someone who has gone on a drastic diet (speaking of New Year’s Resolutions! haha) or has undergone a big makeover.
When a character falls in love, it’s like they’re going to get an emotional or psychological makeover by the end of the story. So if we don’t get to see the “Before”, how their lives are before they meet that special someone, then the “After” loses a lot of its impact.
“The healing power of love” is one of the main themes of all my writing, so I like to see my hero and heroine up close and personal before they meet that special someone, when they’re still kind of a mess inwardly, lol.
I don’t know about you, but I can relate to characters who don’t have everything figured out in life, who carrying emotional wounds or baggage. I don't generally enjoy sad books, but it’s okay to have that angst or suffering at the start of a romance because I know everything’s going to be all right for them in the end. That the suffering character will be able to let go of old wounds and heal (at least partly) by the end of the story.
So, I, for one, I would hate to miss out on those messy, sharp-edged “Before” conditions of the characters just for the sake of having a rushed, gimmicky first meet. Openings like that tend to lack depth for me as a reader.
That said, the danger is not to go overboard and start explaining every tiny detail of a character’s past. Ugh, BORING. Nobody wants to read a giant “info dump.” The trick is finding a happy medium so that the story will have emotional richness without sacrificing a nice, quick pace.
Have you read any books lately where the opening really grabbed you? Please share in the comments below!
My readers and I all love to hear good book recommendations from like-minded people, so if you have any to share, don’t be shy!
Also, what books are you looking forward to in 2020? Any upcoming releases already on your radar? Comment below.
Thanks for visiting ~ and I hope your 2020 is off to a great start!
December News & Announcements
Happy December! I cannot believe 2019 is almost over. Wow. I hope you had a great year, and I want to thank you once again for your support. I truly appreciate it. Wishing you & yours a very Merry Christmas ~ Happy Holidays ~ and a wonderful New Year!
As you may have noticed, I'm making some changes on my website for 2020. Namely, my "Blog" has been renamed "News," and this is where you will find the latest updates in future, rather than cluttering up my homepage.
In a follow-up from last month's note, *CONGRATULATIONS* to the winner of my big November giveaway, exclusively for my newsletter subscribers! This lovely person has been notified, but, my dear lady, you need to check your email, lol. I want to send you your prize! :)
Have you heard I now have my own little GF online bookshop? I'm terribly excited about it. *g* If you are interested in autographed copies of my latest books, or are looking to save some money on the Moonlight Square paperbacks, go and have a look around! All transactions are securely processed through Paypal; I think you'll find it pretty straightforward. Click to visit the GF Online Store.
A Wee Prezzie From Your Kris Kringle
Love a good Victorian Christmas tale that's fun for the whole family? Then download the eBook of this magical holiday adventure for your kids ~ and yourself! ~ as a wee gift from Eric and me.
JAKE & THE GINGERBREAD WARS by E.G. Foley
will be FREE on Kindle from
THURSDAY, DEC. 12th - MONDAY, DEC. 16th.
Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a treasure hunt (!!). When the action-starved military man next door discovers her quest, he demands to be a part of it. Coming out sometime in Spring, 2020.
PS: Don't forget!
The entire Moonlight Square series is now enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so if you are a member, you can read the whole 5-book series for FREE.
As a music-lover, it's my annual Christmas tradition here on my website to share one of my favorite carols with you. This year, I chose a 17th-century French carol, "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella," sung by Callie and Collette Crofts. I love singing with my sisters and our dad, but we're nowhere in these girls' league, lol.
Hope you enjoy their charming rendition of a so-French Christmas song that we don't hear as often here in the States. I personally can't even sing along without getting choked up, lol. Enjoy!
~ Until next year!
On the blog this Month:
So thankful for all of my wonderful readers...
November can be dreary, but the warmth of Thanksgiving season turns my thoughts with gratitude to all the people who have been so important in my life ~ especially my readers! You mean more to me than you will ever know. :)
Since November is also my birthday month, it's the perfect time for me to give one lucky person a very special gift. I've decided to do a giveaway via random drawing out of all my newsletter subscribers, and the prize is a real collector's item.
To celebrate my birthday and say thank you to my readers, I'm giving away a complete, autographed set of my bestselling, award-winning Knight Miscellany series ~ ALL FIRST EDITIONS ~ ten books total.
Make sure you're signed up for The Gaelen Foley Newsletter if you want to win. U.S. only, must be over 18. Winner must respond within 10 days or forfeit the prize to an alternate winner. Click here for complete Giveaway Rules.
And now for the biggest news of the month:
I'm excited to be participating in November's annual challenge for National Novel Writing Month. I'll be working on the next Moonlight Square novel coming in early 2020. This will be "Danger Man" Major Peter Carvel's story, with...a treasure hunt!!! Follow me on Facebook for my NaNo progress reports. :)