I’ve always been a fan of the Three Musketeers. If they make a movie about it, chances are, I’ve seen it. Something about a the royal bodyguard thing just works for me. So I decided to write about such an organization and thus created my Brotherhood of the Sword, an elite and covert organization dedicated to protecting the Crown of England. In just a couple of weeks, the first book in that series, UNDERCOVER WITH THE EARL releases and I’m so excited! Here’s a little teaser to introduce you. Let me know what you think…
“Now then, I don’t know if you’ve already deduced what you’ll be doing for us, but I cannot stress enough the importance of your discretion. No one is to know, not your family, your friends, no one.”
His was formidable, there was no denying that, but she felt no fear in his presence. Instead, she found herself fascinated with the lines of his face, the square angle of his jawline, and the dimple that settled deep into his chin. He was ridiculously handsome, but his expression seemed permanently locked in a scowl. She wondered what a wealthy, handsome earl had to be so angry about.
He leveled his blue eyes on her. “Understood?”
He stood and walked around to her. He picked up a stray curl that rested near her ear, the strand curled around his finger as a cat’s tail wound around your leg when they begged for attention. She shivered against his touch. What had her cousin gotten her into?
“Have people ever told you that you resemble someone?” Earl Somersby asked.
His question nearly disappointed her, though she knew not what she’d expected. She frowned. “Once or twice I suppose.”
His brows rose. “Who have they said you look like?” He moved away from her then, sat in the chair adjacent to her.
“Well, one fellow in the market said that I was the spitting image of his Aunt Gertrude, but for the most part people say I favor Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.” Evie shook her head. She was loathe to admit that as she didn’t want him to laugh, so she quickly added. “Personally I don’t see it. Then again, I’ve never actually seen her, only portraits.”
“You and Her Majesty are about the same age,” he said.
“I am older, by two years I believe.”
He nodded, leaned forward, and braced his elbows on his knees. “Miss Marrington, I need to know that I can trust your discretion.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I work for the Crown, as your cousin told you. I will not detail how precisely, but suffice it to say, you have been chosen to assist on a very important task. We need you to pose as Her Majesty at an upcoming event.”
Had she heard him correctly? Certainly not. Charading as the monarch must be an act of treason. “I’m sorry, I thought you said that you want me to pose as the queen.”
So here’s where we are: we’re doing a Beauty and the Beast story, but we’re flipping it and having the Hottie (hero) and the Ugly Duckling (heroine) and we’re putting these two in a compromising situation/scandal which forces them into a marriage of convenience.
Then last week I asked y’all to decide on that external situation – that impetus of scandal that propels them into that marriage of convenience.
Here was the breakdown:
(a) she’s somewhere she’s not supposed to be and interrupts the hero’s romantic tryst (the other woman runs away) – 4 votes
(b) she hires the hero to “ruin” her so she doesn’t have to marry someone else – 4 votes
(c) someone (a 3rd party) traps them together – 6 votes
(d) he intentionally gets her alone b/c he thinks she has something/knows something – 5 votes
(e) he has a crush on her prettier, younger sister and tries to get alone, but heroine “rescues” sister – 1 vote
Since I will be the one writing this novella, I’m going to make the final decision here, but within the choices that y’all voted on. I am predisposed to like plot lines that send my characters on a quest or adventure or working together to solve a case – that’s the most fun for me. So I like the idea of him getting her intentionally alone because of some antiquity that he’s trying to find and he thinks she either has it or knows something about it. I don’t, however, think he’d schedule said meeting with the ulterior motive of getting her alone publicly in order to marry her – he’s a confirmed bachelor, after all. So for him, it’s all business. But I do like y’all’s favorite choice of having a third party intentionally getting them together and then found thus forcing that marriage of convenience. (what if it was one of their mom’s?!)
Let’s come up with some names for them. If you remember from last week, I cast the characters and you can see the pictures here.
Now, you should have a general idea of what this novella “feels” like to you. Can you see some scenes? Share your ideas. Don’t forget that at the end of the three blogs, I’ll pick three winners (at random) to win some goodies. So be sure to participate and often!
Jaunties, welcome historical author Jessica Peterson back to the blog and read on to find out how to win your copy of her latest release Undercover Scoundrel.
What is it about scoundrels that we find so irresistible?
Scoundrel is just a fancy word for bad boy; they come in all shapes and sizes. Is it the biker dude’s devil-may-care attitude that makes our toes curl? The rake’s dangerously suave sense of confidence? The vampire’s dark looks, or his promise of an eternity sleeping next to him in his super luxe silk-lined coffin?
Sometimes there is nothing more delicious than a taste of forbidden fruit, whatever flavor you prefer.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the thoughtful, kind-hearted hero as the next reader. And I don’t think being scoundrelly and being sweet are mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s when those two things come together – when the bad boy’s good side is revealed – that the magic happens. Maybe beneath the hockey captain’s gruff exterior, he harbors a thoughtful, deeply loving heart; the secretive spy may treat his targets with amused disdain (disdain that is served shaken, not stirred, of course), but treats the target of his affections with love and respect.
There’s just something so right – so satisfying – about seeing that sweetness, that vulnerability, come out. Especially when we see the bad boy doing a good deed for his lady love. The hero of my latest Regency-set release, THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL, may be a scoundrel twice over – Henry Beaton Lake is a spy with something of a rakish past – but he’s got a seriously mushy soft spot for his long lost first love, Lady Caroline. In many ways, Henry is master of his universe, but the tables are turned when he’s reunited with Caroline after a decade-long separation. Yes, he’s still a scoundrel with a wicked smile and a closet full of skeletons, but Caroline brings out his softer side.
And I don’t know about you, but I happen to think the mushy, ooey-gooey stuff can be just as sexy as the bad boy stuff.
Together, they make a pretty potent combination. I wonder what scoundrels have tickled your fancy – any particular bad boys with good hearts capture your imagination? For me, it’s gotta be the ultimate scoundrel, Rhett Butler, along with the cutie Eggsy from The Kingsman (if you haven’t seen that movie yet, rent it ASAP, if only because Colin Firth is in it!).
Please share your favorite scoundrels for a chance to win a signed copy, along with some fun author swag, of THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL!
As always, a big thanks to the ladies of The Jaunty Quills for having me. It’s always fun stopping by and saying hello!
Comment below to enter to win a signed copy, along with some fun author swag, of THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL (U.S. and Canada only!). Winner announced and contacted Sunday.
So if you remember from last week’s blog, y’all are helping me brainstorm a novella.
I asked y’all to come up with the trope and here’s how the breakdown fell:
Beauty & the Beast -or- the hottie & the ugly duckling
Marriage of convenience tied with Friends to lovers
So I’m going to say we have a Beauty and the Beast story – though I’m gonna swap it and have a Hottie and the Ugly Duckling (this doesn’t have to mean she’s physically unattractive, just hasn’t come into her own yet or maybe she’s awkward or chubby or whatever). Those two characters end up in a compromising situation/scandal which forces them into a marriage of convenience. So that’s our basic storyline.
Next step is to figure out the external stuff that’s going on. So we know that our hero (the hottie) and our heroine (the ugly duckling) somehow manage to get themselves embroiled in a scandal. (I love this, btw!) I’m going to go a step further and say that though these two might know each other, they’re not romantically involved. Instead our bookish heroine somehow stumbles into a situation which puts her right in the hero’s path. So what forces our hero and heroine’s unlikely paths to cross?
(a) she’s somewhere she’s not supposed to be and interrupts the hero’s romantic tryst (the other woman runs away)
(b) she hires the hero to “ruin” her so she doesn’t have to marry someone else
(c) someone (a 3rd party) traps them together
(d) he intentionally gets her alone b/c he thinks she has something/knows something
(e) he has a crush on her prettier, younger sister and tries to get alone, but heroine “rescues” sister
Again, you can vote for as many as you like, or suggest your own.
Okay so now I need you to make some suggestions for the following:
Fears (I’m not talking spiders, heights or tornadoes here, these are emotional fears)
What is she afraid of?
What is he afraid of?
What is about each other that makes them fall in love?
I took the liberty to “cast” our hero and heroine so I hope you like the pictures I chose.
As it so happens I’m on the schedule to blog the next three Wednesdays in a row. Lucky y’all! The lovely and talented, Shana Galen suggested I do a three-week connected blog. So I got an idea, wouldn’t it be fun if we brainstorm a story together? So for the next three weeks, I’ll give you some choices to make (and you can suggest stuff on your own) and then when we’re done I’ll have a plotted idea for a novella that I’ll write.
Stuff I already know about the story: it’ll be an historical because that’s what I do best. Y’all can vote if you want Regency or Victorian though. For the most part I like novellas where the hero and heroine have a bit of a past – doesn’t mean it has to have been a romantic past, they just need to be acquainted with one another since the format is shorter than a full-length book.
First step, let’s pick a trope, AKA a beloved plot line. Here are some you can choose from (or suggest your own!), you can choose up to three
(a) Marriage of convenience
(b) Compromising situation/scandal
(c) Unrequited love
(d) Friends to lovers
(e) Enemies to lovers
(f) Mistaken identity
(g) Beauty & the Beast -or- the hottie & the ugly duckling
Here’s something to get you in the mood for an historical, in case you need inspiration for your brainstorming.
Also, at the end of the three blogs, I’ll pick three winners (at random) to win some goodies. So be sure to participate and often!