And thanks so much to everyone who stopped by the Romancing The Holidays Gala yesterday at The Romance Dish. It was a fabulous time and a real success. The list of prize winners is posted on the Dish.
I love hosting debut authors on the blog, especially historical romance authors. And I have an exciting new writer blogging with me today – she’s Darcy Burke, and her first book has been getting great buzz. Here’s a quote from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Milan, on Her Wicked Ways:
“A bad girl heroine steals both the show and a highwayman’s heart in Darcy Burke’s deliciously wicked debut.”
I’ll turn the blog over to Darcy now, so she can tell you all about her wonderful books. And don’t forget to the read the exclusive excerpt at the end of her post!
Series, Linked Books, and Recurring Characters, Oh My!
First, let me thank Vanessa for having me here today. I’m delighted to partake of her generous hospitality! And now, about books! In recent years, most historical romances are part of a linked series of books. Each book stands alone (usually) and offers a happily ever after for the hero and heroine of that story, while introducing the reader to a cast of secondary characters who may get their own story, or who may appear in other stories. I know I love reading books where I “know” characters from previous stories. It’s like being in on things with the author, which every reader loves, no?
With that in mind, I tend to write stories that have continuing characters. My debut, Her Wicked Ways, features Lady Miranda Sinclair and her brother, Jasper, who is the “star” of his own book, His Wicked Heart, in which Jasper befriends a scoundrel, Lord Sevrin, who in turn gets his own book, To Seduce a Scoundrel. In that book, readers will meet both the heroes and heroines of the next two books. It’s partly intentional and partly not, at least for me. As a writer, I find myself looking ahead to future projects. It’s hard not to think of what you might write next. Plus, by the time you’re actually writing words (especially as you near The End), you’re excited and ready for new blood, so to speak. In addition, sometimes you introduce a character who just leaps off the page, and you can’t wait to write about them.
I was very excited to write Jasper’s story as I finished up Her Wicked Ways. In an earlier version, Jasper was a lot more uptight (and there was a third brother, but he wound up on the cutting room floor—never fear, that character is alive and well in another book I hope to get back to next year!). Miranda and Jasper’s father plays a larger role in His Wicked Heart, so while you may not be salivating for more of his character (um, he’s a pompous jerk), I think readers will really enjoy the part he plays in Jasper’s story.
As the Duke of Holborn’s heir, Jasper is expected to live completely above reproach and marry exceedingly well. Aside from one major misstep a decade ago, he’s been the model heir. Until he meets Olivia West, a seamstress and sometimes actress he’d like to make his mistress. But Olivia balks at his offer; she refuses to sell her body as her mother did before her. She’ll make her way in the world by working hard and keeping her virtue intact. However, when her financial circumstances hit rock bottom she allows a friend to talk her into a scheme that will seemingly satisfy everyone: Jasper’s desire to bed her, the friend’s desire to bed Jasper, and Olivia’s need for money. Naturally, things don’t work out at all as they planned. Here’s a snippet when Jasper realizes what’s happened, that Olivia and Tilly have traded places:
“Go out and tell her you’re done.” He gave Tilly a dark look. “Don’t warn her.”
She nodded jerkily. He moved to stand behind the door.
She went into the hallway. Jasper leaned close to the wall.
Olivia’s voice drifted through the crack near the hinges. “Did he suspect anything?”
“No,” Tilly answered
“Thank you, Tilly. I’ll bring your share down later.” There was a pause, then, “Was he, that is…”
“Worth it? ‘Course. I told you you’d regret not doing him yourself.”
There was a loud exhalation then feet scraping across the floorboards. Olivia stepped through the doorway.
Jasper slammed the portal and flattened his back against it. He glared at her with the weight of his wrath. “If you don’t yet regret deceiving me, I promise you will.”
What series or linked books are your favorites? Any current series where you’re dying for the next installment? I can’t wait for Elizabeth Hoyt’s Thief of Shadows, she teed that up perfectly! One lucky commenter will receive the book they’re dying to read next (now, or when it’s available if it’s not out yet) and an ebook of my debut, Her Wicked Ways.
Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy loves all things British (except tomatoes for breakfast, or any other time of day, actually) and happy ever afters.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge. Visit Darcy online at http://www.darcy-burke.com, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/darcyburkefans.
Vanessa, here. Darcy, thanks for that tantalizing excerpt! And what a generous offer! So, readers, tell us what book in a current series you’re dying to read, for a chance to win that book and Darcy’s wonderful debut.
P.S. I’m blogging over at Romancing Rakes today, talking about my VK Sykes contemporary romances and doing a giveaway. After you’ve read and commented on Darcy’s guest blog, come on over and visit me at Romancing Rakes!