I’m struck by this word of late: Intentional. The definition is quite clear: done on purpose.
So I find myself asking this question over and over. What is my intention here? What is my purpose? Will my actions at this moment lead me closer to my intentions?
I suppose as a writer, I’ve done this forever, because this is at the very heart of storytelling. What is the intention of this tale? What do I want the reader to learn with this story? What journey of discovery do I want take them along? What am I intentionally doing with my word choices, my characters, my plot?
I don’t think it matters what you are writing: a novel, short story, poem, blog post, or even a private journal entry that only you will ever see–all of these words have purpose, an intention. And to make the most of those words, focus your thoughts, your ideas on that purpose. With story telling, it might be asking yourself what you hope to accomplish with this scene. With a blog, what do you want the reader to take away, do, or accomplish once they read your words.
So whatever your course, whether it be writing or your daily choices, think about your intentions. Then take a deep breath and see the course before you, asking one simple question: What do I intend today?
As the answer forms, follow that path.
When the four of us, Julia Quinn, Laura Lee Guhrke, Stefanie Sloane, and I came up with the idea for writing Four Weddings and a Sixpence, based on the old wedding rhyme (I know, me and my rhymes!) I had to have “Something Borrowed.” I mean as soon as we started talking about it, I just HAD TO HAVE THAT ONE. I could see the entire story in my mind–a heroine who needs to borrow a betrothed and then has to face the fact . . .
Well, let the Tuesday Teaser tell you the rest:
“If you don’t mean to marry the earl—” Kate began just as they reached the second landing.
Cordelia came to a stop, catching hold of the railing. “Of course I don’t—”
She only wished she sounded more convincing. Because she didn’t want to get married.
She didn’t. Her gaze strayed down the stairs.
Kate made a grand harrumph, caught hold of her, and continued pulling her upstairs, lecturing as they went. “Then might I remind you that Lord Thornton isn’t your betrothed.”
“I know that,” Cordelia did her best to look outraged. “I haven’t the least idea what you are implying.”
She failed miserably, for Kate gave a regal shake of her head. “Cordelia, that man isn’t yours to dally with. And very soon he will need to be returned.”
“I am well aware of the situation,” Cordelia shot back. “I’m the one who came up with it.”
“Then I suggest you have a care before any more complications develop,” Kate replied, and continued up the stairs in a grand huff.
As if Cordelia needed to be told as much.
Something borrowed must always be returned.
Want to read more? Here is the excerpt. Or just dive right in and order your copy here. If you liked this #TuesdayTeaser, please click one of the share buttons below. Because isn’t that what good stories are for–sharing!
Congratulations to Tamara B! She won the $50 gift card to Amazon. And my thanks to everyone who took the time to enter.
I hope you’ve had a chance to read FOUR WEDDINGS AND A SIXPENCE! If not, take a sneak peek here.
And of course, my best wishes to you in 2017. May the New Year be filled with blessings, love, and great stories.
This week, let’s take a lunch break with Mad About the Major, my recent novella addition to the Bachelor Chronicle’s series. A reader recently wrote a review and called it “Pure whimsy.” Two words that made me smile. That was exactly what I was striving for–a fun fast read that was a sly wink at the wonderful Audrey Hepburn movie, Roman Holiday.
I thought Birdie deserved a day off from being the Duke of Parkerton’s daughter. Now you can take a quick escape with the madcap Arabella “Birdie” Tremont in this excerpt.
Continuing my lunch theme contest questions: If you could have lunch anywhere in the world, where would you be reading the excerpt from Mad About the Major?
Post your answer below and you are entered in the drawing for a lunch bag prize pack. A winner will be posted in next Tuesday’s Lunch Break post.
Last week’s winner: Anita H (who, BTW, likes dim sum for lunch. YUM!
It is Tuesday once again and time for a Lunch Break Read! This week, Stealing the Bride, is the featured Excerpt–which also happens to feature one of my most favorite heroes–Temple. He stole my heart the moment he stepped on the page in One Night of Passion, and he continued to pop into my books for years to come.
Fair warning: Temple is an irascible charmer who will steal your heart.
So enjoy your lunch, have a quick read and enjoy Stealing the Bride. And after you’ve read the excerpt, consider coming back and posting a comment below. Then you’ll be entered in this week’s drawing for a Lunch Bag prize pack.
Last week’s winner: Maryellen
This week’s question: What is your favorite thing to have for lunch? (Mine: A turkey/cran sandwich on wheat bread from Bakeman’s in downtown Seattle.)
I have a confession to make: I am a lunch time reader. I think I like lunch more for the chance to read than the eating part. LOL!
So for the next ten weeks, I’ll be featuring an excerpt from one of my books–the perfect sort of lunch break sampling. And when you are done reading (and having lunch!), come back here to leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a new lunch bag stuffed with books and goodies.
Make sure to come back every Tuesday for a new excerpt and a new contest.
This week’s featured excerpt: Along Came a Duke. If you haven’t read Tabby and Preston’s story, here’s your chance to kick back, have some lunch and read the Excerpt. Then make sure to come back and comment so you are entered for the contest.
To enter, simply comment below–about anything: what you are currently reading, what you had for lunch, which book you’d like to see featured on Tuesday Lunch Break. That’s it, you’re entered.
Winner will be announced next Tuesday (May 24th) right here on the Blog.
My contest over on my Facebook page broke just about every record! I’ve never seen so many LIKES, COMMENTS, or SHARES. So thank you, one and all, who played along. And so, without further ado, the winners are:
Marianna Buccafuri Clark
Bonus for Newsletter Readers:
Christie (@sixfortheroad on Twitter)
Thanks to one and all for entering and if you are listed as one of the winners, please send me your mailing address via my Contact page! Thanks so much for playing along.
Thanks to everyone who entered The Knave of Hearts Newsletter contest, and I apologize to everyone who had problems with the email. Still not sure what went wrong, but to those of you who sent your entries onto me directly, I made sure they were added to the rest of them.
And so, without further ado, the winner of the box of books, goodies and a new Kindle Fire is:
Amanda S. of Laramie, WY
Amanda, I’ll get your box in the mail today and do enjoy your new Kindle!
And a special thank you to everyone who is rushing out to get their copy of The Knave of Hearts! Your kind words on Goodreads and Facebook and Amazon mean so much to me! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Counting Down to 20
So when I got to this point in my writing, I decided I wanted to write about a collection of spinsters from a small village who had no hope of ever getting married. They weren’t great beauties, they weren’t fabulously rich, or well-connected. Just ordinary girls from a village.
I could see this trio of friends so clearly: Tabitha-smart, kind and hard-working, Daphne–all full of opinions and grand aspirations, and finally, Harriet–loyal to a fault, utterly sensible and a secret romantic. Okay, maybe not so secret–but don’t tell her brothers, they would tease her to the end of her days if they knew the truth.
But for the first time in my story writing career, I couldn’t find the story for them. Nothing seemed to work. I dabbled with different ideas, I plotted this way and that, and yet nothing seemed right. Then a friend asked (most likely Laura Lee Guhrke) “What are you going to call this series?”
I didn’t even have a plot and now she wanted titles? She seemed rather cruel in the moment, but I decided to try putting together titles first. But I had about as much success there as I had with the story ideas. All the rifts on familiar things had been done. Song titles? Check. Movies? Check. TV shows? Check and double check. Jane Austen? I was not going to give her another spin in her grave for all the well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning things that have been done to her books and titles. Let that poor woman rest for goodness sake.
Then I spotted something on the very back of my bookshelf. An old copy of The Real Mother Goose. (Please don’t be fooled by imitations. This is the wonderful old edition with the beautiful illustrations, but I digress.)
So, on a lark I opened it up and read:
Along came a spider . . .
I blinked as ideas started pouring into my brain. Not a spider. A duke! ALONG CAME A DUKE. Yes, that was it. It was one of those Eureka!!! moments. And did he frighten her away? No, quite the opposite, my smart and kind heroine would stand her ground against this imposing duke. As Tabitha’s story then unfolded before my eyes, the other titles seemed to jump off the page. AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE. Because I knew in my heart the very proper Daphne Dale would NEVER run away with a rake, so it was up to me to send her down that wayward path.
And my favorite, IF WISHES WERE EARLS. Harriet, I knew, had loved a certain earl nearly her entire life, so that was one wish this writer felt must be granted.
So there it is, the birth of my current series, Rhymes with Love. If you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, you might want to catch up quickly, because these are my 16th, 17th, and 18th Avon Romances. I’ve only got one more to count until we get to #20!
Countdown to 20
Sometimes books just belong together, and these three, HOW I MET MY COUNTESS #13, MAD ABOUT THE DUKE #14, LORD LANGLEY IS BACK IN TOWN #15, isn’t so much three separate stories but one large bit of inspiration, connected by a web of links to so many of my other books that at times it made my head swim, and at their heart, these three books are about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places.
As I was writing Love Letters from a Duke, I had come up with a detailed family tree for how the duke inherited–because it is a rather roundabout route that he ends up the heir. And part way through, I realized there were three widow dowagers out there who would be under his protection. But I didn’t see them as old and gray, sitting in the parlor, knitting and gossiping. I saw them as three very different, very young women, each of whom had made very disastrous first marriages. Thus came to life the Widows Standon.
But what to do with them?
So asked myself, “Self, what would Felicity do?” Because when it comes to matters of the heart, and more to the point, matchmaking, no character in my books is better suited for the task than Felicity Langley. She’s meddled and matched her way through so many of my stories, I knew she would present the perfect solution: put these three widows who loathe each other in one house, offer them an out (get married) and then let nature take its course.
I think the best part of these three books is the connectedness of them. So many characters from my other books made appearances here, helped the stories along the way (or interfered!) and characters who never had the due attention they deserved (Malcolm, anyone?!) finally found their way onstage.
I loved how I was able to let Miranda and Jack from This Rake of Mine, roast James, the Duke of Parkerton. Well, he did deserve it! Or letting the Langley sisters’ infamous nannies finally make their onstage debut and do what they do best, cause trouble for Langley.
These stories wind together and tell a far larger tale, and I think that makes them all the more fun–because readers who have read the previous books are like, “Oh, yeah! There you are!”, while new readers look upon these surprise characters like Easter Eggs to go find in other books.
And some characters I just can’t let go of to save my soul. Felicity. Mad Jack. Arabella. Nanny Jamilla. The list goes on and on.
While I started the book with the idea that these three women, Lucy, Elinor, and Minerva were very different people and had no use for each other, in the writing of each story, I began to see how each of them had something to offer to the others, lessons in living, skills that came to their aid, and experiences that bound them together. The heart of the three stories became not just a romance, but about growing friendships, and how that strengthened each of them so they were ready to risk falling in love. From Lucy’s brittle heart, to Elinor’s fears, to Minerva’s cold facade, they became richer, stronger women for forging a strong bond between them.
Felicity stuck them in that house together–hoping to use their disdain for each other to drive them into new marriages and off the family dole–but what she really created was a new beginning for the trio and three very happy endings.
How I Met My Countess
Read the Excerpt or Order your copy. Or do both. It’s all cool.
Mad About the Duke
Take a peek at the scene where Elinor finds out that her lawyer is a bit of a charmer. And then you might want to see what happens next by ordering the book.
Lord Langley is Back in Town
Read a bit about how Minerva battles her false engagement to the all-too-charming Lord Langley, then discover how it all turns out by ordering Lord Langley is Back in Town.
Do you have a favorite of these three? Or just a favorite Bachelor Chronicles character that you love seeing step on to the page?