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Thursday, November 29, 2012

It Takes a Village to Write a Novella

Ermergerd! Erts er Noveller!

Yes. You read that right. (If you managed to translate it at all, that is.) I've published my second novella! It's a Regency romance, and it was a lot of fun to write.

Most of the time.

The initial writing of it, getting the bare bones of the plot and scenes typed out, was fun. Getting back my editing notes from my critique partners was less fun, but since they made some great suggestions, I can't be upset. The story is definitely improved because of their input. And it got me thinking about how most writers are not an island. I'm certainly not.

Erin Knightley and Ava Stone have been great sounding boards throughout the process, not minding if I talked at them, trying to work out what the heck was going on in my story. Samantha Grace and Erica Monroe sent me those fabulous critiques that so kindly pointed out my enormous plot holes. (Don't worry, ladies. I'm totally ready to return the favor.) Andris Bear very patiently made endless versions of The Lady and the Duke's cover until I was happy with it, and that was no easy task, mind you.

I also received quite a bit of...help from Twitter. Yes, I suppose we can call it help. 

Deanna Raybourn and Chandra Ryan helped me come up with the costume that Audrey wore to the fancy dress ball, although Marquita Valentine gave me a couple of interesting suggestions also. (Erm. We'll just leave it at that, mmkay?) And Maya Rodale was having a conversation, which I was not a part of but stuck my nose into anyway, that gave me a great idea. A really fun idea. She was joking about how someone should write a Regency era Katniss, and while my Audrey in NO WAY resembles the Hunger Games heroine, I did take the germ of that bit of brilliance and run with it. It's one of my favorite parts of the novella, actually. I'm not saying anything else. You'll just have to read it. *G*

The Lady and Duke:



 Miss Audrey Ellis has failed to catch a wealthy, titled husband in her two London Seasons,and merely wishes to return to her quiet country life, leaving high society behind her for good. But when an unexpected encounter brings the Duke of Halford into her life, she will have to decide if she has the courage to change her prudent, unadventurous plans and reach for something more.

William Langston, the Duke of Halford, wasn't looking for love. He came to Town to hunt down his sister's blackmailer, hoping to head off a scandal in the making. But the Viscount Claremont is more elusive than the duke was prepared for, and leads him on a chase through society's drawing rooms and balls. Will soon finds himself distracted from his mission by Audrey's fresh beauty and lack of pretension, something scarce in his rarefied world.

The pair are drawn together despite their differences, but as scandal looms and rumors spread, danger is closer than ever before.


 Excerpt:


There was the sound of a scuffle beyond the portal leading to the main part of the house and Audrey, along with several other guests, craned her neck to see what the commotion was. The door was suddenly flung open and in strode Halford, his face set and grim. His gaze swept the room and upon seeing her, he faltered, his expression softening. Audrey blinked, surprised and unsettled by his sudden appearance.
After their encounter at the lending library, she had not counted on seeing him so soon.
"His Grace, the Duke of Halford," announced the butler breathlessly, having darted into the room on the duke’s heels. Having done his duty, he sniffed, straightened his mussed jacket and retreated stiffly. By the butler’s behavior, Audrey could only surmise that the duke had not given the man any time to announce him, but simply barreled right through.
How very curious.
Just as Halford stepped toward her, Lieutenant Whitton returned with a glass of lemonade in his hand. He stopped directly in front of Audrey, blocking her view of the duke.
"The lemonade was nicely chilled, so I assumed you would prefer it over the punch, which was shamefully warm," he said, full of good cheer.
Audrey forced a smile and took the glass he proffered, willing him to move. He remained blocking her view, as if he had taken root on the spot. There was such a thing as taking chivalry too far. Having done his mother’s bidding, he should be halfway across the room by now, flirting with giggly, petite blond Beatrice Lettington.
Although the venomous twit certainly didn't deserve someone half as nice as the lieutenant.
It was amazing how one's view could change so precipitously. Only a few weeks ago, Audrey would have been delighted for Lieutenant Whitton to wait upon her hand, as he was a second son and not as closely bound to London society as his older brother, but now she had to smother the urge to shoo him away. She impatiently sipped her lemonade as he nattered on about his newest piece of horseflesh and discreetly attempted to peer around the man.
A wall of red and white, edged with gilt braiding, stood between her and the thing she wanted to see most.
"Lieutenant," she interrupted his monologue on the glorious history of the pair of Arabian horses his brother had acquired recently. "Would you be so kind as to fetch me something to eat? I am quite famished."
"Of course. I would be delighted," he said, his expression brightening, blue eyes filled with cheer. Despite the fact his attentions were unwelcome, he really was adorable. If she had met him before Will, she was convinced she could have fallen in love with him quite easily. As it stood, however, she just wanted him to go bother someone else.
"Would you mind finding me a plum? I adore plums."
"At your service, Miss Ellis. A plum, it is," he replied, with a short, very correct bow and strode off in the direction of the buffet tables set up in the adjoining room. Audrey sighed with relief and looked around.
The duke was nowhere to be seen.
She frowned and stood up, her heel catching on the hem of her dress. Ignoring the snigger from Beatrice as the girl whispered to a friend from behind her fan, Audrey smoothed her dress and walked to the terrace doors. Perhaps Halford was outside. She took a few steps across the bricks and peered out on the lawn, where several hearty souls still wandered, determined to enjoy the garden despite the heat.
Will was not one of them, however. Wherever had he gone?
"For shame, Miss Ellis. You are indeed as devious as you had claimed."
The soft accusation came from behind her. As a shiver worked its way down her spine, Audrey slowly pivoted to find Halford leaning on the door frame directly behind her, his shoulder propped against wood.




So, there you go. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! If you wish to purchase the The Lady and the Duke, it's available on AmazonBarnes and Noble Online and Smashwords

But, I'm giving away a free e-copy today! All you have to do is share your favorite love story of all time, whether it's from a novel, movie or real life. Leave your answer, and email address, in the comments to be entered in the drawing, and good luck!

29 comments:

  1. Congrats on the release, Olivia!

    My favorite (movie) love story is An Affair to Remember followed by Gone With the Wind. I am not even going to try and pick a book - there are too many to narrow down to just one.

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  2. Congratulations, Olivia! I'm so excited about your new release. Let's see...greatest love story of all time? I'll have to go with my Grandma and Grandpa. They were married for more than 60 years, and I never once in my life saw them cross with each other. They were always very loving and supportive, and it spread to the rest of their kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and even their great-great-grandkids. :)

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    1. That's awesome. It's so wonderful to have someone to look to in the family who has an inspiring love story. And thank you for all your help with everything, all those phone calls about how to upload to Amazon and B&N, and whatnot. "Self-pubbing isn't for wienies!" Lol...

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  3. Congratulations, Olivia!!!

    There are so many great love stories. A few of my favorites are Wesley & Buttercup from Princess Bride, Nova Lee & Forney from Where the Heart Is, Danielle & Prince Henry from Ever After, Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables... Of course, I love Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy, but also Eleanor & Edward from Sense and Sensibility. But my very favorite love story ever is Beauty and The Beast. Love, love, love it!!! Now I want to write my own version. Thanks a lot, Olivia. It's not like I don't have enough to do. ;)

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    1. The Princess Bride, YES. Epic. And you better write that B&B story now. I want to read it. Get to work! Haha!

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  4. Congrats, Olivia! Love the excerpt.

    No way to pick one favorite love story. I've got a lifetime of faves, from Trixie and Jim from Trixie Belden, Taren and Eilonwy from the Prydain books, Flar and Lessa from Pern, right on up to all of our favorite Romances today!

    Sam--I also love Where the Heart Is! Forney was adorable.

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    1. Isn't he? I just love that story. I have a thing for awkward guys. LOL

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    2. Pern! Anne McCaffery's Pern? There are SO MANY good love stories from that series!

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  5. Olivia ~ First... congrats on your release!

    Favorite love story, huh? Well, I couldn't really call myself a Regency romance author if I didn't say Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, could I? Jane Austen is the reason I started reading the genre in the first place.

    Outside of Austen's genius, I guess I'm a little bitter sweet. Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara from Gone With the Wind, and Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund from Casablanca would top my lists as well.

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  6. My favorite love stories are Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, of course, Odette and the prince, from Swan Lake, Prince William & Kate (lovely couple, so classy!), Anne and Gilbert, and Liz and Hellboy. What? I'm a sucker for big guys filled with heroism and angst. ;D

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  7. Congrats!!! I can't wait to read this!
    My favorite love story? How do you choose? I don't think I could. So I'll just say mine and my hubby's. One day I'll write a book about our story. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Kristy! And I would love to read that story. I bet it's a good one... :)

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  8. I'm so excited for you, Olivia!! And I can't wait to get two seconds to actually read it (it's on my Kindle waiting!). I am such a big fan of your writing, I already know if will rock :)

    Favorite love story? My hubby's and mine, of course! After that...maybe the movie Shining Through? Or Colin Firth's story in Love Actually? Or the obvious: Pride and Prejudice? So many great stories to choose from!

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    1. What about Mark (Colin AGAIN) and Bridget from Bridget Jone's Diary? That was a great re-do of P&P, and so funny!

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  9. Oh yummy! What a fabulous sounding novel! Cannot wait to read it.

    I guess like others here, I think my favorite love story is the love of my life, my husband of 46 years. We met when we worked at NASA. I worked in one building and he worked in another which was the same one my Mom worked in. When I would walk over to that building to ride home with my Mom, he saw me and asked his secretary to get my phone number from my Mom. She teased him and told him to get it himself. Don't know how he finally got it, but I'm oh so glad he did. I adore this man with my heart and soul and I hope we get yet another 46 years together. He's my best friend and the soul of my heart.

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    1. Oh, Connie! That's so sweet. You just gave me tingles. :)

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    2. Aww! <---I actually just said that out loud, Connie! That is a SWEET story. And look at you two, working at NASA! What a neat place to work. I bet you both have lots of stories to tell...

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    3. Oh we do! Hubby was "loaned" to a NATO organization in Paris not once but twice. Six years in that fabulous city was wonderful. We are so lucky!

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  10. Congratulations Olivia!

    Favorite love stories in movie format have to be The American President and P&P.

    My story is pretty fabulous as well and the most fun since I live it every day. I had met my now husband only once before in passing. We were co-workers, but we worked in separate locations.

    The next time I saw him, was at a party and I ran up to him and jumped into his arms. I felt like I was home. Let me say that I certainly did not know him well enough to act that way. It was almost like I wasn't in control of my body. I honestly never knew that life could be the way it has turned out and I have to say that our love story has been the most delightful surprise outside of our two children. :)

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    1. I love The American President! That was a GREAT movie. And your story is sweet too, and a bit naughty, lol! I'm sure your husband is glad you took matters into your own hands. ;D

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  11. Congrats Olivia! I can't wait to read, like Erin, it's on my Kindle, waiting for carpool time. ;)

    Since it's Christmas I'll go with two: The Gift of the Magi and Love, Actually. Both are so, soo good for very different and yet the very same reason: LOVE! ;)

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    1. I've never seen The Gift of the Magi! But Love, Actually has so many great stories, and so heart-breaking ones too. I wanted to choke Alan Rickman with my bare hands for breaking his wife's heart. Lol....

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  12. YAY OLIVIA! Ok you are asking a lot here. I mean how can I pick a favorite love story. I guess I will go will a classic and go with Emma. I love the story with Emma and Mr. Knightly. However, there are so many great love stories out there.
    countessofmar(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Emma! I love Emma. Some people I know have argued that Mr. Knightley was too old for her and acted too paternalistic. But I think he was exactly what Emma needed- she was a bit flighty and shallow. He balances her nicely, I think.
      Do you love Clueless too?!

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  13. With an impending visit this weekend, I can't think of my favorite love story. My nerves are frazzled and my brain is mush! However, I'm with it enough to be so excited for you on your release!! Yay! It's taking up space on my Nook!

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    1. Aww, poor thing- I hate unwanted visitors. Just go Zen. Maybe drink a lot of calming tea. Lol...hugs!

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  14. Yes! I LOVE PAUL RUDD! He's fabulous in that movie.

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  15. Congrats on the new release!!!!! Ummm.... I don't know about the whole "of all time" bit but I do really enjoy While You Were Sleeping :)

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