Introducing a New/Old Series

I started writing with the idea that I might get published in about 2005. Although I’d written many stories from the time I was about seven years old until I was into my twenties, but after I got married and had small kids, the urge died down and I didn’t do much more than toy with the idea of writing “something” sometime. Then, when my youngest was about three, a pair of characters and a story idea rushed into my head and demanded that I set them to paper.

The result of that was the first single title novel I ever wrote, UNBRIDLED. Since these days, I mostly write novellas and short stories, it might amuse you to know that the final word count of that book was 126,000. The first three chapters of UNBRIDLED finaled in and even won a couple of unpublished contests and garnered one request for a full from an agent, but after multiple attempts to “fix” whatever it was that made it a bridesmaid but never a bride, I shoved it under the bed and concentrated on writing the sequel.

My agent and I shopped that sequel, UNASHAMED, on proposal (about 100 pages + synopsis), but no one wanted to buy it. I sadly put that book, which was about half-written, under the bed beside UNBRIDLED and moved on to other manuscripts. Some of which I even finished and sold! I never really thought about returning to those unsold manuscripts because…well, they didn’t sell. It hardly seemed worth the effort.

Since then, however, the publishing landscape has really changed and it dawned on me a few weeks ago that between UNBRIDLED and UNASHAMED, I have one and one half single title novels I can share with the world. Obviously, I have to finish UNASHAMED and rework/cut parts of UNBRIDLED (although I feel much more capable of identifying and fixing its problems now than I did back when I was a “baby writer”), but they are both much closer to publication-ready than anything else in my “kitty”.

When I opened UNASHAMED and started reading it, I was smiling ear-to-ear because I had truly forgotten how much fun the story is. The hero and heroine wind up on a “treasure hunt” of sorts, which means it’s got all the hallmarks of a road romance plus a bit of a mystery/battle of wits as the characters try to unravel the clues to find the tresure.

Opening UNBRIDLED was a bit less of a joy-fest; I can really see why it got rejection after rejection, but the good news is, I know how to make it better. (Ironically, I knew how to make it better five years ago; I just didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to make the characters less likable. Doh!) I figure of the 126,000 words in that book, about half will be cut and I’ll need to add another 10-15k to make what’s left hang together. That’s doable by the end of the year, even with the other projects on my plate, while I think I can get the econd half of UNASHAMED written and ready to publish by this time next year, maybe sooner.

So, with that in mind, I’m announcing this new/old series of novels (there are four altogether, although there could easily be more since I have a tendency to write secondary characters who naturally want to spin off into their own books):

All of the stories in the series revolve around a mesalliance of sorts–UNBRIDLED’s heroine is the daughter of a duke and the hero an Irish racehorse trainer; UNASHAMED features a widowed countess and a former French spy. I’ll reveal more about the characters in UNDENIABLE and UNFORGETTABLE, the last two books, as I get closer to writing and releasing them.

I’m still waiting for the right stock image for UNBRIDLED to come along, but I was able to find an absolutely perfect couple to represent the hero and heroine of UNASHAMED. Hot Damn Designs has once again done a brilliant job for me and I’m pleased to unveil the cover here (including the back cover for the print-on-demand version of the book):

Gorgeous, no?

I’ll post cover art for the first book as soon as its ready.