Happy New Year all!
I have a confession – I took a month off. December to be exact. Not all of it, but most. I hadn’t intended on doing that. What I had intended was to put the nose to the grindstone, get lots of writing done while on vacation from the day job over the holidays and make massive headway on A HINT OF SCANDAL, the last book in the SINS & SCANDALS Series.
I did none of those things. I tried, but my brain kept sputtering out. My attention span ambled off to parts unknown. My drive to put said nose to said grindstone took a lengthy hiatus. None of these things seemed inclined to return with any kind of swiftness. Their departure left a bit of a gaping hole I was having difficulty filling. At first, I tried to force the issue. Demanded my get up and go hustle on back and get itself back to work. A demand that was summarily rejected and overruled by my brain that wanted to muck about and…play.
We have no time to play! We have a deadline for crying out loud! I stamped my foot, fired off my most withering death glare and waited for everyone to fall back in line.
Nothing happened. Nada. Zip. I was politely informed that everyone was taking a vacation. Starting now. This moment. And until further notice. Negotiations ensued. I offered them a week, they suggested six months. I countered with a week and two days. They reminded me that I was running on fumes, that I was neglecting a million other important things and focusing only on one. I reminded them that we had worked really hard to get where we are and had to keep it up or lose it all. They suggested my catastrophic thinking was a little ridiculous and short-sighted. It went back and forth until finally we came to an agreement: I would take off the month of December. We would all get back to work once the holidays were over. We would finish the book.
Then I would take six months off and work on something completely different. Write a the book I had been percolating for months on end that was far outside my wheelhouse. I would rediscover the creativity and play of venturing into foreign territory without a compass.
And so here we are – back to work after a much needed mental break (I hate it when my brain is right…) and looking forward to finishing A HINT OF SCANDAL then diving off the edge into a creative pool to learn how to swim again.
I’ve been a bit hesitant to write this post, worried how it may be received, knowing once I’ve committed to this there will be no excuse, no turning back. I’ll have accepted the challenge and it will be full steam ahead. Which is a bit daunting and a whole lot scary but, deep inside, I know it is the right thing to do at this point in my writing career.
So here’s the deal: I’m taking a break from writing historical romance.
Ack! Breathe, Kelly…breathe…
Let me explain. For over 15 years now, I’ve been writing western and regency historical romance and I have enjoyed it immensely. Who doesn’t love cowboys and dukes and rakes and outlaws? I’ve had a blast with my heroes and heroines and their stories and it’s been a great privilege having the opportunity to share them with you, the reader.
But I have now reached a point in my creative journey where I need to challenge myself beyond where I am now. To stretch my creative muscle in other areas and learn new things, new techniques, new styles that will help me become a better storyteller.
Where will this journey take me? Honestly, I have no idea. None. (Did I mention the daunting, scary part?) All I know is that I feel this need to push myself, to try something completely different. I’m going to wander a bit, traipse down the road less traveled, likely veer off in directions I haven’t taken before, loop back around a time or two and become completely lost along the way. That’s okay. A little adventure is good for the soul.
What does this mean for THE SINS & SCANDALS SERIES? Nothing, really. I will be completing the series first before I start wandering. Book 7, THE SWEETEST SIN, will be released August 9th, followed by a Book 8 (novella), A MOST SCANDALOUS CHRISTMAS in December 2016. The final full-length novel, A HINT OF SCANDAL will be out in Spring 2017. There is another novella in the series, however it doesn’t follow in sequence but rather deals with Madame Opal St. Augustine from Book 1, AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and eventually plan to tell her story, but not right away.
I have a few ideas of where I plan to wander. I started a contemporary romance/women’s fiction story years ago and I have always wanted to go back and finish it. So that’s my plan to start with and then…well, then the adventure begins.
I’m taking approximately 5 months off to spend writing whatever I want. Whatever will help me improve my craft, stretch creatively and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Am I giving up historical romance forever? No. I have a few more historical series I want to write (those Caldwell sisters keep bugging me to tell their stories), a contemporary series that may spin off the one I mentioned above, and maybe something completely different that I learn about while doing all that stretching and growing during my hiatus from structured, planned writing.
I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
But first — I’m preparing for the release of THE SWEETEST SIN (Aug) and my Harlequin Historical novella, CHRISTMAS IN SALVATION FALLS (Sep) and also writing the first draft of A MOST SCANDALOUS CHRISTMAS.
I may potentially be the world’s worst blogger. Which is funny, because when I first started blogging, I posted daily. Of course, that was years ago before writing books replaced my blogging in my morning routine. I keep telling myself I’m going to step up my game, but when faced with only two hours to write before trudging off to the day job, I generally opt for working on my next manuscript, deadlines looming over my head waggling a finger at me. So for my lacklustre blogging, I most humbly apologize. I will try to do better. Really. Swear.
There’s been plenty going on since the last post. The snow has finally melted. You’d think because it’s July this would be a given but there was sooooo much of it I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see green grass again. Thankfully, Mother Nature relented and I can honestly say this is the first week that it actually feels like summer temperatures. Living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean has its downside apparently.
I’ve managed to keep busy, however. I’ve been diligently working on SURRENDER TO SCANDAL, Book 5 in The Sins & Scandals Series. It will be available August 25, 2015. This will be Benedict’s story and I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book. I think I found the new Earl of Glenmor the perfect heroine. I’ve also discovered a few new characters as well who will eventually get their own books.
With Benedict’s story, we come to the end of what I think of as the core characters–the ones introduced in the very first book and the ones who were originally meant to encompass the entire series. At the time I thought The Sins & Scandals Series was to be four books with a possible novella thrown in to answer the questions surrounding Nicholas Sheridan, the Earl of Blackbourne’s parentage. What I hadn’t anticipated was all these secondary characters who arrived on the scene and demanded their own stories. The more I got to know them, the more curious I became and, well, needless to say the series has expanded to twice its original size, perhaps even a bit more than that. But in moving away from the core group, I decided to do a bit of a cover refresh which you will see with Book 6, A SINNER NO MORE. For those of you subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll get a first peek coming in the next few weeks!
Also coming out September 15, 2015 is my latest Harlequin Historical release, THE COWBOY OF CHRISTMAS PAST. This is a novella length story that is part of the Christmas Anthology, Dreaming of a Western Christmas. It’s up for pre-order now, so feel free to pop over to my Books page for all the links.
But it isn’t all work and no play. My hubby and I will be hitting New York City for a week and before that will be relaxing at a cottage on the beach on Prince Edward Island. Can’t wait to get some R&R! Although, to be honest, I will have my notebook with me in both cases because I’m working on a mainstream fiction book that takes place in NYC, tentatively titled BROKEN PIECES, as well as working on the outline for A SINNER NO MORE, so…. 🙂
Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!
With the exception of the first two books I wrote (one a YA which is collecting dust and the other a western which will be dusted off, revised and published eventually), I have always written in series. I don’t mean to. For instance, when I wrote THE OUTLAW BRIDE a billion years ago, it was only meant to be a ‘one of’. Then again, perhaps subconsciously I had other plans given that I did put two other mail order brides on that train…
But regardless, even when I start out with what I think will be a 3 book series, it has a tendency to grow beyond the confines I set out for it. The Brides of Fatal Bluff Series eventually expanded beyond THE OUTLAW BRIDE to encompass the other two mail order brides on the train. But that was it. No more! Except, after the release of THE OUTLAW BRIDE, one reader wrote to ask me what the saloon keeper, Garrett Bentley’s story was, and then another reader said she wanted to read bounty hunter Ed Devers story. Soon I started wondering too and the next thing I knew, my three book series had morphed into five. Although, if you’re looking, THE OUTLAW BRIDE is the only one currently available, but I promise the others will be written soon.
The same issue cropped up when I wrote SALVATION IN THE RANCHER’S ARMS. It was a ‘one-of’. Get in, get out. No fuss, no muss. Except…then there was this sheriff in the story and, well, SALVATION IN THE SHERIFF’S KISS will be out in February 2015. But then I’m done! Except…as I was writing that one this other guy showed up… Kincaid’s story is slotted to be written next year.
So when I sat down to write AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL I suspected I was in trouble when Nicholas’s friends showed up on the page. “Well fine,” I muttered as these characters insisted on having their own stories. “But it’s only going to be a trilogy and that’s it!” Except that left Abigail’s brother Benedict with no happy ending. “Fine. One more then, but then I’m done!” (SURRENDER TO SCANDAL 2015). Except…then I started wondering what happened to a certain courtesan who showed up in AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL. “Fine,” I huffed. “But you are only getting a novella.” (SINS OF A SOLDIER 2015)
Except…then my imagination wandered over to Miss Eugenie Caldwell from AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL. You know, that poor girl has two younger sisters and no male heir to inherit their father’s rather dismally small fortune and title. I gritted my teeth. I suppose I could give them their own series…(THE MAYFAIR MISSES 2015/16).
But that was it! Finito! Except yesterday, as I was writing A SINFUL TEMPTATION, Book 3 in the SINS & SCANDALS SERIES, a certain Miss Cosgrove entered the picture and heavens…this woman has a story too!
So what should have only been a few of a books has now morphed into enough series and off-shoots to keep me busy well into 2017. It has also led me to the realization that there is no such thing as just ‘one-of’ where my brain is concerned.