Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking over my current works in progress and where I want to take them. I’m not thinking in terms of what will appeal to the most people. I’m going to back to what I used to think, “What kind of book do I want to read in the future?” Because that’s what I used to do. I used to get frustrated going to the library and bookstore but being unable to find a specific plot and time period that I was looking for. So I was asking myself, “Why kind of books am I in the mood to read?”
And this is what I came up with…
The Outlaw’s Bride (Wyoming Series: Book 1)
I picked this one back up. This is the rewrite of the book Stephannie Beman and I did together. I bought the rights to take this book and the future books I plan to write for this series last year. I’ll address this in the author’s note when I publish it. Stephannie did create the hero’s family, so she deserves credit for some of the content in the book. I’ll have her read over it before I publish it. Since she did have a hand in creating most of the characters, she has a right to look this over.
I read back over the 17,000 words I did in the rewrite of this story, and I really like the direction I was going. So I’m going to keep on the track I was originally planning on. This book will yield no money because it will be free. The reason it’ll be free is because it’s a rewrite, and Stephannie and I decided it’s not fair to ask people to pay twice for a book that has the same plot. The overall plot will stay the same. The characters have been modified to fit the new version. I’m deleting some scenes, adding others, and rewriting the rest to fit my style.
The plan is to work on this about 250 words every writing day. (I still like word counts because I enjoy tracking my progress in my planner.) Anyway, according to my calculations, I should have this ready for December.
The Perfect Wife (Misled Mail Order Brides: Book 3)
This one actually will stay as I had planned because I love the “fish out of water” plot. The heroine has grown up on a farm, and now she’s married to a rich man who needs to impress his clients’ wives. In The Rejected Groom, Velma had pointed out Natalie wasn’t fit for this kind of life, and she’s right. But since this is a romance and I like happy endings, it’ll all work out in the end.
Now, the big source of change will take place in the next book in the Misled Mail Order Brides Series.
I don’t have a title or cover for it yet because the plot just came to me two days ago. This is going to be Annabelle’s romance. Remember how she felt about the preacher (Ben) in The Rejected Groom? She thinks he’s boring and annoying. So that’s who I want to pair her up with. I’ve never done a man disguised as a woman story, and I know of very little romances that have this theme. But it’s one I’m going to do for this one. I’m hoping to make it a comedy because there’s plenty of room for humor. My humor is often one of the things most readers don’t like. I haven’t done much humor in a long time, but since I’m writing books that aren’t geared to the market, I’m want to put humor back into some of my books.
Anyway, Ben is going to find a way to marry Annabelle so she doesn’t end up with the wrong man, and since Annabelle can’t stand him, he’ll disguise himself as a woman and (with Natalie’s help) will join the lady’s group in an attempt of figuring out what Annabelle wants so he could go about wooing her.
By the way, the resistant heroine is another one of those unpopular things I’ve noticed over the years. From the feedback I’ve gotten, it seems like most romance readers do not like heroines who make things hard on the hero. The hero can make things hard on the heroine, and for some reason, that is okay. But my most popular heroines are those like Mary Larson, who are very soft. Heroines like Sue Lewis, who gave Jake a hard time in the beginning, however are not. I’ve gotten my fair share of complaints about the scene where she throws the new clothes he gave her down the stairs because they were too feminine. Sue was definitely a strong and independent woman. Those tend not to go over very well.
Anyway, Annabelle is going to be one of those strong and independent heroines (probably because her mother, Amanda Larson, felt helpless when she was raped and only Richard believed her). Amanda’s not about to have her daughter unable to stand up for herself, and I’m sure Annabelle will be able to defend herself in any situation. That opens up a wide world of possibilities, and Annabelle might have to end up saving Ben at some point.
So anyway, mix in humor with a very strong and independent heroine, and it’s pretty much not what the market wants. But I’m exited about it.
One Enchanted Evening (Marriage by Fairytale: Book 2)
I was originally going to make the heroine super sweet without any blemishes (because those heroines are usually favored), but I decided the heroine is going to have an unpleasant past–a past where she actually was the villain. This one is loosely based off of Cinderella, and in this story, the heroine was the evil step-daughter. She did something horrible, ran off, and has been hiding out.
Don’t worry. By the time we get to this story, she’s a different person and is trying to atone for her sins. She’s basically the Neil Craftsman of the Regency world. I never really showed the transition Neil went through from Eye of the Beholder to His Redeeming Bride. I’ve alluded to it, but I never showed the process he went through. I’m going to show the process of redemption in this heroine. (Side note: she didn’t have the same sins as Neil. Her sins are different. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to spoil the book.)
But suffice it to say, this is going to dive into some dark issues (and light ones to counteract the darkness), but the heroine is by no means perfect. She seems like she’ll be when you meet her in The Marriage Contract (which is book 1), but as they say, “A smile can often mask pain.”
The Perfect Duke (Marriage by Fate: Book 4)
This one, like The Bride Price, will stay as originally planned. Actually, I don’t have a lot prepared for this anyway, except that the heroine’s brother is a jerk. But for the most part, this one is wide open to how I navigate within the story, so I’m going to just let it takes me where it wants to go.
I have decided to try something different with Book 5 in this series. I don’t have a cover or a title for it yet, but this will be Miss Duff’s story, and she’s going to get her man (so to speak). With this book, I’ll be doing something else that isn’t made for the market. The heroine is going to take matters into her own hands and make the hero marry her. This happened in Patty’s Gamble, and some people didn’t like Patty because of it. Miss Duff’s motives will be good, but I’m sure the fact that she is more alpha than the hero will turn some people off. But in this case, I might give her the mother-in-law from you-know-where. I have a gut feeling the hero’s mother is controlling and manipulative. I could be wrong. I’ll see as I write the book.
I am going to continue on with the Larson family when I finish up with the Misled Mail Order Brides Series.
My next plan is to get into Tom and Jessica Larson’s four daughters. I love the Larsons. I’ve been putting their stuff aside in favor of other plots that better fit a different cast of characters, but I want to get back to the Larsons, and I want to see how Tom’s four daughters plan a way for each of them to get a husband. I think it will be a lot of fun and cute. And with Tom for a father, it’ll be fun to see how things play out.