First and foremost, I do have one book on pre-order for March 2 (that is The Imperfect Husband), and two books in the editing stages (Shane’s Deal and Kidnapping the Viscount). I haven’t forgotten about these. I’m just pretty much done with them.
What I’m going to discuss today is what I’m currently writing.
Something that surprised me is that I didn’t get really excited about any of these four current works in progress until I hit the 15,000 word mark. That’s really strange, and I don’t remember if that is how it used to be when I started writing romances back in 2007.
To put things in perspective on how long it’ll probably take me to finish these books, my average word count for a book is between 50,000 to 70,000 words.
Anyway, here’s my progress in each book:
The Wedding Pact (Marriage by Fairytale: Book 3) is at 26,000 words!
This is loosely based off of Little Red Riding Hood, but I added a lot of other elements that makes this a unique story. So we have the heroine who wears red as she’s fleeing, you have a villain with the title Lord Wolfe (not very original but I wanted to do it, so I did), and the cottage in the middle of the nowhere. But that’s pretty much where the similarities between this story and the tale of Little Red Riding Hood end.
At the end of last week, I was struggling with which direction to transition it from the hero marrying the heroine to where the hero’s brothers start dying off. My original plan was to have him go to Mr. Stephen Bachman’s home since the hero is friends with him, but I realized that didn’t really excite me. So I decided instead to send the hero and heroine off to London where the hero (Vicar Julian Roskin) could face his older two brothers who hate him for something terrible he did. And that’s where things got really fun for me. I had no idea what terrible thing Julian had done in the past, but it was fun to write the scene and flesh things out so that the answer came to me. And then I got even greater ideas from there. I don’t want to spoil the book, but it’s going to be fun to weave in gothic-like elements that I’ve been itching to get at for a while now.
Nelly’s Mail Order Husband (Husbands for the Larson Sisters: Book 1) is at 27,000 words.
This is turning into such a cute romantic comedy. Nelly is Tom and Jessica Larson’s oldest daughter. Nelly is determined to run a homestead without the help of a man because she’s afraid he’ll want to take over and run it for her, thereby confining her to the kitchen all day. Nelly’s three younger sisters can’t imagine how their sister will really be happy without a husband, so they take it upon themselves to answer an ad from a man back in Boston who’s looking for a wife.
I’m at the point where Nelly’s already found out about this, and she agrees to marry him only because there’s a neighboring homesteader who won’t leave her alone. This neighbor is a guy who’s a lot an unredeemed Neil Craftsman. So yeah, he’s definitely not the kind of person our heroine should be marrying.
Anyway, I just got through writing a couple of scenes where our hero, Val, has had to milk a cow and muck out stalls, both things that are nothing like what he imagined his life was going to be like when he came out to Omaha. He had (wrongly) assumed that a landowner had lots of money and servants, so now he’s having to adjust to doing things he never once imagined he’d ever do. I’m laughing through most of the scenes as I’m writing them. The poor guy wasn’t prepared at all for this.
I have an idea of where I’m heading with this, and if all goes as I think they will, this will be one time where the heroine is going to save the hero, which would be a nice change of pace.
Fairest of Them All (Marriage by Fairytale: Book 4) is at 27,000 words.
First off, this is not a retelling of Snow White. It’s inspiration did come from Snow White, but there are very little similarities between that fairy tale and this romance. The elements that it has in common is a step-mother, a mirror, and beauty. But that is where all similarities end. Because in this version, the step-mother is the heroine. The hero is the step-father, and he’s alive, though he believes himself to be under a curse that kills every wife who looks at him. The heroine (Viola) and her step-daughter do have some friction because the step-daughter assumes the heroine is going to die because of the curse, but she has to let the heroine chaperone her since it’s her first Season.
This book is a lot of fun because I’m getting to work with gothic elements. It’s primarily a romance. The focus is on the main couple as they fall in love. But within that is the contrast of beauty vs darkness of the human soul. The townhouse does figure into the feeling of darkness that hovers over the hero’s life, though it’s just beneath the surface, and it’s something that must be overcome. This is not a supernatural book. All elements have a natural cause. My stories all take place in the real world, and I’ll keep them there. But I thought it’d be fun to have a townhouse that had the spooky feeling to it.
Anyway, I’m at the point where the heroine is aware of the heaviness that hangs in the air, and she’s just decided to fight against it. The hero has spent so much time in isolation from the rest of the world that he’d definitely weaker than most heroes. He longs for a meaningful human connection but has been afraid to take it because he feels like he dooms everyone around him. I haven’t gotten too far into his point of view. I had to deal with the heroine first since (at the moment) she’s more open to me than he is. We’ll get there with him, though. She’ll draw him out, and when she does, I’ll be able to dive more into who he is.
Okay, now for the fourth book…
Forever Yours (Dave and Mary’s third book) is at 15,000 words.
COVER COMING SOON
Today, I finally got my full-blown enthusiasm for this book. I’m excited about the other three, but I had an easier time getting into those than I did this one.
Something I never said (but always felt) is that Dave and Mary were meant to have a trilogy, each being a standalong novel. When I wrote Eye of the Beholder, I felt there were two more books I should write. I wrote To Have and To Hold, and then I got distracted with other books.
I want to do their third book justice. I’m happy with their other two books, and I want to be happy with this one, too. So I took longer to get into this one. I had to get back into the mindset of the characters. This is a book where the characters are already established, and I want to be true to who they are. I had to go through my timelines and figure out how old each of the children are, and that isn’t only for Dave and Mary but for all of the Larson family. I spent a couple of weeks getting re-acquainted with the entire family.
I’m finally into the groove of the story now, and I must say that it’s not turning out to be the way I expected. Dave did fall off a horse and break his leg, like I had planned. But I have to be honest. I’m chuckling through most of the scenes I’m writing. I didn’t chuckled through Eye of the Beholder or To Have and To Hold, but I’m laughing a lot in this one. So this might actually turn into a lighthearted story.
And maybe that’s what they need. Maybe after all the hard times they’ve faced, they need a lighthearted book. Maybe that’s the perfect way to tie up the three books dedicated specifically to this couple. I do think Dave will still have to face a bout of insecurity, but I don’t think it’s going to be as long or deep as I originally expected.
I’m going to let Dave and Mary take me where they want me to go. I’ve learned a long time ago to trust the characters to tell the best story possible.
There is a mail order husband series?!? I’m excited for this 🙂
I can’t promise that every story in this series will feature mail order husbands. I’m not sure what the other three books will be about. But the first book does have a mail-order husband. 🙂
These all sound great! I can’t wait to read them all.
I’m having more fun writing now than I ever did in the past couple of years. 🙂 It’s nice when the stories write themselves.
I CAN’T wait for the next Dave and Mary book and for Nelly’s Mail Order Husband. I think the Larson family is my favorite family in the over 1600 books on my Kindle! Your American Historical books are always my go to, I read at least one every other weekend (Eye of the Beholder usually at least once per month). Thank you so much Ruth!
I love your books and am especially looking forward to reading Dave and Mary’s new story!