Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge is Available

Thanksgiving turned out to be an awesome day for me. It’s the day my new book, The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, hit Amazon’s shelves! I’m really proud of this book. Here’s the teaser:

The Billionaire Bachelor's Revenge Book CoverMeg Taylor needs help only one man can provide. But is she willing to pay Evan Alton’s price?

Meg didn’t realize her father was embezzling money until it was almost too late. Now, she views it as her responsibility to save the company from the trouble her father caused. In an effort to save the business, she turns to Evan, her former fiancé to help financially support the business. Since he was the man her father pegged as the thief, she’s sure he’ll be willing to help, but doesn’t know if she can handle the personal price he offers: posing as his lover until he recoups the money he puts into the business.

Evan Alton is bent on revenge, out to get everything he was due years ago: the girl, the house and the business. Once he has them all (at least in public), he’s going to destroy them in the same way Meg destroyed him years ago. Unfortunately, his heart has other ideas and at some point he’s going to have to trust the woman who betrayed him years ago.


Writing Wednesday: To Edit or Not to Edit

The Heiress at the Door contemporary romance series begins in North Carolina. But the second book takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area. People have asked why I switched coasts for the second book that’s due out in May.

The truth is, it wasn’t intentional. When I wrote The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, it was intended to be the first of three books that take place in Blakely. Jessica’s brother and her best friend also get books. But when I finished Heiress, I was visiting back home in the Bay Area. I needed a break from Blakely, so I started The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, another trilogy. I assumed I’d bounce back and forth between the two series.

But then I got nervous when I finished the book because both books start with a woman at the door. Both women are heiresses. Would readers be upset because the books have similarities?

It took my critique partner to point out that was a selling feature most publishers would love. Of course, that created a new problem because book three wasn’t starting with an heiress at the door. But it could. If I was willing to throw out what I had and start over.

As writers, we all face revisions some point. Lucky for me, I wasn’t really happy with the way the book was working, and I really liked the idea of the Heiress at the Door hook, so I was willing to face the music and start over.

The key is being willing to look at what you have and weigh the benefits of major rewrites. If an editor is suggesting the changes, it may be worth doing. As long as the suggestions don’t change the book to the point that the story is no longer your own. Or one that you’re willing to tell.

Edits don’t always mean massive changes. In my case, after reviewing the opening scene and looking at what wasn’t working for me in the original, I realized I can probably keep a lot of what I have. It’s a question of tweaking things here and adding a couple of sentences there. Yes, the first scene will have to be changed drastically since there is no door. But the heiress is there, so I can use what I have as a base to build on.

But typically when I edit for others, or I take edits on my own freelance articles and books, when you stop and really listen to what the reader is saying, the changes are minor. Adding emotion here, clarifying something else there. What seems at first glance like a mountain of “Oh My God, How Will I Ever…” becomes “Oh, if I bring out the emotion here and add a sentence here about…” and it works.

For one article, the client thought I would need to rewrite the whole thing. But when I listened to her concerns, it took a total of 30 words to change the feel of the article and give her what she had wanted. Thirty words I was happy to add because it made the story better, gave her what she needed and got me a paycheck.

Advice is lovely. Critique partners offer it, editors offer it, friends and family offer it. But at the end of the day, you have to take that advice and see if it melds with your opinion as the author, because at the end of the day, it’s your name on the cover. So consider suggestions from others. But don’t think you have to run with them. Only you know what your final straw is as far as changing your story for others. Just keep an open mind when you get the suggestions. Mull them over for a few days and see what comes of it.

And always save your original version before you make changes. That way, if you hate the direction the changes take your story, you haven’t lost a thing. And you’ve learned something along the way.



Finding a Hero in a Song

The idea for The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé came out of a song.

Number one question writers get asked? Where do you get your ideas? I never know where ideas will come from. Sometimes it’s a snippet of conversation overheard in line for coffee, sometimes it’s a magazine article and NPR interviews some really interesting folks. But this time, it was a song.

Moving On, by Rascal Flatts. As the title implies, it’s a song about new starts. I was singing along one day in the car (it’s what I do), and wondered what the guy in the song would look like. And Matt just appeared.

A good kid born to the wrong family, who was determined to make something of himself. Matt didn’t follow the plot of the song, but he also didn’t leave me alone. Yes, my characters talk to me.

I tried to ignore Matt. I was working on corporate projects at the time and really didn’t have time for a landscape architect with a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon. Lucky for all of us, Matt refused to keep quiet.

The more I tried to ignore him, the louder he got. I found myself playing Moving On all the time. Wondering what sort of a woman would be interested in Matt. And what sort of woman would interest him.

It didn’t take long to decide Matt was coming back home to gain the respect he craved as a child. Jessica Heymore, the town Heiress, was a lot harder to pin down. Matt needed a strong woman, but would he see her in the girl he’d rebuffed back in high school?

Jessica has her own issues, what with a father who thinks he can buy her success and a meddling grandmother who thinks she knows best (seems to be a family trait). When Jess blows back into town, licking her wounds from her father’s most recent attempts to help her succeed, she turns Matt’s world upside down.

Force them to live together while Jessica tries to decide how to escape her family’s meddling ways, and you get to watch the sparks fly. But that should go without saying since this is a romance novel.

Creating Blakely and the people who live there took even longer because I wanted to get the town just right. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, I see the reason it had to be right was because I’ll be spending more time there.

I was laying the groundwork for additional books for the fantastic characters that live there. Of course, in the meantime, I started a trilogy, so the stories from Blakely are percolating. But that’s OK. It’s a small town with some big personalities, which leave lots of room for more fun.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this little town that’s big on down home charm. Of course, since it’s a Carolina beach town, I might need to head for the coast and do some more research before winter really sets in.

Don’t worry. We’re less than a month away from you getting to meet Matt, Jessica, Gran and the rest of Blakely. Hopefully you’ll like them as much as I do. Maybe some of them will even stop by for some guest blogging!

Until then, be careful what you say in the coffee line. You never know who’s listening or what kind of ideas it will spark!


Countdown Begins to Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé

Wow. This is like a first date without having to stare awkwardly at the guy across the table. Or a decent meal to go with it. Hang on, this whole initial blog announcement needs something to go with it. Wine…dog drool (that’s Cassie’s suggestion for anything having to do with the computer)…chocolate. That’s it. Celebratory chocolate!

I’m so excited my book is entering the final stages of publication. Cover art, line edits, reviews, cover quotes, website, blog. There’s so much to do before The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé is released in November.

Obviously, I’m starting with the website and blog so you all can get to know me while the excitement builds. This is the first of my Heiress at the Door books. The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé takes place in a small coastal town in North Carolina. Take a bit of Morehead City, add a dash of Wilmington, and a smidge of all the other small Carolina towns I’ve visited over the years, and you get Blakely.

Later Heiress books will take place in San Francisco and Europe. Having lived on both coasts, I’ve taken my favorite parts of each locale and made them the backdrop for my sassy romances.

If you know me, you know I’m the sarcastic one. I can’t turn it off, and stopped trying to years ago. It shows in my stories. I’m still trying to get a handle on the webiste, blog, tweets #NoCassienotTreatstweets and everything else that goes into a book launch. So bear with me while I work out the kinks.

When I’m not writing, I’m gardening (can you hear the weeds laughing?), knitting, cooking and playing with my kids and the crazy pets we have. Or running from the kitten who currently rules the house. It keeps me busy. When seriously avoiding deadlines I can be found baking sinful things, like the chocolate chip and pecan cookies I made earlier this week when Photoshop was being cranky about my banner.

So, welcome to my world. My clothes are a little tight, the kids and the music are loud, and there’s a fair chance a Doberman is howling in the background. But without chaos, I’d lose my mind!