Here and there

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Hi, here's Jo and Charlie, still nomadic, but hoping to be in our house in a couple of days. All those wonderful housewarming gifts will be much appreciated!

As far as publishing goes, however, I find myself here and there with a book coming out in North America, and promo starting up for the book I have coming out in the UK in November.

Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, the north American book, was my first published book, back in 1988. It wasn’t the first book I finished. That was An Arranged Marriage, completed in about 1977 but later heavily rewritten. In the ‘80s I honed my skills on some contemporaries because everyone in my writing group was trying to sell to Harlequin. I wrote what now might be a Presents, though my hero was the sweet one and my heroine was the cold, career-driven one. That’s me. Always out of phase.

Then there’s the single mother and the murderer. Challenging, but I still like that book. I might publish it on the internet.

I also wrote a fantasy novel, which again broke so many rules – you can’t do magic like that! And you certainly can’t leave your hero pregnant – that it didn’t find a home. One day I’ll get time to do something with that.

I’m telling you this in case any of you are in despair because your first, your third, your tenth book hasn’t sold. Completely normal, my dears. No, there aren’t ten there, but there were a number of partially completed ones lying around somewhere. (The picture is of the countryside we drove through today — probably Cumbria, but perhaps Yorkshire or Durham. It's right on the border.)

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Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is a classic Regency romance, and I like to think that it’s a good example of the form, which I’d come to understand over time, but again I was driven by my contrary nature. I’d become so tired of the weird ways innocent Regency ladies fell in with ineligible Regency gentlemen that I started with a boringly normal arranged marriage between two well-balanced, amiably people. Nowadays, I’m not sure I’d try!

I wrote the opening in a hurry to have something to give for comments to the teacher of a short course on romance writing. Most things in the book changed over the next four years, but little about that opening, which I'm sharing here.

(This picture is of the Angel Inn Hotel in Pershore, Worcestershire, where we spent a lovely couple of night. Pershore is a lovely Georgian town.)

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It was the most talked-about and yet the most tedious betrothal of the year.

The announcement in the Morning Post of April 12th 1813 of the betrothal and forthcoming marriage of the Honorable Jane Sandiford of Carne Abbey, Gloucestershire and David Kyle, 10th Earl of Wraybourne of Stenby Castle, Shropshire and Alton Street in London sent gossips from Edinburgh to Bath scurrying to their favourite meeting places. The ancient lineage of both families was traced. The enormous wealth of both families was assessed. Then the topic was found to have been sucked dry.

What was there to say about two such eminently correct people? Lord Wraybourne was an intelligent, well-educated man of thirty-two, admired by all levels of society. He handled his fortune responsibly, played his part in the Lords without aspiring to political leadership, was an excellent host and an amiable guest. If his manner was detached that was only to be expected from one of his lineage and betokened a proper acceptance of his place in society.

Miss Sandiford was the only child of Sir Jeffrey and Lady Sandiford. The lack of aristocratic station was not mistaken by the knowledgeable as a sign of lower status. The Sandifords were one of the oldest families in the land and one of the richest. In recent generations the family been the epitome of starch-stiff rectitude and despite their meticulous attention to charitable works, sober, dutiful living had led to even greater prosperity.

It was true that few people had met the young lady for she had been educated at home and the Sandifords did not entertain. She had not yet made her debut even in nearby Cheltenham, which was unusual for a girl nearing twenty but it was only the most daring and absurd scandal-monger who suggested she might be deformed or mentally defective. And anyway, shrugged the practical, what would that matter when her portion was bound to be immense.

So the gossips were forced to abandon the topic for the moment to discuss, according to their tastes, the new use of stiffer fabrics in evening gowns or the preparations being made in Portugal by the Duke of Wellington to finally put paid to the upstart Corsican. Their curiosity about Miss Sandiford would be satisfied in time. Lord Wraybourne was a leader of fashion and would surely bring his wife to Town in due course. Then, at first or second hand, they would all be able to assess Lord Wraybourne's betrothed, the new entrant to the ranks of the ton.

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(Another Georgian inn from Pershore. The town is full of them. The arch, of course, leads through to the coach yard and stables.)

I suppose that proves that it doesn't matter whether we start with a dramatic situation or a supposedly ordinary one — we can get a good story depending on what actually happens in the book. Or to put it another way, it's what happens IN the book that matters in the end, not the dramatic situation the book opens with. I think. Any opinions on that. I know I do like taking decent people and messing up their lives rather than taking messed up people and sorting them out.

LWB should be out on the 6th, but could already be in stores.

Mlneverlyn

As for Lady Notorious, I'm going to be in various places around England promoting this book, so if you are in the UK watch this space to learn more, but you can also look at the web site.

Cheers,

Jo

 

70 thoughts on “Here and there”

  1. Will have to check my old books to see if Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is among them. I have a bad habit of buying books that sound really good and then not having the time to read them.
    Good luck with both releases.

    Reply
  2. Will have to check my old books to see if Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is among them. I have a bad habit of buying books that sound really good and then not having the time to read them.
    Good luck with both releases.

    Reply
  3. Will have to check my old books to see if Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is among them. I have a bad habit of buying books that sound really good and then not having the time to read them.
    Good luck with both releases.

    Reply
  4. Will have to check my old books to see if Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is among them. I have a bad habit of buying books that sound really good and then not having the time to read them.
    Good luck with both releases.

    Reply
  5. Will have to check my old books to see if Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed is among them. I have a bad habit of buying books that sound really good and then not having the time to read them.
    Good luck with both releases.

    Reply
  6. Patricia, I should have said that LWB first came out in hardcover with a sort of mauvish cover, and then in paperback from Zebra with a horrid representation of David and Jane,
    To help you search,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  7. Patricia, I should have said that LWB first came out in hardcover with a sort of mauvish cover, and then in paperback from Zebra with a horrid representation of David and Jane,
    To help you search,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  8. Patricia, I should have said that LWB first came out in hardcover with a sort of mauvish cover, and then in paperback from Zebra with a horrid representation of David and Jane,
    To help you search,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  9. Patricia, I should have said that LWB first came out in hardcover with a sort of mauvish cover, and then in paperback from Zebra with a horrid representation of David and Jane,
    To help you search,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  10. Patricia, I should have said that LWB first came out in hardcover with a sort of mauvish cover, and then in paperback from Zebra with a horrid representation of David and Jane,
    To help you search,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  11. I find it enormously heartening that a 20+ year old book is being reissued. Twenty years ago I had stopped reading romance and was juggling four little kids, a job, and two elderly parents (just when romance would have come in handy, LOL).I have a lot of catching up to do, and can’t think of a better way to start than with Lord Wraybourne and his betrothed. 🙂

    Reply
  12. I find it enormously heartening that a 20+ year old book is being reissued. Twenty years ago I had stopped reading romance and was juggling four little kids, a job, and two elderly parents (just when romance would have come in handy, LOL).I have a lot of catching up to do, and can’t think of a better way to start than with Lord Wraybourne and his betrothed. 🙂

    Reply
  13. I find it enormously heartening that a 20+ year old book is being reissued. Twenty years ago I had stopped reading romance and was juggling four little kids, a job, and two elderly parents (just when romance would have come in handy, LOL).I have a lot of catching up to do, and can’t think of a better way to start than with Lord Wraybourne and his betrothed. 🙂

    Reply
  14. I find it enormously heartening that a 20+ year old book is being reissued. Twenty years ago I had stopped reading romance and was juggling four little kids, a job, and two elderly parents (just when romance would have come in handy, LOL).I have a lot of catching up to do, and can’t think of a better way to start than with Lord Wraybourne and his betrothed. 🙂

    Reply
  15. I find it enormously heartening that a 20+ year old book is being reissued. Twenty years ago I had stopped reading romance and was juggling four little kids, a job, and two elderly parents (just when romance would have come in handy, LOL).I have a lot of catching up to do, and can’t think of a better way to start than with Lord Wraybourne and his betrothed. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover (though I do like the British version of Lady Notorious), neither should you judge by the first sentence — A dark and stormy night anyone (with apologies to Snoopy). A slow start with compelling character development can just as easily suck readers in as a wild plot at the beginning.
    Yesterday someone told my daughter that you should always give a book at least 50 pages before you give up on it. I unfortunately am a reading addict and always think it will pay off, so I rarely not finish a book. But I realize that isn’t the case for many, so the 50 page rule is rather good.
    I hope Lord Wraybourne is in the stores this week. It is teacher discount week at tbe big book chain near my. My normal book budget just went to text books. (I started a doctoral program). Thanks for providing me the escape, entertainment and knowledge I need to stay balanced and sane.

    Reply
  17. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover (though I do like the British version of Lady Notorious), neither should you judge by the first sentence — A dark and stormy night anyone (with apologies to Snoopy). A slow start with compelling character development can just as easily suck readers in as a wild plot at the beginning.
    Yesterday someone told my daughter that you should always give a book at least 50 pages before you give up on it. I unfortunately am a reading addict and always think it will pay off, so I rarely not finish a book. But I realize that isn’t the case for many, so the 50 page rule is rather good.
    I hope Lord Wraybourne is in the stores this week. It is teacher discount week at tbe big book chain near my. My normal book budget just went to text books. (I started a doctoral program). Thanks for providing me the escape, entertainment and knowledge I need to stay balanced and sane.

    Reply
  18. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover (though I do like the British version of Lady Notorious), neither should you judge by the first sentence — A dark and stormy night anyone (with apologies to Snoopy). A slow start with compelling character development can just as easily suck readers in as a wild plot at the beginning.
    Yesterday someone told my daughter that you should always give a book at least 50 pages before you give up on it. I unfortunately am a reading addict and always think it will pay off, so I rarely not finish a book. But I realize that isn’t the case for many, so the 50 page rule is rather good.
    I hope Lord Wraybourne is in the stores this week. It is teacher discount week at tbe big book chain near my. My normal book budget just went to text books. (I started a doctoral program). Thanks for providing me the escape, entertainment and knowledge I need to stay balanced and sane.

    Reply
  19. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover (though I do like the British version of Lady Notorious), neither should you judge by the first sentence — A dark and stormy night anyone (with apologies to Snoopy). A slow start with compelling character development can just as easily suck readers in as a wild plot at the beginning.
    Yesterday someone told my daughter that you should always give a book at least 50 pages before you give up on it. I unfortunately am a reading addict and always think it will pay off, so I rarely not finish a book. But I realize that isn’t the case for many, so the 50 page rule is rather good.
    I hope Lord Wraybourne is in the stores this week. It is teacher discount week at tbe big book chain near my. My normal book budget just went to text books. (I started a doctoral program). Thanks for providing me the escape, entertainment and knowledge I need to stay balanced and sane.

    Reply
  20. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover (though I do like the British version of Lady Notorious), neither should you judge by the first sentence — A dark and stormy night anyone (with apologies to Snoopy). A slow start with compelling character development can just as easily suck readers in as a wild plot at the beginning.
    Yesterday someone told my daughter that you should always give a book at least 50 pages before you give up on it. I unfortunately am a reading addict and always think it will pay off, so I rarely not finish a book. But I realize that isn’t the case for many, so the 50 page rule is rather good.
    I hope Lord Wraybourne is in the stores this week. It is teacher discount week at tbe big book chain near my. My normal book budget just went to text books. (I started a doctoral program). Thanks for providing me the escape, entertainment and knowledge I need to stay balanced and sane.

    Reply
  21. Jo, you’re not the only one who’s bored with a lot of the books out there. Most of the romances I read nowadays are all the same, but they get published.
    I read a lot of romances and I’m tired of the old stories–rich powerful lords who jump in and out of multiple beds and sweet little nothings of heroines that a hero like that somehow wants.
    Boring. I’m grateful the Wenches write things out of the mold.

    Reply
  22. Jo, you’re not the only one who’s bored with a lot of the books out there. Most of the romances I read nowadays are all the same, but they get published.
    I read a lot of romances and I’m tired of the old stories–rich powerful lords who jump in and out of multiple beds and sweet little nothings of heroines that a hero like that somehow wants.
    Boring. I’m grateful the Wenches write things out of the mold.

    Reply
  23. Jo, you’re not the only one who’s bored with a lot of the books out there. Most of the romances I read nowadays are all the same, but they get published.
    I read a lot of romances and I’m tired of the old stories–rich powerful lords who jump in and out of multiple beds and sweet little nothings of heroines that a hero like that somehow wants.
    Boring. I’m grateful the Wenches write things out of the mold.

    Reply
  24. Jo, you’re not the only one who’s bored with a lot of the books out there. Most of the romances I read nowadays are all the same, but they get published.
    I read a lot of romances and I’m tired of the old stories–rich powerful lords who jump in and out of multiple beds and sweet little nothings of heroines that a hero like that somehow wants.
    Boring. I’m grateful the Wenches write things out of the mold.

    Reply
  25. Jo, you’re not the only one who’s bored with a lot of the books out there. Most of the romances I read nowadays are all the same, but they get published.
    I read a lot of romances and I’m tired of the old stories–rich powerful lords who jump in and out of multiple beds and sweet little nothings of heroines that a hero like that somehow wants.
    Boring. I’m grateful the Wenches write things out of the mold.

    Reply
  26. Lord Wraybourne is one of the classics on my keeper shelf (although the vampire-looking cover does leave a bit to be desired!). I adored the opening then as much as I do now. It’s far more subtle than a “dark and stormy night,” and subtlety is one of the reasons I love Regencies. If you whack the hero on the head in the first sentence, why bother reading the book? But a story with promises… Yeah, I may have to re-read.

    Reply
  27. Lord Wraybourne is one of the classics on my keeper shelf (although the vampire-looking cover does leave a bit to be desired!). I adored the opening then as much as I do now. It’s far more subtle than a “dark and stormy night,” and subtlety is one of the reasons I love Regencies. If you whack the hero on the head in the first sentence, why bother reading the book? But a story with promises… Yeah, I may have to re-read.

    Reply
  28. Lord Wraybourne is one of the classics on my keeper shelf (although the vampire-looking cover does leave a bit to be desired!). I adored the opening then as much as I do now. It’s far more subtle than a “dark and stormy night,” and subtlety is one of the reasons I love Regencies. If you whack the hero on the head in the first sentence, why bother reading the book? But a story with promises… Yeah, I may have to re-read.

    Reply
  29. Lord Wraybourne is one of the classics on my keeper shelf (although the vampire-looking cover does leave a bit to be desired!). I adored the opening then as much as I do now. It’s far more subtle than a “dark and stormy night,” and subtlety is one of the reasons I love Regencies. If you whack the hero on the head in the first sentence, why bother reading the book? But a story with promises… Yeah, I may have to re-read.

    Reply
  30. Lord Wraybourne is one of the classics on my keeper shelf (although the vampire-looking cover does leave a bit to be desired!). I adored the opening then as much as I do now. It’s far more subtle than a “dark and stormy night,” and subtlety is one of the reasons I love Regencies. If you whack the hero on the head in the first sentence, why bother reading the book? But a story with promises… Yeah, I may have to re-read.

    Reply
  31. I’m hoping that Emily and the Dark Angel will be released again — I read it several times from the library and finally found a copy in a used book store. Love to have a new copy!

    Reply
  32. I’m hoping that Emily and the Dark Angel will be released again — I read it several times from the library and finally found a copy in a used book store. Love to have a new copy!

    Reply
  33. I’m hoping that Emily and the Dark Angel will be released again — I read it several times from the library and finally found a copy in a used book store. Love to have a new copy!

    Reply
  34. I’m hoping that Emily and the Dark Angel will be released again — I read it several times from the library and finally found a copy in a used book store. Love to have a new copy!

    Reply
  35. I’m hoping that Emily and the Dark Angel will be released again — I read it several times from the library and finally found a copy in a used book store. Love to have a new copy!

    Reply
  36. Oh, Jo, I read the opening to Lord Wraybourne, and have instantly resolved to go to the basement to dig out my copy! If there is sufficient wit and elegant Regency language, what does one need with wild action?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  37. Oh, Jo, I read the opening to Lord Wraybourne, and have instantly resolved to go to the basement to dig out my copy! If there is sufficient wit and elegant Regency language, what does one need with wild action?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  38. Oh, Jo, I read the opening to Lord Wraybourne, and have instantly resolved to go to the basement to dig out my copy! If there is sufficient wit and elegant Regency language, what does one need with wild action?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  39. Oh, Jo, I read the opening to Lord Wraybourne, and have instantly resolved to go to the basement to dig out my copy! If there is sufficient wit and elegant Regency language, what does one need with wild action?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  40. Oh, Jo, I read the opening to Lord Wraybourne, and have instantly resolved to go to the basement to dig out my copy! If there is sufficient wit and elegant Regency language, what does one need with wild action?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  41. I think a lot of writers hear an editor say she wants a beginning that grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go, and misinterpret that to mean it must start with exploding houses, runaway carriages, or a claw-like hand reaching through an open window toward the sleeping heroine.
    I don’t think that’s what editors mean at all! I think they want the writing and the situation to suck you in, and that can be done without explosions or disembodied hands or fantastic situations. The opening of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed sucked me in because you just KNOW the hero and/or heroine are going to take a pratfall after such a build-up of how fine and unremarkable their characters are! That takes real skill, and Jo pulled it off.

    Reply
  42. I think a lot of writers hear an editor say she wants a beginning that grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go, and misinterpret that to mean it must start with exploding houses, runaway carriages, or a claw-like hand reaching through an open window toward the sleeping heroine.
    I don’t think that’s what editors mean at all! I think they want the writing and the situation to suck you in, and that can be done without explosions or disembodied hands or fantastic situations. The opening of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed sucked me in because you just KNOW the hero and/or heroine are going to take a pratfall after such a build-up of how fine and unremarkable their characters are! That takes real skill, and Jo pulled it off.

    Reply
  43. I think a lot of writers hear an editor say she wants a beginning that grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go, and misinterpret that to mean it must start with exploding houses, runaway carriages, or a claw-like hand reaching through an open window toward the sleeping heroine.
    I don’t think that’s what editors mean at all! I think they want the writing and the situation to suck you in, and that can be done without explosions or disembodied hands or fantastic situations. The opening of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed sucked me in because you just KNOW the hero and/or heroine are going to take a pratfall after such a build-up of how fine and unremarkable their characters are! That takes real skill, and Jo pulled it off.

    Reply
  44. I think a lot of writers hear an editor say she wants a beginning that grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go, and misinterpret that to mean it must start with exploding houses, runaway carriages, or a claw-like hand reaching through an open window toward the sleeping heroine.
    I don’t think that’s what editors mean at all! I think they want the writing and the situation to suck you in, and that can be done without explosions or disembodied hands or fantastic situations. The opening of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed sucked me in because you just KNOW the hero and/or heroine are going to take a pratfall after such a build-up of how fine and unremarkable their characters are! That takes real skill, and Jo pulled it off.

    Reply
  45. I think a lot of writers hear an editor say she wants a beginning that grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go, and misinterpret that to mean it must start with exploding houses, runaway carriages, or a claw-like hand reaching through an open window toward the sleeping heroine.
    I don’t think that’s what editors mean at all! I think they want the writing and the situation to suck you in, and that can be done without explosions or disembodied hands or fantastic situations. The opening of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed sucked me in because you just KNOW the hero and/or heroine are going to take a pratfall after such a build-up of how fine and unremarkable their characters are! That takes real skill, and Jo pulled it off.

    Reply
  46. I was on my Jo Beverley campaign in 2000 after reading all the Malloren’s and I got Lord Wrayborne’s Bethrothed from an interlibrary loan. It was so like my Georgette Heyer collection that I was hooked. I bought many back issues from eBay and scoured second hand stores. I can’t wait to fill in the last few gaps. I totally agree with Sherrie that this opening forces you to turn the page and find out just how Jane and David’s romance hits a road block – you know it’s coming just from reading the announcement!
    BTW I love the English cover of [my]Lady Notorious.

    Reply
  47. I was on my Jo Beverley campaign in 2000 after reading all the Malloren’s and I got Lord Wrayborne’s Bethrothed from an interlibrary loan. It was so like my Georgette Heyer collection that I was hooked. I bought many back issues from eBay and scoured second hand stores. I can’t wait to fill in the last few gaps. I totally agree with Sherrie that this opening forces you to turn the page and find out just how Jane and David’s romance hits a road block – you know it’s coming just from reading the announcement!
    BTW I love the English cover of [my]Lady Notorious.

    Reply
  48. I was on my Jo Beverley campaign in 2000 after reading all the Malloren’s and I got Lord Wrayborne’s Bethrothed from an interlibrary loan. It was so like my Georgette Heyer collection that I was hooked. I bought many back issues from eBay and scoured second hand stores. I can’t wait to fill in the last few gaps. I totally agree with Sherrie that this opening forces you to turn the page and find out just how Jane and David’s romance hits a road block – you know it’s coming just from reading the announcement!
    BTW I love the English cover of [my]Lady Notorious.

    Reply
  49. I was on my Jo Beverley campaign in 2000 after reading all the Malloren’s and I got Lord Wrayborne’s Bethrothed from an interlibrary loan. It was so like my Georgette Heyer collection that I was hooked. I bought many back issues from eBay and scoured second hand stores. I can’t wait to fill in the last few gaps. I totally agree with Sherrie that this opening forces you to turn the page and find out just how Jane and David’s romance hits a road block – you know it’s coming just from reading the announcement!
    BTW I love the English cover of [my]Lady Notorious.

    Reply
  50. I was on my Jo Beverley campaign in 2000 after reading all the Malloren’s and I got Lord Wrayborne’s Bethrothed from an interlibrary loan. It was so like my Georgette Heyer collection that I was hooked. I bought many back issues from eBay and scoured second hand stores. I can’t wait to fill in the last few gaps. I totally agree with Sherrie that this opening forces you to turn the page and find out just how Jane and David’s romance hits a road block – you know it’s coming just from reading the announcement!
    BTW I love the English cover of [my]Lady Notorious.

    Reply
  51. I read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed many years ago- one of the books that hooked me on the traditional Regency, which are still my favorites. I also remember Emily and the Dark Angel very happily.
    I’ll have to re-find or re-buy them for sure now.

    Reply
  52. I read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed many years ago- one of the books that hooked me on the traditional Regency, which are still my favorites. I also remember Emily and the Dark Angel very happily.
    I’ll have to re-find or re-buy them for sure now.

    Reply
  53. I read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed many years ago- one of the books that hooked me on the traditional Regency, which are still my favorites. I also remember Emily and the Dark Angel very happily.
    I’ll have to re-find or re-buy them for sure now.

    Reply
  54. I read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed many years ago- one of the books that hooked me on the traditional Regency, which are still my favorites. I also remember Emily and the Dark Angel very happily.
    I’ll have to re-find or re-buy them for sure now.

    Reply
  55. I read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed many years ago- one of the books that hooked me on the traditional Regency, which are still my favorites. I also remember Emily and the Dark Angel very happily.
    I’ll have to re-find or re-buy them for sure now.

    Reply

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