In February, I’m continuing my 10 year anniversary as an author by spotlighting or highlighting my first true series, The House of Pleasure. Set in Georgian England, the series follows the friends and family of the Marquess of Dalbury, the hero of the first book who comes close to being embroiled in a terrible scandal. Appropriately, the book is titled
Only Scandal Will Do.
The idea for Only Scandal Will Do (originally titled The Marquess Makes a Mistake!) came to me while reading Mary Balogh’s The Secret Pearl, in which a woman forced by circumstances to sell her body and accept what almost amounted to a rape in order to survive. As I said, I was a very young writer with a passion for history and (not knowing any better at the time) I actually put a rape into the story. After some consultations with other writers and a lot of research into the dos and don’ts of current romance standards, I re-wrote that scene and several others after it which had to change because of what didn’t happen. I read Jo Beverley’s Malloren series, and used The Marquess of Rothgar as a role model for my hero. So the book took better form and I sent it out valiantly to editors and agents alike.
And I got a lot of requests–at least 47 of them, because I got 47 rejections. I re-wrote it twice on R & Rs, and got rejected again. I landed a spot with it in The Knight Agency’s pitch contest that year–and lost out at the semi-final level. I was about to throw in the towel with frustration when I participated in an online chat with an editor for a small e-book press–Lyrical. I hadn’t submitted to many small presses because I wanted to hit the big time, because I had complete faith in this book. But I began to listen to the things this Lyrical editor was asking me about the book, and realized that she was actually interested in the book. So, at her request, I sent in a query to Mary Murray of Lyrical Press, and got the email I’d been hoping for: an offer of a contract.
It may not have been the proudest day of my life, but it is in the top 5.
That was in the summer of 2011. I’d started writing the book in November 2009 (it was the second book I wrote, after Time Enough to Love), and it was finally published as an e-book in August 2012. I had an absolutely delightful experience with my editor, Mary Murray, who was a dream to work with. She put me on the road to my current success in the romance genre and I can never thank her enough for believing in my book.
Then, in January 2014, Lyrical Press merged into Kensington Publishing, and I acquired a big name publisher literally over night. (I still remember reading the email with shock.) Only Scandal Will Do was contracted by Kensington with a request for more volumes in the series. (But those are tales for the coming weeks in February.)
I have titled this post Playlist for Pleasure, because as I was writing and re-writing, and wishing and hoping to get Scandal published, I often listened to or was inspired by pop music on the radio. The song that stuck with me during the writing of Scandal and through it all was Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I still think of it when I think of the book. 🙂
Not that the book and video have anything to do with one another (although I believe my heroine would gladly have torched the hero at several points in the book. LOL)
Read Only Scandal Will Do and see if you think it’s a bad (good) romance.
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she’s a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he’ll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who’ll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family’s name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He’s betting their future he’ll capture her heart, but does he have what it takes to win the wager?
Content warning: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.
“Put her back in the carriage, now!” Her assailant snarled the brusque command, sending a shiver of fear through Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam.
An unseen attacker seized and tossed her into the coach. Gagged, hands pinioned behind her back, ankles bound together, she lay trussed like a Christmas goose in a cramped bundle on the hard plank floor of the dim carriage, her diaphanous Grecian costume in ruins. Schemes for escape flashed through her head in a dizzying whirl.
The horses jerked forward, the uneven cobblestones of London’s streets jouncing her already aching body.
All because she’d been bored.
Doggedly, Katarina tested the bonds securing her hands, strained against the coarse rope then relaxed, seeking play in the cords. None. She muttered a curse and forced her whole body to relax. Tension would never free her. Rough and tumble games growing up with Jack had taught her that.
Jack! God, where was he? Was he alive or… She’d heard one muted cry when they were attacked, then nothing. If her brother were dead, it would be her fault.
Katarina pulled and twisted her wrists. If they had stayed in Virginia, they would have been better off. London was far wilder than she would have believed. Although she’d heard of women being abducted by highwaymen, she’d thought them only tales–until now.
But when Jack inherited a title, they’d been forced to come to London. The six months of mourning for their father not quite over, Great-Aunt Harriet now commanded the little social life allowed her. The past month had found her stuck all day with strong tea and inane gossip about her aunt’s old friends. Finally, rebellion set in. Over breakfast this morning, she’d demanded Jack escort her to a masquerade ball this evening, ironically attired as Athena, goddess of war.
A nasty rut jarred the carriage, making Kat groan. What wouldn’t she give for Athena’s armor at this moment, or at least her spear. She had to admit, though, she’d gotten her wish. She wasn’t bored now.
Thanks for coming by! Enjoy a book!