Cover art: Bewitching Benedict

I am ALMOST DONE with revisions on BEWITCHING BENEDICT, my little Regency that’s the first of the Lovelorn Lads romance series. It’s a charming, funny little comedy of manners that I genuinely believe anybody who likes my stuff will really enjoy, even though it (*looks furitive, whispers*) hasn’t got any fantasy aspects to it.

The Lovelorn Lads are something of a cross between Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and PG Wodehouse conceptually, in that there are seven Lads who are close friends, and the central character amongst them has a valet who is not only adept at, but necessary to, steering them out of bad marriages and into good ones.

I have *rarely* had as much fun writing a first draft as I did with BEWITCHING BENEDICT, and that’s saying something, because I’m one of those writers who loves writing the first draft and thinks the rest of it is necessary tedium. I’m genuinely looking forward to writing more and I hope everybody’s going to like them as much as I do.

Anyway, with the revisions nearly done, and me with the cover art in my hot little hands, I decided I couldn’t stand to wait another minute and had to show it off. The cover is by Cora Graphics, and the book will be out in…soon! O.O (I want to say June, but that’s probably too ambitious. Probably.)

Cover art: Bewitching Benedict
Young Charles Dalton returns from the Peninsular War with the fond desire to settle back into the bachelor life, but his hopes are upended as the dire news comes that Benedict, one of his favored cadre, must marry at once or lose his inheritance. At the same time, Dalton’s socially conscious cousin Claire comes to London for a Season—but Benedict has already mortally insulted her, and Claire casts her lot with another, leaving Dalton’s beleaguered valet to guide them both into good marriages.

BEWITCHING BENEDICT will be available soon!

cover for Heart of Stone

I’m re-reading the Negotiator Trilogy, which I haven’t done since (before) they were published. I’m doing this so I can write KISS OF ANGELS, which is set (at least partially) after the trilogy, and in some ways I have only a vague idea of what the books are about. I mean, obviously I know what they’re about, but…

Some of you may know that the reason I haven’t written more book-length Old Races stories is that writing the Negotiator Trilogy was…awful. Just awful. Like, I had a small nervous breakdown, writing the third one. The Negotiator Trilogy is 375K long; I wrote well over a million words trying to get there. (For reference, the complete Walker Papers series, including “Banshee Cries” and the NO DOMINION collection, is just under 1.1 million words.)

The first book went through six major, massive revisions before publication.

The second book got an edit letter 6 months late that said “please insert a plot into this book” (that’s not really what it said at all, but that was the solution to what it DID say). It had to be torn apart and a plot forcibly inserted, which required throwing out and completely rewriting about 2/3rds of the book…during the time I was supposed to be writing the third book.

Because the revision letter for book 2 was so late, I’d started WRITING the third book, but because book 2 had no plot, and because there was a character I really desperately wanted to introduce in book 3 who it turned out didn’t belong there, I could not get book 3 written. I wrote between 200-300 pages six times before I got it right, and by that time I doubted myself so much I literally brought the manuscript, in tears, to my husband and said “please tell me if this works at all.”

On top of all that, the copy editor didn’t like my writing style and rewrote huge chunks of my sentences, leaving me to struggle with correcting them (this was before copy edits were done electronically) and leaving errors that remain in the books to this day.

It was an *awful* experience, and it’s why I’ve only ever written short stories and novellas in the world again. Even so it took me years to even consider that.

So! I know what happens in the books, but…not very clearly, because so many versions live in my head, and besides that, it’s been ten years. To write KISS OF ANGELS requires some revisiting of the old material.

I have never, ever (due to the reasons ennumerated above) wanted to re-read the Negotiator Trilogy. I’ve been hoping that they’d turn out to be good enough that, a decade after the fact, they could at least draw me in a little and make a re-read a modestly enjoyable task instead of a sisyphean one.

I’ve just finished HEART OF STONE, and it turns out they are!

In fact, there have been sentences and phrases that, if another author had written them, I would have been envious of the skill and wordcraft there! (That’s a real moment of cognitive dissonance, lemme tell you. :))

Nothing in the story has really *surprised* me, but there have been a number of times where I’ve gone, “Oh yes, this is the thing that happens here, I remember that,” and also, “OH I SEE WHAT I DID THERE, MAYBE NOBODY ELSE EVER SAW IT BUT I SEE WHAT I DID THERE I’M SO FUNNY AHAHAHAH” because I’m a great big dork. *laughs*

One of the things that is *particularly* interesting to me is that I had to work very hard to write Romancy Sensual Sexy Reactions stuff in that book, and I felt like, god, SO heavy-handed, SO awkward, SO awful. But re-reading it? It’s really not any of those things. Which is just fascinating. I mean, I was, like, embarrassed at the heavy-handedness of it all, when I wrote it. (Yes, yes, this from the same woman who wrote THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, but that book didn’t go through the evolution that HEART OF STONE did. TQB was (almost) always supposed to be full of smut. :))

Another thing that I kind of knew but which is much more obvious on re-reading is that holy cats, the short stories have different versions–sometimes MUCH different versions–of the backstory mentioned in the book. Like, there’s stuff in the book that’s just plain wrong, if the short stories are to be believed. Which, IMHO as the author, they are. :)

The nice thing is I’m totally okay with that. I figure two things: One, all of these characters are at least hundreds and often thousands upon thousands of years old, and one can hardly expect anybody to remember the truth accurately over that period of time.

Second, and much more importantly, many of these characters are inveterate liars anyway, and should never be assumed to ever be telling you the truth. (I mean, seriously. You wouldn’t trust Janx or Daisani, would you? You *shouldn’t*, anyway.) :)

Anyway, so now I’m on to reading HOUSE OF CARDS, and I’ll blog about that while I’m finishing it! <3 -Catie

Indy’s on Easter holidays, which is 2 weeks off, and I’ve basically been convinced it’s the weekend since the 8th of April.

Strangely enough, it has not been the weekend since the 8th of April, which has led to some deep confusion on my part. I suppose I’ll get back in the swing of things when school starts up again, but this bodes ill for my brain over summer vacation.

We went down to Fota Island for a day, and I took some pictures.

Indy was thrilled beyond comprehension to see REAL! CHEETAHS!



He raced the cheetah. The cheetah chased him, in a desultory fashion. :)



Just some pretty flowers.



The white-handed gibbons were in fine form, giving out to one another…



…singing…



…and playing…



Indy making a wish at the wishing well. (He wished Fota Island would have 130 cheetahs. They apparently ALREADY have THIRTY-NINE!)

I did not mean for that last post about the big break to be the last post for two weeks, but I temporarily forgot my password and couldn’t log in. Heh. :)

I defied my cold (and probably common sense) and went out to dinner with friends last night. I managed to be late because I stopped to do my makeup and missed the train, so I was pretty annoyed with myself. OTOH, it did provide the pretty amusing moments where, as I approached the table, one of the two women facing me looked straight at me and didn’t recognize me due to my haircut, and the other one noticed my fabulous lipstick but didn’t recognize the face it was stuck to because I so rarely wear makeup. :)

me, expressing irritation that my makeup made me late

The third of our party who had arrived on time knew it was me because she had her back to me and all the confusion had been sorted out by the time she turned to face me. :) But she got as much of a laugh from watching their faces as I did, so that was fun. :) (I had dinner with another friend last week who was standing outside the restaurant, looking down the street right at me, and apparently thinking, “Oh, Catie got her hair cut, I wonder if I’ll recognize her when I see her!” Spoiler: she did not. :))

We had a lovely evening, and I was extremely glad I went. At the end of the evening we asked the waiter to take a picture of us, which he did, and then he started zipping around like a fashion photographer, more or less yelling, “Work it, ladies, work it,” and we burst out laughing and that, although it’s blurry, was my favourite picture of the evening:

However, due to it being a bank holiday, there were no convienently timed trains to come home on, so it was at about 12:25am that I called the cab company to collect me from the train station.

“*Cate*?!,” said the dispatcher, who knows my voice, incredulously. “Is that you out this late?!”

Me: it is

Them: my god, we’ll be there to get you in a minute

Shortly thereafter the cabbie picked me up and said, “It’s past your bedtime,” which I wearily but amusedly agreed with. :)

(And then at 1am I took the Irish equivalent of Nyquil, except theirs actually works, and got to sleep at 2am, which meant I was basically ruined for the day because that stuff tends to obliterate me for about 14 hours. I woke up several times this morning going “i could probably get up except i literally can’t move” *SNXXXT* and eventually choked on snot at 11:24am and that alarmed me enough to lurch into something resembling wakefulness, but it’s now nearly 6pm and it’s only in the past hour or so that I’ve started to feel awake. And that’s *with* having resorted to a caffinated beverage, without which I’d probably be passed out on the couch. O.O)

All right, this is it, the big break.

Livejournal has updated its user terms and conditions with an expectation of complying with Russian (I almost typed Soviet, oi) law, including their anti-LGBTQ and freedom of speech laws, which is more than the camel can bear. It’s not like LJ’s had a lot of activity the past, uh, well, several, years, but many of us who have been holding out…no longer are.

I’ll be here on mizkit.com, of course, but I’ll be crossposting this journal to mizkit.dreamwidth.org from here on out, too. (And, y’know, to everywhere else it automagically crossposts.)

If you’re on Dreamwidth, you now know where to find me. If you’re on it with a different name than you use on LJ, let me know, or it may take me years to figure out who you are! :)