Thursday, December 17, 2015


If you haven't yet read Who Buries the Dead, STOP RIGHT NOW! Everyone else can follow me below the cover image for an explanation of a certain event that occurs near the end of that book.

Okay, everyone who hasn't read it stopped above, right? Right? Because you really don't want to spoil it. As the rest of you know, there is a death at the end of Who Buries the Dead; the death of one of my favorite characters. When I first handed in the proposal for this book to my editor, she didn't want me to do it (she really likes this character). But when I explained my reasons, she said, "Yes; you're right."

So what were my reasons?

I should begin by explaining that this character was not originally intended to be part of the continuing cast. I had intended to kill him off in When Maidens Mourn, the first book in which he appeared. But I kinda fell for the guy, and I couldn't do it. Plus I realized what a great and useful character he was, so I let him live. But I never intended for him to live forever. Why?

The main problem is that he is too much like Sebastian. He not only looks like Sebastian, but his character is quite similar, too. For an author, that causes issues. Hopefully those issues didn't show because I worked hard to minimize the effects, but believe me, it was hard.

A second reason is that, once a cast of characters gets too large, it becomes unwieldy. Different readers have their favorites and they tend to be disappointed when Hendon or Kat (yes, some readers do like her!) or whoever doesn't get much page time. For me, plot and pacing are always trumps, so I never bring on a character simply for the sake of spending some time with him or her. But the more characters there are, the harder it becomes to work them all into the plot. The longer this series goes on, the more characters we're adding. That meant some judicial pruning was in order.

I found that in many ways this particular character's scenes were in danger of always hitting the same note. Plus, the more we--and Sebastian--got to know him, the less enigmatic he became. I wanted him to remain something of a mystery; a vaguely ominous threat.

And while this character is gone in one sense, he is not in others. His death is an important catalyst that propels the story arc of Sebastian's personal quest forward. In the next book, When Falcons Fall, Hero and Sebastian travel to Shropshire where they meet Jamie's family and learn a lot more about him, the necklace, and a certain other mysterious figure from the past. I also have a complication involving a little boy that is coming up.

Another factor that influenced my decision, although it was far from the primary one, is the realization that with a series, it becomes increasingly difficult to convince readers that any of the continuing characters are really in danger. If a reader is thinking, "Oh, she wouldn't really kill off Gibson/Hero's mother/Tom," then suspense suffers. Admit it: from now on, you're going to worry more when someone is threatened; right?

I won't deny that I miss Jamie. Because the next book, #11, When Falcons Fall, takes place away from London and thus away from everyone except Sebastian, Hero, and Simon (and Tom, Calhoun, and Claire), I didn't really notice his absence. But I will admit that it pained me when I was writing book #12. And he continues to haunt me. In fact, he haunts me so much that I've been toying with the idea of writing a contemporary mystery series set in New Orleans (although it's hard to find the time, I firmly believe it's a good idea for a series writer to occasionally do other things to keep from getting stale). And I find myself more and more inclined to make the protagonist of that series the descendant of a nefarious London tavern-keeper named Knox....

Monday, December 07, 2015

Bluestocking Belles Book Club on Facebook

I'll be participating in a Facebook online book club chat this Wednesday, December 9th, between 7 and 9 pm EST. Here's the link to the Facebook page:

I've never done one of these before, but I gather everyone who's interested just shows up at the appointed time and asks questions and comments and talks about the book. So hope to see many of you there!

Friday, December 04, 2015

WHAT ANGELS FEAR On Sale for $1.99!

The Kindle version of WHAT ANGELS FEAR is currently on sale in the States for $1.99. It's also available for $1.99 at iBooks. So if you have a friend or relative who's been thinking about trying the series, here's their chance to get the first book at a great price. But they need to hurry because it's only for a week or two.

A few months ago, I asked y'all what you thought helped draw new readers to a series, and many of you told me, Reduce the price on the first book. I've been pestering and begging and pleading ever since, and The Powers That Be have finally agreed to do it for a limited time. So a big thank you to everyone who suggested it.

At the moment it's still at the regular price on Barnes and Noble; I'll post when I see it's come down. And I'm told it was  £1.60 in Britain, at least as of Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Where Did Candy Go? UPDATE!

Full confession: I didn't go anywhere. I've been holed up, head down, hibernating and frantically trying to get Sebastian # 12 to the point that I can put it aside for a few weeks and focus on Christmas and my daughter's wedding and a thousand other things I need to do but have been putting off forever (taking four trips in one year is insane). It took longer than I'd expected and the book isn't quite finished, but it's at the stage where I can happily leave it alone and then go back for a few final tweaks before turning it in next month. That aaaaahhhhh sound you hear is me giving a huge sigh of relief!

My office clean-up in progress; normally I have a carpet in front of the sofa, but it's rolled up at the moment.

Because our Christmas tree goes in my office, I'm now cleaning my office (a chore I really, really hate). I have a bunch of other irons in the fire: I'll be making a book video for WHEN FALCONS FALL, due to be released 1 March. I'm chugging away with my plans to release my historical romances on ebook (a task that is way more work than I ever appreciated!). AND while cleaning my office I discovered the blogpost I wrote on Jamie Knox and then lost in the chaos (I tend to write out things that require a lot of thinking on paper, first); so after having been promised forever, it will be coming soon.

PLUS, I've been told that Penguin is dropping the price on the ebook of WHAT ANGELS FEAR as a promotion some time this month. So if you have a friend or relative who has been wanting to try the series, of if you'd like to get it yourself, watch because I'll be posting as soon as I know it's available.

UPDATE: Helena tells me that ANGELS is available in the UK for £1.60 as of Tuesday, December 1.