Monday, October 29, 2007

Do you have to read the Department 57 series in order?

Recently someone asked me if they needed to read the Department 57 series in order. The brief answer is "No."

I designed it as a hub series. That means the background is the same, but each book is about a different couple, and I try to keep it as separate as I can so the books can be read in any order. Except for "Rubies of Fire" and "Diamonds of Ice," that is, because a situation set up in "Rubies" isn't resolved until "Diamonds."

Basically, Dept 57 is a covert organisation, set up as part of the CIA (and the DHS) in the USA, MI5 and MI6 in the UK, and Interpol. It's named after its headquarters in New York, on 57th Street, as in my research I discovered that the more covert and secret the department is, the more likely it is to have a bland name!

The members are Talents, that is, paranormal beings, shape-shifters, vampires, Sorcerers etc, and they work both for their country and to preserve their secrecy and their existence. I've used the Darwin approach - we're all human, but some are a little bit different!

The operatives work against the Perfect Human Race (PHR), a terrorist organisation devoted to killing them all, and the Corporation, an organisation that wants to take their powers and use them for themselves. That's how come the DHS got involved, because the PHR is a fanatical organisation of terrorist cells which works worldwide.

So you can read them out of order if you want to, and that's been made almost inevitable now. There was a clause in my Triskelion contract that gave them the "next look" option, but there was a 60 day time limit, and as soon as that had passed after the submission of my last
manuscript for them, I withdrew it and offered it to Loose_ID. I was very lucky that happened before the court froze the contracts, otherwise the series would be in limbo.

I write two kinds of books for the D57 series - full length novels with a 'traditional' m/f romance, and hotter m/m/f menage books, but they're all romances. "Cats' Eyes" is a menage. And it's out now!

I've sent the next full length novel in, and I'm waiting to see if they like it. You can never tell, it's different with every book!

I do feature secondary characters who get their own romances, and when I get the rights to all the books back, I'll do light rewrites to try to keep them in some kind of order, but I do try to keep them as standalone as I can. And not to include spoilers, if I can avoid it!

There's a page on my website about the Talents, what they can do, what they can't, that kind of thing, but I'm very anti-rules, so I try to make it as self explanatory as I can.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's in a name?

Is it okay to call your historical hero a name like Blake, Brad or Burke?
Yes - and no. If the connotations most readers will apply to the name are not the ones you're looking for, you might want to think again. And if the name is deeply anachronistic, you definitely want to think again!
You can use most names, as long as you give a plausible explanation. I found that in the period I wrote in, the 1750's, the name "Richard" was out of favour (much as names come and go with fashion), so when I had a hero called Richard, I called his father Richard and made clear it was
a family name.

A Jared could have an Arabic relation, or like Jo Beverley did with the Mallorens, there was a real explanation for the weird names so that worked fine.

My latest series, the Triple Countess, has Miranda, Orlando and Perdita, because there were some Shakespeare fanatics about, but the final son is Corin, an Irish name, because his mother married an Irish peer.

Cats' Eyes is out!

It's out!
I am thrilled to bits to see Cats' Eyes at LooseId!
And look at that pretty cover!
Cats' Eyes is about what happens when a sexy Norwegian shape-shifter meets two devastating Brazilian strippers. It's my first Dept 57 book from LooseID, and I am so excited!
I never lose the excitement of release day, and I don't think I ever will. Not that I want to, it's one of the best things about being an author.
Even better is someone mailing you hours after release to say she couldn't put it down!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cats' Eyes

It's coming out early!
"Cats' Eyes," my first novella for Loose-Id is coming out on the 16th! We're working on the cover art now (and it's gorgeous!). I'm so excited!
The story of two Brazilian men and their lucky Norwegian girlfriend, who just happens to be an agent for Department 57. They meet when they're working on the same case - but from different angles - in New York's latest, hottest male strip club. Silje (pronounced Silya) is a wee bit inhibited, but the boys from Brazil see the latent passion within her and they want it for themselves!
I loved writing this book, and I'm keeping my fingers well and truly crossed for it!


I finished the first draft of "Topaz Delirium." This has been a hard book to write. Not because I found it hard going, but because I wanted to get it right. It's set in a world I know well - the fashion industry - and I wanted to convey some of the feverish atmosphere and the sheer otherworldliness that infects the rag trade.
And it's my first full-length Department 57 book since the Trisk debacle. I want to send this one to Loose-Id, and see what they think.
One more read-through and it can go, with my heart in my mouth.