Off the beaten track.
The next book up to be released is a little bit different. Okay, it’s a lot different.
But really, not so much.
And yeah, let me explain that.
I’ve been writing romances and publishing them since 1999. I’m a fast writer, so that is a LOT of romances. In 2018, I released my 100th book, and that 100 didn’t include the short stories and novelettes I’d written. So, I’ve been doing romance for a while.
But I’ve never written “standard” romances. There’s always been a lot of story, a lot of action and events happening, while the hero and heroine fall in love.
The most successful of my romances, recently, have been the historical romances. But long ago, before I started writing paranormal romances, my romantic suspense were my big sellers, and it’s where I feel very, very comfortable, writing-wise.
I also like reading and researching history, and one of the eras that most fascinates me is the Edwardian era, when the entire world just knew a global war was coming, for years before World War I arrived.
Science Fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (who was a history buff himself) said in his introduction to Time Enough for Love, that the apex of human civilization was in the years shortly before the Great War. Technology and medicine had advanced enough to make life very comfortable, but customs and society was still mired in an earlier, politer, and more considered and conscious way of life, filled with civility and citizenship. After the first war, Heinlein said, it all goes to pot and hasn’t stopped sliding downhill since.
I can understand why he felt that way.
The Edwardian period technically ended in 1910, when King Edward died, but many historians extend the period right up to the start of WWI, in 1914.
Just like the Regency period (1811-1820), the Edwardian era had an oversized impact upon society, given its short duration. We can instantly picture in our minds the art, fashion, and lifestyle of both eras, which were distinct and influential on the years that followed.
While casting around for a new project, I kept finding myself considering history itself, and in particular, the Edwardian era.
But I also wanted to get back to romantic suspense, which I really like writing.
Then the lightbulb clicked on. Why not both?
And even better, why not espionage? The Edwardian era only looks gentle. On the run up to the war, England and most of Europe was fighting a desperate but hidden war against German agents and their attempts to “soften up” the countries they knew they would be fighting soon.
In England, one man did more than most to halt the German efforts. William Melville is the founder of what would become MI6, and is reputed to be the original “M”, the historical version of the fictional “M” in the James Bond stories.
Also, I wanted to write a somewhat epic and long story. Some of my favorite reading from when I was younger were the doorstopper historical epics such as A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. (And let’s not forget Lord of the Rings!).
I’ve been noodling around this pile of possibilities for a good long while. Years, in fact, but I could never figure out a way to get such a story written.
I’ve only ever done one super long story like that, and while The Branded Rose Prophecy remains one of my personal favorites of all time, I have never been able to figure out how to write a sequel (which I would do in a heartbeat, if I could). The first book took nearly six months and I didn’t release a single other story in all that time.
I can’t afford to take such a break these days. You guys would kill me.
Add into that, the fact that readers want shorter stories, now. Shorter, and more of them. While everyone says they like the longer, immersive reads, the sales don’t support that. The Branded Rose Prophecy, which I just mentioned, is one of my poorer sellers.
And on top of ALL that, is the fact that you guys like reading a whole series.
But if I told the story that was starting to form in my mind in shorter installments, to create a much longer story overall, then the smaller stories wouldn’t be romances.
As I’ve never written “just” romances, but always injected a lot of plot and events and happenings around the couple falling in love, I lingered at this point and really considered it.
What if I didn’t write romances? What if I just told the story, and let the romance emerge over the length of the series?
That would make the series NOT romantic suspense, or even historical romance. It would make it historical suspense and women’s fiction. And maybe, in order to tell a really good story, I should just let that happen.
And that resolved the last question surrounding the concept of the new project.
So today, I introduce to you my new series. The series itself is simply called Adelaide Becket, after the heroine. The first story is The Requisite Courage.
As Europe draws toward war, an extraordinary woman steps into the arena.
In Edwardian England, Lady Adelaide Azalea Margaret de Morville, Mrs. Hugh Becket, lately of the Cape Colony, was born the daughter of an Earl, but is now the widow of a commoner. She straddles two worlds, speaks fluent German, and can ride, hunt and shoot. Her talents draws the eye of spymaster William Melville, who recruits her to help him fight a shadow game with German agents both at home and aboard.
Her first assignment is to attend a weekend house party at Balmoral Castle. One of the guests intends to assassinate King Edward and she must find out who before they make their move…
This novelette is the first in the Adelaide Becket Edwardian espionage series.
1: The Requisite Courage
…and more to come.
A historical suspense espionage novelette.
Are you ready for an adventure?
The Requisite Courage will be released on February 11 at all retail stores, but if you pre-order it from me (on the Stories Rule Press site), you will get your copy a week early.
And it is available now for pre-order, everywhere.