LASR blog post by Ann Tracy Marr

Bathing at Brighton

Love it. Another chance to blog to thousands of people.

Hate that it's another chance to make a fool of myself in front of thousands of people.

When I put my heart into writing, I expose myself, risking indifference, ridicule, or disgust.
It's is a hazard of the job. If I'm lucky (or inspired), I'll get a "hmm" of interest or outright enjoyment.
So -- here goes me, naked and vulnerable. I hope you love my blog rather than hate it. 

I am Ann Tracy Marr. My credentials are three fantasy romances (a series) published with Awe-Struck Publishing. I incorporate mystery, magic and humor into my plots. To prove my point, about making a fool of myself, let's pick apart my third book -- the one that went POD October 25th. (Hint, hint.) The title is To His Mistress

The short blurb of To His Mistress is: "A young, virile magician finds creating sparks with a lady as rewarding as making magic." Not the greatest blurb in the world because it doesn't jump out and tell you exactly what the plot is about. I am not very good at writing blurbs. I am better at writing books.

The longer blurb (what might go on the back cover of the paperback) says:

"What is it with men? Let them get an idea in their head, and it turns into a piece of granite.

"Look at Alexander, Lord Shelton.  In an ill-considered moment, he compromises Katherine Scoville. Any other hot blooded peer of the realm would do his duty and wed her with a smile on his face, even if he had murder in his heart. Not Shelton. He decides Katherine is a slut. No way is she eligible to marry the Earl of Shelton.  

"Oh, he marries her, but he doesn't like it. Not one little bit.

"Then he realizes that Katherine suits him to a tee. Not as a wife, but as a mistress. So Shelton goes about the intricate business of divorce in the Regency.

"Just wait until Katherine figures out what Shelton is up to. You almost feel sorry for him, the way he is digging his own grave."

I stumbled my way around writing this blurb, trying to be witty, sophisticated, whatever. I finally got disgusted with myself and just blurted it onto the paper and ended up fairly pleased with it. It gracefully tells the prospective reader that To His Mistress is a Regency. It tells you the very basics of the romantic plot; they had to get married and he hates it. In the last paragraph it hints that his hatred will not last, but he isn't going to win Katherine easily.

It's not a good blurb because it tells you next to nothing about Katherine and it might confuse the prospective reader. And yes, the genre is Regency romance, but when I promote To His Mistress, it is paranormal or fantasy romance. The stupid blurb fails to mention magic, which is an integral element of the plot. Told you I'm not very good at writing blurbs.



The most pertinent information left out of the blurb is what I like most about To His Mistress. You see, in my paranormal Regency series, King Arthur is not a myth. Arthur lived, ruled Britain, built Camelot, set up the Round Table, and argued with Merlin. Then Arthur died. Camelot and the Round Table remained in charge of Britain. Time passed, kings and queens sat on the throne, but Parliament didn't get invented. The Round Table still rules. Best of all, if Arthur was real, so was Merlin and his magic.

So there is magic in To His Mistress. In just about every other respect, the book is a conventional Regency, but the Round Table replaces Parliament and there is magic. Neither Katherine (heroine) nor Alexander (mud spattered hero) know about magic, but it is there. Alexander marries Katherine because he compromised her. He doesn't want to do it, but he has to. Magic makes him do it. Katherine marries Alexander because she has to, not because she loves him to bits. Magic makes her do it.  Then, because Alexander is so impossibly stubborn, he decides he likes Katherine after all -- not as a wife, but as a mistress. Being the typical aristocrat, he moves heaven and earth to get what he wants: Katherine as his mistress. (I guess magic can't make miracles.)

Again, thanks to magic, Katherine, who is delightfully clueless (the reviewer's words) takes her time figuring out that Alexander is divorcing her. When she does, watch out. Clueless is not the same as stupid. (Obviously, magic is no better at happy endings than it is at miracles.)

I said magic was my favorite part of To His Mistress. I am not lying. It squirms around and does neat things; it adds spice and unexpected moments. Magic takes an implausible plot to another level.

I think that is what makes me feel exposed here. I wrote four Regency romances (the fourth is on the editor's desk) hoping people will enjoy my magical twist on a beloved genre. I don't feel uneasy with Regencies, or romances, or other types of fiction. I don't mind saying that I don't write good blurbs. It's the magic. Discussing magic makes me feel silly - uncertain - naked and vulnerable.

Still, I love writing it, so I'll have to put up with the feeling.