Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 10 2014, 12:02 am in A Countess Below Stairs, A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Days of Rakes and Roses, Epilogues, Eva Ibbotson, historical romance, Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase, Prologues, Regency romance, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares, writing
To prologue or not to prologue? That is the question.
Well, at least today! We can cover the meaning of life at some later date.
Not long after CLAIMING THE COURTESAN was published, I attended a one-day seminar by the legendary and wonderful Jennifer Crusie which covered many things, including her hints for how to write a great book. As a diehard admirer of her work (seriously, if you haven’t read WELCOME TO TEMPTATION, run to your nearest bookseller), I hung on every word. One thing she said categorically was no book needs either a prologue or an epilogue.
Interesting, huh? Especially as, having written my first four books without epilogues and then had numerous readers contact me asking me to write them, it’s clear that romance fans in particular ADORE epilogues.
With all those books, I felt I’d covered all the plot points in the story. They didn’t NEED an epilogue, although I think if I were writing them now, I would include epilogues. Romance readers, I think, just need that last little bit of happily ever after before they can close the book with a blissful sigh.
The first book I wrote with an epilogue was MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. Anyone who’s read that book knows that there was quite a complicated plot that went beyond what I could tie up in a satisfying way in the “I love you, you love me” part of the book. So, tiptoeing very carefully past Ms. Crusie, I went wild and wrote an epilogue. I know, I’m such a rebel.
Since then, all my books have had epilogues, not just for the sake of a few more kisses and vows of eternal affection, but because there were questions that needed answering beyond tying up the romantic plot.
I held off from prologues for much longer. Personally I really like a prologue when it’s well done. I think it’s a much more satisfying way of filling in important backstory than flashbacks or great wads of narrative. And because the reader sees the events on the page, it’s vivid and dramatic in a way something recounted later as a memory isn’t.
Interestingly two of my favorite romances of all time both include prologues. LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase breaks all the so-called romance rules in the prologue too – it’s long, it’s in omniscient point of view, it’s mainly narrative and there isn’t a whiff of a meeting between the hero and heroine. And you know what? It’s absolutely brilliant. We are so on the side of difficult, passionate, emotionally wounded Lord Dain by the time he turns up in all his cranky splendor in chapter one, thanks to that prologue, that we stick with him for the rest of the story. Lots of people obviously agree with me that this is a prologue that works a treat. LOS is regularly voted among the top three romances ever written.
Another of my favorite books, and definitely my favorite comfort read, is A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS by Eva Ibbotson. The prologue of this one reads like a fairytale and it sets up the story of gallant, generous, lovely Anna Grazinsky who needs every ounce of her courage to face life in England after the Russian Revolution. The prologue also sets up the Cinderella element of riches to rags and underlines the poignancy of the romance with the Earl of Westerholme who owns the house where she finds work as a housemaid.
When it came to my Sons of Sin novella, DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES, which is a story about childhood sweethearts separated by the heroine’s father, I wanted to show that dramatic moment in Simon and Lydia’s lives, the moment that set both of them off on divergent paths. They only come together again when Lydia is about to marry someone else. I could have covered the essentials in backstory, but it just didn’t seem to have the same impact and I wanted to show that these two, who are quite prickly when they meet again, had once shared a profound love.
Since then, ALL my book have had prologues. A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS needed an inciting incident to set Richard off on his quest for the Harmsworth Jewel. Again, it seemed better to do it on the page rather than have the characters recollecting it.
I’ve just received the advance reader copies of my next book WHAT A DUKE DARES which is out in August. And guess what? There’s a prologue in this one too!
One of the things a prologue does really well is create a sense of space between an important event that has later consequences, and the rest of the story. In Duke, my hero proposes unsuccessfully to my heroine in the prologue. They don’t meet again for another nine years which is when chapter one starts. Because of the prologue, you know what’s at stake for these two when he rescues her from bandits (of the non Romance Bandits kind) on her way back to England from Italy.
Again, I probably could have done it in backstory but I don’t think it would be nearly as vivid or have the emotional impact as when the reader sees the disastrous proposal in real time on the page.
Are you a fan of prologues and epilogues? Do you have any favorites where you think the prologue or the epilogue really worked well?
I’ve got a signed advanced reader copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES (along with its prologue!) to go to one commenter today. International. So good luck.
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 11 2014, 11:00 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Harlequin, historical romance, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel
Thanks so much to everyone who went all posh and tea-drinking to help me celebrate the release of the U.K. edition of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED from Mills and Boon in London. I’m delighted now to announce that the winner of the book is:
Megan, can you please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info with your snail mail details and I’ll get your lovely purple book off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 10 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Great Britain, historical romance, International Releases, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel
Ahoy, my hearties! Feast your eyes on this purple beauty!
What’s that you say?
Is this a new release from Anna Campbell?
Hmm, the title sounds strangely familiar, yet I’ve never seen that handsome fellow and that blonde wench before. Who can they be?
Why, they’re the wicked and sexy Jonas Merrick and the brave and passionate Sidonie Forsythe from the first book in the Sons of Sin series, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED.
Sidonie, as you’ll notice, has had a bit of a makeover and is now a blonde, but I must say I love the tension between these two in this picture. You just know sparks are going to fly!
If you’re regular visitors to the lair, I don’t think it will be any surprise when I tell you that I’m a bit of an Anglophile (along the lines of the way that Bluebeard had a few marital issues!). But while my books have come out all over the world (we’re currently at 16 languages), I didn’t have a British publisher.
You can imagine my excitement last year when Harlequin Mills and Boon in London bought the first three Sons of Sin books for a range of European territories, including a U.K. release. Yay!
Now I’m delighted to announce for U.K. Bandita Buddies that Rogue came out as a Special Release in both print and e-book in Great Britain on 21st February. A week after Valentine’s Day strikes me as a lucky release day for a romance.
If you don’t live in the U.K., but you’d like one of these gorgeous purple books, you can order them post-free from the Book Depository: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1455512079/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1455512079&linkCode=as2&tag=romanbandi-20 And I’m also giving one lucky person a chance to win their own lovely purple book at the end of this blog.
There’s a new blurb for the U.K. Rogue:
‘I’m your payment, Mr Merrick.’
When notorious Jonas Merrick finds the wife of his greatest enemy up to her neck in debt to him, he offers her a bargain – she can work off the debt…in his bed. But Jonas is more than a little surprised when her innocent, naive sister arrives in her place, bravely offering herself to the scarred, brooding rake. Unexpectedly moved by young Sidonie’s beauty, innocence and wit, the ruthless loner finds her seduction a much more compelling prospect. Instead of a martyr in his bed, he wants seven days to make her come willingly.
But when the week is up and the world intrudes…will beauty claim her beast?
Works for me!
The U.K. version of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED is available at all good booksellers including:
The Book Depository
Mills and Boon
You can read an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/rogue.html
By the way, the photos illustrating this post are from my visit to Haddon Hall which is one of my favorite stately homes. It’s one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been – no wonder it pops up as the setting for so many historical shows, including the lovely BBC JANE EYRE featuring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester. When I visited in 2007, they had costumes from the series on show in the rooms where the scenes had been shot. A lovely touch!
If ever you’re in Derbyshire, don’t miss it.
So let’s stay British with our question today. If you’ve been to Great Britain, what were some of your favorite places and why? If you’d like to go to Great Britain, what would you especially like to see?
I’ve got a signed copy of a U.K. edition of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED up for grabs today for someone who comments. International giveaway. So good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 10 2013, 12:02 am in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, historical romance, Kisses, Launch Parties, Regency romance, Sons of Sin
Wow, I feel like I only just got over the headache from my last launch for DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES and here we are with another launch, this time for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS! I’m glad I stocked up on aspirin!
Yay! Yazoo! Waheeeeeeee!
Book 2 of the Sons of Sin series is live. A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is out from Grand Central Publishing Forever as we speak. Wave that blue cover high!
Here’s the blurb:
It Takes a Lady…
Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…
To Catch a Thief!
Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…
If you want the actual smooch, you’ll have to get the book! I do love to tease!
So today in honor of my new title, I thought we’d talk kisses!
First off, I thought we’d play kiss chasey with the boys in the lair. I’ve promised them all danger money and you know, they all said they don’t want it. Clearly, they’ve never seen Ermingarde in an amorous mood!
And if a loincloth happens to slip under the influence of the kissing, well, what happens in the lair stays in the lair (until I’ve downloaded the photos anyway!).
Then I thought we’d talk about wonderful kisses in the movies. Perhaps we need a whole new genre of movies with kisses at midnight! Hmm, I’m willing to audition all the rakes. I’m prepared to suffer for my art!
I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about all these kisses before in the lair. But the definition of a classic is something we can revisit over and over. And frankly, with A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS
hitting the shelves, kisses are on my mind.
Watch out, Paolo!
I think my all-time favorite kiss in a movie is the one from THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. The music! The setting! The passion! Oh, my beating heart!
I was lucky enough to see this for the first time on the big screen and there was something about Daniel Day-Lewis pashing Madeleine Stowe in 70mm with Dolby Surround Sound that made an indelible impression on me. He’s so handsome, she’s so beautiful, at the time we’re convinced they’re so doomed, their love crosses barriers of class and continents.
Sigh! How could any unabashed romantic fail to be thrilled?
My second kiss is from the all-time romantic classic, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. It’s actually a bit of a ring-in as we don’t actually see Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr kiss on screen. It’s all very subtly done. They’re coming down the stairs at night (could be midnight!), their hands brush, they pause and look at each other, the camera continues going down as if they’re still descending, but instead it’s clear from the way their feet move that they stop to share a kiss. That’s a fairly awkward description of a very sexy moment. Another big sigh!
Now, what kiss could possibly be missing from this list?
Could it be time to mention the Armitage word?
I think it might be!
You’ll notice I said THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS kiss was my favorite – from a movie. Strictly speaking, NORTH AND SOUTH is a miniseries. Which gives me a chance to eat my favorite kiss and have it too.
The ending of this BBC series is one of the most beautifully romantic scenes I’ve ever seen on film. If you haven’t seen it, go to YouTube and google NORTH AND SOUTH ending. Or even better, watch the whole story. The kiss means so much more when you know how close John and Margaret came to losing each other. I just melt when I see the tender way he cradles her head as he kisses her, as if this one woman contains the whole world for him. Triple sigh with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
So NORTH AND SOUTH gets the RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS Oscar! Take a bow, Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, even if I’m green with jealousy that you got to kiss old Dicky babe.
So it’s over to you! What other on-screen kisses should we nominate for the RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS Oscar?
And the Award goes to…
It’s tradition in a Bandita launch party to give away prizes so I’ve got two copies of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (international) going out to commenters today. Good luck! And lots of lovely smooches to you!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 11 2013, 11:00 pm in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, ARCs, Bandita Booty, great books, historical romance, Regency romance, Sons of Sin, writer's life
Thanks so much for everyone who swung by to talk about borrowing books yesterday. I had a great day and picked up some wonderful recommendations for my TBR pile. I’m delighted to announce that the winner of the signed advance reader copy of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is:
Aislinn, can you please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with your snail mail details and I’ll get your book off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 11 2013, 11:00 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Days of Rakes and Roses, e-books, novellas, Sons of Sin
Thanks so much for a great launch party yesterday, guys! I had a ball. All those virtual bouquets are making my house smell like a flower garden! I’m delighted to announce the winners of the downloads of DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES (or one of my indie novellas if any of our winners are outside North America) as:
Congratulations, girls! Please contact me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with information about what format you’d like your novella in (Nook or Kindle) and also what email address you’d like me to send it to. Happy reading!