Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where in the World is Eagle's Toe?

The Wedding Hazard is set in Eagle's Toe, Colorado, but you won't find it on a map! Eagle's Toe is a little town with a big population of billionaires. It's the perfect fictional setting for my series, Colorado Billionaires. Located somewhere between Gunnison and Pueblo, many visitors fly into the Pueblo Memorial Airport and take a limo or the family Rolls-Royce for the thirty-minute drive to Eagle's Toe. Of course, your travel time may vary depending on whether or not you have a lead foot!

 Creating my own little town has been both fun and challenging. I just realized while writing the newest addition to my series (The Wedding Venture, coming in September) that I didn't really have street names! When I drive, I find places by locational memory. Turn at the grocery store, take a left at the third intersection, and so on. And my characters have been doing the same. But sometimes you just need a street name. So I will be working on a map of Eagle's Toe before the next book.

Besides, I've created a clothing store (Mina's Boutique), a bakery (The Muffin Man), a security business (Thor Security, featured in The Wedding Hazard), and a large hotel and restaurant (The Cattlemen's Inn featuring Il Vaccaro, an Italian restaurant that also offers American home cooking). Also mentioned in passing are a local garage, a veterinarian, a hospital, a burger stand, and a truck stop cafe, all fictional, and all frequented by the residents of Eagle's Toe. It's definitely time to draw a map!

The maps I've drawn so far are pen-and-ink reminders of where shops and businesses are located. One of my billionaire families lives outside of town on the Rocking Eagle Ranch (The Wedding Wager). Generally speaking, the richer residents have estates on the west side of town, either inside or outside the city limits. The more books I write, the more urgent it becomes to keep track of everyone. So some amateur and fictional cartography will play a role in my future.

But you won't see me pinpoint Eagle's Toe with latitude and longitude. When it comes to romance, sometimes it's nice to have a hide-a-way, a place people can talk about but no one can really find...except me and my readers, in our imaginations.

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Colorado Billionaires 3, The Wedding Venture, coming in mid September!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Paying the Price for Love: Aging Pets

Sir Darby will be eight years old in September. It's hard to believe that my precious boy is a senior citizen.  2013 has been a rough year for Darby. He has suffered from three bouts of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, nearly died in the doggy ER from pancreatitis, and now he's recovering from damage to two discs which have been pressing on his spinal cord.

As the veterinarian showed me the X-ray, he said something that stunned me.

"Some people just choose not to treat these things."

I was horrified! Little Darby was in so much pain from his damaged discs, he was roaching his back and couldn't control his hind legs. The vet said his condition is called ataxia.  I couldn't believe that some people would choose not to treat such a thing. Then I realized, sadly, that what he probably meant was that they put their pets down when such problems arose. 

No one can judge another when they have to make the hardest decision regarding their pets. I've been in that position, and I know that each person must decide whether continued treatment is in the best interest of the dog or not. The pet's age is often a factor. Even though Darby is nearly eight, toy breeds can live much longer lives than larger breeds.  In Darby's case, we're treating his condition as if it were a sports injury.

Papillons think they can fly. They have those huge ears, and they zoom through the house, bounce off the furniture, leap straight up in the air to see what's on the kitchen counter, and sail off the arm of the couch just for the joy of flying. That's why I call it a sports injury. After nearly eight years of such activity, my little guy has hurt himself. And now it's up to me to keep him safe and quiet and, yes, medicated until his spine recovers.

He's doing very well after the first five days of treatment. He's supposed to remain in his crate unless it's time for a potty break. But I let him out after he promised me he would lie quietly at my feet. And that's what he has done.

Darby was a rescue. He came to live with me when he was eleven months old. He had no hair, weighed five pounds at ten inches tall, and was being eaten alive by parasites. My vets saved him, and he has shown amazing gratitude and love for the chance at a happy life. Considering all that he has given me over the years, I'm happy to provide the care he needs because he can get well and enjoy life again. I know that someday I'll have to make the hard decision on Darby's behalf. But for now, my littlest rescue is resting quietly, eating with gusto, and walking almost normally.  I don't know how long we'll have together, but I will be grateful for every day I get to spend with Sir Darby.

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A new Colorado Billionaires romance is coming in September!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I've been invited by Susan Winters to participate in The Next Big Thing and share some information about my work in progress. 

What is the working title of your book?

The Wedding Hazard!

Where did the idea come from? What genre is your book?

I love writing marriage of convenience stories. The fantasy of finding true love through a contrived marriage has always appealed to me. Last fall, I published my first effort in this area of romance, which I enjoyed reading but never knew I could write. My other novels are romantic suspense, sweet romance mixed with cozy mystery, and cozy mystery based on two of my romance characters. So was I ever surprised when a dear friend challenged me to write a marriage of convenience! I loved it!!! That was The Wedding Wager, the cover of which you see all over my blog. :-)  In writing that novel, I invented a cute little Colorado town and named it Eagle's Toe. And I began thinking about other marriage of convenience stories and how the couple could end up in my little town. Next thing you know, I was writing The Wedding Hazard.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ashley turns to Thor Security for help when her mother goes missing, finds the perfect bodyguard, the love of her life, and learns that every family has a little craziness in it, and if you're lucky, a whole lot of love to balance it out.

That's a very long sentence, but it's the best I can do at midnight! 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am a proud indie publisher. My books go through a stringent editing, proofreading, and formatting process to make them as perfect as possible. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months. From conception to publication, probably five and a half months. The last six weeks are editing, proofing, and formatting.

 For a look at all my available titles, check out my website:

Look for The Wedding Hazard on Amazon in mid-February! 

For information about indie publishing, check out The Business Rusch (in the sidebar). 

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bucking the Trends

"Trendy" has never been a word people used to describe me. Little did I know, that fact would change my life. Two years ago I embarked on a journey called "indie publishing." It sounds like everyone is doing it today, but two years ago, it felt like bucking a trend: the old fashioned trend of waiting for some stranger in New York to give your work a chance.

Now, two years later, the new year has come in with a bang, or at least with a cold front. I've been busy writing the next novel, so I've been dismal about posting to my blog or updating my websites. As cold as it is outside (9 degrees in my neighborhood, with an expected high of 32), this is a great week to post something new. I certainly won't be gardening!

One of the activities I'm catching up on during the cold front is reading other blogs. I notice that there are a number of them talking about various trends in publishing and whether we, as authors, should pay attention to them. (Check out Jannine Gallant, and her article at Roses of Prose.)

In the old days (before indie publishing), the answer was a resounding yes. If you wanted to stand a chance of slipping through that keyhole in the gate of traditional publishing, you had to rush to revamp whatever you were working on to reflect the best seller of the moment. Ironically, all the editors and agents and so-called advice givers were telling you to ignore the trends, because they wanted to see something fresh. Then here comes the rejection slip. "Love your voice, love your plot. Not trendy enough." Or perhaps, "Can't sell Regencies set outside the UK." Or "Your romance element isn't strong enough. Tone down the mystery!" (Of course, mystery publishers would say, "Too much romance! Get rid of it!")

Now, however, writers have more options. We have the opportunity to test out our theories about the reading public. We can put our work out there without the blessing of traditional publishers. We can take our chances. We can see if something works by testing it in the marketplace.

Do I think everyone should go indie? No. It's a lot of hard work from Day One. The learning curve is huge. If you can't learn to format your own books, you must be ready to pay someone for that valuable service. Same goes for covers. It was a difficult moment when I realized that my childhood fantasy of being a visual artist was just that. A fantasy. My medium is words. If I wanted my covers to look great, I had to swallow that bitter pill of self knowledge and hire someone else to do it. And returns on your investment may take a while.

Do I think the effort and outlay is worth it? Oh, yes. For the right person, going indie is the perfect solution. For someone like me, whose books never clearly fit anyone's specific publishing guidelines, going indie has been a dream come true.

Trends? How about control over your output and your publishing schedule? Trending now! How about setting the prices for you own books? Trending now! And you can't beat the joy of knowing your books are "in print" until you decide to take them off the market. These are the trends I pay attention to.

So let's set a new trend for 2013. Let's set the trend of following your dreams and testing what you're made of. If not now, when?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Regina Duke

Marriage of convenience.

Reviewer: “Don’t. Miss. This. One.” !!! 

Sweet romance, cozy mystery, & dogs! 
 Reviewer: “Terrific read!” “Page turner” 

Romantic suspense.
Reviewers: "Suspenseful entertaining read" "Romance & adventure" "What fun!" 

Reviewers: “Romp of a novella” “Barking good fun” “Dog lover’s delight”