Editing Away…

You know, I’m going to be honest: editing is exhausting. Honestly, it’s just exhausting! I can easily write 15,000 words in a day, but editing for more than three hours I start to get a headache and I have to look away.

Editing is challenging, especially if you are editing your own work. You know what you are trying to say, and you just kind of assume that the reader will understand you.

You can’t see the mistakes.

You can’t see the errors.

You can’t see the inconsistencies.

And so you spend hours staring at a print out of your latest manuscript trying to work out where you’ve gone wrong, hoping desperately that you’re not going to cut out anything that is golden!

It’s why I depend so much on my Beta editors. They don’t just point out when there’s a wrong word, but when I’ve forgotten that a heroine starts a scene wearing a green dress and ends the scene wearing a blue dress. When I introduce a new character and then never actually follow up with them. When I add a secondary storyline that goes…nowhere.

I could go on, but you can see the challenge. So a big thank you goes out to my Beta readers, my Mum (the best editor in the world!) and any poor editor that has to look through my manuscripts.

Because they are probably awful. Sorry!

It’s Almost Spring!

You know, I can’t be the only one who is desperately waiting for the summer. I love the sun, I love the heat, I love the sound of laughter as picnics spread across green grass, I love birdsong…

…yeah. You get the general idea. I just love it.

So when I start to notice the signs of spring coming, I just can’t help but start to get a little happier. The nights are a little warmer, the sun lasts a little longer in the evenings, the swallows start to return, and I can think about putting away the winter coat and getting out the spring jacket (I mean, this is Britain. It can still be miserable in the middle of summer!).

And yet something in me is a little sad. Because I love being outdoors so much, I find that I want to spend less time at the keyboard and more time topping up my tan.

But this year I have so many amazing book projects that I can’t do that! I have three more books in my Ravishing Regencies series coming, along with a super secret project that I can’t talk about right now, but I will in a few weeks…

So I am trying to get as much done as possible while the days are chilly and frosty, so that you, my lovely readers, have lots of nice books to read!

Release Day: ‘Peril with a Prince’

I’m thrilled to say that my latest Regency romance, Peril with a Prince, has been released!

perilwiththeprince

A prince hiding his identity, and a woman hiding hers – and sparks will fly when they have only each other to rely on…

Prince Éduard of Aviroux is hunting down the Great Whisperer, the spy helping the French nobility escape the guillotine, and he’s so close when thwarted by the delectable Giselle.

In all his years, he has never seen a woman like her: resourceful, cunning, and ready for a fight. What he doesn’t realise is that she’s just the spy he’s looking for.

Now trapped on an island together with food running out fast, Giselle is attracting his notice for all the wrong reasons, and it surely won’t be long before secrets, as well as clothes, start to fly.

Will Éduard discover Giselle’s terrible secret – or will he reveal some of his own? And can a perilous time with a prince ever lead to something more than just the heady delights of the flesh?

This is the prequel of the Ravishing Regencies.

This is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and part of a series that can be read in any order.

My ‘keep writing’ secret

One of the questions that I’m frequently asked as an author is: “Where do you get all of your inspiration from?”

And you know what? Sometimes that is a really difficult question to answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those people who drives their spouse insane by waking up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea and having to get their phone open, dazzling screen ablazing, to write it down in ‘Notes’ – only to wake up the next morning to see:

andt he gloves not white but henot care

(An actual transcription from my ‘brilliant 3am ideas’ notes.)

I am also one of those authors who has, at the time of writing:

  • a twelve book series plotted out
  • a four book series plotted out
  • another twelve book series with the first three written
  • a five book series plotted out
  • and an eight book series with the covers designed, but no plots at all.

And you know what? I still have moments at my keyboard where I have no idea where my characters are going.

It can be frustrating, especially when (as I do), you are an author that works full time at another job. Carving out writing time is a real challenge, and I don’t even have the excuse of having children!

So when it comes to writing, I just want to sit down and go: no distractions, no hesitations.

When that doesn’t happen it can be overwhelmingly frustrating – but I am going to share with you my secret for how I am able to keep going.

tk

Yup, you read that right: tk. The letters ‘t’ and ‘k’ appear together very rarely in the English language, so if you decide to search ‘tk’ in your manuscript then you aren’t going to find many, unless you have a lot of pocketknives in your book.

So whenever I get to a sticking point and I know that it’ll frustrate me and distract me from the narrative, I just stick in tk and then move on.

Can’t think what the name of that piece of Regency clothing is? tk

Need an extra name for a character that is literally only in this scene? tk

Want to check whether that town is a real place, or I need to create one? tk

It may sound weird, but it’s a real simple way for me to keep with the flow of my writing. Then when I come to the end of my creative time, which usually doesn’t reach lunch (I’m definitely a morning bird!), I just stick ‘tk’ into the search, and the places that I need to go back to appear.

I never miss them. My manuscript is always better because of them, because I can then take my time to investigate clothing, find the perfect name, and research eighteenth century geography, without losing precious creating writing time.

So there you have it. YES I have tonnes of ideas. YES I have book ideas coming out of my ears. And YES sometimes my brain grinds to a halt and I have to use clever tricks to keep going.

Happy writing!

The medieval romance novel I thought I’d never write

If you’re looking for a medieval romance novel you’re expecting knights in shining armour, jousting, and at least three feasts. Right?

Well, that’s what I always thought. I’d loved medieval history, literature, architecture, art, music – the works – since before I can remember. I studied it at university first as an undergraduate and then as a postgraduate, and when I starting writing my first ever novel, it was a medieval romance novel.

And yet after the first book was published (which is Conquests, by the way) I realised that I wanted to tell a different story. Because as much as the medieval era was beautiful, and full of mystery and joy, it was also really brutal.

No, really, brutal. People loved and lost more than they lived. Children died young, parents died young, and illness was suffered at every point of life.

So I decided that my next medieval romance novel was going to show a little more of a grittier side of the medieval period. There was going to be kidnapping and betrayal, sickness, and trust and confusion, and pillaging, and more.

And you know what? It was still full of love, and romance. Because that’s what life is. No matter what people and life throws at you, there’s always the opportunity to find warmth and love.

That’s what I wrote. And you can read it here. 

 

(ps. my latest Regency romance is on pre-order! You should totally grab it now.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Those of you who know me may be a little surprised at this blog post – after all, I’m not American but a Brit!

However, I think it’s important to take the time to be grateful for the awesome things in your life, and although I probably shouldn’t need a day literally entitled ‘Thanksgiving’ to do so, it’s remarkable how it focuses the mind.

So without further ado, here is my list of things that I am thankful for right now:

  • my wonderful family – husband, parents, brother, and incredibly large extended family. What would I do without you all?
  • my marvellous readers – without you, my books are just words on a page! You bring them to life when you read them.
  • my computer – still up and running, helping me to craft my historical romances with very few crashes!
  • my day job – not only does it pay the bills, but I can do so while enjoying it and surrounded by fab people.
  • the internet – it may be sad in places, but the research ability it gives me from my armchair is just incredible!
  • cheese and chocolate – my writing reward foods that help me push through difficult chapters when I’m feeling uninspired.
  • my editor, formatter, and cover designers – I don’t know where I’d be without them!
  • Netflix – the ultimate reward after a long day of keyboard bashing.

Do we have some of the same things on our list? Let me know yours in the comments below!

Why write medieval historical romance?

If you ask someone to think of historical romance, most people think of Regency bodice rippers, young ladies with names like Georgette or Isabella, who meet a Duke (typically in disguise) who they hate, then fall in love with.

And yet there are plenty of historical romances that are set hundreds of years before the Regency ton decided how sleeves were to be worn that season. Historical romances brimming full of knights, conquests, gowns and swords, with arranged marriages and plenty of titles apiece.

I’m talking medieval romance, and I’m a little bit obsessed with it.

The medieval world was what I chose to lose myself in when I was at university. After taking a degree in History and English, I chose my Masters: Medieval Studies. It’s a heady time period, packed full of powerful men but just as powerful women. Women that owned property, organised treaties, held forts, and betrayed their own sons.

Why wouldn’t you want to write a historical romance based in that time?

It’s why one of my bestselling romance boxsets, Conquered Heartsis beloved by so many. Set just after the Norman invasion of 1066, it has all the great medieval romance tropes – brooding knights, arranged marriage, marriage of convenience, hated overlords, clash of cultures, and beautiful jewels.

I always wanted to be a writer, and it was a medieval romance that I penned first. As a medieval romance author I wanted to give my readers the same passion and thrill reading about the medieval world as I did writing it.

Let me know if you did, and treat yourself to Conquered Hearts!

Announcing ‘Seduced under the Mistletoe’!

I am beyond excited to announce that I have partnered with 15 other historical romance authors to offer our readers the best Christmas gift ever: 16 steamy Christmas themed novellas for just 99c/99p!

Entitled Seduced under the Mistletoethis boxset will allow you to lose yourself in Viking romance, Regency romance, Victorian romance and more, all with a spicy edge and of course, a happily ever after.

Famous name included in this boxset include Carole Mortimer, Scarlett Scott, and Emmanuelle de Maupassant – and I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to join!

My loyal readers will notice that my contribution to Seduced under the Mistletoe, ‘Peril with a Prince’, is part of my Ravishing Regencies series and features the sister of the main character from Shipwrecked with a SuitorSo many of you loved the tantalising hints about Giselle, Pierre’s brother, and so of course I absolutely had to write her own tale – and you’ll save an absolute bargain by buying this boxset together because you’ll get 16 novellas for just 99c/99p if you buy in the first week!

Of course, we can only keep it at that price for so long, so set a reminder in your calendar to search for ‘seduced under the mistletoe’ on Amazon on November 1st, when our book will be published!

But don’t worry if you forget – I’ll be sure to remind you!

Emily Murdoch - Seduced Under the Mistletoe-2

 

What’s in a name?

Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it: naming characters is the worst.

Most of my (non-author) friends think that I’m crazy for saying this. After all, most of us only get to name a few people in our lives, and if you don’t have any children then you never get the pleasure of deciding what someone is going to be called for the rest of their lives.

I haven’t had that sort of responsibility yet, but I have named several characters in my books. In fact, with my seventeenth book coming out in November (pre-order here!) and my twenty third book just returned from my editor, I’ve probably named over a hundred characters.

I’ve had Avis and Cathryn, Hestia and Audrey, even a Margaret. The boys haven’t been left out either: Alexander and Leonard and Thomas have all graced my pages.

But there’s no hiding from the truth any more. I’m running out of good names.

What? I hear you cry. There are thousands of great names – wonderful names, emotive names, beautiful names.

And there are. But when you’re going for a specific part of history, you immediately become limited. You can’t call a character Jack in the 1060s of England, or a Zacharius in the 1400s. Although Alice was popular in the Victorian era and the 1300s, you wouldn’t have found many in the Tudor era, and don’t even get me started on Judas and Delilah.

You’re unlikely to have a Regency noblewoman called Abigail (a servant’s name), nor any Victorias at all. Meredith is a boy’s name until the 1950s, and no matter how much I try to use Emily, I just can’t stomach naming a character after myself!

When you are seeking historical accuracy, it’s a challenge. There are natural limitations, and limitations that I want to stick to…within reason.

So apologies if you’re a Charles, Mary, Elizabeth, or Margaret. You could appear in almost any part of England’s history from 1050 onwards, and I’ll probably end up using you more than twice.

What name do you love? What names do you think are ignored in historical romance? Let me know in the comments below!

Holidaying as an author

When most people take a vacation, they set down tools, leave the office, wave goodbye to their colleagues, and turn their mind off from their work until they need to step back into work again.

Not so with us authors. Our office is of the mind, and that means that it is almost impossible to completely abandon and try to switch off while you are taking a holiday – even if you would like to!

It has almost becoming a running joke in my family. Whenever I go on holiday with them, my trusty laptop somehow seems to find its way into my luggage.

“What did you bring that for?” They’ll ask me, a smile on their faces. “Surely you don’t want to work while you’re on holiday?”

And the answer seems that it should be ‘Of course not!’…but in many ways, writing doesn’t feel like work to me. Yes, some chapters are nightmares, and some characters make me want to rip my teeth out…

But sometimes the words just come. They flow like water from my fingertips and after losing myself completely in the words, I realise that several hours have gone by, and I haven’t eaten in any of them. My family have been tiptoeing around me, leaving hot drinks now cold around me, but otherwise leaving me be.

It’s an incredible blessing, having family like me. I honestly don’t know how I would write without them, and when we go on holiday together and explore our favourite parts of the country, inspiration lies around every corner.

A phrase to include in a book. A character to add in a story. A location that is perfect for a scene.

So when I next go on holiday, I’ll be taking the laptop. Inspiration may not stride, but just in case it does…