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Here Be Dragons
by Holly Jacobs
I love starting a book. I feel like I’m an old time explorer, boarding my ship and heading toward that part on the map that reads, Here Be Dragons. I don’t know if the book is going to be smooth sailing, or if it’s going to drop into a dark abyss.
It started out a trilogy. Everything But a Groom. Everything But a Bride. Everything But a Wedding. It was the story of a Hungarian grandmother who accidentally cursed her own family to bad weddings and spends three books trying to break the curse.
I’ll confess, I did panic a bit as I wrote the third book. It wasn’t simply my normal I-hate-saying-goodbye sort of panic, but rather the realization that I had no idea how I was going to break Nana Vancy’s curse. Every page I typed took me closer to that the-end, to those proverbial dragons. I thought, “This is it...I’m not going to be able to finish this book. Not just I don’t want to say goodbye, but rather I have no clue how to conclude the series.” Yes, sometimes being a seat-of-my-pants writer presents problems when the dragon bites you in the butt.
Now, another confession, I have no idea how my writing works. It just does. I don’t really try to figure it out because I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of magic and I worry that I’ll break the spell if I examine it too closely, so I just write and let the mechanics (or magic) of it work itself out. And it didn’t fail me with this ending. I went to sleep woke up knowing just how Nana Vancy broke that curse. It was a sort of duh moment. I’d set it up perfectly through the trilogy, even though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.
I ended the trilogy and thought that was that, but I kept hearing from readers who loved Nana Vancy and the entire Salo clan. And that writing-magic thing kicked in again and I realized there was more to Nana Vancy’s story. My pitch to my editor went something like this, “I have an idea for another Everything But... book. Nana Vancy’s broke the curse and she’s bored, so she tries her hand at matchmaking. Matchmaking to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas.” She bought it on that description. Poor Nana Vancy and her best friends, The Silver Bells (Annabelle and Isabel) make even more of a muck matchmaking than Nana Vancy had made curse breaking. Everything But a Christmas Eve was followed by Everything But a Mother.
Everything But a Dog was supposed to be released. Please note, it’s July and it’s not here. You see, Avalon, the publisher for the other five Everything But.. books (as well as my four book WLVH series) was bought by Amazon. I think for me, and for readers, this is going to be awesome. Amazon’s Montlake Publishing will be releasing the final book, Everything But a Dog this fall. A few months late, but not only will it be available as a book, but it will also be available as for Kindle. They’ll also be putting up my backlist for Kindles.
I’ve always loved writing for Avalon, but their primary market was libraries, so the books were hardback, library bound on acid free paper. They’re beautiful, and they’re pricey. I asked readers to simply ask their library to order them then borrow them. Now, as eBooks, the two series should be much easier for readers to buy.
And if you check out the book, you’ll meet the two dogs it was named after, Madam Curie and Clara Barton. They’re based on my current dogs, Ethel Merman and Ella Fitzgerald. (I changed the names to protect my dogs’ privacy. I didn’t want any PUParazzi hounding them. Yeah, that was bad...really bad!) Here’s a picture of the three of us. Definitely not a professional pic of me. Meet my hair in its natural, Medusa, state. The good thing is, if I run into dragons with my wild hair, they’ll run for cover!
I don’t have the cover for Everything But a Dog yet, but I’m hoping Ethel and Ella get their shot at fame. Before these two, we had an Old English Mastiff, who was the inspiration for Dudley in Avalon’s Night Calls and a dog look-alike made the cover of that one.
Most of the dogs in my books are based one dogs I’ve either owned or known. I am a dog person at heart. Ethel and Ella and I walk at least three miles a day. It’s my thinking-about- the-current-book time. But I do occasionally use cats in a book. My favorite ever belonged to a science geek. He named his cat Schrodinger. (And all the true science dorks are laughing at his name. I laughed when I wrote it. My editor, who’s not a science dork...not so much.)
How about you all? Do you like animals in your romances? (And I’m not talking about people-ish animals, but rather animal animals.)
Thanks to everyone who’s patiently waiting for Everything But a Dog!
Thanks to Holly for stopping by the blog!