On Feb 1st, Scent Of A Man, my second novel-length story with Red Sage Publishing was released.
When I started writing this story, I had a vague idea that I wanted to write a story with a Regency flavor, mainly because I love reading Regency novels and I wanted to challenge myself to write something completely different to my "norm". Then I spotted a photo of a woman in a magazine, cuddled up to a guy and blissed out on his scent. The article happened to be about men’s fragrances and its by-line was: “In a world of equal opportunities, men are smelling as good as women—well, nearly.” And that sparked the idea of a hero who exudes pheromones which make him irresistible to women.
Me, being me -- just the teensiest bit warped in the imagination department ;-) -- I created a fanatically religious society where wealthy titled men dress like Regency dandies, force their womenfolk to dress like Quakers, and forbid them from wearing fripperies such as ribbons, cosmetics and perfume. I also wanted to experiment with role-reversal. My hero, Joseph, became the inexperienced virgin, and my heroine, Liliana, the seasoned woman-of-the-world who leads him astray -- not to mention she’s a foreign agent trained in hand-to-hand combat, who believes women are just as capable as men, if not better! Poor Joseph has no idea how to handle her, LOL.
Back then, because I was writing solely for myself and not with any specific market in mind, I just wrote the damn book. I didn’t consider important things like how the story's genre might be categorized or the story marketed. And sure enough, I ended up with an action-oriented paranormal/fantasy romance with a historical flavor and a rather erotic-sounding premise that was never fully realized. *winces*
After Scent Of A Man won a prize for highest scoring first round manuscript and placed second overall in one contest, then placed 3rd in another, I figured, Goshdarnitall! This might be a pretty good story. Woot! I even harbored fond daydreams that it might be publishable.
Oh my. How naive was I? It soon became obvious that because Scent Of A Man really didn’t know what sort of story it wanted to be, consequently, neither did any of the agents or editors I queried. In the end, Joseph and Liliana’s story had to be shelved.
It wasn’t till last year, that Scent Of A Man got the chance to be redeemed. My Red Sage editor contracted the story pretty much based on the first few chapters and a synopsis. By this stage, she had worked with me on three other stories and she believed I had the courage to do what needed to be done to whip this story into shape. In other words, to fully realize the somewhat erotic sounding premise. I mean really. With this blurb who was I trying to kid?
SCENT OF A MAN: The one woman who can resist him is the only woman he’s ever wanted….
Joseph is a highborn Anglian noble living in a harshly religious society where the Council and their clerics enforce chastity, and women are oppressed and treated like chattels. Overnight, Joseph undergoes a rare transformation and becomes a Scentinel, a man who exudes powerful sexual pheromones that make him irresistible to females. His people believe he is evil and will execute him on sight. He’s on the run, starving and desperate. He has nothing more to lose–or so he believes.
Liliana is a “morally corrupt” Europan woman with an agenda. She’s a creature even rarer than Joseph, a Null who can neutralize Scentinel pheromones. Her mission is to do whatever it takes to bring Joseph safely to Europan shores. There, he’ll join Empress Vashti’s elite band of Scentinel spies — provided he survives his training with his sanity intact, and learns how to suppress his pheromones at will. And falling in love with the man she must ultimately betray was never part of Liliana’s plan.
Of course this story was destined to be an erotic romance! The only one who wasn’t prepared to admit that was me. Doh.
It was a painful process -- one I’m not eager to repeat. Rewriting and completely refocusing the genre of a story you wrote years ago, and having to lose some beloved characters and totally rethink others (including the hero!!!), while still retaining the basic plot and structure of the original story, is no picnic. But I’m proud that I stuck with it and didn’t give up. (Even though I wanted to, many many times.)
Now, I’ll always treasure Joseph and Liliana’s story because it challenged me every step of the way and gave me a huge confidence boost. And I hope readers will love the new and improved story as much as I do.
To celebrate the unleashing of Scent Of A Man on an unsuspecting public *mwah hah hah!* I’m giving away one of my Red Sage eBooks.
And because I’m insatiably curious, I’d love you to share with me the catalyst that inspired you to do something challenging. (That “something” doesn’t have to be something of a creative bent, BTW. We’re talking writing anything at all, enrolling in a dance class, asking that hot guy to the dance when you were in high school... whatever!)
Anyone who leaves a comment will go in the draw to win an electronic copy of either:
Even Demons Get The Blues, (Demons Book 1)
Let Sleeping Demons Lie, (Demons Book 2)
From The Ashes, or
Scent Of A Man.
(Click on the links to find out more about these stories.)
Can’t wait to read your comments!