3 Chances to win The Heir!

Update: Grace Burrowes offered 3 chances to win The Heir. Her randomly chosen winners are Diane, Tiffany Krepps and Catlady!

Please welcome my fellow Sourcebooks author, Grace Burrowes. Her debut title The Heir was peopled with intelligent, likeable characters with depth and believability. I can’t wait for her next novel The Soldier, which comes out June 1st. In the meantime, I invite you to sit back, pour yourself a cup of cyber-coffee and get to know Grace as she shares her publishing experience.

When I was Wrong… by Grace Burrowes

The Soldier by Grace Burrowes

Click image to buy!

I’m a post-debut author of Regency romance, that is, I’m between that first, wonderful, harrowing, delightful, god-awful publication experience (“The Heir,” Sourcebooks Casablanca, December 2010), and the second book coming out (“The Soldier” Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2011). This is a useful moment to reflect on the things I was wrong about regarding the publishing experience.

For they are legion.

First, let me state the obvious, or obvious to everybody but me: There are people who will hate each book I write. I use the word ‘hate’ advisedly. It is inflammatory, and when somebody hates anything associated with me, also painful. I simply did not realize my dear little book would sit out there post-publication in the cross-hairs of anybody with an internet connection—vulnerable, immutable, and a ready target for vituperation and contumely.

I’m not referring to constructive criticism or the perfectly legitimate, “not my cup of tea.” The advice I received when I went whimpering to my editor was to read the reviews for my keeper novels and see that, lo, they get brutally trashed too.

“Oh,” says me. “This is a normal part of being published.” This realization was unaccountably cheering. So some soul I will never meet didn’t like my book—at least they’re only directing their bile at a mere book, a passing entertainment of little cost.

I was wrong in other even more cheering ways.

Writing for publication is supposed to be a lonely business. I’ve found much of it solitary but hardly lonely. Romance authors in particular are a very supportive bunch, blogging and looping with each other daily. My editor checks on the chickens from time to time; my agent is responsive and sympathetic even on my terrible, horrible, awful very bad days (which are not unique to published authors, let us note). And the people who like my books are the most lovely bunch. They email me their kind sentiments, they want to know when book two will come out, they gush and thump the tub and offer such encouragement. I did not foresee this.

And about blogging. A published author told me as soon as I signed a contract, “Start cranking out blogs. Even if you don’t post them, you’ll need the backlog when your blog tour starts.”

Blog tour? I have to actually promote my book? All over the web? For every book? Don’t I have enough to do coming up with two thousand words a day on my WIP?

What I found, though, was that…. drum roll, please… blogging is writing about my books! I love to write, I love my books! I blush to admit this was a light bulb moment.

I was also concerned my enthusiasm for writing would wane as the product had to be tailored for commercial consumption. While it’s true there is a marvelous freedom in not being published, my fears have not been realized. My editor bought my books precisely because she thinks what I write is suited to a wide reading audience already. Yes, there are revisions and sometimes more revisions, but always with an eye toward improving the book I wrote, not toward writing a different book.

In closing, I’d caution anybody writing for publication to turn a hearing-impaired (though perhaps not deaf) to those published authors who spout lugubrious warnings about “it’s different when you get published, harder, worse, more demanding… don’t do it if you don’t have to…” and so on.

Go for it. There are different challenges, but silver linings, new insights, and gratifying rewards abound—though reaping those rewards might require that you admit where and how you were wrong

Author Bio:

Grace Burrowes is the youngest of seven children. She claims having so many older siblings meant she learned early in life to be articulate and persistent when she wanted to be heard. Her parents gave her a manual typewriter when she was eight years old and she’s been writing for her own pleasure ever since.

“Life is tough,” Grace says, “if you can’t have a happily ever after of your own right now, you should at least be able to get one in a book. I hope my readers enjoy reading them as much as I do writing them.”

Grace lives in rural Maryland with several dogs, cats and horses, and many imaginary lords and ladies. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached through her website, GraceBurrowes.com.


The Heir by Grace Burrowes

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy!

Thanks for visiting with us today, Grace.

Now it’s your turn to ask Grace a question or leave comment about a time when you realized a goal and found it wasn’t exactly what you expected. Grace is going to give away a copy of The Heir to 3 lucky commenters! International entries welcome.

I’ll start the ball rolling with a question for Grace.

Your dialogue has been tagged by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as being authentic to the period without being unwieldy for modern readers. How do you craft your characters’ verbal volleys with an ear for historicity?

54 thoughts on “3 Chances to win The Heir!

  1. librarypat says:

    Love the covers of both books. There aren’t too many books out there with that lovely soft look.
    Thank you for the interesting interview. How exciting and scary it must be to be published and looking forward to you next books coming out.
    I don’t write, but know how criticism can upset. After a workshop we gave, I was looking through the evaluations and came across one that targeted me specifically. The whole rant was about something she had messed up on her registration and missed the part where I had fixed everything for her. I was really upset, but like in your case, wiser heads said to not read them until at least a week afterwards and not to take them personally. That is hard to do.

    I have read that some authors never read their reviews. Both so they won’t get discouraged and so they won’t get a big head.

    Best of luck with the release of your next 2 books and may there be many more to come. I look forward to reading them.

    1. Librarypat,
      Both my agent and my editor told me not to read the really unhappy reviews. If somebody loathes the book, there’s nothing I can but let them say their piece, and if they’re just having a bad day on my watch, there’s STILL nothing I can do about it. And everybody IS entitled to an opinion.

  2. Hi Grace and Mia
    Neat interview. I like the covers for your books. The warmth of writers has been a big surprise for me. So much help and shared knowledge. It is amazing. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Janet,
      I am going to have let Anne Cain know her covers are such a hit. “The Heir” has sold well, better than anticipated in fact, and Anne must take a lot of the credit. It’s one of the prettiest, most allurign covers I’ve seen.

  3. catslady says:

    I’m a reader, not a writer, but I still found your comments quite interesting. I think I would have a very hard time with any negativity even though I logically know you can’t please everyone and some people are just not nice! I wonder if any goals are ever exactly what you think they would be. I’d love to know what your future plans in writing are – different genres? series?

    1. Catslady (love the handle), I just TODAY shook hands with Sourcebooks on a three book deal for Scottish Victorians. I’ve had great fun writing the first two books, larked around the Highlands a bit, sipped some really smooth whiskey. Writers have to be prepared to make these kinds of sacrifices, you know… If I get to Scotland later this year, I’m sure it will generate even more story ideas, too.

  4. Diane, Thanks for the kind words regarding the cover. If you (or anybody) would like some excerpts from the book, just send me and email at graceburrowes@yahoo.com. My website, as a reader put it, needs some love, but I’ve got a lot of material I can send along to those who are interested in a peek at the upcoming books.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      If you want to spruce up your website, Grace, I have to recommend my designers at Waxcreative. They do amazing work and the experience of developing my new cyber-home was quite an adventure.

  5. Diane says:

    First of all congratulations on your books. I haven’t read you yet and, made my way to your Facebook page and eventually your blog through Katharine Ashe on Facebook. Your books sound really good. I’m a huge Historical Romance reader and, like Tiffany, the front cover and back cover blurb always get’s my attention. Your covers are really lovely and, the colors are amazing.

    Looking forward to reading your books.

  6. melanie Adkins says:

    HI Grace! My question is…If you could go back right now and change one thing about “The Heir” what would it be and why?

    1. Painful question! I would cut about 10,000 words, mostly from the middle. I love this book, I’m proud of it, and I hope everybody else loves it too, but it’s a first effort, and I think there’s some baby fat. The result is the ending doesn’t have as much snap as I’d prefer, but fortunately, there are seven more siblings, so I’m hoping it get it more right on the next one.

  7. Barb says:

    So great to meet you at Mia’s place, Grace. I have “The Heir”, sitting right here on my TBR list. Oh for time to dive in. I’ll be watching for that next blog tour :)

    1. Barb, I also blog at hergracenotes.com, which more personal writing than the blog tour stops which tend to be all about the books–which is lovely too, of course!

  8. Tiffany Krepps says:

    First off I have to say I’ve never read any of your books, but I am a huge cover person, cute cover, and odds are I’ll get the book. Your covers definitely pull me in!

    I liked reading your author bio, if you couldn’t be a writer what would you want to be?

    There are so many goals that I’ve made for myself that I’ve accomplished, and they haven’t turned out anything like I expected. Some good, some bad. The most recent one turned out bad. I set a goal for myself to get better friends, because I apparently have bad taste in them, and I made friends all right but they ended up worse. A memorable goal that turned out good was when I was decided what career I wanted to go into. I wanted to figure out what I wanted to be by the end of high school, thanks to a job shadowing event I not only decided I wanted to be a teacher, but decided I wanted to teach pre-school.

    1. Hats off to you for recognizing a teaching vocation–and it IS a vocation. If I weren’t a writer, I’d be a writer. By that I mean, the entire time I’ve been a proposal coordinator, contract administrator, child welfare attorney, and so on, I’ve been writing. As parenting and financial constraints have eased up, there has been more and more energy to put into writing.

      And about those friends? The first step in improving any situation is to notice what’s wrong with it. You’ve taken a good first step.

  9. Marcy,
    Thanks so much for all those kind words! Life is lovey indeed when somebody says such things about something I love to do. Mia’s right: Readers like you are the best part about being published.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Grace, you’ve been given some high praise there. Marcy is my beloved beta reader. I trust her taste implicitly.

  10. Marcy W says:

    Mia, thanks for sharing Grace with us.
    Grace, thanks for “The Heir”, which I enjoyed very much: good story, great dialogue, real feeling of time and place — all important for a reader who loves to escape into a good historical romance … as long as there are no jarring modernisms.
    For those who haven’t yet read “The Heir”, Grace’s blog entry is a good indicator of the humor and thoughtfulness of her writing.
    I’m going to preorder “The Soldier” today, and please don’t enter me in the drawing — let someone else have the pleasure of reading your wonderful first book. — Oh, and I really like the book covers, too! :-)

  11. Amelia Grey says:

    From a fellow Sourcebooks author,I enjoyed your post. It’s been many years since I was a newby and you refreshed my memory about what it was like when I first published–ah that is except back then we didn’t have blogs! Oh, but I remember the first time Danielle sent me on a blog tour. I still haven’t gotten over it! Unlike you, I’m not very good at it. Congratulations on your success!

    1. Amelia,
      It was wonderful to find something I thought I was going to dread moment by moment turned out to be fun–particularly when another tour will start up in–gulp!–just a few weeks for “The Soldier.”

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Now, now, Amelia. You’re going to be great when you guest here in July. I’m looking forward to your visit already!

  12. It’s awful to get those bad review, isn’t it? I think the worse is when I see “ratings” for my books and someone has rated it “poor” without even bothering to hate it.

    And I agree, the romance writing community is very supportive. I wish all my professional experiences could be so wonderful.

    Good luck with The Soldier, Grace.

    1. Keena,
      And another puzzling aspect of those reviews are the people who love, love, love your book and then give it a three. Huh? It has made me a more conscientious reviewer myself, and more willing to post a review for a book I truly enjoy. I guess part of keeping my balance is learning how to turn an apparent negative into a positive I can keep.

  13. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Grace,
    I agree. Your covers are fabulous…intriguing. I also like your word choices in the blog. No wonder your dialogue gets praise. Great words make intersting dialogue.

    1. Thanks, Barbara, and I maintain listening well makes for an easier time of it writing dialogue, too.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Word choice=Voice, and Grace has a lovely one, doesn’t she?

  14. Thanks, Stormy, and good luck with your writing. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool historical reader myself. When I started reading romance (that is, sneaking them into the house) historicals were the only single-title option. I love me a good book no matter the genre, but historicals are my home.

  15. Stormy says:

    Hi Grace, The Heir looks terrific! I cut my romance reading eye teeth on Regency era books. There is just something about that time period that simply owns me. The way they talk, the way they dress, the way they romance! I love it all!! I enjoyed your interview. Very insightful for someone who hopes to join the rank of the “published” some day.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      If you’re interested, Stormy, I run an online critique group here every week called Red Pencil Thursday. Contact me if you’d like to be a victim…er, I mean volunteer.

      1. Stormy says:

        Oh wow, thanks! As a vic..volunteer, what would I be doing?

  16. And to answer Mia’s question about dialogue… There are a lot of places to start, but the writing of the day–Jane Austen certainly at the head of the list–starts to put the sound in my ear. I recently had a great time reading Harriette Wilson’s memoirs, and there’s a surprising amount of dialogue in those too, and Harriette herself was an exponent of the era.

    I’m also trained as a musician, and I think this more than anything keeps me between the ditches in terms of voice and historicity: It has to sound right, it has to resonate with my sense of what a Regency hero would sound like.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I knew there was a connection between us, Grace. I hold a music degree too. Who knew my Music History classes would come in so handy?

      1. I don’t meet many music majors who haven’t remained within the profession, but we’re out there lurking, finding other creative outlets. My third book, “The Virtuoso,” draws on what I recall of being besotted with the piano, long, long ago–which includes a perfect recall for how hard the benches in the practice rooms were.

  17. Robin kaye says:

    Grace –

    I loved The Heir and always look forward to reading your blogs. No need to enter me into the contest because I have my owned signed copy. I’m waiting with bated breath to get my hands on the Soldier!

  18. THANKS for the pre-order. My most daunting review didn’t involve an elephant gun, so I guess I should be encouraged (but keep my head down).

  19. Oh, so true. Nothing compares to cringing from criticism. I had someone on Amazon want to shoot my heroine with an elephant gun. What I thought was thoughtful confict on her part was considered TSTL behavior, LOL.The most amazing thing to me as a debut author was to discover how strongly some readers connect with fictional people.

    I have both the paperback and Nook editions of The Heir (and enjoyed it very much), so don’t enter me in the drawing. Good luck with The Soldier!I’ll be pre-ordering.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      An elephant gun? That’s a pretty specific rant. At least you triggered a strong emotion, Maggie.

  20. Deb says:

    I do not know how you authors do it! First of all, creating and crafting wonderful stories, keeping up websites, doing daily blogs, doing blog tours, and having an everyday life. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    Thank you for your post today, Grace. I look forward to adding your book to my TBR pile. Thank you, Mia, for inviting Grace to blog today. Ah-ha! The Blog Tour has begun! :)

    1. Mia says:

      For one thing, Deb, most authors are drunk on words. We love them as they swirl in our heads, when they drip from our fingers and when we see them in print. There’s nothing we’d rather do that make stuff up.

    2. Mia says it: For me to be able to frump around all day in my jammies, swilling tea and playing Let’s Pretend is just the best. I will put up with a lot to maintain this part of my life because it makes me happy.

  21. JACLYN DI BONA says:



    1. Mia says:

      Thanks for dropping by. Hope you’ll return often. ;-)

  22. Hi Grace and Mia. Wonderful interview. So much of what you said struck a chord with me. I went into writing having no idea what was involved in publishing other than, “I’ll write a wonderful book and someone will buy it.” Not quite that simple. This is a tough business, but it’s great. There are so many wonderful aspects to writing a book. With my blog tour coming up in about a month I’d better get started cranking out those blogs.

    1. Mia says:

      The real strawberry in the publishing equation for me has been meeting so many wonderful writers and readers. Blogs are a great way of connecting with both groups. Good luck, Anita.

      1. And yet, Anita, what you said not wrong: You wrote a wonderful book, and somebody bought it. Maybe we make it more complicated than it has to be?

  23. Edie Ramer says:

    What a great post. As a self-pubbed writer I’ve been getting reviews too. It’s funny how we focus on the few bad ones, even when the majority are wonderful.

    I’m going to pass this link to a friend. I’ll check out your books, too.

    1. Mia says:

      I’m not sure you need to put “self-pubbed” before writer to describe yourself, Edie. So many big names in publishing are going that route now, it’s becoming simply a writer’s choice to retain full control over their work.

      You’re a writer. ‘Nuff said.

    2. And we focus on the few words of criticism in even the glowing reviews. This trait probably has some genetic function related to living longer, but geesh, what about living more happily?

    3. Edie, I also blog at hergracenotes.com, and my initial posts dealt with the aspiring part of being a writer, which applies to us at all phases of the publication curve. Thanks for joining us.

  24. Nynke says:

    Thanks for sharing, Grace – and the the way you phrased things made me smile. :)
    Also, your covers look so fabulous that I’d like nothing better than to read both of your books right now!

    1. Mia says:

      I so agree. Aren’t the covers delicious? Soft, feminine and simply scrumptious colors

    2. Thanks! My covers as done by Anne Cain, who is quite a talent. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for “The Virtutos!”

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