In every single person on this planet there is a certain amount of confidence. Some have loads, some only have a pinch. When you add in something that you love and would fight to keep, such as writing and publishing, your confidence levels need to be help up either by sheer will or success. So lately, for no really good reasons, my confidence has diminished. It's only the slightest drop but it makes a huge difference to how I feel as an author. For me, this isn't acceptable. It is too draining to constantly second guess and need reassurance from others. It is also probably annoying to others to have to constantly reassure me.
So my not very good reason for the sudden confidence dip is attributed to two factors. The first is that I cannot finish the damn book!! I have a feeling it's just me and not the story because I've spent months trying to figure out where I went wrong and I don't think I did. So even though I have a few publishers waiting to see it, I'm going to put it away for the next thirty days and not bring it out again until mid May. I may ask some close friends to have a read of what I have so far and let me know what they think but I have definitely hit the wall with it. The second is the not so positive reviews I have received for Behind the Courtesan. I am a very confrontational person so not being able to engage with the reviewers is doing my bloody head in! So I'm going to use this forum for a bit of a right of reply (or no right of reply really) to clear up a few things. Probably not entirely necessary but it might make me feel better and let's face it, I can do what I want here =)
The plot of Behind the Courtesan: a courtesan with a dark past returns to her childhood hometown and her first love, trying to figure out her life. I've never seen a historical romance with this premise, and I really wanted it to be awesome.
Which it could have been. The story was never boring, the writing was good and the main character was well-drawn.
So that's not so bad. Never boring is good, it means I'm able to hold onto the reader which is always a good sign...
Most of the flaws I could have overlooked, but what ruined the story was Blake--one of the most vile, misogynistic, hateful, disgusting (I can keep this up all day) "love interests" I have ever encountered.
I'm sorry you didn't like Blake but he's a man. Not sure where the misogynistic came from but yes he is hateful in the beginning. Sophia left him and for a while he had no idea if she was dead or alive....
Since Everything Is About Blake, he's never gotten over this, and he hates hates hates her. I'll give him a free pass for like a year or two, but this book takes place over a decade later. Presumably, with the passage of time and with the perspective of an adult, a sensible person will realize that 14-year-old girls generally do not, out of the blue, decide to run off and become a courtesan just to get some necklaces?
No, but how long do you think a man could hold a grudge? Granted, he probably would have had time to think about other things over that time but upon seeing her again in her grand clothes and carriage, would that not all have come to the forefront of his mind? He was angry and felt betrayed. Even after the full story comes out and he knows it all, is he still supposed to forget all that has gone before? If my best mate or boyfriend left and I thought he was dead and then he didn't come home for fourteen years and then just showed up one night out of the blue, I wouldn't be all "welcome home, we missed you, I'm glad you're finally here". I would lay into him! Even if his reasons were awesomely awesome, I would still harbour some of that grudge no matter what. And then throw pride into the mix. Pride is not something that can easily be shoved to the side. Especially for men.
Another thing I would like for every reader of historical romance to understand is that it was a different time! Men behaved so much differently than they do now. Women didn't have rights, they were seen as bargaining chips for men to use and abuse. Even though Blake hates the titled, he is still a man. A man with passions and anger and grudges and stubbornness. The same as Sophia.
Only after a man (her brother*) confirms the story, and adds some more details, does he finally accept it as truth. And when he goes to apologize (which, by the way, he never ends up doing) he thinks to himself that he's going to gag her so that he can force her to listen.
Because she keeps interrupting! Gag her so she will listen to what he has to say! I hate it when things are taken out of context. Grr. I may have overlooked the apology part but actions do speak louder than words and Blake's actions, when he does finally listen, takes it all in and understands, shouts volumes. He risks his life to find her in a storm and then risks his life again to save her. Does she accept it? You'll have to read it to find out but let me warn you, this is one of those books where by the looks of it, you'll either hate it or love it.
Here's a review by Michelle who reviews books for a living for Beauty and Lace Online Magazine. She has no agendas, isn't a failed writer and doesn't read many historicals...
Brilliant. I chuckled. I cried. I loved it.
In Behind The Courtesan Bronwyn Stuart takes us back to the Ton, back to a time where women were property and the Duke controlled the wealth in his dukedom. A time that I am very glad to have missed, I certainly don’t think I could have survived the times.
The chaperones, the protectiveness, the being told where you can and can’t go and the men thinking they can buy, sell and own you.
Bronwyn takes us back to these times and shows us another side of life in the Ton, another side to the life of a courtesan.
I didn't pay her to say any of that. I approached her for a review and she reviewed.
So in the end, this blog wasn't so much about confidence as me having a whinge but when you see something like this written (and they have the right, I'm not questioning that) it pisses me off. It hits the confidence levels and makes you second guess. I'm not looking for any pity or reassurance here. Just a right of reply. But you be the judge. I wrote a book that I absolutely love with characters I believe fit the times so I'm good.
Now I have to go off and figure out what to write next so I can get on with the job of entertaining. And arguing. And getting pissy =)
4/21/2013 12:44:04 am
Hi, first of all I appreciate that you didn't post this on the review itself. I'm not going to argue with you about Blake--first of all because nothing will convince me that his behavior is justified and secondly because arguing with authors about their own characters is a messy business--but I hope the review didn't affect your confidence ad a writer. All writers get bad reviews, and as reviews go, there are much harsher ones out there (I should know; I've written some of them!). Honestly, if Sophia had told Blake to piss off and had then ended up with Daemon, I probably would have rated it four stars.
4/22/2013 04:24:34 am
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I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.