Tessa Dare | New York Times Bestselling Author
Home Books News Author Newsletter Contact

Archive for 'Stud Club'



Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Miss me?

I’m still alive. To prove it, I even had a birthday since I blogged last! Woohoo!

Here’s what my “desk” looks like at the moment:

Galleys of One Dance with a Duke (due in early December)
Revisions of Twice Tempted by a Rogue (due…um…soon?)
Still writing Three Nights with a Scoundrel (partial manuscript due to my editor Dec.1st)

And Thanksgiving is when? Ack.

Please bear with me, I’m just drowning in work right now. BUT – I hope I will be forgiven a bit when I tell you those titles above now link to individual book pages! (In)complete with covers, blurbs, pre-order links, and – in the case of One Dance – a teeny teaser excerpt. These pages aren’t looking as spiffy as they eventually will, once I get my fab web designer in on the game, but they’re up!

Happy Holidays. I’m thankful for you all!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
I aim to tease…

Hello, hope you all had a great weekend!

So, people have been asking about next year’s books, The Stud Club Trilogy. And I may as well start talking about them, since books one and two, One Dance with a Duke (5/25/10) and Twice Tempted by a Rogue (6/22/10), are now both available for pre-order! And because I’ve just recently received my lovely, sexy covers.

Oooh.

One Dance with a DukeTwice Tempted by a RogueThree Nights with a Scoundrel

What’s different about this series, compared to the first trilogy? Well, they’re a smidge darker in tone, as you’ll see from the series’ inciting event, but they still have a fair amount of lightness and humor. The characters are all a little older and experienced than they were in my first set.

But I’m sure the burning question is, “What the heck is the Stud Club? Are you joking?”

Well, I will admit. Like so many elements in my stories (hello, Werestag?), it did start as a joke. After writing a series that was largely heroine-driven, I wanted to switch emphasis to the guys this time. And one logical way to do that was to create my own take on a “Regency bachelor club” series. And if I was going to do that, I thought, why not call it what it is? A Stud Club. :)

But the Stud Club actually does have a meaning, and to explain, I will quote from the proposal I submitted for the trilogy:

In Regency England, horseracing was known as “The Sport of Kings,” the collective passion of the wealthy and well-connected. Noblemen spent vast sums of money breeding, stabling, and training thoroughbred horses to compete for honors at racetracks like Newmarket and Epsom Downs. The Jockey Club was an actual gentlemen’s organization—its exclusive membership, which included the Prince of Wales, took responsibility for the schedule and rules of organized horseracing.

In this trilogy, “The Stud Club” is the brainchild of one good-humored and universally-liked gentleman: Leo Chatwick, the Marquess of Harcliffe. Years earlier, Leo purchased a valuable stallion at auction—Osiris, a champion racehorse now retired to stud. So many of his friends asked for the favor of breeding privileges, Leo devised the Stud Club as a lark—he had Osiris legally put in trust and created ten brass tokens to represent membership in the club.

It worked like this: possession of a token entitled a man to send his mares to be mated with the famed Osiris. However, tokens could never be purchased or given away, only won or lost in a game of chance. In this manner, Leo created a sensation within the ton—a club so elite it had only ten members, yet membership was attainable to anyone with luck.

As the years passed, the club was a source of good fun and camaraderie, forging unlikely alliances across class barriers and furthering Leo’s reputation as an excellent sport. He was friend to all, enemy of none.

But on the night the trilogy begins, Leo is brutally murdered.

Yeah, that would be the source of the slightly darker tone. Poor Leo. But as you see, the Stud Club remains a joke, even within the books. It’s Leo’s joke on a class-conscious society, and his legacy to his peers. The heroes of the trilogy are the Club’s three surviving members (Only three, Tessa? But you said ten tokens! I know, I know, all will be explained…), the titular duke, rogue and scoundrel. Only chance could unite three such different men, and after Leo’s death, suspicion drives them apart. In the search for meaning and justice, they each find love in unexpected places. Which is good, because boy, do they ever need it!

More on the guys another time…

In the meantime, let’s just gaze at the models portraying them…and sigh.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Worldbuilding…sorta

I’m hard at work on my second book in this new Stud Club trilogy. At the moment, I think we’ve decided to call it TWICE TEMPTED BY A ROGUE. It’s been a mix of rough rough-drafting and research so far. I was joking on Twitter the other day that after four books, I’ve finally broken down and created a research binder, with color-coded tabs and everything. (Note: This is extremely unlike me.) I hadn’t expected to become so enthralled with the research for this book, and I’m a little worried that it’s partly procrastination…but I’ve been collecting and printing out all sorts of images and informational PDFs about the history, geology, climate, wildlife, and legends of Dartmoor.

Beautiful, isn’t it?  The area has such fascinating history (going all the way back to pre-history!) and folklore.  In addition to the tors–the craggy granite formations that pepper the area–Dartmoor boasts ancient stone circles and cairns (tombs), the ruins of medieval tinning operations, rivers and waterfalls, bogs and mires, and more.

“Worldbuilding” is a term most commonly associated with paranormals or sci-fi/fantasy.  It refers to the author’s creation of a fictional universe with its own unique rules, creatures, places and people.  In historicals, our “worldbuilding” is usually less about creating our own universe, and more about evoking a real-life historical setting.  However, every book in any genre involves a certain amount of worldbuilding–where do the characters come from, for one?   How do objects, people, fixtures, buildings relate to one another, spatially or otherwise?  Writing is a series of these tiny worldbuilding questions.

For this book, I’ve decided to draw on all my research and create a composite–a completely fictional village and surrounding area, with geologic and archeologic features arranged to suit my story.  And I’m having a great time doing it!  I even went so far today as to sketch out a little map of how these things relate to one another spatially.  Village here, tors there, bog here, stream there…. etc.

No, I will never post that map.  Let’s just say, a cartographer I am not.  But next summer, my fictional corner of Dartmoor will be open for visitors!

What sort of worldbuilding are you working on?  Creating a magical realm?  Mapping the floorplan of your dream house?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Jam Yesterday, Jam Tomorrow

(Title is inspired by Alice’s mad tea party in Wonderland)

I had a blast guest-blogging at the pirate ship Revengeyesterday, and I’ll be guest blogging at Risky Regencies tomorrow, so my Tuesday post is going to be brief. Do be sure to come back next Tuesday, May 26th when debut author and FanLit alum Jackie Barbosa drops by to celebrate the release of BEHIND THE RED DOOR! We’ll be chatting about the art of the novella. I think. :)

Yesterday I got fabulous news in the form of a letter from my Ballantine editor. She loves the manuscript I turned in for Stud Club book one, and thinks it’s good to go with just a few minor revisions. That’s always a great feeling!

However, the second part of her message was that the title The Desire of a Duke will probably need to change–it’s too similar to some other Ballantine releases coming out next year. Several of you have already been helping me brainstorm alternatives on email, but feel free to sing out here if you’ve got more ideas! (Or simply want to repost some of the late-night gems we were throwing around for laughs.)

Oh, here, let me:
The Disastrously Draining Decadence of a Duke’s Dependents
The Thoroughbred Duke’s Unbridled Passions
The Duke Doubles Down (it’s a gambling reference!)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Saving Kitties and Full Grown Cats

It’s crunch time.  My deadline for The Desire of a Duke is Friday, and I’m on track to make it–which feels great.

Last week,  a few friends joined me in twitter-based rehash of my “Save the Kitties” writeathon from last year to motivate me to push through to the end of the draft.  The idea is to challenge yourself to write a certain amount over the course of a few days – if you meet the goal, you get to donate $ to a good cause (like Kitten Rescue, for me).  If you fail, you have to donate that money to a cause with which you, ahem, strenuously disagree (not telling which).  Add in public accountability, and I find this method extremely motivating for short bursts.  I’m proud to say I powered through to finish my manuscript in the wee, wee hours last Wednesday.   Now the book’s been out for some reads with CPs and friends, and the feedback coming back is frighteningly unanimous in pointing out the book’s major issue, so I have a very clear direction for revisions.  All of that is good.  :)

So once I turn in my book on Friday (and I will!  I will!), I get to reward myself with a weekend CP retreat!  My main goal for the weekend will be to read, relax, and start plotting my next book, tentatively titled The Passion of a Warrior.  (Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?  Again, I’m open to suggestions.)

A few weeks ago, my local RWA chapter invited screenwriter Blake Snyder to speak.  He’s a very amusing guy, and his book, amusingly named Save the Cat! The Last Book You’l Ever Need on Screenwriting, contains a plotting structure based on the 15 “beats” of every good screenplay.  I’ve heard it compared to The Hero’s Journey, but I personally found the “beats” a bit simpler to grasp and more intuitive.  Alyson Noel, our chapter’s newest NYT Bestseller, swears by Blake’s method.

I am not usually one for plotting schemes (allergic to squares, remember?), but linear story progressions resonate with me.  Plus, you know I’m all about the saving of kitties.  :) I bought Blake’s book, and I’m going to take it with me on my retreat to share with my CPs and see if it can’t help me as I do my rough plotting of the next book.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Do you use Save the Cat!, “The Hero’s Journey”, or any similar method for plotting?  Do you have title ideas that are better than The Passion of a Warrior?  Ones with alliteration?  The third book is supposed to be The Secrets of a Scoundrel, and it’s killing me that the middle one has no alliteration.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Happy Thought, Indeed

I’ve been busy the past week trying to work on page proofs of SURRENDER OF A SIREN and make significant progress on my draft of THE DESIRE OF A DUKE (Stud Club, book one).

I’m not sure about the title for this book, btw. If anyone has ideas, shout them out. I pretty much started with the fact that there’s a duke and then the essential Tessa Dare title element – the word “of” – and went from there.

Anyhow, I went away (sorta) to a nearby hotel and worked all weekend there, and got about 10,000 words written on the new book. That was good, because it’s due in a month. Now I’m still behind on page proofs, though – need to mail those by….uh, was it Thursday? Tomorrow? Crud.

Okay, you’re getting the idea why I’m late getting this blog up, and it’s a rambling mess.

The happy thing is, sometime in the last week (and I cross fingers, toes, and everything here, not to jinx it), I passed a milestone with the DUKE book. With every book I write, I start out loving each individual character. I mean, I have to love them. I created them, right? That doesn’t mean they’re especially lovable at all times. But somewhere in the writing of the book comes the moment when I really fall in love with the couple–the way they interact, and what they can mean to one another. I get that warm, mushy feeling inside, and I really start to believe that these two crazy kids can make it work. I start daydreaming about them far in their future, canoodling by the fire and playing with their cute little children.

So this week, I had my SPENCER+AMELIA 4EVER!! moment. It feels really good.

Now the hard part – making the reader feel it, too. Yeah, I’m gonna get back to work on that. Right after finishing the SURRENDER proofs….

Friday, March 20th, 2009
The New Deal!

I’ve been sitting on the news for a little bit…but whoops, it hatched! I’ve already had a few friends email me to say my new book deal with Ballantine made Publisher’s Marketplace today. Here are the deets. (Okay, they’re super-vague deets, which may make them something other than deets, but here goes.)

Tessa Dare’s next three historical romances (tentatively titled the Stud Club trilogy), in which a duke, a warrior, and a scoundrel are united by chance, divided by suspicion, and brought to their knees by love, to Kate Collins at Ballantine, for publication in 2010, by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary (world).

Suffice it to say, I’m floating on air and feeling very warmly toward my agent, my editor, my CPs, my friends, my family, everyone at Ballantine, strangers passing in the street… I’m in love with love right now, but most especially with Spencer, Amelia, Rhys, Meredith, Julian and Lily…all of whom you will meet in mid-2010!

Holy smokes, I have to get writing.

The first rule of Stud Club is: You do not talk about Stud Club.

Talk about it all you want!
ETA: The heroes are all studs of course, but before anyone starts freaking out about anachronistic slang in historicals, the stud in “Stud Club” refers to a horse.

(Side note: Do you know, I get many, many hits a day on this post, from people googling “Brad Pitt Fight Club”? If you want to increase your internet traffic, I highly recommend working those words into your blog.)