Step Aside, Shady Sandi

In the past, I've always been way more focused on the characters of my books, which has been great (reviews say you guys love my characters!) but has forced me into some corners with the worldbuilding. The only other time, that I can remember, when I spent a lot of time worldbuilding, was when I wrote my middle grade book Jump Boys: SOS—and maybe Children of the Gods, if you remember that one! (It's no longer available for sale and is a one-day project for turning into a series.)

I know. Planning is totally one of those "duh" moments. (Though, I'm not a fan of duh, but DOH! a la Homer Simpson thanks to my university roommate, Michelle.)

Because really. Shouldn't we be world building for every book? Yes, we probably should. Or rather, we should. I wouldn't know, since I haven't really done a ton of it. Which is the root cause of one of my greatest insecurities as a writer—I'm always afraid you guys will know how little I know. I'm actually positive you DO know, but my characters are maybe good enough to encourage you to look past it. Maybe????

But you all deserve better than that! And I am capable of better that! (I hopefully tell myself.)

So I'm back to the Grey Guard (GG), and the desire I always have when I'm at the beginning of a project—the desire to make it great. Not just great, but G R E A T.




I'm not gonna lie. It hasn't been easy because my brain has been resisting me at every turn. My inner critic, Sinister Sandi, has a couple main lines she likes to feed me:

"If you do all this work planning the series, you'll be bored of it by the time it comes to writing."


"It doesn't matter what you do with all this planning, when it comes to writing you're just not good enough. So, good luck!"

These lines work pretty well on me, too. I'm kinda proud of myself for sticking it out, and doing the planning, I am in the last week of January, when I'm supposed to have 30k words written in the project but I only have 10k, and as of Monday morning I'll be back to ZERO because I've decided to go back and re-write it in a more comfortable-for-me voice.

Okay! This is neither here, nor there, because I wanted to tell you what I've done to prepare for this new series. Sheesh. (I blame it all on Sinister Sandi, Shady Sandi, or Scuff Sandi because it was my insecurity that made me tell you all of that.)

First, the idea. (cue heavenly angels singing, "ahhhh")

I love Regency Romances. Like, luuuurrrrvvvveee them. I love the sensuality and sexual tension even while the book may only have one kiss. I knew I wanted to write a more romantic book than I've ever done before because whether I'm reading a fantasy, military, sci fi or mystery, it's always the romance that's the biggest hook for me. And this story IS about romance. I require it! And the most swoony romances I know of, are Regency.

At first, I thought I'd try my hand at a legit Regency Romance, and I even had a story nugget tumbling around in my mind. But the truth is, I really love paranormal/supernatural stuff and I couldn't imagine myself really enjoying a whole series without any fantastical elements. Besides, I have a wonderful core group of readers who want the fantasy too—so I need to give them the love fantasy AND the magic fantasy. Period.

The actual idea for the story came in slow little pieces. An orphaned girl of a titled father who receives strange "gifts" every year on her birthday. The gifts are people who come to train her for a year, then leave on the eve of her birthday just in time for someone else to arrive. I pictured her laying in wait in the dark, hoping to get the jump on a sword master or wing chun master. Not exactly a normal upbringing for a proper young lady. Though, she does have a dancing master. Of course.

And then there had to be the mysterious love interest. Who was he and what would stand in the way of the two of them being together?

I began to research the era, and discovered little tidbits that led to ideas. Like the story of Pellinore and the Keepers of the Grail.

I learned about the Hellfire Club and how the men who belonged were called Devils.

Meanwhile, my hubby, David, was getting ideas for his own series of novels—and we decided they would be complimentary, his series and mine.

So. Much. Fun.

Our son, Xander, became the lead researcher on the project, and altogether, we've spent the last three months or so, planning.

Which is just plain WEIRD for me!

But also really super awesome, because I actually KNOW things about this world. I know things about the characters. I know the why's and wherefores of the magics and politics and and...

AND, I was gonna tell you all about those things in this post, but...I've yammered on long enough. I guess I'll just have to tell you about all the planning next time.

In the meantime, happy reading!