Susanna Ives has written a Regency Romance with an unusual title–Rakes and Radishes. Right away, you know you don’t have your typical Regency. I am reading and enjoying Susanna’s book. Here she is on a seemingly unrelated topic. But like I’m discovering in her novel, Susanna likes to play with her reader. Her blog is fun, too!

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Eating Out with my Cousin Heather
by Susanna Ives

I had been staring at the computer screen. Writing sentences, deleting them then writing new ones. Nothing seemed to work. You see, I told Tia I would write about the changes Rakes and Radishes underwent during editing. In a nutshell, my novel went from a volcano of raw emotion to a smooth, well-paced book thanks to the keen eye and patience of my Carina Press editor. However, I was drawing a big blank in expounding upon this basic idea.

So I gave up. I called my cousin Heather and asked her to meet me at the Chinese restaurant we’ve been frequenting since we were children. This is actually a rather momentous occasion considering tonight is the eve of my book release. You see, Heather was instrumental in the development of Rakes and Radishes from the beginning.

Let me back up. Once upon a time, I entered a writing contest with my very first MS and came in dead last. (I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure. I got a “special” letter.) So the next year, when the contest came around, I vowed to avenge myself. I should tell you that there is something special about Heather besides being my fabulous cousin and Manga expert. She is also the kickass manager of a Borders bookstore. So I told her that I would buy her dinner at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant (our favorite restaurant), if she would edit my contest entry.

With a pot of Traditional Swiss on the table and Heather’s edited pages stacked in a pile beside me in the booth, I said that my new baby needed a title. My story is about a restless woman named Henrietta and a gentle farmer named Thomas, Earl of Kesseley. Henrietta wants to turn Kesseley into a rake to win the heart of Lady Sara, who is Henrietta’s rival for the affections of Edward.

“So it has to have ‘rakes’ in the title,” I told Heather.

She looked at me from over her fondue fork loaded with French country bread that was smothered in melted Swiss cheese. “Rakes and Radishes.”

Tonight as I ate my shrimp and Chinese vegetables, I marveled at how those early chapters became the novel that is being released tomorrow morning by Carina Press. A story that grew up over a year of eating out with my cousin Heather.

Here is the back cover blurb for Rakes and Radishes. You should read the book because in my cousin’s expert opinion, it is as delicious as the Flaming Turtle chocolate fondue dessert at the Melting Pot.

When Henrietta Watson learns that the man she loves plans to marry London’s most beautiful and fashionable debutante, she plots to win him back. She’ll give him some competition by transforming her boring bumpkin neighbor, the Earl of Kesseley, into a rakish gothic hero worthy of this Season’s Diamond.

After years of unrequited love for Henrietta, Kesseley is resigned to go along with her plan and woo himself a willing bride. But once in London, everything changes. Kesseley, long more concerned with his land than his title, discovers that he’s interested in sowing wild oats as well as radishes. And Henrietta realizes that gothic heroes don’t make ideal husbands. Despite an explosive kiss that opens her eyes to the love that’s been in front of her all along, Henrietta must face the possibility that Kesseley is no longer looking to marry at all…

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Tia here. Rakes and Radishes is available starting today!

I, for one, am astonished that contest coordinators would be so cruel as to figure out who came in last, and then send a special letter. Reminds me of the very first story I sent off to a well-known magazine, and I received a personal and scathing rejection in response. They say it never happens, but it did to me! I learned years later that the magazine  was new at the time, and I have concluded that the editor was new to editing. Do you have a particular bruising rejection or contest story? If so, vent in the comments!