Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lynn Raye Harris

Today we welcome honorary Playfriend and fellow Heart of Dixie member Lynn Raye Harris. Lynn writes super sexy alpha heroes set in glamorous faraway places for Harlequin Presents. Please make room on the swings for Lynn (and maybe some extra room so one of her uber-alpha heroes can join us too).

I never know when I start a new book just where it's going to take me. I have the characters, of course, and I have an idea of what the problems are between them. But where we go after that is always a surprise.

When I started writing The Devil's Heart, all I knew was that I had two characters with a past together and, as my friend Jean says, a big ass diamond. The diamond is central to the story because it's what drives the characters together again. Once they're together, however, there's a whole lot more to solve than just exactly who owns the diamond.

And that's where the fun begins. Marcos Navarre and Francesca d'Oro both have their reasons for wanting the diamond, and of course those reasons are in opposition to each other. Once I knew this, all I did was set them loose on the page.

They surprised me with the things they revealed about themselves. I had no idea until I was writing it what they'd been through in their pasts. I can't say everything went smoothly, however. I turned in the first draft of the book and waited for my editor's opinion.

It wasn't what I wanted to hear, I have to admit. While the core idea was sound, and the characters were sound, I'd gone way too far in the direction of exploring their past together. The first chapter is pretty much exactly as I wrote it, but much of the rest of the book had to change. I wrote non-stop for two weeks. I didn't shower (often), I didn't cook, and I didn't leave the house.

But at the end of those two weeks, I had a book that I knew was stronger. Fortunately, my editor agreed. Part of writing is rewriting. I don’t mind it, though I do grumble a bit while I’m doing it. ;)

The lesson for the writers reading is this: don’t fear rewriting, and don’t fear revising. We all do it, whether we’ve written 10 books or 100 books (trust me, I’ve asked the authors with 100 books and they told me the same thing!). Some books will be easier to write than others. The Devil’s Heart was a bit of a devil, but my reader mail so far tells me I succeeded. And RT Book Reviews Magazine awarded it 4 stars, saying, “Lots of conflict, hot love scenes and a satisfying ending make this an entertaining read.”

Here’s the back cover copy:

A diamond, and a deal with the devil…

Francesca D’Oro was just eighteen when darkly sexy Marcos Navarre swept her up the aisle—then fled before the ink on the marriage license had dried. Marcos might have given Francesca a jewel for her finger, but he stole another: the Devil’s Heart—a dazzling yellow diamond he believed belonged to his family…

Years later Francesca, no longer so youthfully naïve, is determined to reclaim the precious gem! But she’s forgotten that Marcos lives up to the treasure’s name—and dealing with the devil is always dangerous!

And here’s a bit of a teaser if you aren’t quite convinced yet:

“I beg your pardon?” Marcos Navarre stared at the slight figure dressed in dark clothes. The gun pointed at his heart never wavered.

“I said move.”

This time the voice was less gruff. Marcos stepped away from the hotel room door, hands up just enough so this intruder wouldn’t think he was about to do something crazy.

Like lunge for the gun.

If he could get close enough, he would do just that. This wasn’t the first time he’d been on the business end of a weapon, and fear was not what motivated his seeming compliance. He’d become inured to violence during the years he’d spent living in South American jungles with a guerilla army. He knew without doubt there was always an opportunity, in situations like this, to gain the upper hand. So long as his hands were free, there was a chance.

No, fear was not at all what he felt. Rage was the word he was looking for. Bone deep rage.

The person facing him was small, though he knew better than to mistake small for weak. Darkness shrouded the room and he couldn’t make out any details about his visitor. But he had several inches of height, and many more stones of weight to his advantage.

The moment he had opportunity, he would act. The key was to remain free, and to keep his senses on high alert. He refused to consider what he would do should this intruder attempt to restrain him in any way. Memories flashed into his mind: a dark room, the sharp odor of sweat and rage, and the feel of his own blood dripping down his wrists.

No. Focus.

“You are wasting your time,” Marcos said mildly. “I am not in the habit of keeping large amounts of cash in my room.”

“Shut up.”

Marcos blinked. The gruffness in his intruder’s voice was gone. The person holding a gun on him so coolly was most definitely a woman…


Today, I’ll give away one signed copy plus some LRH goodies to a random commenter! Since a fabulous jewel is at the center of this book, tell me what your favorite gemstone is. Truthfully, I like them all … sparkly…. ;)

Lynn Raye Harris is a USA Today bestselling author who writes glamorous, sexy romance for Harlequin Presents. You can learn more about Lynn and her books at You can also follow Lynn on Twitter @LynnRayeHarris or visit her author page on Facebook,

P.S. Instigator is guest blogging at
Southern Romance's blog today. Please hop over and join her.


Katherine Bone said...

Lynn! I found your book at Books-A-Million yesterday and can't wait to read it!

You've spoken so fondly of this book and I've been waiting for it to come out for quite some time. So glad it's here!

Any idea where your next book is taking you?

Angel said...

Totally cool, Lynn! This book sounds awesome. Thanks for visiting us here on the Playground.

When you revise, do you find yourself working with what you already have or do you start from scratch?


Smarty Pants said...

Thanks for popping in, Lynn. It sounds like a great book.

I'm glad I'm not afraid to revise. Seems like all I do anymore. I may be calling you in a month or so. :)

As for gemstones, my birthstone is emerald, so I've always been partial to it. I also love sapphires, which I read were more rare than diamonds, but diamonds were in higher demand, so they were worth more.

Cheryl said...

Can't wait to get the book Lynn! Living in a small town with no bookstore is definitely the pits. I do so love your other books and this one sounds wonderful!

And, if anyone hasn't noticed - I LOVE DIAMONDS!!!! Wish I had one like the one in your book!

Best of luck and good wishes for the book!

Playground Monitor said...

I was born to love diamonds. It's my birthstone. I've contemplated having my engagement ring made into a necklace but am not sure I'd wear it. Maybe I'll save it for my younger son to use should he ever meet Miss Right.

Thanks for telling us the story behind The Devil's Heart. Gotta love a big ass diamond. ;-)

P.S. Verification word is warit as in I have this big ass diamond so I should do something with it so I can warit.

Problem Child said...

Hey Lynn.

(I have nothing to add, but it's rude not to speak to someone...)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hey, y'all!

Kathy, thanks so much! Hope you enjoy! The next book, which I really need to be working on right now but have been avoiding, is about a sheikh. It's the brother to the sheikh in my current UK release, Strangers in the Desert. I think it'll be partly set in the desert, but also maybe NYC and Paris.

Hi, Angel! Revisions depend. Sometimes I work with what I have, other times I start from scratch. The book I'm working on now didn't work for my editor, so I'm scrapping the 30 pages I had and starting over. With TDH, I kept about half and wrote half new.

Hi, SP! Being unafraid to revise is an excellent trait to have! You'll need it as a working writer. I love your stone choices! Sapphire is my birthstone, and I do love it, but I think I may be partial to diamonds. :)

Hey, Cheryl! Thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, I have admired your diamonds every time I've seen you. Lovely!

PM, maybe the word verification is trying to tell you something. You could also trade it in on another diamond, perhaps? I understand why you wouldn't want to wear it as is, but a necklace would be nice!

Hi, PC. ;)

Lisa Dunick said...

The book sounds great! Can't wait to read it :)

Áine said...

Hi Lynn, will be keeping a keen eye out for this one!
A brilliant Sapphire is my favourite. I love stones with colour.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Lisa! I hope you enjoy it! :)

Hi, Aine! Stones with color -- yes! I also like the colored diamonds they have now -- pink, yellow. I've even seen a green diamond on Antiques Roadshow. It was worth a lot of money, of course. ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

Hi Lynn,
I must read this book. The blurb had me..I loved it.

As for my favorite sparkly gem--I like Amethysts the most, I can be sided tracked by anything sparkly but it has to have color to it.

And the encouragement for the revisions was just what I needed today! Thank you.

chey said...

I'm looking forward to reading your book!
My favourite gemstone is emerald.

Katherine Bone said...

Another Sheikh book. Yay! You know I love an Alpha Sheikh. Thanks for sharing what you have coming up next. ;)

Forgot to add that my favorite stone if an emerald.

Katherine Bone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

I absolutely loved this book. I am glad you fought for it and that all the sacrifice paid off with another great read. You're right. Revisions are tough. And being asked to start again or go in a different direction is often very hard. But once you get started on the changes, it does come together. Well, slowly--and with some moaning and groaning. You give me hope that it will be worth the pain!!


robertsonreads said...

Should be a wonderful read, which I look forward to.

I love any bling, but my birthstone is emerald, which I love. I hope to get a little bling with the big 50 coming up on May Day.

Congratulations on your book!

word verification - chama

A lovely diamond would look chama on my finger.

runner10 said...

I love rubies paired with diamonds.

I love Lynn's Presents books.

Leanne109 said...

Since my birthstone is Amethyst and my favorite color is purple... it's pretty obvious to those who know me which is my favorite Gem lol

Mariee said...

Sounds like a great book!

My favorite gemstone is amethyst.

kym amaral said...

Hi Lynn, all the best on your new release !

My fav gemstone is Amethyst, although my birthstone is Diamonds :)



Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hey, y'all! I've been out part of the day, doing things to get ready for the RT convention next week -- which I am attending with the Playground's Problem Child and Instigator (you know, just typing that has me worried all of a sudden). ;)

Thanks so much for all the comments!

Mary, I have a book for you -- The Prince's Royal Concubine in Russian! It finally came. :)

Hi, Chey! Thanks!

Kathy, sheikhs are the best!

Aw, Christine, thank you so much! Your kind words mean a lot. :) Keep working, girl!

Hi, Robertsonreads -- and thanks! Yes, I agree, a diamond would look chama. ;)

Hi, Runner10! You're always so sweet to me. :) Thanks.

Leanne, purple is a great color!

Mariee and Kim -- thank you! And more votes for amethyst. I love them too. So pretty!

It's been great being here today. Thanks so much for coming out and talking to me. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

Lynn, You have MADE my day!!!
Thank you! Ha! I am so excited....

Stephanie Jones said...

I can't wait to read this newest book! I love, love, love those "dark sexy men!"

desere_steenberg said...

Hi Lynn,

As you learned from a previous post I adore sapphire they look "real" and the color is just stunning!

Once again this was a stunning post as always you never dissapoint in entertaining us !