Finalised Back Cover Copy for THE PRINCE’S SON, #EpicFantasy

Love writing

Hi folks,

I’m still deeply buried in structural edits on THE PRINCE’S SON, and time taken for blogging is time away from getting this next book in THE FIVE KINGDOMS series out, so I may not be around as often as usual for a while.

Having said that, I’ve been working on the back cover copy, because another imminent step is to commission the new cover! I’m really excited about this, and I’ve secured a ‘yes’ from the cover designer I’ve been hoping to get on board – yay!

Take a look at her boards on Pinterest

I will, obviously, see what her opinions are, as she’s an experienced designer, but I have an image in my head already of pretty much what I want to see. It will, and I’m sure this will delight those who’ve read THE PRINCE’S MAN, feature Rustam on horseback again.

So without further ado, here is the finalised blurb/back cover copy:

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Happy? Or think it still needs adjusting?


  1. I love this one, Debby! Just enough info to whet my imagination, without giving away any spoilers from the book, or Book 1. (Other than that Rusty and Risada are still alive, of course, but you’d expect the main characters in a series to survive, so I don’t think that counts.) I’m fully involved in The Prince’s Man, btw, but reading VERY slowly, as time isn’t my friend right now. (You understand, I’m sure.) Good luck with the final edits, cover work, etc. Hope you end up with a cover you adore! 🙂 And feel free to use this blurb as an excerpt on The Write Stuff this week, if you have time. It should work very nicely. 🙂

    1. Thanks Marcia! I’m glad I put it out for view in it’s earlier version, as several people pointed out things I hadn’t thought of (like spoilers from Book 1, duh) – the wonderful assistance of the internet connecting us with authors and readers worldwide can be such a boon!
      I plan to share it later in the week on The Write Stuff, but when I read Barb’s amazing share today I didn’t want to compete!!!

      1. Oh, please don’t feel intimidated! Barb’s post WAS absolutely fantastic, with all those great visuals, but that doesn’t take away from anyone else’s words and writing style. I used it first, because I wanted to start the week off with a bang, but I hope it doesn’t backfire on me. I really NEED lots of folks to participate this week, and the post running next, today, is a regular, ol’ excerpt. A longish one, but nothing unusual in its presentation. I have only 1 scheduled so far for tomorrow, from Thorne Moore. I’m running it early, so if you want to run this in the afternoon, it would be perfect. Actually, anytime you WANT to run this would be perfect, as long as you aren’t delaying because of Barb’s post. 🙂 I’m happy with whatever you want to do.

        And yes, I agree, the online writing community rocks! So much support, and sharing of resources, and ideas, and constructive commentary! We writers, especially new ones like myself, live in a fantastic time, eh? I learn more and more every day, and most of it from the wonderful folks I’ve met online. Like YOU. 🙂

      2. Ahhhh 😀
        Will definitely be along later in the week, tomorrow if I can manage. Tricky things, time differences between continents, and particularly when we’ve just had the change to British Summer Time yesterday (entailing the loss of an hour’s sleep), which we are all still trying to get used to!

  2. Reblogged this on Judith Barrow and commented:
    Great blurb! Intriguing and tantalising.

    1. Thanks Judith! 😀

  3. I’m loving the idea of excerpts – and I loved the blurb. Will you be sending it to #RBRT? Jx

    1. Yes, once it’s polished up, one of the ladies who reviewed The Prince’s Man has agreed to be a beta reader, and I’ll ask the other lady if she’d like to read it too.
      I will be posting the blurb on Marcia’s excerpt week blog tomorrow too.
      So glad you liked it – it took a lot of thinking power for something that looks so simple now it’s done!

    1. Thank you! It’s had the thumbs up all round so far – phew!

      1. That must be a relief :0)

      2. Oh it is, believe me. I’m very aware if the blurb isn’t good enough, you don’t sell the book!

  4. Yes. I like it, but maybe cut one word … “Meanwhile”. Here in America, there’s a saying, “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…” It’s grown into kind of a joke. Lady Risada deserves respect. Read it without “Meanwhile…” it’s more emphatic and an integral part of the book, not just a “Meanwhile” add-on or filler. My two cents.

    1. Thanks Deb, I’d wondered about that ‘meanwhile’. It was included in advice on a feature about writing blurbs, but I wasn’t so sure about it myself.

      1. I read the comment from someone else who wasn’t affected by the “add-on” effect of “Meanwhile”. In fiction, different scenes and characters are emerging and evolving throughout the manuscript … The beauty of 3rd person, past tense. We know all, see all, even while we purposely hide clues and facts from the reader for our surprise twists, turns, and endings. The beauty of well-written, non-template fiction. Read it aloud and listen. You’ll know then if it is extraneous or essential. That’s the question, especially on the back cover where every word counts. You’ll know which you like best when you hear the flow and cadence.

      2. Great advice, thank you 😀

      3. A good conversation and caring writers advising other writers. Bliss!

    2. That’s an interesting observation. Yes, I’ve heard the old joke, but it never once popped into my mind while reading this. I’m American, and I use “meanwhile” in both conversation and writing. It doesn’t bother me in books at all, if it’s being used appropriately. I expect you’ll find as many who don’t notice it, as do. I’m guessing it’s safe to use it, unless you don’t actually want to. As pointed out, it isn’t necessary, so if it worries you, you might get rid of it. If not, I doubt it will cause too many people to pause. I promise, I will respect Lady Risada with or without it. 😀 (Just one opinion on the “other” side of the issue.)

      1. Cheers, Marcia. I’m still thinking about it….

      2. Interesting how different words affect different people. Like the haunting echoes of forgotten melodies and lyrics..

      3. I agree. Reading is such a subjective thing, and we each bring a whole chunk of our own experiences to the table when we open a book. For sure, you can’t please everyone, but you can try to strike a good balance. I think this is one of those things where Debby could go either way, but sometimes it’s a matter of “when in doubt, take it out.” I just wanted her to have input from both sides of the issue before she made changes, especially if she was basing her word choice on a feature about writing blurbs. Maybe there’s a reason it works well for them, even if it’s not something you’d use everywhere? Who know with these things. 🙂

  5. Marcia, it’s always good to consider multiple opinions. Would I never use “meanwhile” in a manuscript? Only when it’s correct and appropriate. Probably not at the beginning of a paragraph unless there needed to be a connection that otherwise isn’t a smooth, flowing transition. I’ve learned as a writer and editor to “never say never”. lol😃

    1. I don’t usually start paragraphs with “meanwhile,” either, but it didn’t bother me in this case. However, it might sound more interesting, reversed. “Lady Risada, meanwhile, struggles to . . .” A slight rewording could do it. But again, since I’ve not read the article Debby referred to, and I don’t know what she wants to emphasize most in the blurb, I’m really just blathering along, here. 🙂 I like this blurb as is, but I’d probably like it with changes, too.

      Never say never is a pretty good rule of thumb, I think. Especially as concerns the writing and marketing of books. Just when you think you have it figured out, along comes a new “rule,” designed to make you crazy, or a new trend to really finish you off.

      1. I try so hard to keep abreast of new words, styles, and writing rules as they change or are so disregarded they become “okay”. Yet, it bothers me that the exactness of editing has been thrown by the wayside. I am a more traditional editor while keeping myself open to change and modernization, sometimes kicking and screaming every step of the way. I find it sad that a genius like Dickens would never be published in today’s publishing world, but the only constant is change. Therefore, my “never say never”. I’ve enjoyed so much sharing opinions with you today. I am looking forward to perusing your site!

      2. Boy, you are so right, and you don’t even have to go all the way back to Dickens. I think back to my very favorite author, ever, (Daphne du Maurier) and others I’ve loved over the decades, and have a hard time imagining their books selling in today’s Short Attention Span Market. I am in love with lush, descriptive, poetic prose, and while I can enjoy a non-stop action-filled book now and then, I have no problem with the slower pace of books from bygone eras. I may be very new at writing, and guilty of making rookie mistakes along the learning curve, but I’ve been reading for over 65 years. It’s not the same as it once was. Never start a sentence with And or But? Gone. One word sentences? Very. Hot. Stuff. And so forth. As an editor, I’m sure you’ve seen it all. 🙂

        Nice talking to you as well. *going off now to think about my most UNFAVORITE split infinitive of all: To BOLDLY go. Even as a teenager, I would yell at the TV screen, “To GO boldly, you idiots!”
        😀 😀 😀 And yet, I just used one in my last comment. Doh!

      3. You should be an editor! You are steeped in intellectual correctness. That so brightens my day! I too love poetic prose, words that sing, and descriptive beauty. I adhere to the classics when I can’t find anything to read but mediocrity. I have been criticized by being too descriptive, too abstract, but I love the beauty of language.

      4. I simply cannot wait to tell my husband that I am “steeped in intellectual correctness!” If only I could record that conversation:

        “Yes. I am. I have it on expert authority!”

        *Look of stunned incredulity on husband’s face*

        “Why are you staring? And now, why are you laughing?”

        And thereby begins a two-day period, during which I endeavor to maintain my dignity and ignore his continued bursts of scornful mirth and/or outright mockery. Reader, (can you believe) I married him?

        This’ll be great. I’ll take photos.

        😀 😀 : D

      5. Video please – we want to hear the dialogue… 😉

      6. Aw, Debby, that’s such a tough one. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound totally out of touch with today’s readers, but on the other hand, there are audiences out there who appreciate a bit of thoughtful dialogue, on the more traditional side. PLUS, there’s such a thing as being true to your own voice.

        I try to compromise. I don’t want to dumb down my writing style or end up with something that sounds nothing like the way I think, but at the same time, I’d like to reach a reasonably wide spectrum of readers. It’s NOT easy. I think you have to consider who your target audience is. My readers are probably mostly women, and mostly over 35/40. However, I get emails and reviews from men, too, and I have some readers who are much younger. But generally, I’m writing for women who are the age my MIND thinks *I* am. 🙂

        Tricky, this business we love so much.

        As for videos, ahem . . . Mark would be sticking his hand over the camera lens like a paparazzi-shy celebrity, and I’d be getting bleeped every time he laughed at me, so, it probably wouldn’t be very entertaining. 😀 Then again . . . it might just be hilarious!

      7. I used to think most of my readers would be in the female over 35 bracket, but I’m getting a lot of younger ones too (plus a few men), so I’m more aware of sounding ‘old fashioned’.
        I write in a totally different style for my sprite novels – contemporary setting and much racier (content and style), but The Prince’s Man was written decades ago, so the writing style is more ‘dated’ as a result.
        I’m going to try and pitch this somewhere in the middle, and take out the VERY dated vocabulary that I use by habit.
        Gotta keep up with the times.

      8. They say we are our own worst critic, but I really think that’s second to husbands. They definitely can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to their spouse. They laugh at everything! Laugh back! Your sincere opinions are the beauty of you, and you write well, expressing yourself in language that is easy to follow and grammatically correct!

      9. “They say we are our own worst critic, but I really think that’s second to husbands. They definitely can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to their spouse. They laugh at everything! Laugh back! Your sincere opinions are the beauty of you, and you write well, expressing yourself in language that is easy to follow and grammatically correct!

        This came into my Inbox marked “In response to Marcia,” but it sounds more like it’s for Debby. However, on the off chance that you really do think I write well, I’m going to say thanks! I put it off for decades, and by golly, I’m enjoying it now, for sure. I’m not aiming for NYTimes Best Seller status. I just want to tell my stories to an audience who enjoys them, and has fun with them. But I’m the first to admit they aren’t great literature, and that any redeeming social value found between the covers of my books is purely coincidental. Except for that part where Love triumphs over all, of course. Just because I believe that.

        It’s been nice talking to you, Debby B, and it’s always nice talking to Debby Jay, so a great blog thread, even if I can no longer tell who is responding to what. 🙂 Have a wonderful evening, and a happy Wodin’s Day tomorrow! 🙂

      10. Actually, it was to you, dear Marcia. We both know Deborah Jay is a top-notch writer. This was to encourage you. I enjoyed our conversation so much … all the three-way comments that blended together into great conversational tea or coffee with girlfriends.

      11. Put me down for a hot cuppa Earl Grey, and I’m right there. Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Debby, and it was great “meeting” you. I hope to see you on The Write Stuff! And I’ll be checking out your social media, too. Always fun to make new friends, especially writers, editors, and others who know what they are talking about. (You do, don’t you?) 😀

        Have a great day! I’m finishing up my draft of Harbinger today, I hope, and thus, runnin’ around like a chicken with its head cut off, as my grandmother would say.

      12. Thank you laides – I’ve been at this writing game for a long time now, but in reality I’m totally self-taught. Hence my earlier post
        because now I recognise what it is that I do, I know I’m a great natural at ‘modelling’, in all sorts of subjects, both intellectual and physical.
        I was brought up in the era when the powers that be had decided that teaching by rote was wrong, and we would all ‘pick it up as we went along’. Fortunately for me, in many respects I did just that, but ask me anything technical about grammar or parts of speech and I’m floundering. I just know what sounds right, and if it isn’t that’s what my writer’s group is for!
        Bottoms up! Oh, perhaps that’s G&T, not tea… 😉

      13. Ooops…I didn’t mean that Deborah was a new writer by any means. I know better! She’s a pro, for sure. I just meant that your lovely compliments might have been aimed at her, because you’ve never (that I know of) read any of my work. SORRY for anything that sounded remotely like I consider Deborah a beginner. EEEEP. I’m just too frazzled with last minute stuff right now to read as carefully as I normally would. Blame it on fatigue, and a bad eye day. (My vision issues sometimes make it next to impossible to read things accurately.) Going away now, figuring I’ve already caused enough trouble in one thread!

        Oh, and Deborah, I’m very happy Rustam has his face back. But now you’ve gone and killed one of my favorite characters. 😦 I’m closing in on the finish, though, and will leave a review as soon as I arrive.

      14. Marcia, I don’t think that was ever implied – this is getting pretty confusing now, but hey, it’s been interesting!
        And you know we have to ‘kill our darlings’, hard though it is on all of us. You’re getting near the end now, enjoy 😀

      15. That’s how I feel too. I’ve just had some feedback on my latest that it reads somewhat ‘old-fashioned’, in word choice and sentence structure, and that isn’t the first time I’ve been told this.
        I write like that, because that’s what I grew up reading, and it feels right, to me. Now I have to go back and make it more ‘modern’, for the average reader of today.

      16. I write for the time period in which I’m writing … but I do historical fiction as well as modern day. My YA book in the Delilah Astral Investigator Infinity series has a modern 17-year old girl communicating with a British Lord from 1776 Colonial America. The dialogue was a challenge, but it was great fun to do! Modern writing has changed so much–short paragraphs, short chapters, even short sentences. It has been a relearning project, that’s for sure.

      17. Wow, I’ll say that sounds like a challenge!
        It is a continual on going learning process isn’t it, as things change from year to year, let alone decade to decade. This time around I’ve made my chapters shorter, as I noticed I prefer that when I’m reading on my Kindle. And sentences. And paragraphs. And lots of white space too.
        My writer’s group began to despair of my frequent one-line paragraphs, so I’m making an effort to tone those down a little.

      18. I had to go through this transition as well … for my own writing and keeping my editing clients current for mass appeal. Yes, I am studying, researching everyday of the week. I’m completing the rewrite for the first 130 pages of Annie’s Story, which you were such an invaluable source to clean up all my goofs and tone down the dialects. I left them only in dialogue, not in 3rd person past text. Reads so much better. Amazing what a difference it makes. I will never have “nigh onto certain” be “neigh” like a horse again. It just validates that you can’t proofread your own material. Reading over obvious errors that I would spot for others, but reading right over them for myself. Such is how the brain works. I call the final work of the author, a rewrite. Editing is the next stage and proofreading last. I need to find the time to read the first book in your series about The Prince. So many wonderful books … so little time.

      19. And that’s the truth, all round 😀

      20. Oh, I just thought of this. If you want to send me a chapter to read over, maybe I can help. Gratis, of course!

      21. Deb, thank you! When I get a bit further on with the edits I’ll take you up on that 😀

      22. Just let me know when you’re emailing it. or whichever email worked for you to me. I remember we had a little difficulty at first.

      23. It was your Hotmail address. And will do, thanks.

      24. BTW, I hope you’ll stop by my blog for writers, The Write Stuff. Lots of interesting folks hang out there (like Deborah Jay! 😀 ) and you’d be very welcome. As an editor, you comments and ideas would be most welcome. Hope to see you there.

      25. Thanks! You read my mind. That’s exactly where I was headed.

  6. Thank you, ladies, for the great discussion – gives me lots to think about, and I’m pleased you’ve met each other.
    Here’s to many more fruitful discussions between us all 😀

    1. It was fun, Debby. And I learned a few things, already. Hope it was okay to extend the invitation to stop by The Write Stuff? (I certainly mean IN ADDITION to stopping by here, and not INSTEAD! Nuh-uh, nope.) 😉

  7. The comments here are as interesting to read as the post, lol. Glad to see all my chums here. And Deb, the blurb is exciting. And not sure how I feel about the ‘meanwhile’ situation. 🙂

    1. Great discussion, isn’t it? I’m still sitting on the fence over the ‘meanwhile’ situation, but thanks for the vote of confidence – it was your earlier comments that set me off on this trail, and then some hard editing demands from my bestie, who never pulls her punches as she feels it’s her job to make everything I do the best it can be. Between the lot of you, I’m very happy with the results!

      1. Wow, happy to contribute!
        I think you will decide how it feels for you and your story on your own. It’s great to get feedback, but ultimately, it’s what sits right within us.
        I wish you much success with the book and the rest of the series. I commend you on writing a series. I’m having enough trouble writing a sequel. Like you, I want to give a little backstory to the first book for those who haven’t read, without sounding like back story, yet trying to have the book flow as a sequel, yet able to be read independently. A great challenge. Unfortunately my book is just lying in a box while I get through life’s chaos and my husband’s illness right now. I’m hoping to start revisions now in June.
        And . . . I must get to The Prince’ Man before the new book! Like I said to Marcia, I don’t like starting a series in the middle. 🙂

      2. That’s precisely the challenge of sequel writing, and one that I see too many authors ducking these days, by writing, what is in effect, a serialised novel, with component books that cannot be read as stand alones. To me, that cheating, and I feel cheated as a reader (hence my rants about cliff hanger endings).
        Hope your husband is improving? What a stressful development from what seemed at first to be just a nasty virus 😦

      3. As usual, we’re on the same page 🙂
        Thanks for the well wishes. He’s home, but a long ways to go, and still more tests. I’m learning patience. In fact, I’ve written a blog for later this week on it, lol. 🙂

      4. I look forward to reading it.

      5. 🙂 Thanks Deb.

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