A SPECIAL FEATURE by VICTORIA VANE
The digital revolution, as we all know, has taken the publishing world by storm. Last year 350,000 new e-books were released with nearly 200,000 of them from self published authors. This revolution has given both established authors and those struggling to find a niche, opportunities and freedoms they never had before.
As one of those struggling authors who doesn’t fit comfortably in a conventional box, I am always trying to innovate. I also hold a strong belief in playing to my strengths. So, after reading so many reviews and hearing numerous readers remark how vivid the stories in my DeVere series are, particularly the romantic comedies (A Wild Night’s Bride and The Virgin Huntress), I began to ponder ways in which I might be able to enhance reader enjoyment. Upon seeing the new generation of full color, graphics-capable e-readers, it came upon me to make something old new again – by offering color illustrations!
Although illustrations in books are nothing new, they are rarely found in the romance world, being largely the realm of hardcover children’s and coffee table books. Yet, I perceive an opportunity to change that. Call me crazy if you will, but I prefer to think of it as blazing a trail into the digital wilderness!
My experiment with digital artwork has just launched with Devil In The Making, the first title in a series of short Devilish Vignettes that is a compliment to my award winning Devil DeVere historical romance series, recently chosen by LIBRARY JOURNAL as one of the Five best E-book romances of 2012. Rather than a romance, this is a comic romp in the tradition of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. While highly entertaining, it also serves two greater purposes- to provide added back story on the pivotal character of my series (Ludovic “the Devil” DeVere), and to introduce a number of new characters who will be featured in future books as I expand the DeVere series.
Concurrent with this endeavor, I have launched a dedicated Devil DeVere Fan Site, where I will highlight the various characters by revealing a beautiful digitally rendered portrait and personality profile each month, along with favorite quotes, scene snippets, and sneak peeks, and special giveaways.
This site will also provide fans the opportunity to interact through a Q&A with their favorite characters. This is a longterm work in progress as there are already over 20 characters (primary and secondary) who will be featured on the site, but I hope it will intrigue readers enough to visit often! It is my dearest hope that this experiment will be successful enough to allow me to illustrate the rest of the series. Now without further ado, here’s a sneak peek of Devil in the Making, The Illustrated Edition!
Devil in the Making (Devilish Vignette #1)
Edward Chambers, Esquire
Simon Singleton, Esquire
Westminster School- 1764
“The epic poets of ancient times composed histories of Greek heroes in rhyming verse, chanted by the Rhapsodes in accompaniment by the cithara. The meter employed was dactylic hexameter…” Dr. Trasker’s droning monotone faded to the far periphery of Simon’s consciousness as he reviewed the first lines of his own poetic composition, An Ode to a Milkmaid of St. James Park.
Lovely Lavinia, a comely lass,
With ripe pink teats and plump white arse,
Ha’penny paid will fill your cup
He thoughtfully chewed the nub of his quill.
But for a shilling, she’d liefer tup…
He flourished the last line with a self-satisfied smirk.
“Master Singleton.” The stentorian voice halted the rhythmic scratch of Simon’s quill.
Simon looked up blankly.
“I await your response,” the schoolmaster intoned.
“Homer and Hesiod,” Ned coughed from behind.
“Master Chambers!” The schoolmaster’s rebuke turned upon the second offender.
“Sir?” Ned answered.
“Since you are so desirous to impart your scholarship, you shall now stand and enlighten the class on the Elegiac couplet.”
“The Elegiac couplet?” Ned repeated.
“Now, Master Chambers,” the taskmaster commanded.
Ned stood, his ears reddening with the snickers of his classmates.
“You seem unprepared, Chambers,” the pedagogue accused.
“N-no, sir. Indeed not. I only wish to understand. Is it the meter for elegy, or the couplet itself that you wish me to explain?”
“You are stalling.”
“Beware, Ned,” DeVere whispered from across the aisle, “lest you inspire him to invoke the holy name of the birch. The goddess of discipline. The handmaiden of higher learning.”
Ned cleared his throat to disguise a choke of laughter and then recited, “The Elegiac meter is customarily described as a dactylic hexameter followed by a dactylic pentameter, which together form an Elegiac couplet.”
Trasker’s beady eyes narrowed. “That is correct, Master Chambers. Now then, let us hope your benighted classmates have been equally attentive.” With visible disappointment the pedagogue took up his notes to resume his lecture.
Perceiving his chance to share his bawdy masterpiece, Simon reached across the aisle to DeVere— just as Trasker’s bespectacled gaze rose from his notes. Simultaneously, Simon and DeVere snatched back their hands, leaving the lone sheet of parchment to drift slowly to the floor with the quiet grace of an autumn leaf.
“What is this?” Trasker snapped, advancing upon them with a militant look.
“Bugger!” Simon muttered.
The sixth form collectively inhaled as Trasker retrieved the fallen parchment and scanned the brief lines. He then transfixed a sulfurous stare back upon his first victim, demanding, “Master Singleton? Are you the author of this lewd and scurrilous verse?”
Simon closed his eyes with a gulp, knowing full well what would follow his confession. He drew courage and then drew breath but another spoke before he opened his mouth.
“Mea culpa,” DeVere volunteered.
Trasker spun toward DeVere, his gaze narrowed to a slit. “You, my lord?” An evil smile thinned his lips. It was no secret that Trasker, who had advanced to his position by scholarly merit alone, despised the rich and indolent— and none more than the impudent heir to a viscountcy, Ludovic DeVere.
This could not be good.
DEVIL IN THE MAKING by Victoria Vane
Every devil has a beginning…
A rebellious young nobleman’s prank with the king’s lion goes comically awry, leading to a startling chain of events.
A riotous Georgian romp in the tradition of Fielding’s Tom Jones and a prequel to the Devil DeVere series.