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Merciful Law – Darby Rae

5 Star Review

Amanda‘s review  –  Sep 20, 11

5 of 5 stars

Not very often will a book land on my desk that will grab my attention in the first chapter, but Merciful Law was one of those books!

Lawrence Davenport is a man with power, money, and the means to make things happen. So what happens when his wife suddenly disappears? What if his wife didn’t want to be found? What lengths would a man go to in order to bring his loved one back home?
Deborah Davenport has seen the light and needs to make a new life for herself. Leaving Lawrence was not a decision made lightly and becoming Annie Logan will prove to be more difficult than she ever imagined.
Emmet Navar is no stranger to danger in his life. His main priority is keeping his two boys safe and in the life they are accustomed to. Emmet hires Annie as a professional assistant to the Navar house. Neither one of them could have possibly seen where this was the beginning of a long ride of bumps and turns.
Emmet has a problem in keeping his professional exterior up when he is around Annie and soon confesses his attraction to her. Annie is worried that her husband and his many dangerous men are always just behind her shoulder and she will lead them right to the things she is starting to love.
Darby Rae is a brilliant storyteller and Merciful Law has everything to become a bestseller. This book has just enough suspense to keep you interested without knowing what is going to happen until the very last page. The wit and some of the characters were a much needed comic relief that kept the story from being too heavy. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the quick banter and sarcasm that was laced in the lines.
I would also like to bring some focus onto the setting. I’ve never read a book that was set in my own back yard. This was interesting and exciting and completely realistic.
At 455 pages long, this book has a bit more to it than your average novel. I was never bored and not once did I want to skip a page or two. Rae has a way of building the story up without just putting words on a page. It was intelligent and very well thought out. I would recommend that everyone pick this book up. I was surprised at how I was genuinely surprised and every page was a journey to the next. Merciful Law is a perfect example of how a bestseller should be written.
Amanda @  bookshelves: indie-challenge   Read from September 18 to 20, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 2
-Thanks, Amanda, for the awesome review of Merciful Law! So glad you liked it!!  Read Chapter 1 of Merciful Law or order now

New Title Showcase at BookExpo America, May 23rd – 26th!!

Congratulations to Merciful Law, a featured title in The New Title Showcase at BookExpo America in New York City this May!

For more information, click here.

Sacrifices That Weighed Me Down

Every Lent for the past, oh, six years I have given up the same thing—yelling at my kids (sometimes I state my parental position a little too passionately—occasionally scaring the neighbor kids). My teens look forward to Lent every year because of the 40 day reprieve from yelling; that and they enjoy the Friday night Fish Fry at our church.

So this year, in addition to the standard—not yelling at the kids—I reflected on the last 12 months to see if there was anything else I should consider giving up. What I realized was I have given up quite a bit since last Lent. I gave up exercising, eating healthy, a few hours sleep, house work (to an extent), yard work, and I seem to have given up my weekends too (work instead of play and no sleeping in).

Is all this sacrificing a good thing? I examined results. My muffin top has expanded into a coffee cake (creating more of me to love), two flights of stairs winds me (I hear elevators are safer anyway), and when I feel like exercising—I lay down until the feeling passes (why risk injury).

While the results of my past sacrifices are evident, I’ve decided to forfeit last year’s sacrifices and replace them with a new one.  This year’s Lenten sacrifice is giving up my 70 hour work week to spend more time with my family and friends. I may not have figured out how to live The 4-Hour Workweek that Timothy Ferriss describes in his book (a must read), but I will commit to a 4-Hour Work Weekend. And that’s a start.

Finalizing Editing

How many times does an author edit her first novel before releasing it to be published?  I donʼt know…Iʼm still editing; although I believe at this point it would be fair to say I am  obsessing. I find it difficult to read my work without switching around a paragraph or  adding a line of dialogue. So, to help me stop obsessing, a final deadline of one week  has been ordered by my publicist. This means one final time through the story…and  then Iʼm finished obsessing.

Whatʼs my strategy to conduct the final edit? Well, since I have complete faith my  editing team has caught all the errors in grammar, spelling, tense, homonyms, etc…, I  plan to read Merciful Law out loud—start to finish—as though I was enjoying it from a  ʻreaderʼsʼ viewpoint not critiquing it from the ʻauthorʼsʼ viewpoint. Wish me luck with that!

Here are a few editing tips for aspiring novelists that would have shortened my process.

1. As you write your novel, build a timeline. Youʼll make fewer errors if you have  something to refer to as you write, and youʼll find details (like fireworks on July 4th) may  add to the action in your storyline.

2. Keep a running log of your characters including what page you introduce them,  physical features you mention throughout the story, and any personal information you  may refer to later on. In Merciful Law, Deborah has two sisters. I mention them by  name early in the story. Toward the end they are mentioned again. I recall not being  able to remember their names when I was writing the later chapter and I had to go  searching through the story to find them.

3. Proofread out loud to someone else. You can feel if your story is alive and if it flows  well by reading to a neutral third party. My teen daughter often has me read what Iʼm  working on to her. She has a great ear for detail and understands the ʻvoiceʼ of a  character quickly. (Thatʼs the loud voice of a proud mother, just in case you missed it.)  Her feedback has ranged from renaming characters to reworking an action scene, and  she doesnʼt sugar coat anything.

4. Keep your eye on the length of your book, if you have a goal in mind. My target is to  keep my novels under 400 pages, since thatʼs the average length of the typical  suspense novel I read. (My reasoning may be flawed, but that is honestly the basis for  the target.) I had the painful task of editing about 200 pages out of my first novel, and  having to scrub through the story to make sure there werenʼt any references to the  events in those pages. It also screwed up my timeline. The upside…if Merciful Law  has a sequel I have 200 pages already written!

5. Remember you are your own worst critic. As authors, we are like high school girls  standing in the mirror listing all the things we donʼt like about our appearance…wishing  we had Amyʼs hair, Connieʼs smile and Josiʼs back side. (Was I the only one who did  that in high school?) Consider yourself a unique entity and donʼt try to be another  author. You are bound to water down your own creative talents.

6. Most importantly, find a way to enjoy the process!

Editing Process

I have to share, there is something incredible about surrounding yourself with talented  individuals to review and critique your book…but you have to leave your ego at home  and bring your sense of humor. My publicist is my best friend, so I ask for favors now  and then (or all the time). After she read Merciful Law and made editing notes; I asked  her to please review all her notes with me. Yes, every single page…every single note…  pretty please. What could have been an exhausting experience filled with criticism, hurt  feelings and defensiveness was instead several hours of laughter. We had so much fun  going through the novel, fixing things that needed to be corrected, tightening the story  and discovering all my writing quirks. Apparently, I have several quirks, including  randomly switching tenses and I suffer from homonym confusion.

In the story, Susan has prepared chocolate moose for the guests; Mitch remarks “…  Harold looks like he could kill someone with his bear hands;” and Annie listens to  Emmet tell his boys a fairytail.” Vicky, one of our other editors discovered “I shook my  head in udder amazement.” Word-nerd that I am, I wondered if there was a word/  disorder for obsessive animal homonym confusion. There isnʼt. There are over one  hundred manias including those for flowers, islands, dancing, writing, reading, words,  and animals…but nothing like zoomonymania or homonymzoomania (that I found).

While homonymzoomania isnʼt a common writing issue, (incorrectly) alternating tenses  (past/present/future) in a novel and lack of flow are very common. Reading your story  out loud will help you hear problems like this, but nothing can replace the uncensored  feedback of a third party. So, if you want to improve your story extensively, ask yourself,  who do you trust to take your first literary work and tell you the honest truth, warts and  all. Then, when they do tell you…laugh about it, enjoy the experience, appreciate their  efforts and know it will make you an exponentially better writer!

Merciful Law

Lawrence Davenport lives a fortunate life. He has a brilliant career, an enviable home, a devoted wife, and so much more. But Lawrence Davenport also has a brutal secret. One he has carefully hidden from his wife, Deborah, for years. But when she discovers the truth, she makes the only choice she can…never considering the personal consequences.

After three years, Emmet Navar is still grieving the death of his wife. Month by month he puts more pieces of his outwardly simple world back together, dedicating himself to his boys first and his firm second. He is not alone; those who know him recognize his struggles. To everyone else, Emmet’s biggest challenges appear to be retaining a personal assistant and controlling his fun-loving friends.

The woman they both know is battling demons from her past, demons in the present, and demons she is sure will rear their ugly heads in her future…and the future of those now close to her. She has no desire to trust, no desire to love and at times, no desire to live. Many days she allows herself to be fooled to believe her life is normal…even happy. Other days bear the terrifying truth…he is out there…he is hunting her…and he will not stop until he finds her. The only question is how high a price will she pay?

Full of suspense, adventure and humor, you’ll fall in love with the characters at every twist and turn in Merciful Law. It is the perfect blend of male and female, action and romance. As the story unfolds, you will wonder who will win, who will lose; who will live and who will die.

Merciful Law…they had a marriage to die for…and someone will.