Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Proposal Advice - From You!

I'm working on a new proposal for Harlequin American Romance, which will be the lucky seventh book in the Brody's Crossing series. This may be the last book because I'm running out of young, single characters! Of course, there are always more ranches and people move into town all the time, right?

I'd love your advice on one aspect of this new story: children. Specifically, I'm thinking of twin boys about age four. Here's the setup.

Colby Yates (older brother of Charlie Yates, the hero in book six, The Texan and the Cowgirl) has dated a single mom from Graham, TX, but they discovered they were better friends than lovers. She has twin boys and is estranged from both her disapproving family and the boy's father. She worries about her boys, so she lists responsible rancher Colby as their guardian in case something happens to her. Which, unfortunately, it does.

Colby is running his ranch and really cares for the boys, but he needs help fast.

Darla Maxwell (who has been in all of the Brody's Crossing books) has been the nanny for Cal and Christie Crawford's two children since the oldest was a baby. Before becoming the Crawford nanny, she was a kindergarten teacher. After her roommate Debbie McMann (introduced in A Texan Returns and the heroine of The Texan and the Cowgirl) marries Charlie Yates, and other friends are also married with children, Darla decides to get a life for herself. She wants freedom from caring for other people's children (even though she loves the Crawfords) so she can eventually have a family of her own.

Darla and Colby were a couple in high school (first love) but broke up when she went away to college, then married and divorced. Colby is hesitant to ask her because of their history, but he really needs help and can't think of anyone more qualified than Darla to care for the two boys. After she meets them, she reluctantly agrees to help until he can find someone permanent. She still intends to leave town and pursue her dreams. Of course, she gets drawn into their lives and grows to love them all.

I have one daughter, one step-daughter, and two granddaughters. Needless to say, I haven't been around boys very much! I would love your input on twin boys, four year boys, or any type of advice on fostering or guardianship. What is the most fun thing about twins? What type of trouble do four year old boys get into? If anyone has been in a guardian role, what was the most rewarding aspect for you?

Also, tell me what you think of the story. I'd love to discuss this new proposal! Thanks in advance for all your help.


Victoria Chancellor said...

I want to apologize for posting this so late. I've had some wireless network problems lately and then I was traveling this afternoon. Thanks for your patience.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Love your questions. I can speak to the boy question.

Four year old boys will pick up sticks and pretend they are guns. It doesn't matter that you have banned play guns from the house.

Boys like mud, frogs, and live to have a doggie as a companion.

Boys this age live for the attention of men and start to think girls are "ewwwie".

A side note: Four year old boys are often slower than girls in speech and other learning skills. Four is the dreaded time when parents are worrying about whether their boys should be held back and go to pre-K or go onto kindergarten the next year.

I have a son and a grandson. We are finding out next week if we have a new grandson or granddaughter. The kids decided not to find out til that baby is born!

Peace, Julie

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Victoria,

Wow, I might have more to add than I thought. You aren't basing any of these characters on my rural relatives are you? My maiden name is Yates and I have a whole crowd of relatives south of Dallas. (Wink) Just kidding.

I raised two boys and am helping with two grandsons. One thing to add to Julie's comments above. Mine would be playing companionably one minute and wrestling across the floor with each other in an arm lock the next. I think it's that male dominance thing. You know, I'm the toughest. Mine were two years apart, but they knew each other's hot buttons. One spent all morning lining up his hot wheels from one side of my living room to the other. Meticulously all facing the same direction, nose to tail in a straight line. The other watched cartiibs and his brother until he was done then ambled over and with his toe, kicked one out of place. Then he just crawled back on the sofa and enjoyed watching his brother explode.

Pamela Stone said...

cartiibs = cartoons (sorry, fingers on the wrong keys) Ha

Winter said...

Victoria, I can speak on the whole four year old twin boys, cause I lived it, I have twin boys, but I vividly recall those years.

My twins took a long time to talk, they had their twin talk which was a mixture of staring at each other and babble. My oldest son was talking, but he was the dominate twin and would talk for his brother. And there's always a dominate twin and a follower, just depends on the personality who gets to be what.

They loved wrestling, I had to break up a lot of matches cause they'd get out of hand. Balls, my #2 boy loved balls, always had one in hand.

My twins are fraternal, so one is dark haired and the other light, but they're mirror twins, ones a righty and the other a lefty.

There's just so much info I can't compress into a comments section. <}:^)

gretchen craig said...

Victoria, I'd planned to read your proposal and be helpful, but, alas, I'm out of ideas. My grandsnos are big guys now and we don't have any twins in the family. I bet you get some good ideas, though. I do love four year olds, the dirtier the better.
Gretchen Craig

beverlyw said...

I grew up with twin cousins and they could be a very closed shop (we all lived in my grandmother's house just after wwII). They rest of the world could intrude only so far. To me, the slightly younger cousin, they were a mystery who always knew something I couldn't fathom. They never seemed to need anyone else.
Good luck

Victoria Chancellor said...

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments. I have so many ideas now! I'm sure my experienced heroine will be able to deal with all these high-energy hijinks of the twins. (I can now affirm that the hero made the right decision in calling her in to help him!) Now I need to decide if they are identical or fraternal because I'm sure that helps shape their personalities and self-identities. Also, I'll be doing a lot of reading in my "sibling" book about those relationships. Thanks again! And Happy Halloween if I don't post before then.