The Cinderella Deal $1.99

Once upon a time, I wrote a book called The Cinderella Deal about a painter named Daisy Flaherty who had some father issues.  Harlequin bought it, but they wanted a few changes: Her name couldn’t be Daisy, artists didn’t sell so she had to have a different occupation, and HG heroines didn’t have father issues.  I found out later that they didn’t the want the book–the fools–but they didn’t want to void my option clause.  So instead of saying, “How about a completely different book?” to which they would have said “GREAT IDEA!” I tried to rewrite The Cinderella Deal.  Never do that.  I ended up with a book that was not what I wanted at all.  HQ wanted it, and they published it as Strange Bedpersons.  Fast forward a year or two . . .

So now I’m between publishers, trying to get a single title published, and my agent, Meg Ruley, wants to make a deal with Bantam so I can eat while I’m trying to fix the mess that will be Tell Me Lies. “Do you have any unpublished manuscripts?” she asks.  “Well, there’s The Cinderella Deal,” I tell her.  “I rewrote it so much that it’s not really the same book as Strange Bedpersons, although there’ll be a lot of similarities.”  “Give it to me now,” Meg said and presto, I have a two-book deal with Bantam starting with The Cinderella Deal, a book that achieved a 97% sell-through (which is a bad thing, but still 97% of the copies printed of that sucker sold, so there). 

All of which is to say that The Cinderella Deal goes on sale for $1.99 today as advertised in Book Bub, or so I’ve been told.   My Bantam editor is lovely, I’m sure she wouldn’t lie to me.  

Note: I’d put the blurb on here, but I just looked at it and it’s awful.  I did not write that blurb.  I keep forgetting that long ago I wasn’t as hands-on with the whole marketing thing as I am now.  Argh.

Another Note: The cover here at the bottom was the first one they did.  I hated it.  The one at the top is the one I asked for on the reprint.  I love it.  The one at the bottom probably sold better. BECAUSE IT HAS A DOG ON IT.

Moral: Always put a dog on the cover.  (Kidding.)  (Kind of.)

52 thoughts on “The Cinderella Deal $1.99

  1. So now I’m going to reread ‘Strange Bedpersons’ and ‘The Cinderella Deal’. I seem to remember thinking SB didn’t quite gel when I first read it (after that, of course, I unconsciously add layers to any story I return to, so they always evolve).

    2+

  2. I love The Cinderella Deal, It’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, partly because she falls in love with the little house and fixes it and I freaking LOVE that trope.

    10+

      1. They’d had a book with an artist that didn’t sell. Therefore, books with artists didn’t sell.
        I know, I know.

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  3. I love Cinderella Deal! Maybe because I’m a professor and a flake – I don’t know which character I relate to more! And like Jeanne, I love it when she fix s the house. That one and the description of the furniture in Faking It always make me feel like I councilor be an artist!

    9+

  4. I already have two copies of each. The Cinderella Deal covers, of the ones I have, have the dog on one of them, but also a Loveswept version where there’s a picture of a dude on the cover. http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1229577240l/33756.jpg

    I have a hardbound Strange Bedpersons with the cutest pairs of bunny slippers on the cover. The other copy is paperback and has a bed with pillows on the cover.

    3+

  5. I like both of them, and am glad I own both of them. I agree Cinderella Deal is better, but there are bits of Strange Bedpersons that I would have been very very sad to have missed. Well, I wouldn’t have known, but on some cosmic level I would have been sad.

    3+

  6. But I LOVE the dinner scene at the end of Strange Bedpersons. All the forks falling to the floor…

    14+

    1. YES!!! That dinner scene is a riot.
      I like both these titles. Granted, they’re not in my top five Crusies (Fast Women, Temptation, Faking It, Bet Me, and Maybe This Time), but I have read both numerous times, and I have read the description of how Daisy decorates the house even more times.

      3+

  7. Wow. Never in a million years would I have thought that The Cinderalla Deal morphed into Strange Bedpersons. Daisy Flattery (ah, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and pretty, ephemeral flowers) and Tess (we all know about her) aren’t at all similar, and Linc Blaise (what a name!) has none of Nick Jamieson’s (sure, I’ll take a shot) cool. And the city versus the small town college. The piano instead of the paintings. And the secondary couple. The two stories don’t seem comparable.

    How cool is that. I’m kind of astonished when my rewrites take characters and situations in vastly different directions (I now understand that I’ve never gone beyond a discovery draft). But from CD to SB is amazing.

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  8. I bought “Cinderella Deal” again last year (when I was slowly loading up my Kindle with things I used to own in paperback) and have read it three times since. I love a good makeover story, and I love that in this one, BOTH people need to change their ways a little.

    The clarity each person achieves in realizing how what they are doing appears/feels to the other person is important. Changing just because another person wants you to and you feel like you “should” for Reasons is not the same as changing because you care about, and understand, how that other person feels. Respecting what’s important to the other person, and separating ego from what’s really important to one’s self.

    I did wish Daisy had used her storytelling to talk herself through why she felt she needed to change EVERYTHING, and then to talk her guy through it, though. She created that little black dress box out of pretty much nothing, and he had not come across as a guy who would not listen. 🙂 Then the whole “oops” and overreaction over the red painting could have been less of a crisis because he would have more readily understood why she would “forget.” The family angle was enough of an outside conflict for me.

    All that said, still one of my favorites per “read it three times in the past year.”

    1+

  9. Harlequin hadn’t a clue on this one. Daisy was wonderful. Although Strange Bedpersons has its great moments as well.

    2+

  10. I fell in love with The Cinderella Deal because it was the first realistic portrayal of an artist I ever encountered. As a (very) young person in art school, I was beating myself up for not being good enough on multiple levels and Daisy was a revelation for me. She struggled and changed her style and had to rearrange her life to continue making work. Thank you for writing about someone who worked at her art!

    Also, in regards to Strange Bedpersons, the fork. I love the fork 🙂

    2+

  11. I too have a special fondness for Strange Bedpersons – I think it was my first Crusie, and oh, that dinner scene! And now I have both on my Kindle app (one click is dangerous!) so I can compare and contrast.

    1+

  12. Like others, now I want to re-read both of them this weekend! The chores will probably win, though.

    1+

  13. The Cinderella Story is my comfort read. Things get bad and there I am with Daisy and Linc.

    Thank you for writing it.

    2+

  14. I love Strange Bedpersons and The Cinderella Deal but I would never have realized that there was any connection between the two. I have multiple copies of both. The first copy of The Cinderella Deal that I got had a black and white photo of a man on the cover and to this day smells faintly of cigarette smoke (hazard of buying a second-hand book).

    1+

  15. I’m speaking from the other side of this process –

    I make art, and every couple of years I have a show or some way of putting things in front of people, and the opening is a GIANT party and it is fun and exhilarating and nerve-wracking. But anyway; the strangest thing is that the most popular piece or pieces of my work are NOT my favorites, or even the pieces I feel are most successful. People stand and coo over something I think is fundamentally flawed, or trite or shallow, and completely pass over the two things I am most pleased with…. And this happens with each show, and honestly whenever people are invited into my studio (not often! the place is crowded, small and desperately untidy), often enough that it makes me second-guess my process and subjects for months afterwards.

    So this just to say that it is strange when people are delighted with something I just hammered out.

    2+

    1. I think the response to any creative endeavor is more in the responder than the creator. That is, anybody who creates something and then makes it available to the public becomes a collaborator. When the thing is just yours, it belongs to you. When you show it to someone else, it becomes a collaboration and you’re just the inspiration for each collaborator’s interpretation.

      Which is why I listen to my beta readers but I often do not respond to what they say, rather I respond to why they say it. “I hate the dog” is helpful only because it tells me the dog is getting in the way of their interpretation, so I look to see if there’s too much dog, or the dog is irrelevant, or the dog somehow interferes with the plot, or any of another dozen things.

      I’ve never thought Bet Me was my best book, but readers do, so they must elevate it when they collaborate with me. Other books I’ve loved have not been as popular, and I figure that’s because something I did interfered with the collaboration.

      4+

    2. It is said Dorothy Sayers thought her best work was her translation for the Divine Comedy.

      Stella Gibbons in regards to Cold Comfort Farm was filled with wonder that she was ever that light hearted and thought that book overshadowed everything else she ever published.

      Everyone has different tastes, you opened up something you’ve worked on, from your mind and shared it out there, they could love you, they could hate you, you could divide opinion, but you did it and that is what makes you an artist/writer etc…

      I think people who create things are their own harshest critics, but they are also amazing, the strongest people ever, because even though they see the flaws in their own work, they show it to others and that is the hardest thing in the world.

      1+

      1. Sayers was right, in part. It’s an awfully good translation (though as a non-Italian speaker, much less medieval Italian speaker I can’t really judge) but it’s not her most popular work. I sure don’t read it as often as I do Wimsey.

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      2. I think part of it is that a writer knows the book in her head and it’s NEVER the book that ends up on paper (or the screen). But I also think it’s hard to see the juice sometimes until you have enough distance on the book to read it fresh. Say about three years after it’s published, you can go back and see all the places you went wrong. Of course, I have a healthy ego, so sometimes I go back and read a scene and think, “I wrote that? My god, I was BRILLIANT.”

        4+

  16. Gosh. I thought I was pretty much up on All Things Jenny, but I never knew these two books were half sisters.

    Cottage weekend coming up…. time for some serious Crusie rereads on the dock.

    0

  17. I love Daisy’s artist’s eye, savoring the color that blooms in a cup of tea and seeing the character and history of the cracks that lend character to her found objects.

    3+

  18. I bought and reread The Cinderella Deal last night. What struck me most was the nonchalant-ness about Chickie’s drinking. We’re in such a different place, society wise about alcohol. And it might just be me because of my own issues about how much I’m drinking lately (and yes, I’ve had discussions with my doctor, I won’t lie to her, which she appreciates.)

    What I find interesting about re-reading some of the romances I loved in the 80s-00s is how technology namely cell phones), would rip open some huge holes in the plots. And of course I can’t think of an example right now. 🙂

    0

    1. Well, Maybe This Time, for one. It’s set in 1992 so that I could do an adult Alice without doing SF, but it was also nice for marooning them in the middle of nowhere.

      It’s odd that I was cavalier about Chickie’s drinking because I wasn’t in Anyone But You, which came before it. Although I wrote the first version on TCD before ABY. I think I’d been surrounded by functioning alcoholics for so long that I didn’t see it.

      1+

      1. I don’t think you are cavalier about her drinking. It’s one of the first things that Daisy notices about her and Daisy treats her gently because of it.

        It’s also one of the things Linc notices when he comes home and the house is filled with people – the students are all happily working and Chickie’s sober. It’s a sign that Daisy has built a safe space for all of them.

        It may also be a generational thing – I think of Chickie and I don’t think her problem is her drinking. I think her problem is the SOB she’s married to. The drinking is how she copes.

        1+

        1. As I remember, that’s how I saw it. That and the genteel ladies-who-lunch who mainly lunched on cocktails.
          I should read that book again before I comment on it. It’s been years.

          0

  19. Loved both books, and now I want to re-read both, but I’m trying hard to finish my last rewrite of the current WIP, and ship it off by the weekend. Maybe by Sunday I’ll have reading time again.

    0

  20. Both The Cinderella Deal and Trust me On This were like my unicorns, the novels I couldn’t get in the UK as they were Bantam and out of Print. Took me years to get copies.

    I was struck by similarities between Strange Bedpersons and the Cinderella Deal, but I liked them both, so didn’t care.

    Cinderella Deal, best scene Daisy was talking up Linc to her mother and managed to change the subject before she ran out of material

    0

    1. Those books had a 97% sell through and still didn’t earn out. The reprints took care of that but I remember being annoyed at the time that they didn’t print more.

      0

      1. In the UK Bantam was known for publishing large volumes of those teenage books like Sweet Valley High in etc, I was surprised they’d published an adult romance, since your book seemed rarer then hens teeth not surprised they didn’t earn out. I wasn’t alone in trying to get hold of copies.

        Harlequin however was in the Mills & Boons section of most general bookshops over here. They knew how to sell. In my reading romance phase, I discovered and bought everything you wrote, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz. All amazing.

        You were not alone, Nora Roberts books under JD Robb in the beginning were only sold in one shop in London, where I discovered them for a very long time. Now they are everywhere.

        1+

        1. I made the same discoveries; then found Jayne Ann Krentz’s stand-alones and historicals on a visit to the States. My first purchase from Amazon was an order placed from the library’s internet (before I had it) to Amazon in the US (before they launched here), for JAK’s fantasy trilogy that begins with ‘Amaryllis’. It was cheaper to pay for them to be sent here by seamail than to buy them – if I could find them – on a visit to London. I also enjoyed Regencies, and they just weren’t published here for twenty years: it was all sagas.

          I used to have arguments with booksellers who tried to justify the fact that they charged the same in pounds as (expensive) computer books were in dollars – in the days when the exchange rate was very far from 1:1. Since I’d worked for a firm that used to import and re-jacket SF titles from the US, I knew something about the economics of it.

          So Amazon definitely filled a gap for me; and still does. Few bookshops here carry romance. And Mills & Boon seem to have gone into major decline.

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          1. Before it closed, I used to go to Murder One in Charing Cross and pay the £ value for the $ price. It was the main shop on my friday night Charing Cross book spree, back when Charing Cross had bookshops I wanted to go to. Don’t get me wrong Foyles is still there and it is beautiful, but as well as Murder One there used to be a few decent discount bookshops I could afford. All gone 🙁 now I have to use amazon.

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  21. The first Crusie I read was Fast Women. I’m a mystery reader, not a romance reader (except for Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer) but I bought it because it had a dachshund on the cover. Really, I did. I loved it and went on to love Welcome to Temptation, Faking It, etc., etc. Bet Me, I liked but it was not a favorite. By the way, I’m a librarian and need a new Crusie to recommend to patrons, just sayin’.

    2+

        1. Yes, but there’s no body to rob, he’s using the skeleton as the framework for the facade. There is, however, a sword.

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          1. I’m very, very excited to read what you come up with for Nick’s presence. It occurs to me that you have millions of choices because, after all, the amount of time in which human remains exist as a clean skeleton is brief.

            On the other hand, the way people see him could be as varied as the number of people/demons/gods who see him.

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          2. Depending on how and where the body is buried, bones can last a long, long time. Nick’s in a tomb, not the earth, and because it’s above ground and in a sunny climate, it’s going to dry out, so his bones lasting for a year or so before the Pope takes them is plausible. I’m okay on the bones. Pope says, “Get my kid out of Niflheim, he can be your fixer,” Satan says, “Get me the bones,” and it’s done.

            Needless to say, I’m not spending a lot of time on that part of the story.

            1+

  22. I love Strange Bedpersons. From the title alone, I knew I would relish it. I understand Tess and Nick and the socioeconomic clash. The best friend subplot really worked for me too. I was rooting all the way for her dancer best friend. Yay!

    I’m sure I must have read The Cinderella Deal, but I can’t remember it as well, so I bought it. 🙂

    1+

  23. That’s actually really fascinating to hear! Strange Bedpersons was the first or second book of yours that I read, and when I found my library’s audiobook of The Cinderella Deal a week or two ago, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities.
    SB’s details have become quite fuzzy to me over time, but I don’t remember nearly as much nuance in the supporting cast in that book as in TCD — the part where Linc and his mother talk had me choked up, just a little.
    One thing I really appreciated was the push-pull relationship between Linc and Daisy, even if I came away thinking that Daisy gave up more in the end.

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  24. I just re-read (and enjoyed) both and did see the similarities ( since you pointed it out…lol) but they are different enough that they both worked for me.

    I have to agree with the others that the fork scene was great but I also got a big laugh about the 5 year subscription to The National Enquirer. And, if I remember correctly, at that time it was still being printed on large paper so it really stood out.

    My personal favorites are Faking It (the first Crusie I read), Bet Me, Maybe This Time, and Welcome to Temptation.

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  25. I loved The Cinderella Deal — I can still remember when it was released as ebook. My car broke down and I was stuck in a parking lot waiting for my brother-in-law to jump the battery. So I sat there with my Nook and read the entire thing. I still reread it when I need to remember that being you is completely okay 🙂

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