The Darcy Arc
In Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice, we all detest the dashingly handsome, but stuck up, Mr. Darcy in the beginning. After a poorly-contrived declaration of love at Rosings Park and a secret act of kindness, we all realize we’ve misjudged Mr. Darcy and fall madly in love with the sensitive, lovestruck gentleman. This is what I affectionately call The Darcy Arc. It has worked in The Twilight Saga with Edward and Bella, The Hunger Games with Peeta and Katniss, and even Sex in the City with Mr. Big and Carrie.
A successful Darcy Arc can be accomplished in seven steps.
First, have your Darcy-hero enter the scene with a bad attitude.
When we meet Fitzwilliam Darcy its clear he doesn’t like Austen’s heroine, Lizzie, Lizzie’s family, or the whole town, for that matter.
In Twilight, the whole Cullen clan keeps to themselves, including Edward. Edward literally puts his nose in the air when he meets Bella.
In The Hunger Games, Peeta’s family owns a bakery and is considered well-to-do. Katniss’s memories of Peeta show him tossing burnt bread at her as though she’s a beggar.
After trying to get along to no avail, both our heroines decide that these guys are jerks and they move along. But not so quick!
Next, our hero and heroine are thrown together for some reason.
Darcy and Lizzie dance at a ball. Edward and Bella are lab partners in school. Peeta and Katniss are selected as tributes in the games.
While spending time with one another our Darcy-hero begins making statements or moves that suggest he may be interested in our lovely lady. She begins to question her original opinion of him, but not for long. After a moment, his walls go back up and his bad attitude returns.
Then some danger befalls her that only he is aware of.
In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s old nemesis, Wickham, takes an interest in Lizzie. In Twilight, Edward saves Bella from street thugs. And in The Hunger Games, Peeta tries to help Katniss win allies in the training arena.
After this danger, he confesses his love, in an unromantic or suspicious way, but she rejects him.
At Rosings, Darcy delivers that gawd-awful proposal. Edward can’t decide if he wants to kill or kiss our girl Bella. Katniss isn’t sure that Peeta’s overtures or genuine or gameplay.
Its not until they all have time to process a bit more that they come to see that they were indeed wrong about these prickly men.
While visiting Pemberley, Lizzie sees a different side of Darcy. Edward keeps his fangs to himself and watches her sleep. After he saves her life in the games, Katniss is now certain of Peeta’s affections.
As our heroine’s hearts are softening, the hero comes to her aide again, expecting nothing in return.
Lizzie finds out that Darcy saved his sister in secret. Edwards sucks the poisonous blood out of Bella’s wrist without killing her. Peeta proves his love when he’s ready to swallow those poisonous berries for Katniss.
Each of our heroines realizes she definitely was wrong about her hero. She misunderstood this prince among men.
Finally, our Darcy-hero sees a glimmer of a chance in her eyes. When he confesses his love again, she accepts him.
This time when Darcy proposes, Lizzie accepts. Edward pledges his love forever, which is a long time in vampire speak. And Katniss accepts Peeta’s love…eventually.
I followed this seven part plan when I crafted my hero, Khial, in my Pleasure Hound serial. Khial doesn’t hide his distaste for my heroine, Chanyn, when he first meets her. After many ups and downs in the plot, will Khial follow the Darcy Arc and admit his true feelings? And if he does, will Chanyn come to see Khial for the prince he is?
A young monk is given the chance to redeem himself from scandal when he is called upon to train a young woman and her two bonded mates in the orgasmic arts. But what starts as a simple ritual soon turns carnal when the monk’s heart begins to yearn for the woman, and hers for his.
“I promise that the choice of mates will be yours,” he continued. “And I hope…” He paused,
uncertain, looking down at their joined hands.
Chanyn got the impression of Dain as a child asking for permission to have something he didn’t
think he deserved, but was desperate for it anyway.
“I hope,” he began again, “that you will consider Khial and myself for a—”
Dain startled at her response, then he smiled. “Good. I had hoped…” He squeezed their hands
together. “This is good.”
Chanyn’s heart thudded in her exposed chest. She was sure Dain could see it. He gazed into
her eyes. Was this it? Was her first kiss going to happen now?
Dain rubbed his thumb back and forth over her hand. His eyes dipped to her lips. Chanyn parted
them in invitation.
Dain brought his eyes back up to her face, his eyes widening more as he looked at the desire
clearly written on Chanyn’s face.
Dain disentangled their fingers and patted her knee. “This is really good news,” he repeated and
then rose. “I’ll make the arrangements today.” He walked over to the large desk that took up
most of the room.
“Arrangements? For the marriage?”
He glanced up. “Oh no, no. Arrangements for your training.”
“Of course. With a Pleasure Hound.”
Chanyn looked on, dumbfounded. He talked of marriage and then was about to get her some
kind of dog to train. “A dog would be lovely, I suppose.”
Dain laughed. “A Pleasure Hound is a man trained in the art of pleasing a woman.” He said it as
though it were the most natural thing in the world.
Chanyn shook her head. “I still don’t understand. Why would I need another man to…” To what
exactly? Have sex with her?
Dain came back around from the desk and sat next to her once more. He reached for her hand.
“Chanyn,” he began. His face now sheepish. “I’ve never… been with a woman before. I wouldn’t
know the first thing to do to please you.”
“But shouldn’t we, you know, figure that out together?”
Dain looked scandalized. He reeled back from her. “I would likely hurt you. A Pleasure Hound is
trained to find out what pleases individual women. Then they teach the woman’s bonded mates
those particular techniques. It’s an ancient tradition going back hundreds of years.”
Chanyn still looked dubious.
“In our culture women rule. When we are bonded, everything that I have will essentially be
Chanyn knew that in the twentieth century women fought for and earned a place in the
government and the right to own many forms of business. But she hadn’t a clue that the roles of
men and women had shifted so completely on its axis in the past thousand years.
The Pleasure Hound: Part One excerpt: The Prayer
“Will you pray with me, Lady Chanyn?”
Jian led her to kneel before the bed. Hands still clasped, he closed his eyes and began to speak
in that melodic tone of souls.
“Maternal Goddess, I seek your presence as I align myself with one of your sacred daughters.
I offer my body as a vessel of your will and your grace.
The desire of my heart is pure and known to you.
I wish to please your daughter and garner your favor.
The miracle that pleases a woman and creates life is of your design, Divine Goddess.
With great anticipation, I align all of the energy systems of my body, my soul, and my mind with
I give thanks in advance for your blessings of this experience, and know that I walk in the light of
your sun, and the fertility of your earth.
The monk remained motionless for a moment, still holding her hands lightly. Chanyn felt energy
humming between them.
She ceased to breathe while Jian recited his prayer. When he opened his eyes, she said. “I’ve
never heard a prayer like that. Do you believe all of it?”
“Every word.” Jian helped her rise to her feet. “Would you lie back please, Lady Chanyn.”
Chanyn stiffened. Though she found this soft-spoken monk easy on the eyes and a delight to
the ears, she wasn’t quite ready to open her body to him. “What are you going to do to me?”
His still-water eyes pooled. “What I just promised the Goddess. I will please you.”
Heat coursed through Chanyn’s body. She glanced down at the bed and then back to Jian. He
let go of her hands and took a seat on the bed, waiting patiently for her to follow suit. She sat
down slowly, her heart racing. A throb arrowing between her legs.
Last year, I was given an ARC of Kele Moon’s paranormal, menage romance, “The Queen’s
Consorts.” I’d never read a polyamorous story before, where not only did the men fall for the
heroine, but they fell for eachother as well. I craved more of this world, but couldn’t find anything
to satisfy my needs. So I wrote my own.
“The Pleasure Hound” is a polyamorous romance set in a dystopian future where a young monk
is given the chance to redeem himself from scandal when he is called upon to train a young
woman and her two bonded mates in the orgasmic arts. But what starts as a simple ritual soon
turns carnal when the monk’s heart begins to yearn for the woman, and hers for his.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The elements of a great romance is when the hero and heroine fit each others need.
There’s a preponderance of books where pain is pleasure. And that’s okay with me -when I
believe that there’s actually pleasure being had. I’ve read too many books where women are
getting spanked just to get spanked. Its not clear how the act satisfies a need in them, nor is it
clear that the man understands and is acting to fulfill that need. That understanding is the sexy
part to me: a woman who knows (perhaps subconsciously) what she needs and a man who
knows exactly how to give it to her.
My book, The Pleasure Hound: Part One, came into being out of this frustration. I wanted to
read about a heroine who was eager to explore pleasure. I wanted to encounter a hero who was
skilled in, and solely interested in, that woman’s pleasure. My hero, Jian, studies women’s
bodies like textbooks. After thorough perusal of, he emerges ready to ace the examination.
What got you started in writing?
I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father
is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time.
A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t
know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a
single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up
and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t the the definition of insanity?
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I’m a very bad Buddhist. I sit each week in sangha, which is similar to sitting in a church pew on
Sunday. In a sangha the teacher, think preacher, will lecture on spiritual teachings and guide
the group in mediation. During meditation when I’m supposed to be getting my zen on, my mind
always wanders back to the teaching and turns it into a story.
What do you like to read?
Perfect heroines are boring and unrealistic to me; they must be flawed in some way. I prefer
stories where the heroine’s a strong, bright, and successful in their careers but are clueless and
inept in their love lives.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
If you’re serious, you’re only allowed one day off a week. And on your day off you should be
plotting in your head.
How long did you write before you were published?
I went to school for producing and screenwriting, and worked in the broadcasting industry for
over a decade, before trying my hand at novel writing. I wrote my first novel in 2009. It was
based off a script that I wrote but couldn’t find the financing for. I was so proud of my work, but
readers and critique partners noted that it was evident that I was a screenwriter and didn’t
understand the mechanics of novelization. Screenwriting consists of action and dialogue. That’s
it. In scripts, there is no internal monologuing and setting is minimal. I had some learning to do.
Five years, and a ton of classes later, I’m finally making my debut with a novel lush in setting
and internal angst.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I love plotting. Its my favorite part of writing. I love to go into Scrivener and use the Outline tool
to plan the journey of my characters. I can recite just about any plotting structure you can think
of. The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, Romance Arc, Relationship Arc…I could go on.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I
agonized over each word choice. Now, I believe in fast drafting. Vomit the story onto the page
without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted
word to the final polished manuscript.
I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as
long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up
the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.
Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it
up for another three weeks focusing on my weaknesses which is setting. Finally, I send The
Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up
all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!
What genres do you write besides romantic erotica?
I write romantic erotica, paranormal romance, and fairy tale retelling romance novels. Notice the
romance in each genre. I began writing YA, but realized my love scenes were too hot for teens!
What is the most you have written in one day?
The most I’ve written in one day is 4551 words. How do I know that? Because I keep a log. I
record what plot point I was writing, where I wrote, what time I started writing, how long I wrote,
and my word count.
I typically Fast Draft with a friend; a competitive friend. I recommend writing along with
competitive people. It forces you to get the words out. I also believe in incentives and I give
myself stickers when I meet my word count -a trick I learned stalking Laini Taylor’s blog.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading a nonfiction book called “Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex” by Robin Baker. The
title reveals the subject matter. Its about what goes on inside a fertile woman’s body. Did you
know that less than 1% of sperm is designed for fertilization of the egg? There are Terminator
sperm that engage in warfare with enemy sperm from the Part-Time Lover. Its fascinating! Its
research for my current WIP.
How did you come up with your title?
I was up one night watching HBO’s after dark programing. On show called “Cathouse,” one of
the ‘working girls’ captivated me. She looked like a kindergarten teacher, not anything like what
I’d imagine a hooker to look like. She said that she was a “pleasure hound,” and she could sniff
out pleasure wherever it might be. The phrase stuck in my head for years.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m obsessed with Ernessa T. Carter. Her book “32 Candles,” is an 80’s fairytale retelling for
women of color.
What are your current projects?
There are so many stories in my head begging to get out. I’ve drafted the second Pleasure
Hound Book, and will shortly begin working on the third. I’m drafting the series bible (that may
be a television term) for my fairytale retellings where all the heroines are single mothers getting
a second chance at love. And, waiting in the wings is my paranormal debut, which is an ode to
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Just in time for Disney’s new Cinderella movie, I’ll be releasing my debut fairytale retelling in
March. Its called “Pumpkin: a Cindermama story.” Here’s the blurb:
Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she
believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough
amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town. Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town
royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne because for generations the Charmayne’s have spotted
their soulmates be seeing a golden aura around them the first time they laid eyes on them.
When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he
gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a
chance on love again.
Where do you write?
I do my best writing at hightop tables where I can alternately sit or stand while typing on my
laptop. A cup is a must. My favorite is soy chai, sweetened with honey.
When do you write?
I write best in the morning from 8am until lunchtime. Nights are reserved for reading.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.
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