It’s Time to Edit The Dante Deception

In The Dante Deception, The Natalie Brandon Series

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Normally, I don’t say much about what I’m working on or how it’s going. I prefer to drop my literary bombs on the world in a state that’s as edited and wart-free as possible.

But then I realized that’s a terrible idea.

I stew and boil and rage at my dining room table because I can’t make a scene come out right, and you’re looking at your Kindle wondering why I haven’t come out with anything new lately.

This time, I’m letting you guys in on the ground floor. I’ll have people I can talk to about the book as I get it ready to publish, and you’ll have lots of inside information about the stuff that made it – or didn’t make it – into the book I hope you’ll read.

Here’s the Deal

I’m editing the first draft of The Dante Deception. It’s a prequel to The Romanov Legacy (TRL) that will set up the next couple of books in the series. I meant this to be a novella, but that went out the window as soon as I cracked 50,000 words.

The first draft ended up at just over 80,000 words, and I know I left out at least five chapters. That’ll be a crap-ton of work for me to backfill, but it’s great news for you guys because the characters and settings are shaping up to be really freakin’ interesting. They’re demanding more space, and I kind of have to give it to them.

Let me give you a rundown of what’s on tap:

THE STORY: Remember in TRL when Natalie tells Constantine about the German forger she helped stop? The one who was trying to sell an original copy of Dante’s Inferno? This is that story. There’s a lot more that went on behind the scenes, and you’re going to get the full story. Why? Because the events this story sets in motion affect what happens in TRL…and afterward. If you can’t remember what the hell I’m talking about, it’s all in chapter ten of TRL.

THE VILLAIN: We have two villains in this book. Well, three, really. Almost four, if you count–oh look at me, getting ahead of myself there. Take my word for it. This story is definitely villain-heavy. I give you no shortage of people to curse at. Get your epithets ready.

  • Villain the First: Christof Ehrlichmann. I introduced him to the world in this post, so you can get to know him a little better there. It helps that in the movie, he would be played by Sean Penn. Thank goodness there was a Creative Commons-licensed photo of Mr. Penn, or I’d have been up shit creek for that post. Anyhoo, he’s a forger, so naturally I gave him a last name that means “honest” in German.
  • Villain the Second: Lazovsky. He didn’t even get a first name in TRL, but he’s the Moscow mafioso Constantine was trying to bring to justice. He’s also the one who hurt Con’s sister, Lana. Well, guess what, Con? Sucks to be you, because I’m bringing the entire Lazovsky family into play. There’s a mom, dad, son, and uncle who are turning into quite the family. If, you know, you enjoy dysfunctional families who kill people and generally don’t give a shit.
  • Villain the Third: Augustine Wolverton Sinclair, the seventh Baron Leighton. This is a totally new character. He’s clinging to an aristocratic past although he doesn’t have a dime to his name. He really sucks at fixing cars, which is how he meets Christof. These two realize they have several mutual interests, the main one being disliking poverty. It doesn’t take long for them to realize there are way more con jobs that can be pulled with two guys than there are with one. These two aren’t as ruthless as the Lazovsky clan, but they’re way smarter. They’re like the Vizzini and Inigo of the story.

THE HERO: Still Natalie and Beth, duh.

THE SETTING: Germany, Montreal, San Francisco, Moscow, Florence, Grozny, and anywhere else I feel like playing with Google Earth.


  • Editing time: I’m tracking how much time it’s taking me to edit each chapter. If you’re a writer (or want to be), this will either scare the shit out of you or make you realize you’re not alone. I’m going to create a single post and then update with new times and word counts as I go through the book.
  • Research: I’ll also do a round-up post every once in a while to point out crazy or super-interesting things I come across in the research. Sometimes this stuff is just too good not to share.
  • Pinterest board: As I go, I’ll be pinning stuff about the characters, settings, and research to my The Dante Deception Pinterest board. You can follow the board and see what I’m up to.


Follow the book’s board to see what I’m up to!

Okay, after all this talk about the book, I need to get back to it. Chapter four is halfway edited, and I stranded Sinclair and Christof on Lazovsky’s doorstep. I gotta get them out of there somehow…but more on that later.

So now I’ll leave you with a question – which of the villains above sound the most interesting to you? Christof the forger, Lazovsky the gangster, or Sinclair the grifter? Chime in with a comment below…I’d love to know.

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About Me

Jenni Wiltz

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I write thrillers, romance, historical fiction, tiara posts, and more. Right now, I'm working on a nonfiction trilogy: Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden, Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mikhailovna of Russia, and Princess Augusta of Brunswick.