Wednesday, April 18, 2018

About revisions... @Liz Flaherty

I wrote this about four years ago, but since I haven't changed my mind the least little bit, I'm re-using it. If you've read it before, thanks for your patience!

Oh, my gosh, I love revisions.
Last week and the week before, when I talked to my editor—a couple of times; he had a lot of things to tell me—I kept saying Really? in a squealy, whiney, don’t wanna do it voice. I know I did. Not that I’m proud of that particular voice, but since I’ve been hauling it around my whole life, I may as well own it. And I said, at the ends of these conversations, “Okay, I can do this. Thanks for the help.” And then I hung up and looked at my laptop and said Really? in a squealy, whiney, thankfully silent voice.         
          Then I went to work. And I have had, it must be said, some of those stone days John Denver sang about. I have stared at the screen of my laptop until dust motes danced merrily before my eyes before settling into the bunnies under the desk. I have chewed my thumbnail down to an uncomfortable nub. I have done laundry before I had a load, washed dishes by hand, and cooked meals when there were leftovers to be had. I have thought, I can’t do this. I may as well call and renege. Because I...just...can’t.
          I also had some days that were diamonds. I had lunch with friends, dinner with
friends, saw some of my kids, went places with my husband, sewed on my youngest grandchild’s quilt, and laughed every day. More than once. And I wrote some, revised some, thought Maybe this will work. Didn’t call and renege or even want to.
          And then there was this morning. It is Sunday, when I never work on the manuscript, when I look at Facebook and email and maybe work on a weekly column or a bog post and then go to church.
          Except today I didn’t go to church, because all of wonderful sudden, it worked. No maybe about it. Nope, it really worked. This does not mean my editor will be as thrilled as I am. He may say No or Try again or What were you thinking? I can’t control that. But for now, it is fist-pumping time, because of course I can do it—I just did!
          I love revisions.
          

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Carriages for history buffs by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

In January I visited the Coach Museum in Lisbon, Portugal and took some photos of amazing coaches, carriages, sedan chairs, and more. If you read this blog regularly you'll recall my gushing fangirl blog in January about my year with Elizabeth Hoyt.

Hoyt regularly takes her characters out in carriages, sedans, and phaetons. I was overjoyed to find these beautiful specimens on display. 

Royal Carriages were often wedding gifts from a bride's family.
I don't write historical romance, so I wasn't doing actual research, just gawking in awe, so I didn't take notes of the years these were built. But at least one of the carriages in the museum was from the 1500s.

It was interesting to this car buff to note the sizes of the wheels and how the suspension changed to leaf springs from leather straps. All very cool to this untrained eye. 

Some traveling coaches even had beds that folded out from under the seats. Another photo I have shows a small round table inside the coach, presumably for playing cards or eating a meal.


A Phaeton.
The Phaeton seems like an early version of a sexy, little sports car meant to attract women, as much as anything. This one looked maneuverable, lightweight and more easily handled than something as heavy as a duke's carriage. Note the small rear seat for a chaperone or maid or footman. Also the driver's seat was raised, presumably so the driver had a good view of the road. 





On this golden Royal carriage, the rear wheels are huge and the front quite small. The small front wheels helped with turning this land barge. (really...what else can you call it - it's massive)
The weight of the statuary would require a team of eight,.
Coachman, in my mind, had to be highly skilled and rather well-paid to keep these monstrous vehicles on the road. 

All the carriages had the coats of arms painted on the doors.









 Ornamentation came from paint rather than plaster figures.

Sedan chairs, built for one passenger, also announced the wealth and standing of their owners with gold and gilt. Sedan chairs had to be light enough to be carried by footmen.

See the plainer chair in the background.





Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia. Her earthy, irreverent, love stories sometimes have a paranormal twist, like curses and ghosts, other times not. But her books always entertain and guarantee a happy ending.
With four ongoing romance series (Tales of Perdition, The Brantons, and The Christmas Collection) and contemporary family novels in her newest series, Return to Welcome, she rarely spends a day without writing. She has written novels, novellas and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself. Look for more exciting releases throughout 2018…
For more info and sample chapters:
Sign up for her newsletter:  http://oi.vresp.com?fid=4ecdcb6889

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Audio Books in the House!

So, how does one spend a rainy Saturday morning when the urge to write hasn't begun tapping you on the shoulder?

You pour yourself a hot cup of coffee (or tea, if that's you preference), and mull through a handful of auditions from voice actors who've applied to narrate your latest book.

One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, has recently entered the world of audio books. All authors were given the opportunity to submit their current book, or books from their back list, for consideration as an audio book. So far, over two dozen author have taken advantage of this new venue, myself included.

Because I'm already published in audio through Decadent Publishing, I knew exactly what to expect in the first phases. I put five of my Wild Rose titles up for audition and, much to my delight, got multiple auditions on all of them. And, even more exciting, the auditions came rolling in all at once. So, there I was, curled up in my reading chair, coffee firmly in hand, and my laptop next to me ... just listening ... one after the other after the other.

My conclusions:

  • It's really weird to listen to a perfect stranger interpreting the words you've written.
  • Nobody knows the characters the way you do and, nine times out of ten, they don't sound anything like you imagined.
  • Male narrators are preferable when the majority (or all) of the book is in the hero's point-of-view. They're also more adept at narrating romantic suspense. The danger to the hero and heroine sounds more ominous with the help of a deeper voice.
  • You receive more auditions on novellas than full-length novels.
  • This was a great way to spend a gloomy morning!
If you'd like to know exactly what an audition sounds like, you can listen to a sampler of Do You Want Me, one of my Decadent Publishing titles, by clicking on the link.

And, though I can't share the audition files on the new books, I can give you a hint of what's coming next. I've chosen a wonderful gentleman narrator for Time and Again, my futuristic/time travel/romantic suspense from The Wild Rose Press.

On the lighter, sexier side, I've also chosen a male narrator for my erotic romance novella, Kilty Pleasures.

My vintage (1960's) sweet romance novellas, BewitchedOnly Yours, and Paging Dr. Cupid will all be narrated by women.

As both authors and readers we owe it to ourselves to expand our experiences. Personally, nothing beats the feel of a book in my hand. However, I also know that audio books (especially short novellas) are a great way to pass a long drive or workplace commute.

I'd love to hear reader/author opinions on audio books? Do you listen? And, if so, when?

Until next month, happy reading, writing and...hopefully...listening!

Nancy

Friday, April 13, 2018

Once we didn’t have ebooks: a little history by Jan Scarbrough


In June of 1998, I appeared in a feature called “Books of the Future” in Today’s Woman, a magazine distributed free to metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky, and southern Indiana. My book Tangled Memories had been a finalist in the 1994 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest, but I’d never sold it to a traditional publisher. Back in the day, that is all you could do with your manuscript.

Enter epublishing. I signed a contract with a small press to publish Tangled Memories. (A quick Google search finds the small press no longer has a website.) Of course, I made no money or sold any books. The technology was primitive, to say the least. Here’s how the Today’s Woman article described ebooks at the time:

You will be able to download the book with Adobe Acrobat Reader (free from adobe.com) and print it on your printer or read it on your computer. You also have the option of receiving a CD version via snail mail (for $5 versus $4 for downloading), but you still have to load it into your computer to read or print.”

ARGH! The dark ages!

Here was my take on ebooks from the article (notice we called them ‘e-books’ then):

“E-books aren’t for everyone,” said Scarbrough. “However, some readers are tired of the same topics and are looking for a change. E-publishers are in a position to provide the change because they aren’t restricted to what a market department dictates. Also, e-book readers are being developed, and I bet our children or grandchildren will be using them in school someday. However, I won’t buy one until they come down to about $50!”


Fast forward to 1998, and four important events happened: 1) the first dedicated eBook readers were launched: Rocket Ebook and Softbook; 2) the first ISBN issued to an eBook was obtained; 3) US Libraries began providing free eBooks to the public through their web sites and associated services; and 4) Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

BTW, a Rocket eBook cost $499 at the time.

I got my rights back and signed a contract with another small press that published Tangled Memories as a paperback.

But the publishing world kept changing. Here’s what “The History of eBooks” said happened nine years later:

2007 changed the world of reading forever with Amazon’s launch of the Kindle eBook reader in the U.S. and the launch of the iPhone by Apple. In 2009, Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook, and Sony linked with libraries via the Overdrive digital network to enable library patrons to borrow eBooks from their local library.

Soon after that, self-publishing became viable, and the book publishing scene was changed forever.

Today I self-publish Tangled Memories. It is available as a paperback from Amazon. This link will take you to a page listing twelve digital stores where you can purchase a copy of the book.

What about you? Do you read ebooks or do you still like your paperbacks?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Colorful Characters @kathleenlawless




Colors are infinitely interesting.  Most of us have one or more favorite colors; colors that we respond to and colors that we like not so much.  Colors can not only evoke a mood or a memory, advertisers would kill to know your favorite color.  Publishers aim for the popular color choices when designing a book cover.  I suggest you not let Facebook know your favorite color!
 
Recently my boss put us through a color test, the theory being that by knowing our true color he can get the most productivity from us.  I won’t say he succeeds at this, because I don’t believe it’s in his personal color make-up  (no empathy) to do so.  But as a group we were reduced to 4 colors.


Thus, fresh from my day at the office, I decided to color code my characters. 

Blue’s strength is authenticity.  Blues are emphatic, adept at motivating and interacting with others.  They are romantic, affectionate and supportive.  (as a romance novelist, I am a true blue)  We hug a lot.  I love cards.

Orange’s strength is skillfulness.  They are adventure-seeking, spontaneous, competitive.  They love tools and they learn by doing.  Stunt drivers would definitely be orange.  They never buy cards

Gold’s strength is duty.  They are loyal, serious and practical.  They juggle details, work hard, and respect authority.  Golds make great soldiers and police officers.

Green’s strengths is knowledge.  Greens are analytical, conceptual, independent.  Their head rules their heart.  They are uneasy when their emotions try to take over.  Your accountant is most likely green.

Of course everyone has splashes of each color in their make-up, but one color dominates.  And think of the possible conflicts.  An Orange, always on the search for adventure and taking risks, matched with a Gold who respects the rules and is sensible and practical. 

A Green who believes that feelings once stated, are obvious, conflicting with a Blue who thrives on small gestures of love and appreciation.    The possibilities are endless!

Then I had further fun with some archetypes. Warrior-Orange.  Librarian – Gold.  Conflict!
Freespirit – Orange.  Schoolteacher – Blue.  Conflict!   You get the idea.

I believe the more tools a writer uses to develop a character, the more multi-layered and authentic that character becomes.  It may not make it into the book but my characters all have a birthday and a horoscope, a name that matches their personality in numerology, an archetype, and now a color.  By using all these pieces to weave together a whole, I try to create a character that strikes a chord with my reader.  A character they can relate to and care about.    

For more on your color personality check out the booklet called True Colors, Keys To Personal Success, with the simple test to determine your color.   Perhaps it will even help you deal with that difficult coworker or cantankerous relative.














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