Typing With Wet Paws: Where Were We? Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Greatest Hits picture because Amazon and Aunt Anna are having disagreements of the password variety, but yay for new content.We are back in Albany after a side quest in CT, and Aunt Anna said it was high time to get back to blogging. This seldf isolation thing is hard on extroverts, so I have been putting in exstra mews time to get Aunt Anna up and running…er, writing.

Aunt Anna’s big task this weekend is to comb through her Google Docs and put all of her scenes for Drama King into one Scrivener file, along with Aunt Melva’s scenes. Some of those scenes might be stored on a flash drive that is in the storage unit, which is on lockdown (except by appointment) so if Aunt Anna can’t find a couple of specific scenes in the files she can access, she will need to reconstruct the scenes. If you hear her sobbing softly, it is probably that. She has not yet come to the point of obessively looking at her writer email to see if there are any nibbles on A Heart Mosty Errant, but we are realistic over here. That time is coming.

She is also verging on “what the fluff, let’s see what happens” about giving My Outcast Heart a once-over and getting it out there with a new cover and a couple of tweaks. The main things that give her pause is that it was written in first person, and maybe that’s a turnoff for enough romance readers to consider translating to third. Because it is exhausting to see her overthink (and I need both of us well rested because she got me a red dot and I LOVE chasing it) I will ask you guys here. Would you read a historical romance told in first person, or is it third person or nothing?

Aunt Anna is kicking tail and taking names on the Goodreads challenge front, with 45 books read out of her goal of 90. This puts her at halfway there, so I think she is probably going to make it, seeing as this is only April. She is 23 books ahead of schedule, which I can’t even….but good for her. Keep going, Aunt Anna. Blow that goal out of the water.

Aunt Anna is kind of salty about this, so if you’re looking for a new contemporary…

For readers looking for My Outcast Heart or Orphans in the Storm, those are currently between publishers, so keep eyes peeled for news on new editions soon. In the meantime, besides Chasing Prince Charming (click the link above) her historical romance novellas, Queen of the Ocean, and Never Too Late, are both available on Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee. QotO has wreckers and pirates, and NTL has a seasoned heroine and second chance at eh one who got away. Both are standalones, so you don’t need to read one to read the other. I’m not saying don’t read them both, but if you have strong opinions on tropes or settings, pick the one you like.

Buried Under Romance is indeed on the way back now that we are done with the CT side quest and Aunt Anna has some ideas historical romance authors, message her. She wants to talk.

In other news, we are moving toward a new normal, with apartment hunts and Aint Anna working on Patreon stuff. She and Aunt Melva are back to their weekly chats about their contemporaries, and will be giving their website a major overhaul :salute.: If you got that reference, you get an extra awesome point.

I have been helping Aunt Anna with ther planning and asrt journal, though she says making off with her pen is not actually helping. She got a new pen that is part thing that pokes her tablet screen and part RED DOT!!!!! I LOVE Red Dot! No shade on Mousie, but Red Dot? Dude is going down. As soon as I can catch him. He’s a slippery one, though, BUT i WILL KEEP TRYING.

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Claws: Some Weeks Are Like That Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. It is cool and rainy today, so I am hunkered down for the duration. Rain will not find me here in my hallway, outside Anty and Uncle’s room. The weather is also gray, like me, which may be why Anty finds this kind of weather very beautiful. Technically, the vet says I am a brown tabby, but all cats are gray in the dark. Anty says the old-timey people in her stories knew that phrase, but it was not talking about actual cats. She says the old-timey meaning was only for grownups, and not very nice ones, at that. Anyway, since I am a kitty, I see very well in the dark, so I win.

Where Anty wins (aside from winning Uncle) is that I have to talk about where to find her writing on the interwebs (apart from here, that is) before I can talk about anything else (which is mostly about her writing, most of the time, anyway, so I do not see what the big problem is, but whatever. Anty is the human, and if she understands, that is good enough for me. ) As always, she was at Buried Under Romance, like she is every week. This week, she talked about what makes a summer read. That post is here, and its link on the main page looks like this:

BURSummerisComing

 

For Anty’s Goodreads challenge, she is now two books behind again, and she is not very happy about that, but I am willing to cut her some slack. Uncle did not feel well for a large part of this  week, and there were two days when Anty did not feel that great, herself. Also there were domestic tornadoes. Anty is making progress on her reading, however, and all of her current reads are historical romance, so I am going to call that good, considering extenuating circumstances. Keep on keeping on, Anty. You can still turn this around. Finish reading two books this weekend, and you are back on track.
I will use the same graphic as last week, since she has only read the same books.

GRreadingchallenge060917

only one more book, and it’s forty!

 

Even though Anty did not write a lot on the interwebs this week, she has been busy writing. This week, she finished chapter ten of her second draft of Her Last First Kiss. Both Critique Partner Vicki and Miss N had some very nice things to say about this version of the chapter, which gets Anty all excited to head into the next one.

Anty also had a Skype conference (I still think they should spell that Skye Pee, but whatever) with Anty Melva, her co-writer on Chasing Prints Charming, and they are ready to embark on editing their completed first draft. Anty Melva has written with another writer before, but Anty has only had solo books published so far. There may be some adventures ahead, as they learn what method of editing works best for them. So far, they are going to take the beginning-beginning, each edit it, with special attention on the parts written by the other person. They have one week to get this done, so we will see how that goes.

Now that Anty’s current projects are moving along, it is also time for her to make some noise about the books she has already written. So far, she has made two teasers. One is for one of her books, Queen of the Ocean. It looks like this:

QueenOfTheOceanTeaser

Note the lack of cats, but there is a bright spot. There is a ship in the story (actually more than one) and old-timey ships always had cats on board, to keep the rodent population under control. They are the true heroes of the sea. You’re welcome.

The other teaser is for Orphans in the Storm, her English Civil War historical romance. That one looks like this:

OrphansInTheStormTeaser

There would be cats on that ship, too.

Anty is still working on teasers for her other books, Never Too Late, and My Outcast Heart. After that, well, she’d better write some more books, or her bookshelf page (that is coming soon) will be very short. She has plans to make teasers for Her Last First Kiss, and Chasing Prints Charming, as well as her postapocalyptic medieval romance, Ravenwood (at least the title has birds in it; that is promising. I like birds. They are delicious.) which may get a different name, but we will see.

Making teasers is fun for Anty, because she is a visual thinker anyway.  Thinking is something Anty has been doing rather a lot of lately, most of it about writing and publishing. Also about putting more cats in her books. I am happy to announce that Drama King, the next contemporary she will write with Anty Melva, does have a cat in it.  He is an orange tabby, and he’s seen some things. I have high hopes for him.

For now, though, it is a rainy day, and Anty has laundry to do, which means a solid hour of reading time, while the clothes get clean and dry. She also promised Mama to read her some of chapter ten, because Mama is looking forward to chapter ten. Mama has not read the whole book yet, but she knows the general idea, and wants a little taste. Maybe Anty will consider giving her other readers a little taste in a while, too.  She is looking forward to making a proper introduction of Hero and Heroine to her readers, so readers will be used to Hero and Heroine’s scents when Her Last First Kiss becomes a real book.

That is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

skyebanner01

skyebyefancy

Until next week…

The Art of Being a Tease(r)

This past Saturday,  author Marianne Rice was our guest speaker at our monthly CR-RWA meeting.  The topic? Book teasers. What I knew about them? Zero. Okay, not really zero, but close enough. I knew they were pretty, that I liked seeing them, and the Greek chorus in my head, this time comprised of my dad, a lifelong artist, retired commercial art director; and cover art queen, Elaine Duillo, would not remain quiet. Here’s what they said:

Dad: Advertising is the art of telling people what they want.

Elaine Duillo: A cover’s job is to get the reader to cross the store to pick up that book (paraphrased, from a phone interview that I still fangirl over,  coughety-cough years after the fact.)

It’s not possible to think of those two bits of wisdom, without also thinking of the anecdote that prompted the Duillo quote/paraprahse. I’d been perusing the new releases in the romance section of the Waldenbooks (see, I told you this was ancient history) down the street from where I lived at the time. Two little girls arrived about the same time I did, far too young to be romance readers themselves, as in write their ages in single digits young. Girl A pointed excitedly to one cover. “Ooh, I’ll be her,” she squealed. Girl B pointed to another cover. “I want to be her.” Over and over again, through the selection, picking out their favorites, until their big person summoned them, or they ran off on their own; I don’t remember which.  I wanted to pick out my next reads, so their ultimate destination wasn’t my concern, though I suspect they may well have become romance readers, and I hope that they are.

What I do know is that I was those girls when I was their age, and my Aunt Lucy’s visits always included a big brown paper grocery bag full of historical romance novels, as a gift for my mother. My job was to take the bag to the laundry room and de-bag the books, for Mom to look through later. I was forbidden to read them, as I was too young, but those covers were fair game. I spent a lot longer than I strictly needed on that job, crafting stories in my head, based on the cover images and back blurbs, even if I didn’t know what all of the words about the more, ah, intimate, sides of the story, meant. Fast forward coughty-cough years, and I am not only a romance reader, but a romance writer and blogger. I write romance, and about romance, and, though it’s been a while since my last release, I do still have a backlist and several projects in the works, so this workshop on teasers was more than relevant to my interests.

Because I learn best by doing, I was angry at myself for not having brought my laptop to the workshop, as Marianne Rice gave us the opportunity to create a book teaser on the spot, and I love that kind of thing. Both the nifty playing with graphics, and the chance to make something at the drop of a hat, and showing off one of my book babies wouldn’t hurt, either. I tried. Canva is not compatible with my Android phone, so I seethed, then took out a Post-It and sketched a layout. As soon as I got home, I put the new knowledge to the test, and made my first ever teaser:

QueenOfTheOceanTeaser

Now I want to read this again.

Not bad for a first time at bat, if I do say so myself, and there was a very similar feeling when I hit “save” as the first time I saw the first version of the cover. It’s real, or, in this case, it’s still real. My baby is still pretty, and I still want to pump a fist in the air when I think of Mateo and Frances sailing off into the sunset, for real. Okay, the sun was already down, but give me this one.

Queen of the Ocean gave me the chance to play with one of my favorite tropes, reunited lovers, which works super well for novellas, and dip my toes into the waters of one of my favorite eras, the sixteenth century. No Court intrigues in this one, but I still get a delicious shiver when I think of the opening scene, of Frances at the water’s edge, staring down the only way she saw to escape the grim reality of life among a family of wreckers. She clings to the memories of Mateo, her childhood best friend and first love, spirited away by his seafaring father, out of her life forever…until the same sea that took him from her dumps him at her feet when his ship runs afoul of her family’s plans.

All of that came rushing back when I browsed through images free for commercial and personal use.  Add a small blurb, the title, pop the cover in there, and there we have it. My name was the last thing I added, because it hadn’t crossed my mind to do so before, but it’s mine. I wrote it. I’m proud of this story, and if doing something I’d do for fun anyway (playing with pretty graphics) could get Frances and Mateo into the hands of new readers, well, that’s a win for both counts, from where I’m sitting.

For today, my trip back in time takes me not to sixteenth century Cornwall, with Frances and Mateo, but eighteenth century London, with Hero and Heroine, and Her Last First Kiss, because critique meeting is tomorrow, and if I want N’s feedback, I have to have pages to show her. Even so, making the Queen of the Ocean teaser reminded me that I have this lovely graphic, by the amazing Sandra Schwab (who also wrote my favorite gothic, Castle of the Wolf) still waiting for the right text:

rubyrenderschwabplain

Image by Sandra Schwab

The first time I opened the email with this image in it, my first thought was, “there she is,” and there I was, in the scene where she takes out her pistol and aims it at…well, that would be telling. It would also be writing, or in this case, re-writing, because we’re on draft two of this now, Ruby and her hero and I, and every day’s work brings us one step closer to getting that story in the hands of readers, too.  Seeing a visual representation of that journey, even while it’s still in progress, can provide a much needed creative boost. If it whets some reader appetites along the way, well, we’ll take that, too.

What do you like to see in a book teaser?

TheWriterIsOut