WIP: Faebourne

Due out 7 August!

It’s part Regency romance, part fairy tale. To tide you over, here is a little excerpt:

“May I suggest, Miss Odette, that walking alone through dark forests is perhaps not the safest way to spend your evening?”

She pursed her perfectly rose pink lips at him. “I’m entirely safe barring any strange men carrying iron cauldrons. I’d say, in fact, I’m more safe alone with myself than alone with you.”

Duncan was tempted to point out that being with him meant she wasn’t alone but chose to pursue the greater point. “I promise I am no threat to you, Miss Odette.”

“Then why do you have that?” She pointed at the pot.

He grimaced, feeling foolish. The errand, after all, defied explanation, but he tried anyway. “I’m supposed to catch a—oh,” he said, realizing. “You’re… a song?”

“I’m always a song, and I’m sometimes a person,” she told him.

“You look remarkably like someone I know,” Duncan said. She was just Adelia’s height, too, and had her hair piled and curled in the same way. Odette’s movements and voice, however, were utterly different.

“All songs look like someone you know,” said Odette. “Or places. Some days I’m whole fields of flowers.” She gaze became distant and unfocused, her face alight and wistful. “Those are nice days.”

IWSG: Deadline!

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

This month I’m mostly insecure about finishing this project in time for the August 7 release date!

Question of the Month: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Oh, I’d say they’re equally difficult but not at the same time. I either have the title and the names become a challenge, or I have the characters and can’t think of a title. It never seems to be that both are easy or both are hard. I wonder why that is?

WIP Snippet

Though I’m focusing on Faebourne at the moment, I wanted to share this piece from The Great Divide (the sequel to Manifesting Destiny), given that it’s Pride Month:

Marcus shrugged, giving the impression of someone trying to find comfort in ill-fitting clothes. “Do you remember when we were thirteen? That’s when it changed.”

“That’s when you changed, you mean.” Cee gasped at her own words. She hadn’t meant to say them aloud.

“I never changed, Cee.” Marcus’s tone was dull, resigned, as though he’d had this argument with himself many times before. “It just never mattered until then. Until you decided it mattered. That day at the play.”

Cee opened her mouth to protest but couldn’t. He wasn’t wrong. She snapped her mouth shut and nodded.

They’d gone to see a play at the local theatre—Nitid Ink it had been called—and afterward gone for ice cream. While they ate, Cee gushed about how cute one of the actors had been, and without hesitation Marcus picked up the thread and enthused along with her. It had taken Cee by surprise, and afterward she could not help but notice which way Marcus’s eyes turned whenever they went out. Usually they were on their work, or trained on a book, but Cee couldn’t fail to miss the way those green eyes followed the male tennis team whenever they walked by, or how they lingered on magazine photos of good-looking young men.

After that, Cee had quit mentioning any guys she found attractive.

It only occurred to her as they stood there in the sun how unfair it had been of her to tacitly require Marcus to hide himself. She should have been there for him if it was something he wanted to discuss. Even if all he wanted to talk about were handsome actors, letting him do that—better yet, doing it with him—would have shown him she accepted him.

But she hadn’t accepted him, had she? Not really. She’d refused to accept that Marcus was gay because she wanted so badly for it to be otherwise. She wanted to pretend it wasn’t true.

“Cee?”

Marcus’s voice broke through her epiphany. Cee blinked and discovered her cheeks were wet with tears. “Sorry,” she said, swiping at her face with her fingertips. “This isn’t—it’s not because you’re…” Her throat tried to close over the word but she made herself say it. “Gay. It’s because I’ve been such a bad friend. That day—I was so startled when you agreed with me about that actor I just pretended it never happened. And that wasn’t fair to you.”

IWSG: Pileup on the Writing Turnpike

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

I have a lot to be insecure about these days. 1. I need to finish Faebourne because it has a set pub date of August 7. (Also a gorgeous cover!) 2. After seeking advice, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to shelve Hamlette and write an entirely different Shakespeare book (if I want to continue doing the Shakespeare thing, which I think I do, though I feel less sure than before). That’s really a tough one—I put all that time and energy into Hamlette and now it feels like a waste. 3. Changers 2? Maybe?

Question of the Month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Um, sometimes I don’t. That’s probably the wrong answer, but it’s the truth. I’ve never had anything good come out of trying to force it, though. Instead of fiction, I’ll write in my journal or something. Get the emotions out. I find that clarifying as an exercise. If I can figure out what’s really bothering me, I can then make a plan of action to start to feel better.

Brynnde Scores a PW Review

It seems like Brynnde is on an upswing. Yesterday it was featured on the Indie Beginning podcast (see yesterday’s post), and I also discovered Booklife/Publishers Weekly had reviewed it! Read the review here.

All of this makes me ever more determined to get Faebourne done and out into the hands of my readers. I hope you’ll embrace it as warmly as you have Brynnde.

A Random Pile of Thoughts

Well, 2018 is 25% finished. How have you done so far this year? How are you feeling? Looking at the goals I set at the start of the year, well . . . Um . . . I’ve had to rearrange a few things. Here’s what I originally set:

  1. Finish Changers 2. Deadline: 1 March
  2. Find an agent for Hamlette. Deadline: 1 May
  3. Lose 15 lbs. Deadline: 1 June
  4. Finish Faebourne. Deadline: 1 September

Changers 2 is not anywhere near finished. In fact, it’s been backburnered in favor of Faebourne, which now has a pub date of 7 August. So that’s been prioritized.

As for Hamlette, based on feedback from agents, my hopes for it have dimmed considerably. I’m now at the point where I need to decide whether to trunk it or self-publish.

But I’m pleased to say I’ve lost some weight! I now only have 10 lbs to lose.

Revised goals:

  1. Finish Faebourne. Deadline: 20 July
  2. Lose 10 lbs. Deadline: 1 June
  3. Finish Changers 2. Deadline: ???
  4. Decide what to do with Hamlette Deadline: ???

Today is Easter as well as April Fool’s Day. I’m not one for pranks. I don’t have the patience for that kind of thing; I guess I’m too serious-minded. It’s why I don’t watch movies with juvenile bathroom humor. I just don’t find that funny.

Still, the kids hunted eggs this morning. One of the plastic eggs had been eaten through by a squirrel, which makes me worry the squirrel went away with a stomach ache. Eating plastic like that can’t have been good for him. But bravo for the determination, little guy. (And he did take some of the candy out of the egg, too. So it wasn’t entirely for naught.)

We went to a Passover seder last night, too, at my in-laws. So there are just a lot of holidays stacked this weekend. And it’s spring break for my kids as well.

It occurred to me recently that my kids have somewhat posh hobbies. My daughter takes horseback riding lessons, and the boys do fencing. And this morning they were all out back doing archery. I suppose it’s all good until one of them decides they want to take up tennis.

Here is hoping you have a wonderful holiday, whichever you may celebrate, and a wonderful spring in general. And I hope any goals you set for 2018 are beginning to bear fruit—more than mine, anyway!

BTW, tune in to the Indie Beginning podcast tomorrow to hear some of Brynnde! And the following Monday, April 9, will feature yours truly!

Faebourne Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited about the beautiful cover Elena at L1graphics has created for Faebourne! I seriously want to blow it up to poster size and hang it in my office where I can look at it every day. It makes me so happy!

And thank you to everyone who voted and sent me comments on the various cover designs. It seems most of you liked this one best, but I think I would have chosen it regardless. The moment I saw it, I swooned—and that’s the reaction I’m hoping readers will have too!

Without further ado, here it is:

About Faebourne:

When unassuming Duncan Oliver is kidnapped by the Milne brothers, his usually tame life takes a turn for the bizarre. The Milne family is rumored to carry a peculiar strain of insanity—or could it be true that they have fairy blood in their veins? Either way, the lovely Adelia Milne appears to have cast a spell over Duncan . . . An enchantment that, the longer Duncan stays at Faebourne, the more reluctant he is to break.

Publication day is August 7!

It’s Raining Rejection

Rejection is a part of the writing process. Precious few writers don’t suffer it in one form or another: rejected queries, rejected manuscripts, or the rejection of the reading public (often in the form of one-star reviews).

Today I received this rejection from an agent who’d done me the great good service of reading my entire manuscript:

This is an original concept and you’ve done a great job creating a novel with a strong voice and engaging characters. That said, after careful consideration, I just didn’t connect as strongly with this project as I would need to in order to represent it.

Arrrgh! (No, not a pirate. Frustration.)

I really, really want to take consolation from that first line. But . . . If the novel was good, why doesn’t she want to represent it? And since she doesn’t give me any specific feedback or suggestions, I can’t help thinking the manuscript must be unsalvageable. Like, if she thought I could do something to make it better, she’d at least give me an R&R, right?

[For the uninitiated, an R&R is a “revise & resubmit.” Agents and editors sometimes offer that if a manuscript isn’t quite there yet but they see potential.]

There are a couple other agents still looking at the manuscript, but all the rejections thus far have been of that same ilk: “Really good, but didn’t connect.” At this point I don’t know what I’m going to do with this book. Burn it? While I try to decide how to build a suitable bonfire, I’ll focus on finishing Faebourne. That one I’ll publish myself. (Already have a gorgeous cover, so be on the lookout for it in a future post!)

Please Vote!

I’m getting cover designs for my new Regency romance Faebourne and I need some help narrowing things down. Click here to see and vote. Which of those covers makes you want to pick up the book and read it? Thanks for your input!

(P.S. I know two of the covers look almost exactly alike, but the font and color of the title is different. So if you like one more than the other, let me know that too!)

IWSG: Celebrating

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

Right now I’m caught between the desire to land an agent or [reputable] publisher and the option to self-publish. This is mostly due to my own impatience, but it also comes in part from feedback I received from an agent at the San Francisco Writers Conference. My current manuscript is a YA contemporary update of Hamlet, and the agent said that’s already overdone. That I should go choose a lesser known Shakespeare play to rework instead. She said I could then sit on my current manuscript so I’d have it if whatever fresher thing I wrote took off, or that I could self-publish it. The gist was: it’s good to have another manuscript banked. At the same time, there are no guarantees. And it wouldn’t necessarily work against me to publish it myself since they wouldn’t technically be a series.

Well. I’ve got a couple agencies still reading the manuscript, so maybe not all hope is lost. But if everyone passes . . . I don’t know what I’ll do. At least I’ve outlined a couple more Shakespeare books to write as well.

Question of the Month: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

Depends on the achievement. If I land a contract (or agent, or option, though those things have then fallen through), we usually go out to eat. If I just finish a draft or something, I don’t do much of anything special. Maybe eat a cookie or something.