Archive for the ‘Bethany & Cody’ Category
Anyone who likes my author page on Facebook has already seen the news … several times. I’ve also been showing everyone at the office — and the baristas at my regular Starbucks. Pretty much anyone I can get to look at my phone is seeing my beautiful new cover.
To say I’m pleased is an understatement. “Pleased as punch” is, of course, a dreaded cliche — something the lovely Susan Haught keeps warning me I use too many of. She’s one of my NARWA chaptermates, and quite possibly my biggest fan. But she’s not afraid to point out where my WIPs need more W-O-R-K.
Anyway … back to the story of how I ended up with covers for two manuscripts that are NOT the one I plan to release first.
It all started last month, when I asked about cover artists — and the timing of cover purchases — on the Indie Romance Ink Yahoo loop.
Rogenna Brewer was one of many friendly, helpful folks who responded. She said that she was designing covers, and linked to her page of premade covers. That’s where I saw her. Bride.
“If she were blonde,” I thought, “she’d make a great Kari.”
Kari is the heroine in “Blind Date Bride,” the tale of a guy and gal whose friends enter them in a cable TV network’s “Get a Love Life” contest in hopes of them winning lesser prizes. But when a panel of experts deems them to have the worst love lives in America, they win the grand prize — a blind date wedding.
So I emailed Rogenna to ask if there was any way to make the bride in her “Bride” cover a blonde. We started exchanging emails about “Blind Date Bride” and its sequel, “Trouble in Paradise.” Since the stories are related, I wanted covers that looked like they belonged together. The next thing I knew, I’d agreed to a deal — buy one custom-made cover, get one free.
I couldn’t be happier.
The photo Rogenna found for “Blind Date Bride” hints at so much — my hero, Damien, is a veterinarian, so the puppy is a fantastic touch. And obviously, this photo would have been taken toward the HEA end of the story.
The photo for “Paradise” is actually from Bora Bora, the island Beth and Cody visit to film the reality show that may kill the perfectly healthy relationship that Beth thought was headed south.
(Oops — cliche alert! Luckily, I’m pretty sure I never use that phrasing anywhere in the manuscript.)
Now that I have gorgeous covers, I have a lot of work to do. The first draft for “Paradise” hasn’t even been completely written yet — I have about 20K to go. This is the story that got decimated in the Golden Pen a couple of years ago. Judges hated my heroine. Said they had no idea why the hero was with her … Obviously, I have some rewriting to do.
And I will. But first, I need to polish “Home for the Holidays,” the novella I plan to release this November.
Rogenna’s already got some great ideas for that cover, too. Through the end of July, she’s running a deal for cover design clients: Buy 2, get one free. Check it out.
I’m off from the day job for this long, holiday weekend (thank goodness), but I plan to use my time wisely and get lots of writing-related things accomplished.
On my to-do list (after updating the blog, of course):
- Finish my current WIP, tentatively titled “Diva in the Dugout.” It’s the companion to my GH finalist, “Beauty and the Ballplayer” — the one I started in March, after getting the GH call … the one I figured “If that’s the story that’s going to succeed, I’d better write another one in the same series.”
- Get back into the swing of writing “Trouble in Paradise?” — the one I put on hold to write Dave & Melinda’s story … and the one I plan to enter in the 2012 GH. I’d like to write at least 5K new words.
- Re-edit “My Fair Fiancee” so I can get it out to my volunteer beta reader. (I lost the edits somehow — probably the same way I lost the edits on Meg & Matt’s story — and have to re-enter them. Thank goodness I have a hard copy to work from.) I’m planning to put that one in the GH this year, too (different category).
- Judge at least 2 of the 5 Golden Pen entries I received. I don’t want that deadline to creep up on me with 5 left.
- Write a synopsis and query for “My Fair Fiancee” so it’s ready to go.
There you have it: My weekend plans. Wonder if I can squeeze it all in before the Boyfriend gets back from his tennis tournament and wants to play? I sure hope so!
If I do, I’ll be able to curl up with Anne Marie Becker’s “Only Fear” when it’s delivered to my Nook on Monday. Right now I’m reading Jaci Burton’s “Changing the Game.”
My writing output seems to drop in direct correlation to any increase in blog reading. That’s a problem, I know — but if I don’t take the time to read a few blogs, how can I expect anyone to read mine?
Besides, if I stopped reading, I’d miss out on gems like this one from Janice Hardy’s blog, The Other Side of the Story. She writes:
Choices that don’t cause trouble are wasted opportunity. The whole point of a book is to show someone overcoming adversity to win. If there’s nothing to overcome, there’s no point in the winning.”
What a way to put it!
It’s no secret that I struggle with conflict. (I blame it on being a Libra. Libras strive for fairness and avoid conflict.) Judges’ comments I got on my first completed MS — even after several new drafts — consistently said “not enough conflict to sustain the story.”
What? You mean a girl falling for one guy when she’s trying to “snag” another one altogether isn’t conflict?
Not according to Hardy. She writes, “A choice between two good things with no consequences for making that choice is probably not going to hold your reader’s interest.”
Well, I already knew Brad and Erin’s story needed help. I tried to remedy it in subsequent drafts by casting suspicion on him … I even hacked out their original “black moment” (such as it was. The “Battle of the Birth Control” was pretty silly when I look back at it with a more experienced eye.)
The key for me is to remember that my hero and heroine have to make choices. And those choices have to mean something. The potential for disaster should loom around every corner.
I think that is the case in my more recent stories. Bethany’s decision to talk Cody into applying for the TV show lands them in a heap of trouble. When Kenny asks Kristi to pretend to be his fiancee, things get out of hand quickly.
Hmm. All my blog reading must be teaching me something about the craft.
The hero in my WIP, Cody, has a tendency to use big words and shrink-speak when he’s upset, angry or flustered. (There’s a reason he has a T-shirt that says “I’m fluent in psychobabble.”)
It turns out Cody and I have that in common. Now that I’m writing fiction fairly regularly, I notice myself trying to flaunt my vocabulary in the articles I write for the newspaper, too.
When I was in journalism school (way back in the dark ages … the early 1990s), we learned the average reading level of the newspaper audience was eighth grade. (I think I’ve heard it’s since dropped to sixth grade, but I might be mistaken there.)
I analyzed my writing style with a computer program once (way back in those same dark ages) and it told me I wrote at a 10th-grade level. That has more than likely changed the farther I’ve gotten from college (where everyone used big words in an attempt to show off what they thought they knew) and the more deeply entrenched I’ve become in journalistic style.
We journalists are trained to use simpler words. A school bus is just plain “yellow,” not “canary” or even “that shade of mustard peculiar to school buses.” Don’t use “growled” or “yelled” when a simple “said” gets the point across without embellishment.
Sometimes I wonder if that training has affected my fiction writing. In first drafts, I often go with the most expedient word. Then I scramble to change it later on.
But now that I’m shifting my focus to making a good impression on agents and editors, I find myself choosing words with a little more razzmatazz … well, like razzmatazz. 😉
That’s not a bad thing at all — unless I’m writing a story for the newspaper. When I’m in journalist mode, I have to catch myself before I use words like “eschew.”
At least I haven’t tried to throw “bifurcated” into a sentence. I stumbled across that one while editing someone else’s story one night and spent much time complaining to whoever would listen that “bifurcated” was unnecessary when “forked” meant the same darn thing — and didn’t send readers scrambling for the nearest dictionary.
How about you? Ever catch yourself using words that make you feel like a big fish in a small pond?