Next In Line

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With the publication of REEL WITH A JILT, the Quadrille series is half way finished. There are only two books left, and those will both be released next year, one in the spring, the other in the fall. I was thinking that with sales being low (my own fault, really, since I haven’t done much by way of promotion) I might take a little break from writing regency. There’s one manuscript waiting in the wings that I wrote some time ago that I plan to clean up and publish in 2015. After that?

Well, after that, I wasn’t sure I had any more regencies in me. Plenty of other novels, sure, but none of them would fit in the early 1800s.

Until last night. When my very stubborn brain refused to go to sleep as I hammered out details for a trilogy.

That’s right. After the Quadrille is finished, I’ll be starting on a trilogy. Well, less a trilogy, since the books can be read completely on their own (they’re not linked together the way the books in the Quadrille are) but a series of three that all revolve around young women with shining talents and, of course, the men they fall in love with.

I’m looking forward to bringing you, my sweet readers, more books set during a time of such lofty ideals, indisputable honor, and romance. And you can all look forward to another two books a year from me for the next three years.

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Cover Reveal: REEL WITH A JILT

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I have an admission to make. I’ve been having a very hard time getting work done on REEL WITH A JILT. It seems like it’s been an uphill struggle every step of the way, which is unusual for me with a manuscript. And it hasn’t just been with writing and revising, but with work on the cover art as well.

But, I set myself a deadline, and by golly, I kept it.

I’m very pleased to present to you the cover for REEL WITH A JILT.

Reel with a Jilt Reveal

 

After witnessing her cousin marry for love, Barbara is determined that she will settle for nothing less.

A clandestine meeting, and a trap sprung, ruins her hopes of marrying a man she truly loved. Though that’s not going to stop her from looking.

Sheldon Ashley thought he was saving her, until the trap caught him in its grasp as well, tying them together in a marriage she didn’t want. He will have to win Barbara’s love if he wants to keep her as his wife, or else he’ll have to keep his promise to divorce her once she’s found love elsewhere.

Other than Writing

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I spend a great deal of time working on books. Drafting, revising, revising again, it takes months to produce a final copy. Despite all the time that goes into making a book, it’s not the only thing I do. If it was, I’d go mad.

So, what are some of the things I do outside of writing to help keep me sane?

Reading

Somewhere, sometime, I once heard another author liken the writing process to a well. The more you write, the more words you use up, and you have to “refill the well.” This is done with reading. I have a tendency to do things in phases. I’ll read voraciously for months on end, then won’t want to pick up a book for a couple of months. I guess that’s what it takes to refill my well, and once it’s full, I can move on to other things. Like–

Crafting

I don’t do a lot of crafting, though occasionally the need arises.

Like this past summer. I had the chance to attend a Steampunk Convention (the Salt City Steamfest, to be precise) and I wore an amazing bustle skirt and corset by Damsel in this Dress. I had an old owl necklace I was given as a child that worked perfectly, but no earrings to match. And just my luck, I couldn’t find any.

So I made some.

For halloween this year, I’m planning to dress up as a faerie. I’m making the wings, which has involved a lot of wire-work, spray painting, and gluing.

 

Sewing

I also sew. Remember Steamfest? They’re holding a ball in October. I created a bustled petticoat, along with an underskirt with a beautiful pleated ruffle, to wear beneath a gold bustle skirt. Again, because I couldn’t find what I wanted for a reasonable price.

I’m going to be sewing my faerie costume together, too. As the seasons change, and winter falls, my interests and hobbies will no doubt shift again. This time toward—

Knitting/Crocheting

Knitting is a new thing for me. I picked it up last winter when crocheting became too easy. Well, not easy, necessarily, but monotonous. There’s only so much you can do with loops. Knitting is more varied, and also more of a challenge. Once the weather chills a bit, it’ll be perfect for pulling out the yarn and cozying up beneath mounds of knitted/crocheted projects while catching up on the Netflix queue.

Music

I spent a good portion of my school years in band. Flute was my main instrument, but I was played clarinet (for one semester) and baritone sax (for a whole school year). I’ve recently acquired a violin, and have been spending time learning to play it.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to pull out an instrument and make music. It’s a balm to my soul.

 

One of these days, I plan to make a historically accurate regency gown (or three) for my younger sister. Who is slender, and beautiful, and very, very photogenic. When that happens, I’ll be sure to share my pains and triumphs here with you all. It would make for a great series of blog posts, and they’d be relevant!

For now, just now that I’m working away on the second book of the Quadrille, coming out this October. Look for a cover reveal and release information here.

Failure in my Duties

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Blogging, I’m sad to admit, has never been one of my strong points. There are other things I’d much rather be doing. Like writing. Or playing the new violin I recently acquired from a friend. I’ve always loved the violin, and always wanted to learn how to play it, and I’ve been busy delighting in doing just that. Then there’s the reading, which has monopolized much of my time and attention for several months now.

Those are all excuses, of course. What it really comes down to is that, at heart, I am a lazy creature, and maintaining a blog is hard work.

Rather a lot has happened since the cover reveal of WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER. It’s available right here on Amazon, for one.

As mentioned before, I’ve rediscovered my love for making music. I played the flue for years and years while I was in school, but set it aside when I decided to devote my time to pursuing publication. The bits of my desk not covered with notebooks and books is now covered with music and instruments. Well, just two instruments. My tin whistle, and it’s lower cousin the low whistle. The violin, sadly, would be in danger of falling off the desk and there must remain in its case when not in use.

I’ve also sewn a bit. A friend of mine gave me a skirt a little while ago. It was the first skirt that did not cover my feet that I actually liked, and it inspired me to make another skirt of my own design. It came out well enough, I suppose, but the next one will be better. And there will be, without a doubt, a next one.

Now, for the most exciting bit of news (aside from the recent publication of WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER, which I failed to enthuse about here when it actually happened. Lazy, remember) I’ve recently started work on the second book in the Quadrille! I would share it’s name, except I haven’t figured it out yet. If you click the “Books” tab (or the link so handily provided right there) you’ll find the list of books in the Quadrille. You’ll note that the next book in the list is THE ROGUE’S PAS DE TROIS. That will not be the second book.

No. The second book will actually be the fourth book. A book that I will have to name rather quickly, because I can’t keep referring to it as “Untitled Book 4” and only partly because that is a highly inaccurate title. Since it’s not Book 4. It is now Book 2.

Perhaps that’s what I should call it.

I’m sure a half-way decent title will come to me eventually. It had better, at any rate.

In any case, I’m here to make a pledge to you, my dearest readers. I’m going to attempt to blog at least once a month. Twice would be better. Please feel free to hunt me down on the internet and clobber me over the head if I fail in my duties. You can always find me on Facebook, or Twitter.

We’ll see how well I do this time, eh?

Cover Reveal: Waltz of the Wallflower

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I am proud to present the cover for WALTZ, coming out in April! I’m so excited for this one.

Are you ready for it?

Waltz Reveal

 

Waltz of the Wallflower

Meredith Phelps has suffered through two Seasons, and the snide, petty cruelty of the ton. Unwilling to marry for money, and determined to make a living for herself, she swore she would never attend another Season. She could make her own way in the world, alone and independent, and perfectly content to remain that way.

Her family wants to see her happy. Together, they conspire to bring Meredith back to London for one more season and the chance to find love.

Non-Regency Writing

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As mentioned in the previous blog, I’m between regency projects at the moment, and my brain is turned elsewhere.  Even though Diana is all about the regency, I thought it might be nice to share a bit of what I’m working on in the other genres I write in.

Right now I’m drafting the second book in an urban fantasy series starring bounty hunter and body guard for hire Kassidy Winslow.  Between writing romances for my lovely readers, I’d like to finish the second book, draft the third, and then go back and revise the daylights out of the first book before starting it on the query-go-round.

It’s my long term goal, and has been a very long time dream, to publish traditionally and have my books in a brick and mortar store.  The UF I work on is what I’d like to do that with.

I’m also fiddling around with the story of a character that I’ve been writing with for…a very long time.  But that’s writing for me and not likely to go anywhere.  Maybe one day it will have it’s time to shine, but right now I’m focusing on regency and Kassidy.

And another other stories that catch my attention and can be squeezed into short story format.

After I finish the draft of this book, I’m going to start on cover art* and the first round of revisions for WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER, which is still slated for a spring release.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

*Announcement!

The cover reveal for WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER is slated for March 20th, the first day of spring. Be sure to mark your calendars!

Already Falling Off

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I can’t remember the last time I posted a blog.  It probably hasn’t been that long, but my sense of time is fairly non-existant, so it could be a lot longer than it feels.  Or not half as long as I worry it’s been.  (And the blog assures me that I’ve only missed one week, so that’s not all that bad.)

Part of the problem is that I’m horrible at coming up with things to blog about.  Especially after I’m no longer working on a regency.  I finished the first draft of WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER on the 13th, and my brain simply shut off that area so it could better focus on other things.  It’s a strategy that makes it easier to come back and start the second draft of a book.  If I can completely forget everything about it (and that usually only takes a month) then I can look at it with fresh eyes and figure out what works and what doesn’t and start working it over to make it into a readable book.

In the meantime, I’m trying VERY HARD not to think about anything regency.  Hence the silence last week and this long, rambling excuse this week.

In other news, I received my first royalty statement last week.  I’m now a professional author, though it doesn’t feel like it.  Not yet.  Maybe after I get a book out, rather than the single novella.  Or maybe after I receive a hard copy of WALTZ from createspace, when the time comes to publish it.

Or maybe I’ll never really feel like a professional.  Hard to say.

It’s a Matter of Pacing

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On my facebook page, I was recently asked, in response to a comment I made about regency making me slow down and explore settings and description:

Do you find UF seems more rushed than period pieces because of the action?

My answer was as follows.

No more rushed, but definitely faster. UF focuses more on the mystery elements, the fighting, and the plot. Period pieces aren’t necessarily “slower,” but they do focus more on the characters and their interactions. It actually makes it harder to write, sometimes. In an UF, if I get stuck, I can just blow up a building and go from there, but there’s no crutch like that in regency.

Then I got to really thinking about the differences between UF and regency (my period of choice) in character development, plot progression, and most of all in pacing.

I read extensively.  Mostly urban fantasy, but I love a good romance too.  Thinking back on it, romances don’t read any slower for me than an action packed UF.  There are big, big differences in the two genres, though each borrows elements from the other.  Most UF has elements of romance in it, and many romances have a splash of mystery or action.  Not always, but sometimes.

There isn’t much difference in pacing when I’m reading.  The focus of the story is on different things (building the relationship in romance, solving the mystery and fixing the problem in UF) but they each have a beginning, middle, and end, and each holds my attention avidly for different reasons.

The big difference is in the writing of the two genres.  At least it is for me.

I’ve been writing “seriously” for six years now.  In that time, most of what I’ve written has been urban fantasy or fantasy.  There’s have been a couple romances thrown in, but that’s not where my main focus has lain.  I’ve become accustomed to writing stories that are carried by violence, magic, mayhem, and snarky heroines that don’t have much time to fall in love.  Character is built in how they respond to any given situation.  The plot moves from one emergency to another, cumulating in the final show down, the epic climatic battle that reveals the villain, solves the mystery, and leaves our heroine triumphant but beaten to a pulp.

Romance, when I’m writing it, feels slower to me because of its lack of one action scene after another.  Character is instead built on how they interact within the bounds of society (especially true for regency), and how they interact with others.  The story comes from finding that spark of attraction between two people and its growth into something larger, something sweeter and all encompassing, that brings them together in blissful happily ever after.

Instead of fighting monsters, there are battles of wits.  Instead of racing from one emergency to the next, it’s a series of misunderstandings that must be worked through or the couple risks never coming together.  Tension is built on the couple coming together and realizing the depth of their love, instead of in the rush to solve the mystery and bring the bad guy to justice.

Is UF more rushed than period pieces?  I wouldn’t say rushed, no.  But when I write it, it feels fast.  I write it fast, too.  The average time for me to draft an 80,000 word urban fantasy is roughly 2-3 weeks.  That’s an average of 4,000-6,000 words a day.  Ask any writer and they’ll agree.  That’s a lot of word output.  Most of that is in describing fights, dealing with the aftermath, and moving on to the next battle while picking up clues along the way.

So far, with WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER, I’ve been averaging about 2,000 words a day.  Much, much slower than the progress I make when drafting an UF.  There’s more thinking involved, more scenes that feel slower to me because they’re not filled with danger and action and magic, though I know when I go back and read through it the pacing will be fine.

It’s a matter of what you’re used to, and I’m much more used to the quick plot progression of urban fantasy than I am the interactions and growth of bringing two characters together.

Writing for Work

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It’s been my goal for a long time to make a living off my writing.  That is one of the main reasons I decided to self-publish as a romance author.  If I wanted writing to be my job, I couldn’t spend years waiting to land an agent, and more years waiting for the agent to land me a publishing contract.  Not to say I’ve given up on that route, I haven’t.  But querying doesn’t earn you money, and it’s a sad fact of life that money makes the world go round.

WALTZ OF THE WALLFLOWER will be the first full-length novel I’ve written knowing it’ll be published and start bringing in an income, however small.  One thing I’ve always feared about becoming a published author is that once writing became a job, I wouldn’t love doing it anymore.

After all, jobs are not meant to be fun.  They’re what you do to bring food to the table and keep a roof over your head.

It’s a great pleasure, and a greater relief, to discover that making writing my job hasn’t changed a thing.  Working on the draft for WALTZ, I’m enjoying myself the way I would with any other first draft.  The characters still surprise me, bringing the world to life is still a delightful challenge.

How have I achieved this almost zen state, where other writers struggle once writing becomes their job?

I don’t honestly know.

It could be I’ve been practicing.  Not just the writing, but the working on a deadline.  In my case, it’s self-imposed, and there’s not real consequences to giving myself an extension to finish a project.  But I haven’t been playing this game following my own rules.  I know that writers were sometimes forced to work on insane deadlines.  So I worked setting myself deadlines, just to see if I could do it and still get things done.  Pressure can be a wonderful motivator for some, but for others it will shoot them dead in the water.

I work well on deadlines.

It could also be that I’ve been writing with the goal of publication for so long, writing with the intent of making it my job, that now that it is my job it doesn’t feel any different.  Writing for me is writing.  It’s what I do.

It’s a good feeling, knowing that the added work of publishing won’t change things for me.  Not yet, at least.  It might, later on down the road, when (always when never if) I land an agent and a traditional publishing contract with a publishing house.

But that’s a bridge that won’t need crossing until I come to it.