Archive for June, 2011

Find Me the Old-Fashioned Way

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Leave a message at my room!

In the “Cindy is a Nimrod” department (which has a long and healthy history), I brought a pre-paid Canadian cell phone to the States thinking, no problem, I could use it during the RWA Conference in New York (where I am now). The last time I attended a conference, I had this same cell phone, but I was on a plan then. I rarely use my cell so it didn’t occur to me that I can only use it in the States if I’m on a monthly plan. I ran around trying to take advantage of a temporary cell phone service my provider has set up with another company, but the cost was exhorbitant for a week’s use PLUS anyone calling me would have had to use a different cell number than the one I’ve already provided to my conference peeps, PLUS that number routes through Estonia! I’m not sure if this would affect texting, but it would definitely affect long distance rates for anyone phoning me. Anyway, if you want to get hold of me call my room and leave a message, or I’m in contact via email on my Netbook, which I’ll be checking a couple of times a day.

Now to hit Starbucks and The Golden Network Retreat!

I’m Oof!

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Yes, OOF.

As in Out Of my Freaking mind. It’s been an exhausting week. But I sent Penny’s edits to her Samhain editor yesterday, all my bags are packed, and I’m ready to go!

I’m winging my way to the RWA National Conference in New York City tomorrow. I haven’t attended Conference since San Francisco in 2008, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’d planned on blogging during the conference, but I understand Wi-Fi is incredibly expensive at the Conference hotel, even in the common areas. It’s twice as expensive in the hotel rooms. So I might blog two or three times during the week, but that’s probably it.

This is one of those times when someone like me, who has a cell phone for “emergencies” but rarely uses it, understands the appeal of crackberries. Unfortunately, I can’t justify the expense when I startle whenever the phone in my purse rings. Because that’s where it lives. In my purse. So if it rings when I’m at home, I barely ever hear it. That’s how rarely I think to use it.

Those of you who are also winging your way to New York in the next few days, I can’t wait to see you! Those of you who are staying home this year, I’ll catch you on the flipside!

Cover Love!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The cover for WHERE SHE BELONGS, my dramatic contemporary romance coming in library hardcover from Five Star Expressions in December 2011 (which means it will be available for purchase by the general public probably in January 2012):

Things I love about this cover:

  1. I really wanted a waterfall on the cover. I didn’t outright ask the Art Department to put a waterfall on the cover, but instead commented that the waterfall is a major setting in the story, plus I sent along several pictures of the geography of the North Thompson Valley in British Columbia where my fictional logging community, Destiny Falls, is based. So that I actually got a waterfall that duplicates the fictional waterfall in my mind…gotta love it!
  2. The heroine looks like the picture of Jess Morgan (her name) in my head. When that happens, it’s cover magic.
  3. Why, lookee that! My name is at the top of a book cover FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. How can I not be thrilled?
  4. WHERE SHE BELONGS is my 2007 Golden Heart finalist manuscript, Long Contemporary category under another title. I actually wrote this book before HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX, but various circumstances (including a learning curve on my behalf) prevented it from being accepted for publication until after both my romantic comedies had been on the cyber-shelves for…quite some time. In between, I was busy writing manuscripts I eventually sold as Penny. So, you see, “Cindy” has been working diligently all along, but “Penny” grabbed all the glory for awhile there. Now I’m back on top! Mwahahaha. Actually, I guess we’re tied. Because my book comes out in December/January and Penny’s comes out in November.

I promised last week that I would post Penny’s new cover this week, too. However, there’ll be a postponement on that one. It still has to route through the Samhain marketing department, I discovered.

As soon as I have permission, have no fear, I’ll post it on behalf of Penny.

Now before you go asking me what WHERE SHE BELONGS is about, the reason I haven’t posted the back cover blurb is because I don’t know if Five Star/Cengage tweaks the blurbs the authors provide. I don’t want to put up a premature blurb. Besides, once I have the blurb, I can post the cover again with it. (Yes, I know, I’m sneaky.) Short version, WHERE SHE BELONGS is about loss, forgiveness, and rediscovering one’s sense of belonging (hence the title).

I also promised pictures of my trip to Newfoundland, but I am now consumed with first-rounds edits on Penny’s book that I want to have done before I leave for the RWA National Conference in New York City. And I just started preparing for conference yesterday. I’m going to be running around like the proverbial chicken with no head until I board that plane for New York next weekend.

Patience, my pretties.

Lost and Found

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I recently returned from a holiday to Newfoundland. My husband and I had a great time. I took along my netbook and had intended to blog during the trip and post pictures, but it didn’t work out that way. Now I’m digging myself out from under the 4.5 hour time change and ensuing jet lag while preparing for the RWA National Conference in New York City that begins in a couple of weeks. I’m flying in a few days early (cross your fingers for me, because Air Canada is on strike, and I have no idea how it will affect travel in ten days), so I’m also in “conference prep” mode.

I will eventually post pictures of our trip and share some storiees, but I need to get my focus back first. While we were gone, I received the cover for WHERE SHE BELONGS, my December release from Five Star Expressions. I love it. It totally captures the mood, and the photo the art department found for the waterfall that’s featured in the story looks very much like the real waterfall on which I based my fictional waterfall (if that makes sense).

I’ll post the cover in a day or two.

I wasn’t the only one to receive a cover. Penny also received the cover for the electronic release of A LITTLE WILD, coming from Samhain Publishing in November. The original release date was for early October, but because I’m gone twice during June I asked for a postponement. This cover is amazing, too! Both covers feature the heroines only—not a hero in sight! I find that rather amusing that art departments of two separate publishers interpreted my Art Fact Sheets to create heroine-only covers, but both these stories are heroine-centric, as in the story is more the heroine’s than the hero’s. In each book, she has the most baggage and issues to work through.

Again, when I have time, I’ll post Penny’s cover, too.

Even though Penny’s release date has been postponed, I just received edits from my editor and want to work through them and have them back to her before I leave for NYC. I also received back the blurbs and tag lines and need to give them another look. So I’ll pop in here when I can, posting covers (for which I expect much oohing and ahhing) and pictures and stories about Newfoundland and Labrador while prepping for Conference and working through my edits.

More soon, promise!

Cover Art and Cover Copy

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I keep wanting to type Covert Art…

For the past few days, I have been obsessed with filling out Cover Art and Cover Copy forms for Penny’s single title erotic romance coming in the fall from Samhain Publishing. I’m very glad to report they are now in the hands of my editor.

Filling out Cover Art and Cover Copy forms sounds very exciting to an unpublished writer, and it IS exciting, even though I’ve been through it several times. I love to feel a part of the process of making my books come to life. But filling out these forms can also be nerve-wracking. I want to get it right. Because what I write down helps the art department and the story blurb people work with a vision that might otherwise remain in my head.

I write under two names and have worked with four publishers so far as Cindy and two publishers as Penny. Every publisher wants the forms filled out a little differently. Some forms are more challenging than others. However, not all publishers use the information on the forms, or they use it in a different way than you, as the author, might envision. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just because the author writes the story doesn’t mean she’s the best person to decide on cover art.

In the case of Penny’s three novellas in print anthologies, the cover art has to reflect an overall tone for the four stories within each volume, not for one of the four individual stories. So, for me, the Red Sage author forms were easier to fill out. I considered it a marvelous fluke that the couple on Penny’s first anthology just happened to have the same hair color, etc., as the characters in my novella.

For WHERE SHE BELONGS, coming from Five Star Expressions in December, I wrote the cover copy, but I don’t know how much it will be massaged. I’m eagerly awaiting the final results.

This is sort of a scatterbrained approach to describing how authors go about filling out Art Fact Sheets, as they are often called, and Cover Copy Forms. Sometimes I need to provide a tag line, a short blurb and then a longer blurb (like you would find on the back of any romance novel). In the case of HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX, the blurbs appeared on the books exactly as I wrote them.

When I first saw the cover of HEAD OVER HEELS, I was ecstatic. I thought the artist did an excellent job of portraying the tone of my story. Whereas the cover for BORROWING ALEX had to grow on me. My initial reaction was that the cover art made the book like a romantic suspense. Sure, it has a kidnapping, but it’s a comedy. I talked about it with my editor, and she was able to allay my fears. After all, how many romantic suspense novels have pink covers? And the guy on the cover certainly looks like Alex, the hero of the story. The other elements on the cover are all included in the story.

No readers have complained that I gave them a romantic comedy packaged as a romantic suspense. So, it turns out, the cover artist did know what he was doing. I love the cover now.

Well, I’m not doing a very good job of describing the process, am I?

For those who aren’t writers, the Cover Art form might ask you for your synopsis or a shorter version (and then you have to write it—ack!), descriptions of the hero and heroine, descriptions of important scenes in the book or elements you might consider important. Do you hate covers where the hero’s head is cut off? The Cover Art form is the time to mention it (I love what I call “body part” covers myself, because they allow my imagination more rein). I always, always, always, include pictures to show an approximation of how I see the hero and heroine in my mind. For WHERE SHE BELONGS, I included pictures of the fictional setting (well, the real town and area on which Destiny Falls in the book is placed). Because the book is set in rural British Columbia and Five Star is in the Northeastern U.S., I felt it was important to show the setting on the Cover Art form. Whether the setting is used in some form or other on the cover remains to be seen. Just in case, I wanted to get in my two cents.

Some publishers also ask you to include links to or pictures of covers either from their publishing house or other publishers that you feel convey the tone of your story. I love doing this, although it takes a lot of time. But artists are, naturally, visual creatures, and providing pictures helps them.

However, in the end, the decision is up to the publishing house, not the author. We have input, but we don’t have final say. Unless you’re self-publishing AND creating your own covers as part of the process (rather than hiring a cover artist), describing your characters and tone of story and providing examples of what you might like to see is often the author’s one and only chance for some say in what her book looks like. If you hate the cover, it’s not often you get a chance to rectify it. Horror stories abound of an extra arm appearing on a book cover, or a cartoon cover that reflects a comedic tone when the book is really ultra-emotional. 99% of the time, the author just has to live with it.

Okay, class, time for break. My Peanut Butter Cup is at the ready.

Any questions?