Romance Novel Covers

Rebel DreamsI’m in the nail-biting process of deciding on the “look” for the next Malcolm/Ives historical romance series. Do I want naked lady backs? Not particularly, but I do like balogh_Mary Balogh’s lady/landscape covers. But I’m writing as much about the Ives men as the Malcolm ladies (and by 1830, they’re pretty intermixed, magic wise). So a hot guy on the cover, maybe? But how does one differentiate between one 1830 fashion model and another? Wouldn’t they all look alike? What do you think?

Romance Magic–Part 2

51LBGwKh02LAs I mentioned the other day, I’m on a “magic” title search. Even though I vowed never to do magic titles again, I really needed to know how the descendants of my historical romance characters from the Georgian era fared in the age of Industrial Revolution. Silly me. The men play with steam of course, and get involved with witchy women who spin their heads around, and combat rioters and master politics by joining forces. I have so much material that I could leave out the romance and still fill the pages—except, of course, romance is the essential factor in bringing these hardheaded characters together.

So here I am, looking for magical romantic titles because everyone insists I need to keep the “magic” in the title to recognize the series. I’m so desperate I’m considering stealing titles from other books and adding “magic.” I have no dukes or duchesses but how about Four Magical Nights with the Marquess? “The Taming of the Magical Malcolm”? Garden of Magic? Magically Ravished?

And the truly insane part is that there really is no “magic” in this series. The characters have unusual “gifts” like empathy or a touch of ESP with their astrology, and yeah, they have a few Druidic rituals to make the guys crazy, but no newts die for their sins. Throw ideas at me, please! And if I actually use your idea—there are no guarantees since I invent dozens of these titles and throw most of them out—I’ll give the winner a selection of prizes to choose from. Do you want a character named after you, perhaps? A sneak peek at the new book? Just help me, please! (and I already have some seriously excellent suggestions after my earlier plea!)

Blue Clouds Sale

I’m California dreaming, so putting my California beast on sale makes sense in my warped mind. So for the month of May (and right now), Blue Clouds will be on sale for $2.99. Here’s the link to the Backlist Ebooks site with all the buttons: http://www.backlistebooks.com/2012/06/blue-clouds/

He’s not really a beast once you get to know him . And since
this is the spring that will never arrive, I need to think of warmth and
sun while I pack all my worldly possessions for another cross-country move.

If I don’t pop in here often, I apologize. But I’m juggling a ridiculous number of minor things like finding author copies of books– that I’ve already packed– for an Audible contract. And trying to determine whether to give Pocket my change of address for the next box of author copies because I don’t know when I’ll actually be in the new house. The business of deciding whether to take cartons of envelopes and labels and paper, or pack more books remains undecided!

Tell me what book you want to see on sale next month, when I’ll really be buried and unable to come up for air…

Historical Romance Mini Rant

I write love stories. I want to read love stories. I adore books showing me two wonderfully different characters somehow finding each other, getting to know each other, and falling in love. Yes, lust and love go hand-in-hand, and I’m totally fine with that, too. But in historical romance, I don’t want the characters shoving their hands down each other shirts before the first bow and  curtsy are made. In erotica, fine, but I want the romance more than I want the sex, so I don’t read erotica.

So I’m sitting here with the ideas for two totally different books. The one is pretty much implausible but extremely sexy, with the protagonists in bed together in the opening pages. The other is the one I want to write, about a very proper governess and a blustery sailor and a passel of exotic children. I’m pretty certain I can sell the sexy one to New York. I’m pretty certain I’ll have to publish the governess myself. I may have to prove my theory by writing both proposals.

And then it occurred to me that I wrote about a sailor and a prim lady and a couple of children once before, and it sold extremely well–All A Woman Wants.

So maybe I just need to come up with a good title and I can do it again.

How about you? Do you read for the love story or the sex? Or both?

Unusual Days

Today is 12-12-12 (so now you’ll know how old this blog is when it’s still sitting here come January!). This is the last day in this century for a number like that, so I thought it might be an omen that I ought to do something.

Of course, the reason I don’t post here often is because I’m ALWAYS doing something. All day, every day. I had some funny notion that e-book publishing would allow me to set my own deadlines. Instead, I now have deadlines for more publishers than I want to count.

The latest print result is the novella in Mischief and Mistletoe pictured here. The most recent e-book is The Irish Duchess, pictured in the previous blog below. I’m currently working on a print version of Duchess and Amazon already has a print version of The English Heiress.  I’m working with several printers and publishers, attempting to establish a means of printing these original titles so they can be purchased elsewhere than Amazon, but so far, Amazon offers the easiest, cheapest method. Anything else adds at least $5 to the price.

My next release will be Trouble With Air and Magic, a sequel to The Lure of Song and Magic. This is Conan’s story. Again, I’m talking to printers about offering a print version as well as the e-version. The scheduled release date is February 12, 2013 (not quite as magical a date as today’s!) I’ll offer an e-ARC copy to anyone who wants to review it on-line. I simply don’t have time to run promotion! (although if you sign up for my New Release letter, I can let you know when a book will be out)

I’m working on two more sequels, one for Evil Genius, and on Magnus’s book to follow Trouble.  I have the next Rebellious Sons book written, The Notorious Atherton, but it still needs to be edited and copyedited and is scheduled for July release.

And in my spare time, I’m editing and formatting three more of my backlist titles: Devil’s Lady, All A Woman Wants, and a title that was once called Touched by Magic. Since this is often  confused with my Magic series, I’ve changed that title to A Dash of Enchantment. They’ll need covers next, which means poring over millions of stock images.

Really, as much as I’m enjoying this Brave New World of e-books, it would be nice to just write  books again! If I don’t get back here before then, Happy Holidays to all! Bless you for reading.

Nobody’s Angel

I know, I know, I’m malingering again. I really need a thirty-hour day. I’m just back from the Novelists Inc conference in St Pete Beach and while I had a fabulous time, my head is buzzing with all the things I should be doing. But no one mentioned where I was supposed to steal the time.

On top of that, I’m fighting with a new laptop with new programs and none of my passwords or email addresses installed, and I’m wasting a lot of precious minutes screaming or hunting in old computers. But I digress…

What I wanted to stop by and say is that for the month of October, I’ve marked down my ex-con kidnapper book to 99 cents. It didn’t seem to be getting the attention I thought it deserved so I decided to fix that. As usual, send me your comments on the cover, the characters, anything that intrigues or bothers you.

I’m also experimenting with Kindle 3 to see if the message gets out there. If you have time (ha! there’s that nasty word again), let me know if you found the ad there. And if you’re into Nook books, be so kind as to drop a review there, if you would: http://tinyurl.com/3rjckr33

Craft Guru 3

I’ve been blogging all over creation about my new release, THE DEVILISH MONTAGUE, so my wee little fingers are weary. That’s my excuse for not stopping by here more often!
And now I have another release or re-release or whatever you’d like to call it. Bookviewcafe will be releasing DENIM AND LACE in association with historical fiction week on Tuesday. BVC sells both epub and mobi format, so it’s far easier for me to link my books to them than to every other distributor under the sun. Besides, they’re good people and friends, and I trust them more than distributors I can’t talk to everyday. So if you want to see one of my westerns, an older Rita finalist, hop over and take a look.
 You see what constant promo blogs do to me? I’d only meant to stop by and mention my next pet peeve, cut from my own books as I edit for digitalization. Tell me how many ways this partial sentence is wrong (from TEXAS LILY): Before reaching out one big hand to remove Lily’s shawl…

 Really, I know we were writing 135k-150k words back then, but how much padding does any one sentence need? What else would he reach out besides his hand? Duh, huh? And if he removes the shawl, don’t we know he’s reached for it? These older books are packed with obvious and unnecessary description of action. Yawn. I think I cut that sentence to read Cade took Lily’s shawl.  
If he needs to put his big hands anywhere, it should be on Lily in a hot scene!

Western Historicals

Don’t you love the title font Pati Nagle (Mandala) came up with for these western romances? I like simple (witness the silhouettes instead of fancy costumes or naked backs) but that lettering really called to me.

I still have more backlist I need to have scanned, edited, and covers added, but I’m really running out of cover ideas.  Kim Price’s HotDamn Stock photos have some great photos using historical costume (check my Denim and Lace) but it’s impossible for one photo site to cover all eras and characters!  Which is why head chopping ensues, I guess.

What makes you buy an e-book? It’s not the same as seeing a cool cover on the bookstore shelf. How do you even find the wretched things? I’ve been reading reviews and downloading so many books I figure my Nook will explode, but I haven’t browsed bookstore shelves in years because I just don’t relate to covers. But someone, somewhere must be digging these covers!

Romance Trading Cards

Here’s a fun website: Romance Trading Cards.

 I’ve just posted a trading card for my new e-book mystery, Evil Genius. On the back of the card is a description of my heroine, Anastasia Maxmillian Devlin. I guess I should have tried to fit that Devlin bit in there but names really aren’t my strong point, even for my own characters. What matters is that Ana is quirky and in over head before she knows it.  But she’s a citizen of the world. She learns to deal with bad guys. Her family…that’s another matter!

Evil Genius will be released on www.bookviewcafe.com next Tuesday, March 15th. I’ll be uploading to Kindle, Nook, et al as time permits. I’m quite fascinated to see what it will take to market an original e-book in a genre I’m not known in.  But if covers sell, this one ought to shoot off the virtual shelves! Very James Bondish. Hats off to Pati Nagle at Mandala for creating it for me.

Let’s see if the back of the card shows up here: