Thanks so much for the fabulous input, everyone! We’ve read your comments and will put your suggestions to good use. I put the names of all who posted into a box and drew five names.
Here are the winners of an advance copy of CELEBRATION’S BRIDE:
Mary Anne Landers
Please email me through my website NancyRobardsThompson.com and let me know where to send your book.
When you start writing you get all sorts of advice…one of the most common is “write what you know.”
Okay, so that means I should write about life in Nebraska? Or perhaps my day job for many years in…insurance? Wow, I’d really like to read those books. lol
I believe the advice should be: “Know What You Write.”
In the book I’m currently writing, “A Sweetheart for Jude Fortune,” (out next February) here are some of the things I’ve had to brush up my knowledge on:
1. This book has a Latina heroine so I had to find common endearments her father would use when speaking with her.
2. She’s had a heart transplant so I’ve had to look up causes (and decide on a cause) of why she needed the transplant, then figure out how many meds she’s still be on etc.
3. I have the hero teaching the heroine to Texas Two-Step while she teaches him to Salsa. So, I had to brush up my knowledge on those dances.
4. The book takes place not far from Lubbock Tx in February…so I had to become familiar with the average temperatures in the region for that time of year.
5. The heroine’s father is in a plane crash. I had to decide why the plane crashed and since the crash is being investigated for possible sabotage, I have to know what agency investigates that kind of thing and how long it takes to get a determination.
The list goes on and on. Most of the time the research is only shown in the book by a sentence or two. I, like most readers, don’t like an “information dump” which is the author putting a bunch of unnecessary stuff in a book just to show she’s done her research.
But there’s nothing more I like than to read a book and not only enjoy the story, but learn something new.
How about you? Have you learned anything new in a book? I’d love to hear what it was….
C’mon, spill and let’s all learn something new today!!!
The wonderfully talented Deeanne Gist joins us today to talk about the making of her latest cover for It Happened at the Fair.
“Well, look at It Happened at the Fair. Do you see anything unusual?”
I quickly grabbed the book. The cover model had the right number of appendages. Then, I looked closer …
“Get out!” I half-choked. Then I giggled. Then I laughed out loud. “This is awesome!”
My editor gave a sigh of relief followed by light laughter. “I thought it was pretty funny, too.”
Yep. A bug. The heroine has a bug on her shoulder. That is not supposed to be there. I’ve already received fan mail about it.
A gal from Australia sent: “Why is there a bug on Della’s shoulder on the cover of the book? Once I knew about Cullen’s allergies, I spent the rest of the book dreading him being stung by a bee and going into full anaphylaxis or something!” LOL.
Am I upset? Quite the contrary. I’m delighted. I think it adds a wonderful bit of flavor to the cover. My only regret is that the publisher has already Photoshopped it out of all electronic images on the web and has corrected the color plates so that any subsequent printings will be bug-free. (So if you want the collectible edition, you’d better get it before they run out!)
I interviewed Jeff Miller, the graphic designer, and after learning how many steps are involved in making a cover, it’s easy to see how a little bug there or an extra arm here could be overlooked. Here’s the shortened version of his process:
I think it’s so interesting how each design reflects different moods, perspectives and character emphasis. My publisher chose the first option—the cover in which we see the heroine through the eyes of the man who will fall in love with her. This was also my favorite of the three. (Btw, no one—not me, not the photographer, not the designer, not the publisher, not my editor, no one—noticed our “friend” on Della’s shoulder, yet it was on there from the very beginning. LOL.)
Step Two: Since the cover model’s hair style was too contemporary and the color didn’t match the heroine’s, we needed to make some adjustments:
Step Four: As you can see to the left, the updo looks great on the model, but once it’s tucked up under the hat, the texture becomes too coarse. It Happened at the Fair’s hero, Cullen McNamara, says, “Her light brown hair was silky and in a soft twist.” So … new hair, please.
Jeff is now ready to do the final tweaking. He meshed together several coloring and texture techniques to give the book an antiqued look which serves as an indicator to the reader that the story is an historical.
“The below image,” he says, “shows the final cover with all the pieces in the process that it took to construct one cohesive design that effectively and accurately depicted a window into the story.”
Pretty crazy, huh? You can see how there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss some puny little ol’ thing like a cricket bug. But bug or no, that dress is yummy, the heroine’s curvy, her hair is perfect, and the backdrop is provocative. Everything you’d want in a cover.
So, have you ever thought much about how covers were made? What surprised you most about the process? Leave a comment here for your chance to win an autographed hardback, limited *bug* edition of It Happened at the Fair.
Contest ends midnight, Central Time, May 18, 2013. Must have continental USA mailing address to be eligible to win.
Speaking of great hair…Deeanne Gist—known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee—has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very fun, very original historicals. She has received four RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, and rave reviews. Deeanne has a background in education and journalism and a degree from Texas A&M. She has written for People, Parents, and
Parenting. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and has four grown children. She has a very active online community on her website IWantHerBook.com and at Facebook.com/DeesFriends. Read more about It Happened at the Fair here.
Deeanne is celebrating the release of It Happened at the Fair with an iPad Mini Giveaway and a Live Author Chat Webcast event on May 22! Details here.
Don’t forget to leave a comment on Jaunty Quills for your chance to win an autographed copy of It Happened at the Fair!
Actually, you have the power. The world of publishing has been all but turned upside down in the last year or so. The ease of indie publishing and the bestsellerdom of books that don’t fit the mold the editors in New York have set for romance and other genres means that we’re entering a new time in the publishing industry.
It’s easy to worry about what this might mean for authors and books and readers. I worry about it a lot, as I assure you, do all of the authors I know. But we’re also excited.
We’re excited because now we have options. If our books don’t perform as expected and our publisher drops us, we have options other than obscurity. Book promotions and sales are everywhere. Readers can download books in a matter of seconds. We’re also excited because even those of us still writing for traditional publishers, like most of us here at the Jaunty Quills, now have more freedom.
Editors and publishers are listening to you, readers. How do I know? Because you did what I couldn’t.
When I was discussing Lord and Lady Spy with my editor in preparation for going to contract, I told her I wanted to make it a series. She was against a series. She said the book was a stand-alone, and the contract I received was for one book.
But guess what happened? The book sold well, and readers asked for more. Readers asked for more of Adrian and Sophia, more of the world I created in the book, and more of the other characters. In this new day and age, editors and publishers are listening to you, readers. The proof is the novella I have coming out in August, featuring Blue, a secondary character in Lord and Lady Spy that I never thought of as a hero. But readers asked over and over for his book. Who am I to argue? So here’s Blue’s book: The Spy Wore Blue.
In September the second of what has become a three-book series will be out. True Spies revisits Adrian and Sophia and also introduces a new couple, Winn and Elinor.
Currently, I’m working on Love and Let Spy, slotted for release in August 2014.
These are books I was desperate to write. These are books you made it possible for me to write. So I’m excited about the new publishing landscape. What about you? Have you noted any changes? Do you think they’re good or bad? I just received ARCs for True Spies. I’ll randomly pick a reader who posts to receive one!
Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my most recent Jaunty post. My winner is (cue drumroll, please!) …Tanja Haack! She’ll win a copy of Stroke of Genius! Tanja, please contact me through my website so I can send your ebook to you! (For the rest of you, don’t despair. I have a little surprise coming next week. Be sure to check my blog on May 21st & 22nd for a free read!)
Yesterday Kathy posted about things that make her happy. Our Jaunty Quills community is very, very high on my happy list. I particularly love the way we all interact. Sometimes the blog is more like a chat room with back and forth banter and sharing. It’s so much fun to talk to you, to hear your thoughts on our posts and the stories you share.
Recently, my sister Jaunties and I have been wondering what makes YOU happy? What do you like to read about here on the blog? Do you like glimpses into our writing processes? How we come up with ideas; how those ideas eventually make it to the page? Kristan’s post about making out with her hand springs to mind. (Haha! Waving at Kristan) Do you like glimpses into our personal lives and hobbies… a la Kathy’s ode to her son or the time Robyn gave you a tour of her crafting/scrapbooking room? Do you like us to post recipes or previews of coming releases? How about character interviews? Or guest bloggers? What would you think about us doing occasional JQ blog reader spotlights where we interview you? Maybe we could do a ‘Reader of the Month’ feature?
Today, it’s all about you, dear readers. What would YOU like to see here on the JQ blog? And the possibilities are not limited to what I stated above. Those were simply suggestions to get you thinking. So tell us…what would you like to read about?
I just received several advance copies of my new book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE, which will be released in July. I will give away copies to several of you who comment. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
I have a naturally sunny disposition so if I’m honest I’d have to admit a lot of things make me happy. But there a few things that really make everything seem okay in my world and they range from the silly. My daughter is coming home in less than 10 days and that makes me almost ridiculously giddy. So here are my top ten favorite things:
9. A large glass of wine (they have those in the UK!)
8. Working in my art journal
7. Riding with the top down on my convertible
6. Cooking an old family recipe and remembering all the times I’ve made it before
5. A new book that consumes me so that when I’m finished with the characters are still in my head (Silver Linings Playbook was the last one I read that did this)
4. Talking all night with friends or family and laughing so hard that we cry
2. Talking on the phone with my mom and dad (its even better when I can see them!)
1.Spending time with my honey and kiddos
What’s makes you happy? I’ll pick two random winners to receive an autographed copy of one of my backlist titles–winner’s choice!
When I was in sixth grade, my best friend was this wonderful girl named Amy. She was everything I wasn’t: adorable, petite, a snappy dresser and a gifted gymnast. We were definitely the odd couple, you know? She was my first best friend, and I adored her.
Gymnastics were the in thing for girls to do, and with Amy as my friend, I found myself doing cartwheels on the front lawn and watching Amy with wonder and admiration as she flipped through the air. I improved a little bit, but I never could master things like backbends or walk-overs.
Because gymnastics were all the rage, the gym teacher came up with the idea of having a gymnastics demonstration. You’d have to audition to be in the demonstration; Mrs. G. didn’t want an afternoon of somersaults and ineptitude.
A word about Mrs. G.
You may have noticed a few comments in my books about gym teachers not liking children. Mrs. G., I’m looking at you.
She wore her whistle like a weapon. She was rail-thin and intolerant of awkward, bookish children (me, for example). We played dodgeball far too often, and we geeks often left gym class with red marks from balls whipped at our exposed legs and arms. If you got hurt in class, she’d look at you with disgust, then sigh and send you to the nurse…or just tell you to toughen up.
In sixth grade, I was already five-foot-seven and wore a C cup bra. I towered over Mrs. G., outweighed her, and already I knew that I would never be lean and athletic and coordinated. I felt like a giant marshmallow of a person around her, with her cool stare and impatient voice, her bountiful praise for the athletic kids and distaste for the rest of us. Auditioning to perform in front of the entire middle school? So not my thing.
But Amy was my friend, and very optimistic and upbeat about getting her best buddy into the demonstration. She helped me design a gymnastics routine, and we practiced and practiced in my front yard after school for weeks. When Amy was done with me, I was maybe a C+, just slightly better than average.
The day of the auditions came. Amy was a shoe-in; she could do an aerial and back flips and all sorts of cool things. Same with my friend Laurie, who could do a back and front walk-over. Mrs. G. called names, watched girls with her dead-eyed stare and made notes on her clipboard. I waited and waited for my name to be called. But the hour grew late, and finally, she blew her whistle and said, “That’s it. We’re out of time. We have too many people as it is.” Ten or twelve of us hadn’t auditioned yet.
In a rare show of spine, I left Mrs. G. a note, which I remember almost word-for-word still. “I practiced for weeks and you didn’t even give me a chance. THANKS A LOT!!! Kristan Higgins.” She came into the locker room while I was still there, read the note and looked at me. “That’s too bad,” she said. “We ran out of time.” With that, she left.
When I got home, my mom asked how things went. “I didn’t get to try out,” I said, and yes, I was crying. “There were too many girls.”
My mom was then and is still a pretty mellow person. As a mother, her advice to us kids was generally, “Work it out.” She was as opposite a helicopter parent as could be. If she couldn’t see or hear us and we weren’t lying in a puddle of arterial blood, she’d assume we were fine. We played in the woods, talked to strangers, beat up on each other and rode bikes and horses without helmets. Mom didn’t care if we had a mean teacher, because our mean teachers weren’t as mean as the mean nuns she had as a kid. If there was a bully on the school bus, we were told to avoid him. Fail a test? Study harder next time. I didn’t expect a lot of sympathy about the gymnastics things.
If I hadn’t made the cut, I think Mom would’ve patted my hand and told me “Good try.” But she’d seen me out there with my much more talented friend, working on my cartwheels and pikes. She knew exactly how untalented I was.
Without another word, Mom picked up the phone, called the school and proceeded to tear Mrs. G. another orifice. How dare she deprive a dozen girls the chance even to try? How was that fair? Her poor time management skills were her own problem. What kind of a message was she sending?
The next day, a very chastened Mrs. G. did something completely unexpected. She apologized. Of course, every girl would get a chance to audition for the demonstration. There would be another afternoon of try-outs. It was her own mistake; she had underestimated the amount of interest, and she was very sorry if anyone felt bad. She met my eyes, and I knew: my gentle, funny, hippie-style mother had kicked some serious ass.
The rest of us got to audition. I made the cut. The day of the demonstration, my mom came to school and watched from the back. I was terrified, shaking and not very good. Amy was magnificent.
“I thought you were the best one there,” my mom lied as she drove me home.
Thanks, Mom. Thanks for making sure I got my chance.