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!
I just returned from the Romantic Times Bookreviews convention in Kansas City. This year was a celebration of the Pioneers of Romance. Authors like Bertrice Small, Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, Robyn Carr, Mary Balogh, Thea Devine, and Laura Palmer were honored. I was able to fulfill the dream of a lifetime when I got to meet Julie Garwood and have books signed by her.
I also attended a panel where Jude Devereaux and Julie Garwood spoke and took questions. Jude Devereaux is the author of the first romance novel I ever read. Julie Garwood is the author who inspired me to write historical romance. I’m not ashamed to say I was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane when I met them. And I’m not the only one. I talked to Erin Knightley and Sarah Maclean about the panel, and both of them were also completely star struck.
Julie Garwood and Jude Devereaux took questions from the audience, and of course I couldn’t think of any at the time, but I thought of one later. What is it these authors did that made their books so iconic? Why do we read them over and over? Why has their work persisted when I’m sure many of the authors who were publishing when Devereaux and Garwood began their careers have long since been forgotten?
And so I’m asking you, the readers and experts. Who is your favorite “pioneer or romance” and what is special about her books? I’m not a pioneer, but I’ll give away a copy of one of my early books, No Man’s Bride, to two people who comment.
We all lead busy lives, and there are some weeks my life is way busier than others. I’m on an early flight to the Romantic Times convention in Kansas City this morning, and I had to do some creative multi-tasking to get everything ready in time.
And just when I thought I couldn’t add even one more thing to my to-do list, my publisher sent page proofs for The Spy Wore Blue my Lord and Lady Spy novella coming out in August. They were due yesterday. It’s a novella, so I knew it wouldn’t take me as long as a full-length book, but I still had to find some time to sit and read through it, making final corrections.
I remember the days when I had hours at my disposal to dedicate to writing, proofreading, revising. Now I’m lucky if I have one hour. So I multi-task.
My daughter is three and a half, and bathroom independent. Yes! But she still likes me close by when she uses the potty. And, like any kid, she sometimes wants to sit in there and sing or tell herself stories or whatnot. She might be in there ten minutes, but I had better be close by. She will check. So what do I do. Grab my computer and sit outside the bathroom door and write.
Right now her favorite game is Hello Kitty Bingo. The game is for 2-4 players, but we usually have only three—Baby G, Mickey Mouse, and me. Like and three-year-old, she has a short attention span. She wants to play, but then she finds something more interesting and runs off to investigate for five minutes. Eventually she remembers the game and comes back to continue play. I used to sit and try to catch a few minutes’ of sleep while she read a book or colored a picture. Now I open my laptop and write a few paragraphs before she returns.
And, of course, we have a couple of activities every week. One of them is gymnastics. I love to watch her, but she’s not actually doing any gymnastics for much of the class. In the 3-4 year old class, they run around, sing songs, and learn to wait for their turn on the balance beam or bars. So while I’m waiting for her to show everyone her front support, I read a page of the novella.
And that’s how the work gets done. Anyone else a master multi-tasker?
The Jaunty Quills are excited to host Kate Noble for Bring a Friend Friday. Kate’s new book, Let It Be Me, is the next book in the Blue Raven series. Keep reading to find out how to win one of Kate’s books.
Shana: I have serious cover envy whenever I see your books, Kate. Do you have much say in your covers?
Kate Noble: I have always been so lucky with my covers. I am lucky too, in that my editors allowed me in on the process a little bit. They ask me in advance of their cover conference about the book, the characters, and what is important and should be featured. And they take what I say into account when creating the cover. (I actually wrote a blog about it a little while ago.)
Shana: Tell us a bit about the Blue Raven series and Let It Be Me. Why did you set the new book in Italy?
Kate Noble: Bridget Forrester has long lived in her sister’s shadow (Sarah, from If I Fall), and earned a reputation as something of a shrew because of it. I knew I had to get Bridget out of London and get her a fresh start. Venice is a city that exists like a dream to me – an island bisected by canals, literally living on the water. A perfect place to fall in love.
Shana: Your heroine, Bridget, is a musician in Venice to study piano. Music is an enormous part of her life and a major part of the book. Do you play? Did you do any research or listen to any period music when writing the book?
Kate Noble: I took piano lessons growing up, but then quickly moved onto something more my speed (the trumpet, only three keys). But I am nowhere near the musician that Bridget is, and so I did a ton of research on playing techniques, on music from the period – I must have listened to Beethoven’s piano sonata no. 23 about six hundred times while writing this book.
Shana: You were one of the writers for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Are you sad that it’s over? Any similar projects in the works?
Kate Noble: Of course I’m sad it’s over, it was a wonderful project to work on the fan response was so fervent, it was such a rush. I feel like every generation gets their Pride and Prejudice and I just feel so lucky that I got to be a part of this one. I am also going to be involved in the Gigi spinoff Welcome to Sanditon, coming later this summer.
Shana: Very exciting! Tell us what you coming soon.
Kate Noble: I’m hard at work on my next historical romance trilogy, the first of which will be out in 2014. And of course, there is Welcome to Sanditon. I’m also working on a comic book with Javier Grillo-Marxuach of the Middleman fame, and artist Kel McDonald. I have another couple of pet projects that I can hopeful make see the light of day.
Readers, now it’s your turn. Do you enjoy novels set in romantic locales like Venice or do you prefer authors to stick to London or the USA? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Let It Be Me. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
London weather is chilly—and the social scene even more so. Luckily, Bridget Forrester is just getting warmed up…
Bridget longs to meet a gentleman who doesn’t mention her beautiful sister upon shaking her hand. But since being branded a shrew after a disastrous social season, Bridget knows she’s lucky to even have a man come near her. It’s enough to make a lady flee the country…
So Bridget heads to Venice for music lessons with the renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, with whom she’s been corresponding. But not only is Carpenini not expecting her, he doesn’t even remember her! His friend, theater owner Oliver Merrick, does, though. And one look into her tantalizing green eyes has him cursing his impulsive letter-writing, which brought her across the continent. Yet before Merrick can apologize, Carpenini has ordered her away.
Little does either man know that they will soon be embroiled in a wager that will require the beautiful Miss Forrester’s help—or that there’ll be far more at stake in this gamble than money…
The Jaunty Quills are excited to bring back veteran author Heather Snow. Heather’s new book, Sweet Madness, is the third in the Veiled Seduction series. Keep reading to find out how to win one of Heather’s books
Shana: Welcome back, Heather. You’ve been our guest before, but I’ve never interviewed you, and I’m excited to have the opportunity. Tell us about Sweet Madness. I love the tagline: There is a fine line between love and insanity…
Heather Snow: Hi Shana! I’m thrilled to be here. The Jaunty Quills is one of my very favorite places to be…oh, and please tell Jaunty that Armando the Cravat-Wearing Armadillo says hello, too.
Unlike my first two novels, which featured a lady chemist and a lady criminologist/mathematician who reveled in pushing Society’s boundaries, Sweet Madness is about a young lady who is Society’s darling. She’s always been perfectly behaved. She has the perfect husband. And she’s perfectly content to live the privileged society life she was born to…until her husband’s tragic death changes her forever. It drives her to study the maladies of the mind and leads her to a traumatized soldier who needs her help…and her love. But she also finds that healing is a two way street. To be able to follow our hero to the dark places she must go to reach him, she has to open up wounds of her own. It’s really a story about the healing power of love, with a little mystery and some racy bits thrown in!
It was great fun helping Penelope discover her inner genius and learn that she, too, was brilliant…just in a different way.
Shana: I’m not currently speaking to Jaunty, Heather. I hope armadillos are nicer than porcupines–or at least not as interfering.
Gabriel Devereaux suffers from what we call now PTSD. I did some research on this condition when I was writing If You Give a Rake a Ruby and found there wasn’t a lot out there. What drew you to write a wounded warrior and how did you research Gabriel’s “episode” scenes?
Heather Snow: All three heroes in my debut series served in the wars in some capacity, and their experiences changed each of them. But I knew from the moment this series was planned that this third book would be the darkest. I sort of backed into how I handled Gabriel’s “episode” scenes. Luckily, there is a lot known about PTSD today, even if there was little available back then. I read texts, medical journals and firsthand accounts from today’s soldiers, pulling the signs, symptoms and effects I used to depict Gabriel’s struggles.
As far as figuring out how Penelope would help him, that part was a bit harder. Since little was known about “battle fatigue” at the time, I had to look at the remedies that help today and choose only those that could have been determined or intuited through what Penelope might have known or experienced in her life and her own common sense.
I am glad you brought up the PTSD aspect of my book. As I’ve said, Sweet Madness is a story of the healing power of love, and just as important, of hope. Gabriel is a fictional war hero but there are many real life heroes and their families suffering today. Therefore, my husband and I have decided to donate a portion of all royalties earned from the sale of Sweet Madness to Hope For The Warriors®, an organization dedicated to “restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.” You can find out more at http://www.heathersnowbooks.com/Hope_For_the_Warriors.ht
Shana: You’re known for heroines who are smart and scientific, and I know you have the science background to make them authentic. Do you think you’ll keep writing scientifically minded heroines?
Heather Snow: I would love to, and maybe later on I will, but right now there’s a new series percolating in my mind that I’m itching to get started on. I can’t share until all of the details are finalized, but it will certainly feature the smart strong heroines readers have come to expect from me, if not scientifically minded ones.
Shana: What’s it like writing with two small children? How do you manage to get anything done? Is there a magic spell or secret password, and if so, please share with Emily, Robyn, and me!
Heather Snow: Ha! I was going to ask YOU that! You always seem to have it so together.
Let’s see…Bose noise canceling headphones and the infinite patience of my poor husband? Really, I don’t know how women do it. I don’t know how I do it and stay sane (which is debatable, really, my sanity). The last three years have been like running on a giant treadmill and trying not to go flying off of the back and crashing into the wall. I guess I just keep telling myself that the boys will be in school soon enough and then I’ll have more time. And yet, just typing that, I feel horribly guilty for wishing their toddler and preschool years away…
I guess the answer is there is no answer. We just all have to do what we can when we can do it, and rely on our families to pitch in when we’re down to the wire. I do, however, have a fortune from a fortune cookie taped to the top corner face of my laptop screen…it says “Focus your attention.” I look at that a lot when I’m working to remind myself I only have so much time to accomplish what I need to.
Shana: That all sounds very familiar to me. I’m glad I have you fooled!
Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Heather Snow: Vacation! Sweet Enemy sold when our eldest was still in diapers, and the second was written right after the birth of our youngest—while my husband was finishing up his masters on top of his full time career! He graduated right after I finished Sweet Deception and we’d barely had time to enjoy a breather before I jumped into Sweet Madness. My family and I are looking forward to a couple of weeks on the beach together during the month of May—our first real vacation in three years. Then I’ll get started on my new series…
Readers, now it’s your turn. Do you enjoy historical (or contemporary) romance novels where the characters deal with real life issues like PTSD or miscarriage or a cancer diagnosis or do you prefer books that take you away from real life tragedies? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win their choice of Heather’s first two novels, Sweet Enemy or Sweet Deception (which just won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for published historical romance and was named a finalist in the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Awards!). This giveaway is open internationally.
Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has dedicated herself to studying maladies of the mind, particularly those of soldiers returning from the Napoleonic Wars, but Gabriel Devereaux’s unpredictable episodes are like none she’s ever seen. Even though she knows the folly of loving a broken man, she can’t help herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost…
Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE…
Rainy Day Books (my local indie)
Amazon (Kindle Edition)
Amazon (Mass Market Paperback)
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)
Walmart (online only)
Heather Snow is an award winning historical romance author with a degree in Chemistry who discovered she preferred creating chemistry on the page rather than in the lab. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two rambunctious boys, and one very put upon cat. Mr. Snow recently promised the boys they could have a dog when the family returns from their beach vacation. The cat is not happy.
The final book in her Veiled Seduction series, SWEET MADNESS, hit shelves April 2, 2013. RT Book Reviews Magazine gives it 4 ½ stars, saying “In this emotional, compassionate romance…the powerful love story will sweep readers away.”
Find out more at www.HeatherSnowBooks.com or connect with Heather at www.facebook.com/AuthorHeatherSnow , www.twitter.com/HeatherSnowRW or at her blog, Heather’s Historical Reader Salon at www.heathersnowbooksreadersalon.blogspot.com