The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome Kate Noble back for Bring a Friend Friday. Kate’s new book, The Game and the Governess, is the first in the new Winner Takes All series. Keep reading to find out how to win an autographed copy of The Game and the Governess!
Shana: What a fabulous premise for your new book, Kate. Pride and Prejudice meets Trading Spaces. Tell us more.
Kate Noble: Oh, I love this story, and I’m so excited that The Game and the Governess is finally out in stores. It’s the beginning of a new trilogy, which kicks off with three friends making one incredibly ill-advised wager…
Ned Granville, the Earl of Ashby, has never been short on luck. So when he makes a bet with his best friend and secretary John Turner – namely, that he can win any woman without the benefit of his title – he has no reason to think anything will go wrong.
Thus, Ned and Turner switch places for a two-week trip to the country. But once they do, Ned’s luck suddenly abandons him: the ladies now have eyes only for Turner. But when Ned meets governess Phoebe Baker, he becomes intent on gaining her affections.
Phoebe wants nothing more than to keep her head down, teach her students, and go unnoticed — especially by the Earl of Ashby. But his rakish secretary has the infuriating habit of constantly crossing her path. Yet Phoebe cannot deny that her pulse quickens in Ned’s presence. But what will happen when the truth comes out? And just who will win the dangerous game of love they’ve unwittingly been playing?
Shana: You aren’t just Kate Noble. You’re also Kate Rorick. Tell us what your alter ego is up to.
Kate Rorick: My alter ego is as busy as my Kate Noble one. Kate Rorick writes TV, web stuff, and books. I am currently a writer for the new TNT show The Librarians (coming this December!) as well as having worked on the Emmy-award winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which spawned the novel The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which I wrote.
I’m really quite tired.
Shana: One thing I’m super-jealous about (besides your beautiful covers) is your co-workers. Didn’t you work with Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek: The Next Generation recently?
Kate No..Ror…Kate: Ha! Yes, Jonathan Frakes is not only an actor but an accomplished TV and film director. He directed an episode I wrote for The Librarians and is, without question, a super-great guy.
Shana: Tell us about your writing process. Plotter or pantser? Silence or noise/music? Do you have daily page or word goals? Do you use images of people or settings to spur your imagination? Tell us everything, Kate!
Kate: For books, I consider myself something in between a plotter and pantser. I do write an outline, which helps steer me as I go on, but I find that the details I come up with in the moment are really what enrich the story. Heck, sometimes I come up with the plot of my next book while I’m pantsering on this one.
In terms of how I work, I try very hard to set hours for myself, but often life gets in way. So I have a dedicated group of fellow writers who I will often meet at various coffee shops around the city, and there I manage to get work done, away from the distractions of the house.
However, my ability to churn out word count is entirely dependent on how close I am to my deadline.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Kate: I’m currently hard at work on the next book in the Winner Takes All trilogy – The Lie and the Lady. It’s John Turner’s story – when he met the Countess of Churzy, he was pretending to be his employer the Earl of Ashby. But now, he’s determined to win the Countess with his own name, and on his own terms…
Readers, now it’s your turn. If you could trade places with one person, who would it be? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win an autographed copy of the Game and the Governess. (This giveaway is US only.)
I posted a funny video on my Facebook page Wednesday. It’s one of Weird Al’s parodies. Obviously, Weird Al is as much of a geek about words and grammar as I am.
Here it is.
I’m no grammar Nazi. I make plenty of mistakes, mostly typos, so I won’t go near a glass house. But there are a few things that make me grind my teeth.
Making a word possessive when it is not possessive
I see this a lot on sites that do personalization. They’ll offer a plaque or wooden sign that says
Sweet and cute and completely wrong! There’s no need for that apostrophe.
Less and Fewer
Why can’t stores get this right? If you can count it one-by-one, use fewer. So it should be “10 items or fewer.” If you can’t count it individually, use less. “I drank less vodka than he did.”
Period inside the quotes
This is just me. I hate when writers put periods outside quotation marks or before parentheses when quoting or citing sources. I taught MLA style, and I love MLA style.
What are your word crimes?
Jaunties, we get a lot of questions about covers. I thought you might enjoy hearing from someone who designs book covers. Please welcome Misty Helm.
A Day in the Life of a Graphic Designer
Hi all! I am Misty and I am a graphic designer. I have been creating various web and print designs for close to fifteen years now, but it has only been in the last year that I finally threw my name into the cover design ring. Today I thought I would share with you a bit of the process that goes into designing those wonderful covers that you see online and on bookstore shelves. I cannot share all of my trade secrets as the cover design business can be somewhat competitive and each artist has their own signature style, but I can show you the basics of what goes into the design process.
I start with a set of basic images that I believe will blend together to make a sharp city set contemporary romance cover. They look something like this:
Can you picture all of these in a single image? I’m not a fan of the bright pink dress, so my first step would be to change the color of the dress without losing the integrity of the couple.
Now each artist creates their designs differently, for myself personally I like to set up the layout and then work within the confines of what the final image will be. I do this by combining all of the images into a single picture with multiple layers (I should be naming those layers as I go, but I’ve never taken to that notion so I leave them as is).
This is where I begin to work my magic, by blending these images into one solid piece. I like the city scene as is, but in order for it to look a bit more natural I will need to either cut, or erase portions of that city scene.
From that moment in time I work almost uniformly until I come up with an almost finished product that I personally like. With the above images I’ve managed to form something like this…Now for me I like this image as is, but most importantly to me is the author’s vision. It is at this stage that I would typically send this piece off to an author for final approval.
As I designed this for today’s blog, I shared it with a street team to get their opinions on it and everyone came back with the general consensus that it was too dark!! The biggest challenge and the key in any cover design is to make that client happy, a happy client means a happy designer. I took this back to the drawing board, shifted a few of the images, tweaked some of the coloring and added text to give it an overall book cover feel. For me working in text is one of my favorite things, it can present a challenge finding just the right font to make the image come together and sometimes it can make or break the entire cover. The image bellow is making its public debut and is the finished cover.
I would tell anyone who wanted to get into to design to just start playing. Grab yourself a copy of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and Google tutorials. You won’t learn how to design over night as it takes practice and coffee…a lot of coffee! But it’s fun to learn and understand what goes into deigning something that looks so simple to make. This is actually how I got my start. I was bored and one day a friend handed me a digital design program for my computer, and the rest is history. It took a lot of practice to hone my skills but by the time I entered college to study design, I was not a novice. I had already done several commission pieces for friends and local business owners. I chose to go to college in order to better my skills and understand composition. I am very new to the cover design world but it has been a virtual lifelong dream to be designing quality eye catching covers for the authors I love.
I do love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but there are a few things I favor even more. One of the most fun things about having friends on Facebook is that they know what I love, and they support my addic–I mean, my interests. There isn’t a week that goes by that one of my readers doesn’t send me a photo of Kate Middleton, a cute hair style, or Flynn Rider.
Pictures of cats, antiques, and the Frozen princess also make people think of me. I think that’s a good thing. I mean, I could make people think of weeds or garbage or something, right?
If I were to die tomorrow, I could live with being remembered for admiring the Duchess of Cambridge and watching Downton Abbey. What about you? What would you be remembered for?
Being self-employed means that the job is always with you. Working from home means it is always around you. Sometimes it can be hard to escape—I mean even if you love what you do (like I love writing) at some point you need to stop doing/thinking about it and just chill.
I used to find this really hard because the story is always there and there’s always the temptation to just go and do…
This year I set myself working hours. The only time I’m allowed to work extra is if I’m on a deadline (a publisher imposed deadline not one I’ve made up). This has had the added bonus of reducing the amount of time wasting that would otherwise happen during work hours—you know the internet, facebook, sweeping the floor and any other random procrastination activity that I’m able to dream up.
I still get the procrastination bug, but because I know I can’t catch up later there’s a lot less of it.
The other thing I’ve started doing is taking a couple of days off between jobs. Finish the first draft of a WIP? Take a day or two to catch up on some favorite DVDs or and read some books.
Finished a round of edits? Yay go play with that random story idea from last week for a day and see if goes anywhere (I count that as time off writing because it’s more daydreaming and what if?)
These are important little breaks as they allow the brain to recharge and the well of creativity to be topped up. After all you only get out what you put in.
The other change I made this year was dedicating two days a week only to writing/editing. No blog writing or posting, no website updating or any of the other admin tasks that need to be dealt with. The other three days of the working week I set aside an hour in the morning and I get through whatever I can. So far this seems to be working really well as I’m always very impressed by my word count and also happy to discover I don’t fall behind on the admin stuff.
Restricting my working hours has made me more productive and also more accountable. It’s also given me the time to pursue doing the other crafty things I love like cross stitch and sewing.
While writing is a job I love, it isn’t my whole life just a part of it.
Want to win a digital copy of The Changeling Soldier? Comment below and tell Shona how you like to relax after work. Winner will be randomly chosen and announced Sunday on the blog.
The Changeling Soldier
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Her time in the mortal world is running out…
After fleeing Annwyn three centuries ago, Ella built a life in the mortal world making gowns for European royalty and playing in mortal intrigues. Now those Courts are long gone, and she dresses Hollywood starlets. Mortals come and go, but Ella always ends up alone. She longs for the home she left behind.
He’s been dreaming of the coming battle all his life…
Isaac Norton is a returned soldier. Now home, he’s restless and his recurring dream is becoming more frequent: he’s fighting on a snow-covered field stained with blue blood. When he sees Ella, he knows she isn’t human. And she knows what he is, a changeling.
Ella can give Isaac the answers he needs, but there will be a price to pay: his soul.
Three time ARRA finalist Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back.
With stories ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance. You can find out more at her website.