Monday, March 10, 2014
One of the truly nice things about indie publishing is that you have complete control over your covers. You can pick a design, make sure that the people on the cover match the characters' descriptions in your story, and you can brand a series whichever way you like.
One of the major elements of branding for the covers of the new series will be a blue background. Originally, I thought I'd just use the same sky picture for all covers, but not only would this look boring, but that one picture also doesn't suit all the people I've chosen to go onto the covers.
Sooo, today during my lunch break I went hunting for blue backgrounds. I've already found some nice matches for some covers, but there is one picture of a woman that, as it turns out, is rather difficult to match with a blue background. Hmmmm. Clearly, further experiments are called for!
Sunday, March 09, 2014
I've just put some material together for a short interview. One of the questions was when did I start to write, which, naturally, made me think of all those early writing projects of mine.
I've always invented stories to amuse myself, and I started to write as soon as I could write. My very first novel was called "Dicki und Tomi" and was about a little cat and a little dog, who became friends (this would be the pink writing). During my late teens I started to write poetry (the kind of emotional, angst-filled poetry you write when you're seventeen -- this phase is represented by the upper right image), and finally I turned to fantasy fiction. I wrote everything by hand back then. For one of my novels I made the DIY paperback you see above: I photocopied the whole manuscript, folded the pages, pasted them together and gave them this pretty cover. It was a monstrously big (BIIIIIG!!!!) book, but I was so happy that I could hold my own book in my hands. :-)
I wrote "Wolfswald" when I was 21, and around this time I also began to think seriously about publication. After submitting my manuscripts (now all nicely typed up) to more or less every publishing house in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and receiving umpteen rejection letters, I almost despaired of ever finding a publisher. Eventually I had to face fact; I would never find a German publishing house that would buy one of my novels. As a last-ditch effort I decided to start writing in English. I not only changed languages, I also changed genres: my first novel in English was called "Highland Love" and was a contemporary romance set in Scotland -- this was 14 years, and I haven't looked back. :-)
Saturday, March 08, 2014
Well, when one book ends, a new book starts. :-) It didn't take me terribly long to dive into a new story -- not only because I, well, wanted to, but also because I realised that there should be another story between Novella #1 and Novella #2 in that series I sent to my editor on Thursday.
So this morning, right after breakfast, I spent an hour putting together the first chapter (or perhaps it's going to be a prologue). One of the underlying themes in all three of the other novellas is the restrictions women had to deal with in their everyday lives. Thus two of my heroines are dependent on the charity of their relatives; one is a poor widow, the other an old maid, who has been relegated to the role of nursemaid to ailing family members. Both of them are painfully aware how disadvantaged they are, but they also know that they have little other choice than to submit to their fate. The heroine of The Bride Prize is in a much better position as her father's adored only daughter. Yet even she is aware that she doesn't have a free choice in certain matters; for example, she cannot freely choose whom to marry. Moreover, in The Bride Prize the heroine's aunt is a poor widow who is dependent on the charity of her brother.
So when it came to plot the new novella, Falling for a Scoundrel, I wanted to use this theme as well, but in a slightly different way. Lady Sophia is a typical pampered young woman of the upper class, who has led a very blessed, very easy life. She lives on her father's beautiful country estate and since she was fifteen she has been engaged to marry the handsome (and rich!!) Lord Manton, who is always very courteous to her and compliments her on her singing and her skill at the piano. Sophia isn't even aware what a restricted life she leads and how little she knows of the world. This whole premise was inspired by one of the literary fairy tales I taught last term, namely by Anne Thackeray Richtie's "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood." So yes, there are probably going to be references to Sleeping Beauty in my novella, and Sophia is rather rudely wakened from her sleep right at the beginning of the story.
Here's the first sentence, which you can just see on the AlphaSmart in the picture above:
Up until that cold day in January, when Death presented to her his cruelest face, Lady Sophia had led a truly charmed life.
Friday, March 07, 2014
The day after sending your manuscript to your editor is always the worst because not only does even your tea cup (well, mug) look slightly battered, but you also come up with 1.000 reasons why your book project sucks, why your editor will hate it, why she will probably drop dead while reading it, why it totally would have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (if dinosaurs had been able to read, that is).
The best thing you can do then is to stagger into the kitchen and deal with the piles of dirty dishes (including the tea mug).
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Under Little Miss Chicken's watchful eye I made the last few edits in the manuscript and then I finally sent the whole thing to my editor. Wooohooo!
(Please keep your fingers crossed that she'll survive the experience of reading the manuscript! :-) )
This morning, the final battle was wrought (and from the pictures on the covers of those books you can tell how fierce the battle was), and eventually, Sandy emerged victorious:
By now I even think the story doesn't suck (which I find slightly worrying). All that remains to be done now is to insert the changes into the other two stories, throw everything together, and then send it to my editor. (At this point feel free to imagine me clapping my hands together like a maniac Duracell bunny.)