Well-Deserved Down Time…Sort of

So, the book’s been out a couple weeks now.  It’s still surreal to me.  I’ve sold out of print copies, reordered, and those are all now either sold or spoken for, so I still don’t even have a copy just for myself!  LOL.  But–I suppose that’s a good problem to have.

I’m still getting used to openly talking about my book–with people outside a very close-knit circle, that is.  It’s a little uncomfortable, I have to say.  I tend to hide my deeper thoughts and feelings from people, even my closest friends, and my writing is something very intimately personal for me.  Opening that up to others for scrutiny takes a great deal of trust, which I’m fairly begrudging with.  Yet to spite it all, I’m slowly getting more comfortable with it.  I’ve been dealing with some wonderfully welcoming and supportive folks, so that has made the transition to a “public figure” a bit easier.

As you likely know, the month leading up to the release was INSANITY.  Glorious, but still nevertheless, INSANE.  I was also dealing with major deadlines at the day job  at the same time, so I was pretty much running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.  At long last, I am now facing a week of downtime, which is desperately needed.

So what’s going on with my little writer world since the book released– well, I’ll tell you!  A series based on the three bandmates in Seeking Solace has been suggested and is now in the works!  Angus has already been speaking to me at night when I’m trying to sleep, so I have over 1,600 words on his story.  You’ll get to read about Angus, Malcolm, and William starting in January 2016.  I have two other novels currently in draft form that are being either finished as manuscript or in the process of editing.  It’s my hope to release at least one of them this fall.    Then, one more little item–I’m doing a blog tour May 25-30th!  So far, I have 15 stops!  Totally excited to be reaching new peeps, and I am thrilled that so many folks are willing to support a new indie author.

So, I’ll get to enjoy one week of downtime, and then it’s back in the saddle for another sprint!  I’ll make sure to have my planning notebooks with me so if Angus starts talking some more, I won’t miss anything.  (Do any of my fellow writers out there have this problem?  The voices in your head keeping you up all hours of the day and night?  Hope it’s not just me.)

minion vacation

 

Need to read Seeking Solace?  Here’s where you can find it:

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeking-solace-…/1121820583…

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/seeking-solace/id990062152…

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/seeking-solace-1

Amazon:  http://t.co/ABPr83RClJ

 

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Cover Art Victory!!

Do you remember my blog post from late October?  The one where my cover art plans disintegrated into dust.  Yeah, well that little disaster actually was a prime opportunity in disguise.  I knew I wanted to use a photo for my cover art, given that Seeking Solace is a contemporary romance.  However, the cover was going to require someone with a lot of contacts—models, stylists, etc.  I live in the middle of nowhere in Eastern North Carolina (Yes, we capitalize Eastern here; it’s a thing.), where in heck was I going to find that?  And on top of that, how was I going to find someone local who wouldn’t completely hatchet my miniscule budget.  (Key point to self-pubbing—budget, if you have one, is a prime commodity.)

So, after a week of wringing hands and muttering to myself about “What about I going to do?”, I made a contact through my local writing group.  I was able to meet with the owner of Siberius Photography.  He had the team, he had models, he had equipment, he had ideas.  This guy was the complete book cover package.  On top of that, he was EXCITED TO DO IT!  Bonus!  I mean, let’s face it…if other people can get excited about your own pet project, then the work they do for you is going to be even better than you anticipate.

There we are, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, setting up shop to shoot the picture that would become my book cover!  I hardly slept the night before.  Honestly, I felt like I was waiting for Santa to come!  We had managed to get a local pub to agree to let us shoot there, which was perfect since the majority of my novel takes place in a small pub.  Rich, the photographer, was there setting up lights and tripods and different equipment.  Elizabeth, the stylist, was bringing in wardrobe options and bags of makeup and hairstyling supplies.  Me?  What I was doing?  I was standing in the corner by a fake suit of armor, grinning like an idiot and trying not to get in the way.  (I was petrified of becoming “the annoying observer” and someone finally just yelling “Out!  You, just OUT!”  But they didn’t and were absolutely gracious about me being there and often asked for my input.)

Then, our models came in.  Elizabeth had already gotten them styled and prepped for the most part, and I wanted to jump up and down and squeal in delight.  I restrained myself…barely.  Kate and Kris absolutely looked just like my characters, Sarah and Bret.  One year earlier, when I was typing away at my keyboard—sleep-deprived, anxious, addicted to the story, and trying to finish my blasted novel in thirty days (which is INSANITY, people, glorious insanity)—and picturing these two characters, they were what I had been seeing in my head.   It was kind of surreal, watching them during the shoot.  They had a sweet chemistry (they’re married, which was just perfect to me given the novel’s story), and Kris would do or say something that would Kate laugh, or they’d have this expression as they looked at each other.  I was watching my story come to life in front of me.

I was nervous and awed at the same time.  It was just so right that I was afraid it was really just a dream, and I’d wake up still wondering what I was going to do for a cover photo.  But it wasn’t a dream, and I’m sharing with you a first look at what came out of that shoot.  This is NOT the cover for my book.  This is NOT even one of my teasers, but rather a little prequel of what is to come over the next month.

 

Leaning on Bar

 

You can check out Siberius Photography on Facebook at Siberius Photography and on the web at www.siberiusphotography.com .  Check them out.  They’re good!

The Elusive Mr. Darcy

I don’t think any lover of romantic literature can speak about the quintessential and unforgettable heroes of this genre without having Mr. Darcy (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) come close to the top of the list.

Tall. Handsome.  A Man of Means.  Proud.  Slightly Brooding.  Need a visual?  Take your pick—Colin Firth from the original A&E mini-series, complete with “wet t-shirt scene”. (Stuff of dreams that was.  Oh mercy!)   Or— Matthew McFayden from the Jon Wright production a few years ago.  (That end scene at dawn when he comes across Lizzie walking the fields.  Delightful.)

Sorry… there was a thud.  That was me swooning.  I do love a handsome, brooding Englishman.  However, men of that description are in quite the shortage in eastern North Carolina.  More’s the pity.  Sigh….

But I digress.

Although I have interests in several genres, I am currently working within the romance genre.  I think it begs the question—am I writing Mr. Darcy?  I think there may be small hints of him here and there in my male characters.  So far, they are all tall and handsome.  Although the romantic heroes I’ve written so far are typically of the average professional variety (no millionaire tycoons, etc), they are all quite proud and have a bit of masculine arrogance, so that’s a bit Darcy-esque.  They all, so far, are perhaps a bit brooding.  They have things going on under the surface that the heroine doesn’t immediately understand—also reminiscent of Darcy.

So what makes my romantic heroes something different than just an homage to the famous Mr. Darcy.  For one thing, Austen’s Darcy is a bit unapproachable.  My male characters, with one exception, are a bit more outgoing and social.  They also are written with quite a sense of humor. I love to laugh, and I try to infuse as much humor as possible into my characters and my stories.  I think that’s one of the defining aspects of creating a character that feels real.  Feels human.  Mr. Darcy is always so very serious, and while this is certainly a necessary virtue, I find my characters tend to temper their dispositions with a bit more levity than Austen gave to Darcy.

Have I found Mr. Darcy?  In real life or on the page?  On the page…I find I’m not really searching for Mr. Darcy there.  So far, I’ve found some romantic figures that are as wonderful, as swoon­-worthy, and a bit more real than Mr. Darcy.  I hope my readers will find the same when these characters and their stories are finally released.

Well, I admit that in real life, I have not yet found Mr. Darcy.  Perhaps a Mr. Wickham or three, but no Mr. Darcy.   Before anyone comments about there not being a “Mr. Darcy”, let me state that yes, I am aware that Mr. Darcy is fictional.  Hence the reason I won’t find him here on this earthly plane.  However, there is someone out there.  Tall (maybe). Handsome (in my eyes).  A Man of Means (works towards his dreams and goals and is gainfully employed).  Proud (of who he is and will be).  Slightly Brooding (only on occasion to lend that “quizzical brow” look).  So I continue to keep an eye out for him, the elusive Mr. Darcy.  Not The Mr. Darcy.  But rather, My Mr. Darcy.