Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lots Of Firsts This Week

Yes, dear friends, it's been one week of triumphs. First steps on my new hip, first BookBub ad for the Cotillion Ball Saga bundle of three books which vaulted sales into the top 100, first novella trending well on Amazon. All good things.
Your Deals  
The Cotillion Ball Saga by Becky LowerThe Cotillion Ball Saga By Becky Lower
Ginger, Heather, and Basil Fitzpatrick were raised to follow their hearts — even if it means defying all of society’s conventions. Passion, suspense, and adventure combine in these captivating novels set in the tumultuous years before the Civil War. 
$0.99 Originally: $2.99 
Amazon   Barnes & Noble 
Category: Historical Romance


I live in a Cape Cod house in a quaint college town, which has two bedrooms upstairs and two down. There were several reasons why I bought it, not the least of which was for the wide-board pine floors in the two massive upstairs bedrooms. Having lived in small spaces for so many years, I reveled in the largesse of the master bedroom upstairs. Sadly, those days are gone. The house no longer works for me, since it's best that I avoid stairs now. Thankfully, my great neighbor gathered the troops and got the bed moved down. So, now I am living all on the first floor.

My first novella, An Unconventional Courtship, is selling well this week, too. It was such a fun story to write, since I am already very aware of the personalities of Charlotte and George, the heads of the Fitzpatrick family. Now I got to explore exactly how they got that way. One of the reviewers said the book was quirky and fun, which pleased me immensely, since that's exactly who they are.

While I was laying around with my bum hip, I took a workshop from one of the masters in the industry. I applied her principles to the next book in the series, number 8. The edits are due back to me on Monday, and my editor told me her suggestions are very light, which was a first. So that worked, too.

Like I said, a week of firsts. What will next week be like?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

One Step Forward, Fourteen Back

I know you're all tired of hearing about my hip dilemma, and I wish, believe me, to have better news. But the sad truth is I'm starting over again. My hip dislocated a second time and this time I went down hard. Now it's not just my hip but my shoulder. Surgery for the hip is scheduled for Monday, and a cortisone shot helped the shoulder. One thing at a time.

Anyway, I'll be in the hospital until at least Wednesday, and then on heavy drugs, so I'm counting on you, loyal followers, to help me announce my 99 cent deal of the bundle of the first 3 books. Here are some sample Facebook posting and tweets you can use, but by all means, create your own if you feel so inclined. And email all your friends, since this is such a deal–3 complete novels, 660 pages total, for only 99 cents. The sale is from June 24-July 1 only.

FACEBOOK POSTS

Start at the Beginning. The Cotillion Ball Series features the nine siblings in the Fitzpatrick family who each find their true love. If you’re new to this terrific series, here’s a great way to start. The first three books are being offered for 99 pennies from June 24-July 1. http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn


If you’re a fan of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, you’ll enjoy the Cotillion Ball Series, about the nine Fitzpatrick children who come of age in New York in the years leading up to the Civil War. The first 3 books in the series are being offered at $.99 from June 24-July 1.  http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn

TWEETS

Start at the beginning. A bundle of the 1st 3 books in the Cotillion Ball Series. #BookBoost Only $.99 from 6//24-31. http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn


Will Ginger and Joseph overcome the odds? That book, and 2 others, in this bundle for only $.99. #history http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn

Wagons West as Temperance tries to get her family to Oregon and Basil does everything he can to keep her in St. Louis. http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn

Can an abolitionist and a slave owner ever find true love? This book and 2 others in this bundle. #BookBoost http://amzn.to/1Ay3OOn

I will repay your generosity any way I can upon my return to health. Thank you for being so supportive, energetic and helpful in my time of need.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Is It All A Matter Of Position?

I find it interesting that the Kama Sutra, the bible of sexual positions, lists 100 different scenarios, yet when writing romance, you have only so many positions from which to choose. Shouldn't romance have as many different positioning options as sex itself?

i recently received some very good feedback on my latest contemporary, which is book one in a trilogy about a mother, daughter and granddaughter who all retreat to the family lake house when they get into romantic trouble. Because each book deals with an individual love story, the heroine for the first book is in her 30s, the mother will be in her 50s and the grandaughter, who, when it's her turn for a story, will be in her 20s. How do you position a series like this, when the heroines are all different ages?

Here's the short answer–you don't.

It's not women's fiction, since it doesn't have multiple subplots or deep female relationships. It's not category romance because the age of the heroines is all over the place, instead of being cute young things just getting started in life. The advice I was given was to choose one or the other, and rewrite my book to fit neatly into one of these existing positions.

But I don't want to write about cute young things just getting started. I love the fact that my characters have had a life before my story starts. That they've earned every line on their face. That they've loved and lost before. This is second chance romance, even for the granddaughter. Why isn't there a category for that?

Guess what? There is. It's called self-publishing.

Maybe it's time to take the plunge.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beard Stubble Season in Ohio

Spring came late to Ohio, so it stands to reason that the fields are only now beginning to sprout with the summer crops of corn and soybeans.

The neatly cultivated fields every spring and summer remind me of beard stubble on a man's face. At least in the early days. And, of course, that reminds me of writing. Romance. Men's faces. You get my drift.

Here's how I see it. A writer gets an idea–a seed, as it were–and begins to plot. A little fertilizer, a bit of water, careful cultivation of the soil, and before long, that writer has a full-blown story. A first draft. Joy and rapture reign.

Until you realize your road to publication, or market if you're an ear of corn, has only begun. You may have a great story, one that stands tall, has multiple plot points, a solid foundation, firm roots. But until the corn gets picked, placed in the produce section, purchased and enjoyed, it's only another product in the field.

Which is why I spend almost as much time on the editing process as I do writing the first draft. I have multiple checklists, different colored highlighters, words to avoid, cliche alerts, etc. I want my product to be as pretty and polished as it can be. When people strip off the casing, I want my ear of corn to have lovely straight rows of kernels, to be eaten quickly and enjoyed, and leave my reader with a great memory.

I think I need to go talk to one of the local farmers.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer & Editing

Brace off my leg completely–Check
Book signing at NEORWA conference–Check
Clean house in anticipation of family visit next week–Well, not yet

I'm taking things one cautious step at a time these days, since I have a busy June coming up, and then the RWA conference in July. And it just occurred to me how much of life is like editing a manuscript.

Come on, Becky, I hear you saying. Isn't that a bit of a stretch, even for you?

Well, I'm here to say "It makes perfect sense to me." Let me explain:

When I first started lining up events for this summer, it was overwhelming to me. I'm sure, if you've been following the blog for some time, you've picked up on my panic. But I like panic. It's my go-to response to everything. Once I get through the panic mode, I can then start to sort things out, put things into an orderly format–a check list, as it were–and begin to make sense of it all by knocking off one item at a time.

The same holds true of editing a manuscript. I look forward to getting the first round edits back from my publisher. But when I open the file, and see all the comments and things I need to think about and change, panic overwhelms me. I usually close the file quickly, wait for my racing heart to calm down, and those nagging "why did I ever think I could put two sentences together into a story someone would want to read" doubts to dissipate. When I get back to it, an hour or a day later, I take a deep breath, and go through the manuscript and suggested changes one item at a time and wonder why I ever doubted myself in the first place.

So I'm applying the same thought process to my summer. I'll knock one thing at a time off the list and realize as I do so that everything I'm doing is making my memories of friends, family and adventure that much better. After the family visit, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail beckons, followed closely by the Tennessee Whisky Trail, all in the name of research for another book, of course.

So be sure to put returning to my blog on your own check list.




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting Ready

There's an awful lot going on in the next few weeks. First, and most important to me, the brace comes off, finally. May 27 will be six weeks living with this thing, and I'm more than ready to be done with it. I won't throw the blasted thing away until May 28, when I see the doctor, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm done with it.

Which is a good thing, since my chapter conference happens on May 29, featuring the great Carla Neggers. I'll be going to the author book signing and lunch, which is about all I'll be able to handle, knowing I need to ease back into things. June 1 starts The Romance Review's Sizzling Summer Reads month-long blog fest, at which I'll be featuring my novella, An Unconventional Courtship and the bundle of the first 3 books in the Cotillion Ball series, both of which are available for pre-order now at a discounted price, and will be available on your Kindle June 8.

Family visits will take up most of the first week of June, too, at which time I'll get to see two very special men–my uncle, the last remaining brother of my dad, will turn 80 in June, and we're invited to the party; and my nephew, who I haven't seen since my brother's wedding fifteen years ago. John is now 31, 6 feet and 7 inches tall, and loves to write sci-fi stories. We've got a lot to talk about.

More exciting things are on tap for this summer, including a trip (for research purposes only, of course), to the Kentucky Bourbon trail. And maybe the Tennessee Whisky trail, too. There's a story or two there.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Summertime in Ohio


As most of you know, I've got a couple more weeks to be housebound wearing my brace and walking around in a nightgown, since that's the only thing that fits. My inactivity was beginning to wear on me, until yesterday. That's when the outdoor furniture finally got carried up out of the basement and the screened porch was put together. I now can sit out on the porch with my computer, working while I'm watching the birds in the yard, and inhaling the scent of freshly mown grass. It certainly has done wonders for my psyche.

Which is a good thing, since I'm going through my checklist on my latest work, trying to polish it up. The checklist is the most tedious part of writing, as far as I'm concerned, since it's not creating a new story, but rather finessing and fine-tuning the work you've just put on the screen. And my checklist just got longer, thanks to some courses I've recently taken, but in the end, I'll have a contemporary work I'm proud of. 100 pages down, 135 yet to go. And at least three more read-throughs before I'm done.

I have a lot of events on the schedule for June and July, which will cut into my writing time. But I'll get to see people I haven't seen in years, I get to tour a part of the country I haven't spent much time in, which I plan to use as a backdrop for another story, and I get to end July at RWA Nationals in New York. Who knows what plot lines I'll find?