Sunday, October 25, 2015

To Self-Pub or Not? That Is The Question.

Like most authors today, I've considered self-publication. The control of the entire process, from editing to cover design, to price, to placement, has a certain appeal. And the increased royalties and accounting from Amazon certainly have an appeal. All my friends who have already taken the plunge assure me that, although it involves multiple steps, it's not hard to do. A piece of cake.

Yet, each time I seriously consider it, something always happens. As is the case with a lot of us aging boomers, computers are a friend and a foe. Just when I think things are going along fine, and that I can take on the challenge of self-publication, I have a day like yesterday.

I needed to print out, sign and scan a document, which I was to email back to complete my transaction. My computer and printer have worked together fine for the last six months, so I thought my simple task would be quick and easy. A piece of cake. Yet when it came time for my printer and computer to relate, they refused to talk to each other. It was as if they were two little school kids, pointing fingers at each other.

"It's the computer's fault!" yelled my printer, flashing lights and refusing to scan.

"No, it's not! The computer's fine. It's the printer who doesn't want to work!" The computer showed me a screen with a grin, evidence it was hooked up properly to the printer.

I could get nowhere, so I decided to just put the document in the mail instead. The old-fashioned way. The way I'm used to dealing with things.

So, if I were to take on the challenge of self-pubbing, what would happen to my book if, once again, my computer and printer act like spoiled children in the school yard? I don't know. But I don't think I can mail it in.

And the not knowing is what scares me into once again resisting the urge to take the next step. If anyone has any ideas on how to get beyond this, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Team Work, Dream Work

I'm so pleased to have not one, but two, guests on the blog today! I first met Cary and Deborah in 2013, at the RWA Conference in Anaheim. We were newly published and had a great time getting to know each other. Since then, we've each grown professionally. For Cary and Deborah, that means continuing to write complex time travel novels as a team, and following their own interests with books delving into science fiction and hot contemporary. Knowing how hard it is to write a book by yourself, I'm amazed that these two can write as a team without coming to blows constantly. Let's find out more about how they accomplish that goal. 

How Morgan and O’Neill created the Elizabethan Time Travel series
By Deborah O’Neill Cordes and Cary Morgan Frates

How many writing teams are there? We know of a few, but their rarity speaks to the difficulties of working together to create something as complicated as a novel, let alone multiple series. When we first began to work as a team, we had different styles and ways of approaching a scene. Our individual styles are still different, but we’ve learned to blend and edit our work so readers can’t tell who wrote what.
In addition to the blending of our writing styles we have to deal with the inherent complexity of time travel fiction. Our stories are woven with many threads, and in our Elizabethan series it’s particularly intricate because we have to contend with three separate eras––the present day, the World War II era, and the sixteenth century. They must be blended together on every level to make a cohesive whole.
To make things even more complicated, we wrote the prequel, Begun by Time, after the publication of The Thornless Rose. It came to us that readers would enjoy a firsthand account of the story of Catherine Hastings, Jonathan Brandon, and Arthur Howard in the 1940s.  How did Catherine and Jonathan fall in love? What happened after he vanished? How did Arthur help her move on with her life? We wove this together with the plot of The Thornless Rose, keeping in mind that continuity must be maintained with our work-in-progress sequel, Ever Crave the Rose.
Blimey! Burnouts are avoided by lots of chocolate and wine!

We work hard to create rich and memorable time travel stories, with characters who will not be easily forgotten. We hope you enjoy all of our time travel series: Elizabethan, Roman, and medieval Italian.  Thank you, and happy reading ~ Deborah and Cary, writing as Morgan O’Neill.

The Thornless Rose
An Elizabethan Time Travel Novel
Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical
Publication Date: December 29, 2014
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:
No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul....

Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.

It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining...

Here's an Excerpt from The Thornless Rose, an Elizabethan Time Travel novel, by Morgan O'Neill.

In this scene, time travelers Anne Howard and Dr. Jonathan Brandon are thrown together for the first time. Prior to this, Anne has only seen Brandon in an old photograph.

The lights suddenly dimmed, the atmosphere in Westminster Abbey hushed, expectant. She halted in her tracks. Flickering candlelight and deep shadows, no tourists.
What the hell is going on?
“Anne! Anne!”
Stunned, she turned. A man in costume ran toward her.
“Go back,” he shouted, “back where it’s safe!”
She stood transfixed. As he came closer, she recognized him—his eyes, the scar.
He halted and pulled her tight against him. “I love you, Anne,” he whispered into her hair, “but you have to go with him. Save yourself.”
He stilled her confusion with a tender brush of his lips, and she responded instinctively, their kiss deepening as her body arched against his, her blood ablaze with sudden desire, until the rest of the world seemed very far away.
When he finally drew back, he stared into her eyes, and Anne’s heart seized when she saw his pain, the sheer desperation in his gaze.
The feeling was apparently mutual, because he pulled her close and swore under his breath, “Bloody hell, the bastard will pay for this.”
I don’t understand.
He opened his eyes and stared at something in the distance. “Anne, go now,” his voice cracked, “because I can face anything if I know you’re safe.”
His fingers gently cupped her chin, his touch unleashing more heat. He lifted her face for another kiss, and then—nothing. He was gone. She fought for control, her breathing erratic, her legs threatening to crumble. She touched her lips, still feeling his caress, his soft breath on her skin, but he was gone.

Begun by Time
The Prequel to The Thornless Rose
Author: Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:
In 1945, a man disappeared into thin air...

In the final days of World War II, Catherine Hastings meets the man she wants to marry. Flight surgeon Jonathan Brandon isn
t just handsome—hes everything Catherine could hope for in her betrothed. But her dream of a happily ever after is shattered when Jonnie disappears shortly before their wedding...leaving Catherine bereft, broken-hearted, and with a lifetime of unanswered questions.

Arthur Howard is smitten with the lovely Catherine the moment he sees her. He
s certain hes found the woman he wants to marry. Yet behind Catherines sparkling green eyes is a haunted look—the look of a woman who has known loss. But can he love a woman who still grieves the loss of her fiancé? Now Arthur wants answers about the man Catherine intended to marry.
But the truth about Jonnie’s disappearance is far stranger than fiction…

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Living Life–Pantser Style

Most writers are aware there are two basic approaches to creating a manuscript–people who plot the story out, either by a detailed outline or a simple listing of the plot points (plotters)
or those who don't have a clue when they sit down at the computer where their story is going to go and prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. (pantsers)

In writing, I'm a loose plotter. I'll list the major plot points, get them in order according to Blake Snyder's Save The Cat. Then, I'll write up a synopsis in advance of the story, to see if there's enough story line for a full-length novel. Only then do I dive into the writing of the book.

However, in life, I'm a bit more of a pantser. My sister and I have our house on the market and have been searching for a new area in which to live. We go back and forth over whether we want to buy or rent, if we want to move to a warmer climate, or if we want a condo or a house. Then, you throw in cluster homes and 55-plus communities, and each day is a new adventure.

My California friends were excited for a brief moment when my sister came back from a week's vacation with a book of apartments for rent in southern California. Nice idea, but way too pricey for this girl. The bowling alley house in a nearby town was quite nice, but got snapped up by a buyer before we got our home sold. And the condo in town sold before we could even determine where our furniture might go. Now, we have plans to take a short vacation to Nashville in November. Maybe I'll end up being a neighbor to Reba McIntire. And I can go to the Grand Old Opry every Friday night. Might be fun.

You see what I mean about being a pantser in life? It kinda keeps things interesting.

But my quest for a new home doesn't overshadow my work. I've got a giveaway going on Goodreads, for two autographed copies of Blame It On The Brontes. And two of my books, The Duplicitous Debutante and Expressly Yours, Samantha have made it into the final round of voting on The Romance Reviews's site. If you click on any of the buttons on the right, you'll be directed to their sites. You'll need to be logged in to vote on The Romance Review site, but don't let that stop you. I need every vote I can get.