Posted by Sara Ramsey Feb 20 2013, 12:01 am in historical romance, Ruby Release Day, taking risks, writing romance
My latest book in the Muses of Mayfair series, The Marquess Who Loved Me, just came out last week (yay!). You can see below for the cover and description, if you’re so inclined. I’ll also give an ebook copy (Kindle or Nook) to a random commenter today – good luck!
However, as excited as I am about my new release, my mind is already churning with ideas for the next book (The Earl Who Played With Fire). Because I’m still in early brainstorming mode, it feels like everything is possible. Even though I write Regencies, I’m considering having my main characters travel outside of England. Which leads to my question for all of you – how much do you think an author can get away with in terms of stretching readers’ expectations?
I know that the stock answer is that you can get away with anything as long as it’s well-written. But if it’s clear from the book description that the book doesn’t match your expectations of the genre, would you as a reader even pick it up long enough to determine whether the writing was good? Or would you move on to another book that meets your expectations?
I’ve heard that the commonly accepted industry wisdom is that historicals (and particularly Regency historicals) don’t sell if they’re set outside the UK. Obviously, our very own Ruby Sister Jeannie Lin is an exception to this rule, since her books are set in Tang Dynasty China. But what’s behind this belief?
And I suppose the real question is this – did previous non-UK historicals not sell *at all*? Or did they just not become massive bestsellers? And in that case, should an independent author take that risk and write for the smaller, unsatisfied niche of readers who want non-British historicals? Or are the publishers right in their assessment of the market?
I realize that this post is more of a survey than a statement of fact – but I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What makes you pick up a book – something unique or something comfortable? And what are your views on how setting plays into purchasing?
As mentioned above, a random commenter gets an ebook copy of my latest release – cover and description below!
A not-so-merry widow…
The widowed Marchioness of Folkestone is notorious for her parties, her art collection, and her utter disregard for the rules. But Ellie Claiborne knows her destruction is near. The new marquess is her first lover – the man whose sculpted body and sardonic grin haunt her every time she picks up her paintbrush. If he ever returns to claim his inheritance, her heart won’t survive seeing him again.
A man determined to destroy her…
Nicholas Claiborne hasn’t stepped foot in England since watching Ellie marry his cousin. He has no use for the gorgeous, heartless girl who betrayed him, or the title she abandoned him for. But when his business in India turns deadly, Nick must return to London to uncover a murderer – and take revenge on the woman he couldn’t force himself to forget.
A love they can’t escape…
Nick hates Ellie’s transformation from sweet debutante to jaded seductress. Ellie despises him for leaving her behind. Still, the sparks between them reignite the passion that should have been their destiny. As their demands of each other turn darker and a potential killer closes in, they must decide whether to guard the fragile remnants of their hearts — or find a way to fall in love all over again.
If you want to read it right now, you can find The Marquess Who Loved Me on Kindle or Nook (other formats coming soon!).
Posted by Amanda Brice Nov 27 2012, 12:01 am in amanda brice, charity, Ruby Release, Ruby Release Day, self-publishing, short stories, short story collection
We all have them — the metaphorical “books under the bed” that are better left where they are, to gather a patina of dust and cobwebs and never see the light of day. These things are a mess. Often it’s the first book you ever wrote, before you learned the finer points of plot and characterization.
My first manuscript is like that. It made the contest rounds (and even won the Jasmine back in 2006) under a number of titles (my favorite title was From Miss Bitch to Mrs. Rich, although it mostly finaled under the title Looking 4 Love) but, well, let’s just say that when my husband was trying to tell me to self-publish it earlier this year — “But you’ve already done all the work! Why not?” — I never took his suggestion seriously. I know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper (understatement of the year), but there is no amount of polishing that could make that book something I’d want to release today. It served its purposes for what it was, my learning book. But it needs to stay balled up under the farthest corner of the bed … my preferred way of quickly cleaning up and making the rest of the room look quasi-presentable.
Okay, so let’s leave the books-under-the-bed, well, under the bed (or on the hard drive) and turn our attention to a different piece of furniture.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old cliche about digging for spare change between your seat cushions. You may even have done it yourself once or twice (or a hundred times). But this can also be applied to publishing.
If a book under the bed is a hot mess, then the spare change in your seat cushions are the stories that are actually pretty good, but you’re not doing anything with them at the moment for whatever reason. Maybe it got great editorial — or contest –feedback, but didn’t sell. Or maybe it did sell, but it went out of print and you got the rights back. Either way, it’s just sitting on your hard drive at the moment, doing nothing for you.
Behold, my spare change, which just released today exclusively for the Kindle!
I had a few contemporary romance short stories just sitting on my hard drive, taking up space. Three of them (“She’s Got Legs” — which had received an 88 from snarky hard-ass Mrs. Giggles; “Love @ First Site”; and “Dancing Cheek to Cheek”) had been published before, but one (“Birthday Gifts”) is brand new. I’d always liked these stories, but I figured they were too short to really do anything with them.
But then it hit me — why not bundle them as a super-short single-author collection? And yes, I do mean short. The entire ebook of 4 stories is around 15,000 words total. But I think 99 cents is a fair price for around 50 pages.
NY Times bestselling author Angie Fox calls the collection “sweet, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny!”
(Did I mention this one isn’t for teens?)
Jana DeLeon says “Amanda Brice has a voice that easily captures the self-deprecating humor and strength that so many young women have as they attempt to find their place in the world and the man of their heart.”
NY Times bestselling author Christie Craig describes them as “short reads that aren’t short on entertainment. Sassy humor and sigh-worthy. Amanda Brice delivers.”
And NY Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday says “If you’re in the mood for a sweet escape this holiday season, Amanda’s Brice’s Short and Sweet is just the ticket! I loved all the stories in this collection. And anyone who is a ‘White Christmas’ fan will adore ‘Dancing Cheek to Cheek’. The best things don’t only happen when you’re dancing… they also happen when you’re reading an Amanda Brice novel!”
Not bad for spare change.
And from now until New Year’s, it’s spare change for a good cause. A Jersey Girl at heart, I’ll be donating 100% of my author royalties from Short & Sweet: Four Fun & Flirty Tales to relief efforts for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy and to rebuild the shore.
I’ve also been inspired to dig out my first Golden Heart finalist, Party Like It’s 1899, from between the cushions and get it ready for publication. This one is a little dustier than the short stories — and I have to squeeze in the revisions around an already hectic writing schedule — so it’ll take longer to get it ready, but I’m aiming for Fall 2013. (And if it’s ready before then, say spring or summer, then bonus!) Here’s a sneak peak at the cover art.
So what about you? Do you have any metaphorical spare change hidden in your cushions? Have you considered digging out an old story and giving it new life through self-publishing? Tell us!
Posted by Vanessa Barneveld Aug 2 2011, 12:01 am in Ruby Release Day, Shea Berkley
Mark my words, Ruby-Slippered Shea Berkley is going to win a legion of fans. And what’s not to love? Shea is a three-time Golden Heart® finalist, a writing mentor, and she can kickbox her way out of any kind of trouble. Between you and me, though, her kryptonite is Vegemite, that salty, yeasty Aussie sandwich spread she sampled when living in the UK. She tells me she hates the stuff, but the lady doth protest too much! :p)
SHEA: Just thinking about Vegemite causes little episodes of dry heaving. (shiver)
VANESSA: Heh! Next time I see you, I’ll show you the right way to eat Vegemite.
Today, we’re celebrating the release of Shea’s YA, THE MARKED SON from Entangled Publishing. (Whoo!) It’s the first in a trilogy.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…
Does that sound awesome or what? Read an excerpt here. You’ll be hooked — don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Shea, in addition to your three-book deal with Entangled, November will see the release of your epic fantasy TORREIN through Variance Publishing. You must feel like all your Christmases have come at once. Tell us about your journey to publication.
Christmas might have landed all at once, but it’s been building up for years. Many, many, many years.
I started out writing nonfiction for magazines and newspapers forever ago, and then got the bug to write fiction. My first foray was in historical romantic fiction. I lived in England at the time and was just soaking in the history so it seemed like a no brainer. Over 200,000 words later and a sweetly worded rejection from Avon, “You’ve got to be kidding me this is seriously way, way, way too long,” I moved on and switched to contemporary romantic fiction and finaled for the first time in the Golden Heart contest. It was fun, but I realized I was not romantically inclined enough to write straight romance, so I then turned to writing Fiction with Romantic Elements and finaled in my second Golden Heart® contest. Fun again. Then I decided, because I read so many Young Adult stories (yeah, I’ve got a Peter Pan complex) I’d try my hand at writing YA, and I finaled for the third time in the Golden Heart® contest. Super fun!
Between all that, I wrote a story called TORREIN: AGE OF FEAR, an epic coming of age fantasy, a genre I love, and a story I absolutely adore. Super fabulous fun!!!
Ooh, I can’t wait to read it! What made you fall in love with writing YA?
Other than the fact that I’m a big child? (Peter Pan complex, remember?) I don’t want to be that person who’s forgot what it’s like to have fun. I’m all about the simple pleasures. Teens, even for as grown up as they sometimes act, are still kids. They live in the moment. They get a kick out of exploring, and I love that about them.
I’m intrigued by the newness of feelings they experience. YA characters are young and impressionable and will think outrageous things, say outrageous things and do outrageous things because they don’t know any better yet. They jump in and wallow around in the junk pool a while until they figure out that what they’re doing isn’t the brightest idea. They’re just starting that journey of bad ideas. It’s sort of like watching Ninja Warrior to see who will make it through the course and who will wipe out, and always being surprised at who takes up the challenge.
Even though I love to play on teen inexperience as a whole, it doesn’t mean I think teens are stupid. Far from it. They can surprise you with their wisdom, their understanding and their optimism that things will get better.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to try their hand at writing YA?
Writing YA isn’t about reliving your past. I think a lot of adults think it’s really easy to write for teens. I mean, we were all teenagers once, right? How hard can it be to write about teenagers if you’ve been there, done that? Let me tell you right now. It’s hard. They’re very savvy to what rings true and what doesn’t. I’m surrounded by teens nearly every day. I talk to them all the time. Their experiences can be heartbreaking or just plain ridiculous. When you write for teens, you have to put yourself in their place and live life through their eyes, not your adult ones. It’s about writing stuff that’s relevant to teens today, without writing down to them or lecturing them. Just give them a great story and they’ll love you for it.
I can vouch for just how difficult it is to write YA! Shea, THE MARKED SON is written in a (hawt) male’s POV. How did this challenge you as a writer?
Oh, so you’ve noticed I’m not a guy? I am the size of a twelve-year-old boy, so it can get confusing.
I love guys. Most of my best friends growing up were guys. Even though I love being a girl, I’ve never been much of a girlie girl. I just got my first pedicure and she painted flowers on my nail.
See? Makes me smile looking at them. ~ Shea
Growing up, my friends and I would hang out and do crazy stuff and not think about the consequences. I was always the girl all the guys cornered to talk about their love lives, (not that I had a rockin’ one myself, but I have always been “approachable” and guys are total weenies when it comes to talking to girls) so I was able to get inside their heads and see what they thought about girls.
In return, the guys taught me to be aggressive and go after what I want and play hard. I’m also physically demonstrative. I don’t mean anything by it, but because of that, I’m sometimes seen as inappropriately forward as my mom would say. Over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to the fact that other people don’t like hugs as much as I do. (weird, huh?) I’m also a very open person. I’ll ask anyone anything, so if I ever wanted to know something, I’d go to one of my guy friends and bug him until he either ran away or answered me. Unfortunately, I got into trouble more than once relying on them to answer me truthfully. Guys do not play fair.
So, I guess I’ve had an advantage in being able to write in a guy’s POV. Dylan isn’t molded after any particular guy I’ve known, he’s a combination of many guys. He’s the guy all girls wish we could find.
My seventeen-year-old self totally envies you for getting boys to confide in you! Now, Dylan is seventeen and about to plunge into an unknown world. If you could give your seventeen-year-old self advice about life, what would you say?
No pressure here, huh?
Be honest. Live with integrity and don’t worry about what people say about you. There are always hateful people who only live to pull you down. Ignore them. They’re not worth your time.
There’s nothing in life that’s risk free. Just don’t be stupid. If you might hurt someone re-evaluate your options. If you’ll help someone, always opt to help. You won’t like yourself if you don’t stop and help.
Remember, no one likes a fickle person, so find out who you are and be that person no matter what you’re doing or where you’re at. Don’t change to fit in. The “in” crowd isn’t that awesome. Really.
People will let you down. You will let others down. That’s called being human. Learn to forgive and move on. That said, love freely, love often and love forever because the only thing worth living for is love for your fellow man.
“Find out who you are” — I love that. Well, Shea Berkley, you are now a published author! Humungous squeezy hugs to you on the release of THE MARKED SON.
So, readers, it’s your turn — what advice would you give your seventeen-year-old self? (No pressure!)
(VANESSA SINGING) # Isn't Shea lovely? #
Connect with Shea: Facebook / SheaBerkley.com / Goodreads