Jeanne: Under Cover

Back in February, I posted about a local bookstore owner who suggested that my covers might not be doing my books any favors.

After running an Amazon ad for Book One for a couple of months, I’ve decided she’s got a point. While the covers are eye-catching and unique, they don’t say romance. So I decided to have them redone. This week, I received the initial drafts from the designer.

Here’s my original cover for The Demon Always Wins:

The Demon Always Wins - Copy

And here’s the (first draft of) the new version:

(It’s Thursday afternoon and I had to remove the draft cover because my cover artist fired me. Since the cover is his property, I no longer have the right to display it.

Pretty sure you’ll be hearing more about this on Tuesday…)

I”m planning to make a couple of changes:

  • Get rid of the snake completely (sigh)
  • Increase the font size for my name by a couple of points so it’s more visible.

What do you think?

 

Jeanne: Enneagrams

On Sunday, Jilly talked about the class we’re taking, Inside Out: Crafting Your Character’s Emotional Conflict, with award-winning author Linnea Sinclair.*

LinneaSinclair13

Linnea Sinclair

One of the things that makes me such a slow writer is because it generally takes me 100 or more painfully typed pages to know my characters well enough to understand what they’ll do in any given situation. Up to that point (and sometimes, as with my current WIP, even longer) I head off in wrong directions and follow blind alleys and generally wander in the wilderness while I get to know them.

It’s not an efficient process.

Now Ms. Sinclair has given me a tool to (I really hope) shortcut that painful process–the Enneagram (pronounced any-a-gram). According to the Integrative 9 website, the Enneagram is an archetypal framework that offers in-depth insight to individuals, groups and collectives.  Put more simply, it’s a psychological test that categorizes people into 9 different groups based on personality/character factors. Continue reading

Jeanne: How Much Research Is Enough?

The Screwtape LettersLast Saturday, I was hiking with a friend who was around for the full pre-publication lifespan of The Demon Always Wins. (I started working on it in May, 2012 and didn’t publish until September, 2018.)

She mentioned that she’s reading Dante’s Inferno.

In preparation for writing The Demon Always Wins, I read:

 

 

  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • The Book of Job (multiple times)
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • Books about the Book of Job.
  • Critiques of The Inferno.
  • Critiques of Paradise Lost.

Continue reading

Jeanne: The Fine Art of Concealment

Portrait of a young blonde woman in glasses with a phone at the big window

Megan, my heroine.

In the third book of my Touched by a Demon series, my protagonist is a very closed-off woman. She was raised in foster care after her mother died in a meth lab fire that took several neighbors’ lives, but she’s created a persona for herself with a completely different background. She claims to have been brought up by her maternal grandparents. She even carries a picture of an elderly couple in her wallet to support her claim.

The thing I’m running into that’s a little tricky is that, if she really is that closed off, she’s going to be very careful about what she reveals. That will affect not only what she tells other characters, but also what comes through to the reader. The character, as I envision her,  is on her guard all the time. She never lets her mind get away from her.

This presents a storytelling problem for me, the author. If Megan is so guarded, even in her thoughts, I’ve given up one of my chief means of sharing information with  my readers.

To further complicate my writing process, I am nothing like this protagonist. I pretty much spill everything about myself within a half-hour of meeting someone. So it requires a lot of careful calculation to figure out how such a close-to-the-vest person would say in any given circumstance.

Any thoughts, suggestions or great examples of books with similar characters anyone can share would be much appreciated!

Jeanne: Registering a Copyright

I just registered the copyright for my second book, The Demon’s in the Details, and I have a few thoughts to share, along with a public service announcement.

  1. You can tell this is a government site, because you have to type the same info over and over.
  2. Even though you have use a separate ISBN for paperbacks versus ebooks, there is only one spot to enter an ISBN.
  3. At the end, you have to choose between uploading an electronic file and sending in a hard copy. I’ve read numerous discussions on various self-published author boards about which is appropriate if your book is available both as a paperback and an ebook. I opted for an electronic upload rather than paying postage to mail in a physical book.
  4. Once you register a copyright, it can take months to get your Certificate of Registration.. My certificate for The Demon Always Wins took about four months, but one of my chaptermates at my RWA chapter said her most recent certificate took fourteen months to show up.
  5. Given the recent Supreme Court decision that you must have that certificate in order to file suit against a copyright infringement (like, say, any of the million pirate sites out there), it’s probably a good idea to do it sooner rather than later.

And here’s my public service announcement: Continue reading

Jeanne: Protecting Your Muse

Among my Naughty dogmany character flaws, the one that has caused me the most grief over the years is probably my impulsiveness. I’m not good, even at the ripe old age of 65, at thinking through potential consequences before I act. 

Because I’m so weak on the strategic side, I’ve developed a lot of skill at tactical reaction. Most of the time, no matter how poorly thought out my original plan, I can wrangle it into something less than a total failure.

But not always.

Last fall I decided I wanted a dog. Because of my age, and because of a strong need in the community, it seemed like a good idea to adopt a rescue dog. I’ve owned a couple of Australian shepherd mixes over that years, and I’ve always wanted a full-bred one, so I applied to an Aussie rescue group. They sent a flock of pictures and my husband and I picked one out and went to meet him the day after Thanksgiving.

Continue reading