Nancy: The Big Reveal: Harrow’s Finest Five Series

If you’re a long-time follower of the blog, you’ve no doubt seen Harrow’s Finest Five mentioned in many of my blog posts. It seems like I’ve been discussing this series for years because, well, I’ve been discussing it for years! You might have wondered if the stories in this alleged series would ever see the light of day. You wouldn’t be alone – I’ve had the same question myself. But today, I’m happy to announce the first novella, which launches the series, is coming out this November!

Next week, I have so many things to share about that upcoming release: the cover, the back-cover blurb, how to sign up to be an ARC reader, and where to read an excerpt of the first book PLUS a free prequel short story and sample chapters from the next two books! And, if all goes according to plan, I’ll also be able to share the exact release date of the book.

In the meantime, though, it occurs to me that while you’ve heard of the series existence, I haven’t told you much about the whys and wherefores. Today, let’s remedy that, shall we?

What: Harrow’s Finest Five Series, seven (we’ll get to that shortly) mid-Victorian era romances centered around five old school mates from Harrow, one of the handful of boarding schools for boys from all the best British families (read: titled and wealthy). They were given their tongue-in-cheek name by novel 3’s hero, who is also the group trouble-maker and all around fun guy.

But let’s remember these are romance stories! So they’re as much about the fab women these men love as they are about our Harrow mates. Here’s the series tagline: Continue reading

Nancy: Big Reveal: Novel 1 Cover Copy

 Many, many months ago, I shared my cover blurb (aka the 150-word pitch) of my Victorian Romance series kickoff novella and got some great feedback. Since then, I’ve worked on the cover blurb for novel 1 of the series.

This time, I spent even more time on Amazon reading blurb after blurb on historical romance books. I took note of which rhythms and devices appealed to me. At its heart, the cover copy is sales copy; its job is to sell the story, so I gauged my own response to determine which blurbs had me itching to hit the buy button. Then came the hard part: applying those lessons learned to my own book.

As expected, a few hours into the agonizing process, I was pretty sure I’d written the first book in the history of publishing that absolutely would not, could not be captured in a cover blurb. But deep down, I was also pretty sure that every author who’d ever worked on cover copy’d had that same thought. And so I persisted, and came up with this early draft of the cover copy. I’ll work on it with my editor  – who has helped write cover copy for decades – after she has edited the story. But for now, I’d love to get your feedback! Continue reading

Nancy: Mind Mapping Your Way Out of Trouble

The Daniel in my head has issues. The Daniel on the page - not so much. I built this mind map to bridge the gap.

The Daniel in my head has issues. The Daniel on the page – not so much. I built this mind map to bridge the gap.

A few weeks ago, I sent my critique partner the first several chapters of my manuscript that’s under revision (not to be confused with the one in first draft stage or the other one in discovery phase). I knew those pages had problems but I’d been staring at them too long. I didn’t know where to start. When I got my my CP’s notes, she had lots of great insights, the most important being that my hero, Daniel just wasn’t clicking.

She had a few suggestions for improvement, and I immediately came up with some more. But I wanted a quick picture of what I know about Daniel and his character arc, and what steps he needs to take in his journey. Around this time, I’d been reading a lot about mind mapping for my ‘day job’, and in a flash of inspiration, decided to apply it to my ‘Daniel problem’, resulting in the lovely picture you see to the left.

What the Heck Is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a way to get information out of your brain and onto paper (or screen) in a graphical way. The term graphical is up for grabs. It’s what works for you. That might be pictures, text bubbles (which obviously work for me), or some combination of words and pictures. The important thing is to avoid creating a linear structure. No sentences, paragraphs, or lists. You can get a more in-depth definition of the concept  here.

How Do I Create a Mind Map? Continue reading